Monstera are big and beautiful plants from the tropics, but the problems most people have when buying them is that they grow quickly.
One day you can be looking over your potted plants and think that everything is fine and the next the pot has fallen over from the sheer weight of the entire plant.
It is an issue every good gardener comes across when owning these plants for the first time.
At this juncture, it is time to repot your monstera, yet it can seem an overwhelming task.
Do it wrong, and you may hurt the plant, but not doing it at all will mean the plant is going to suffer anyway.
So, what can be done? How can you successfully repot a monstera?
In this article, we are going to look at ways to successfully repot monstera and give you some tips for the future.
Do I Need To Repot My Monstera?
As with all plants, monsteras need to be repotted at certain points, or they will start to die.
You can either plan these repottings for certain dates, or you can look for the signs that your plant may need to be repotted.
However, if you look for the signs, you do need to pay close attention, otherwise it may be too late for the plant.
Monstera Repotting Signs
The Drainage Holes Start Sprouting Roots
At the bottom of every pot, there is at least one hole, and most of the time there are quite a few.
These are the drainage holes, and they are there to make sure that the plant does not get waterlogged in its pot – which can cause its own problems.
If you start to see roots appear at the bottom of your monstera plant, then that probably means that your plant is experiencing a condition known as root-bound.
In the wild, most plants can expand as they like through the abundance of soil around them, but that is not the same with potted plants.
Root-bound plants are plants that no longer have the room to grow or the amount of soil they need to survive.
This leads to a lack of oxygen, nutrients, and water, and they will expand their roots wherever they can to try and find more of these.
Potted plants are highly susceptible to this condition and if you identify this in your plants, you have to repot them.
If you do not, then they will be damaged, begin to suffocate, and potentially die.
Lack Of Growth
While this is a symptom of being root-bound, it has the greatest effect on the plant at large and so deserves its own section.
As we mentioned, root-bound plants lack space, nutrients, water, and oxygen. All of these things affect the plant’s ability to survive, but it also affects their ability to grow.
Eventually, a root-bound plant will experience stunted growth and, if not dealt with, they will die. Stunted growth can be a sign that your plant needs repotting, even if you cannot see other signs.
By repotting, you may save the plant and help it grow a little more, but it is important to note that there can be other reasons for a lack of growth – like lack of light, water, or feeding – therefore make sure it is in need of repotting before doing it.
When Should You Repot A Monstera?
Monstera are fairly long-lived plants – living to about 40 years if kept in great condition – but they will need repotting a fair amount during that time.
This is because unlike some plants, they will keep growing for most of their life.
As such, you should aim to repot a Monstera plant every two years or so to avoid root-bound conditions.
It does not have to be two years on the dot, but keeping it around the two-year mark, will keep it healthy and beautiful.
It should be noted that monsteras have to be repotted more than other mature plants, but that if you think your pot is large enough for your monstera, then you can just change the soil to a fresh potting soil and check it a few times a year to make sure it hasn’t grown too big for the pot.
Tips For Repotting
To make the repotting process as smooth and non disruptive as possible, there are some things you can do for your plant:
Pick A Good Time Of Year
For monstera, there is an optimal time of year to repot the plant, which is during the early spring months.
This time period is the point in the year just before monstera’s growing season , as such by repotting it you are giving it a period to adjust to its new pot and soil, while also providing it with fresh nutrients to facilitate easier growth for the plant.
Still, it should be noted that you can repot monstera at any point of the year, and you should do it at any point if you think it may need repotting.
Just make sure you are a little more careful, as the plant will be a bit more vulnerable at this point, especially if it is root-bound.
When you are repotting monstera, you should definitely pick the right pot for the job.
The new pot should be at least 2 inches larger in diameter, larger than the previous pot that housed the monstera.
For obvious reasons, you cannot use a smaller pot and a pot larger than the 2-inch requirement may mean that your monstera is overwater, because the monstera cannot tell how much water is in the soil.
