Monstera can be a difficult plant to pot at the best of times.
It is an evergreen vine that comes from the tropical regions of Central and South America, which means that it does take some special treatment and care to make sure it grows properly.
However, this care should not stop at the watering and feeding stage, you also need to make sure that the pot that you put it in is serving its purpose as well and allowing the monstera to grow as it should do.
Yet, this can be a problem, especially for new plant owners, as generally people tend to buy a random pot in around the right size and call it a day.
This simply won’t do for monstera and getting a subpar pot could lead to disaster. So, what can be done? What kind of pot should you get for monstera?
Well, there are a few criteria that each pot should meet.
Factors That Should Determine Your Monstera Pot
Monstera comes from one of the most unique environments on earth, the tropical rainforest region, which means that it thrives in a certain habitat and climate.
While it is a hardy plant and can survive well outside of its preferred environment, if too much stress is put on it or multiple stresses are placed upon it, even it will struggle.
As such, there are a couple of things you need to consider before you bed your monstera down in its new home:
This is probably the most important factor that will dictate how well your monstera does. Drainage is incredibly important to a monstera’s survival.
Where the plant is from has a daily rain cycle that soaks and then is drained from the land by the soil and other plant life.
What this means is that this plant does not sit in water, but is soaked by a stream of it every day.
As such, they do not like their own soil to be wet for long periods, as they will become susceptible to root-rot, bacterial, and fungal infections, if left in wet conditions.
Some pots do not have drainage systems or holes, called ‘cachepots’, and these are designed to retain moisture and water at the bottom of the pot.
These are great for crop plants that come from the Northern Hemisphere – a place where soil tends to remain wet through the winter months – but are absolutely terrible for a plant like monstera.
These pots also tend to be the nicest looking, which also doesn’t help.
If you want to use one of these pots for your monstera plant, you need to create drainage.
This can be done by drilling or cutting holes into the bottom of the pot to create drainage holes, or by putting the monstera in a pot that fits into your cachepot, which the bottom of the pot is about two inches higher than the bottom of the cachepot.
Otherwise, you need to get a pot that already has a good drainage system. If you buy one with drainage holes, then you will probably want a pot with at least 2 to 3 holes in the bottom of it.
Watering Schedule And Habit
Depending on your watering schedule and how much you water each plant throughout the week will also affect what kind of pot you should buy.
Watering is tricky with monstera, and you will need to adapt to what it needs, instead of the other way around:
People have a tendency to over water their plants. It is true, and we are all guilty of it – even us here.
It does come from a place of love, as we want to give our plants everything that we can, but this is not good for some plants and monstera is one of them.
If you are an overwaterer, then your monstera needs a pot that can drain the excess that it doesn’t need.
If it does not have a pot like this, then it may start to develop root-rot, which could start to kill your beautiful, new plant.
The two pot materials that are great for stopping your monstera being overwatered are terracotta and ceramic pots.
These two materials are both porous, which adds a fail-safe along with any other drainage system the pot may have.
Porous basically means that a solid material has minute gaps and holes in it, which – in this case – will let water leave the pot overtime, stopping your plant from becoming waterlogged.
On the other end of the spectrum are the people who underwater their plants.
These people don’t love their plants any less, but they may forget that they also need love and attention or just be really busy and forget to water them.
If you underwater your plant and know that you will not change, but want to keep having plants, then you need to make some changes to the pots themselves to help you out.
The key thing you need to change or do is to make sure the pot material the plants are in is one that will keep moisture locked inside.
The two best pot materials for locking in moisture are plastic and glazed terracotta.
Plastic is not porous at all, and glazed terracotta is covered in a substance that will stop water wicking away from it.
These will trap moisture in the pot, keeping your plant hydrated.
However, even with a habit of underwatering, your monstera should never be placed in a pot that doesn’t have at least some form of drainage, otherwise you risk killing the plant.
Climate And Temperature
As we have mentioned previously in this article, the climate and temperature of the environment you place your monstera in will greatly affect how well it thrives.
This can actually also be affected by the pot that you place it in as well.
Monstera’s love humidity. They absolutely love it, which is not surprising considering they are from a humid place and so will be positively thrilled at living in a humid place.
If the place that you live in is naturally humid or maintains a humidity between 40% to 60%, then they should be fine in moisture wicking pots like terracotta or ceramic.
Yet, if you live in a dry area or maintain a drier climate within your home, like if you live in a colder climate and need to take your monstera inside in winter, then you need to get a pot that will retain more moisture over time.
In this case, you should buy a plastic or a glazed terracotta pot.
Temperature always greatly affects plants, but monstera is a big plant with a lot of surface area. As such, it is much more greatly affected than smaller plants or shrubs.
In a place with a hotter climate or if you maintain a hotter climate inside your home, then your monstera is going to need more water more often to survive.
As such, the pot you buy needs to be able to retain more water for longer, otherwise it will just evaporate before the roots can absorb the liquid.
In a place with a colder climate or if you maintain a colder climate inside your home, your monstera is not going to need as much water to survive.
The water is not in danger of evaporating or dissipating, but it does put the plant in danger of overwatering.
The monstera does need a flow of water, so drainage holes are extremely important, but keep in mind the temperature before you start buying pots with vast amounts of these holes.
Position Of Your Monstera
When placing your monstera’s pot, there is another thing that will affect what pot type you need. That is whether the monstera is an indoor or an outdoor plant.
The pot’s effectiveness and as such your monstera’s ability to thrive will be determined by where you place the pot.
If you place the monstera inside your home, you do not have as many stresses that will affect the plant and the pot, as you would outside.
You control the plant’s water supply, how much sun it will get, and – if you are lucky – you can control the ambient temperature as well.
You can also protect the plant for other aspects of the outdoors as well, like wind. This means that the pot you use isn’t as important indoors.
If you place the monstera outside your home, then there are many stresses to worry about.
The plant will be impacted by the climate, the sun, the wind, the season, the weather, animals, other plants, and other factors too.
If you live in a rainy area, like Northern or Western Europe, then your plant will need an excellent drainage system to stop it becoming waterlogged.
In this environment, you would be restricted in what pot you can use, and you would need to make sure the soil is well-draining – adding perlite or sand to the potting mix will help with this.
If you live in a hot, sunny, and dry area, like Southern California, then your plant will need help retaining moisture within its soil.
Getting a plastic or glazed terracotta pot should help with this, and adding coconut coir to the potting mix should help it retain moisture for longer.
If you live in a windy area, like Washington state or the west coast of Ireland, then your pot needs to be durable and heavy.
Monstera is a large plant and not used to violent winds, so the pot needs to be able to take the brunt of such a force.
Placing a couple of rocks at the bottom of the pot should help with this, but you also want the material of the pot to be heavy as well. If it gets too windy, bring the plant inside.
Pot Sizes For A Monstera Plant
Monstera plants can live for up to 40 years, and in that time they never stop growing.
As such, what size pot you need for your monstera depends very much on the size of your monstera at that point in time.
A baby monstera plant will be fine with a pot no more than 8 inches in diameter, but an adult of 3 to 4 years will need about a 2-foot pot at least.
Most monstera plants need to be repotted every 2 to 3 years, depending on how fast they grow, and the pot should normally be 2 inches larger in diameter than the pot they were just in.
However, repotting is a tricky business that can cause some problems for your plant:
The main problem with oversized pots for monstera plants is their ability to retain moisture.
A pot too big will retain far too much moisture, as the roots can’t reach the areas where the water pools. These pools will become stagnant or attract bacteria, which can lead to root-rot, among other things.
An undersized pot may be even worse than an oversized pot, because the problems multiple in this situation.
If the pot is too small, it probably won’t be able to hold the weight of the monstera plant and will cause it to topple over, as the plant becomes top-heavy.
Not only that, but the soil won’t be able to hold the moisture the plant needs to survive, and so the plant will begin to dehydrate.
This will cause the leaves to droop and curl, with parts of them becoming crispy to touch, and no matter how much you water the plant, you will find the soil dry and the plant thirsty.
The last thing that can happen is that the plant becomes root bound. This is when the roots continue to grow in a desperate search for water and start to poke out of the bottom of the pot.
If this condition is not sorted, the plant will become stunted and lead to root crowding inside the pot.
If your monstera has matured, and it has grown as much as you want it to, you may want to keep the plant pot bound in its current pot.
This will stop it growing as rapidly, but it is only a temporary solution, and you will still need to prune and attend to the monstera to stop it having problems.
Choosing The Perfect Pot
Now that we’ve covered a lot of what needs to be known about the pot of a monstera, it is time to choose the pot.
This can only be done by you, and you need to ask yourself some hard questions now.
- How big is your monstera?
- Where will you keep it?
- What is the climate of its new environment?
- What is your watering schedule?
- What material will your pot need?
- How big do you want it to grow?
Asking these questions now will prevent problems in the future, but it is important to note that monstera will need support when it is potted, as it is a vine.
As such, you need to be able to have a pot heavy enough to hold it and the support with good drainage that can be moved if necessary.
In the event that you don’t know what kind of pot you need, go to your local garden center and ask the experts to help you out of this predicament.
Choosing the best pot for a tropical plant such as monstera can seem a daunting and confusing task.
However, if you follow the advice set down on this list and – most importantly – listen to what your plant is telling you about its current conditions, then you should have no problems in not only picking a pot, but picking the right pot for your beautiful and verdant monstera plant.