The pot also needs to have more than one or two drainage holes at the bottom of it. Monstera is a large plant from a tropical region, so it requires a lot of water.
In its native home, rain comes in daily cycles and drains rapidly, but this does not happen in a pot, which leaves the plant susceptible to pot rot.
Due to these factors, many monstera owners like to make their own monstera pots from recycled materials.
This way they can make the pot to the specifications they need without having to do a lot of searching for the right pot in a garden center.
As with every plant, there is an optimal soil mix for monstera. Monstera loved an aerated soil that is also well-draining.
As stated earlier, monstera comes from a tropical place with daily cycles of rain, so water flow is constant, but it never sits in the soil, and an aerated soil helps keep the soil oxygenated and helps with the even distribution of water.
Monstera is not good in soils that allow puddling or are pretty stagnant, so avoid these at all costs.
You can find nutrient rich and quick draining soils in most garden stores or online, but if you are struggling then you can also just make your own soil mix.
Simply add peat moss, coconut coir, orchid bark chips, and perlite together into your soil, mix it and pot your monstera in it.
The mix will make the soil lighter, while keeping it nutrient rich. A lighter soil will allow for quicker drainage and better oxygen flow, keeping your monstera healthy.
Have Support Readily Available
Monstera plants are actually a type of evergreen vine, which makes them beautiful, but also means they require some kind of support to keep them upright.
Unless you want to sacrifice a great tree to this vine, you are going to have to build or purchase that support for them.
This can easily be done with a trellis or a moss pole purchased from a garden center.
Before your monstera starts growing, you should make sure you get one of these two items.
It is also important that you decide where the monstera is going to go in your garden, as if you don’t then you may have to rush once the monstera enters its growing season.
Position the pole based on your immature plant’s position within the pot.
If the monstera looks balanced, and it’s growing in an upward direction, then you can put the pole in the center of the pot directly upward.
On the other hand, if the plant is tilted or is struggling to support itself on one side, then place the pole where it needs the most support or is tilting.
Sturdiness is key with these poles, and you will need to push the pole deep into the soil to ensure it does not topple over.
When you have pushed the pole in, fill in the hole or crevice that has been created around it and compact the soil slightly with your hands.
Then attach the monstera to the pole with plant ties to make sure it is being supported.
Problems When Transplanting A Monstera
Despite being fairly hardy plants, monstera can still suffer from shock or problems when you transplant them.
This is not an uncommon issue and in fact all plants suffer a little bit from this, as they are literally being uprooted from their home and moved.
Still, there are some ways to transplant a plant while keeping the risks to it minimal:
- Keep the roots intact: roots are the lifeline of the plant and when you remove a plant from its pot, you should try to keep as many roots intact and on the plant as possible when repotting.
- Don’t disturb the root ball: Once the monstera is out of its old pot, do not shake the soil away from the roots or disturb the root ball at the center. Leave it be. The only thing you should do is to try and keep it moist by spraying, while you are repotting.
- Watering the new pot: Once the monstera is in the new pot with soil, water the plant vigorously. Don’t waterlog it, but make sure the soil is thoroughly moist.
Once you have repotted the plant, it is important to keep looking out for signs of transplant distress over the next few days.
It may take some time for the plant to begin showing signs that it suffered during the repotting.
Here are some major signs to look out for:
- Leaf discoloration – either browning leaves or yellowing leaves.
- Drooping leaves.
If you see any of these signs, then you need to give your monstera the utmost care until it starts to look better.
Make sure it is given the right amount of nutrients, light, water, and humidity, and patiently tend to it.
It could take weeks for a young monstera to recover from the shock, but older monstera can take months or years to recover, so be patient.
After Care For Monstera Repotting
No matter how careful you are with a monstera repotting, the plant will be very vulnerable for the next couple of weeks or even a month.
Therefore, you need to make sure the conditions it had before the repotting are maintained afterwards.
Plants get used to and love the same environmental factors, they do not do well with constant change.
Therefore, you should place the plant in the same spot that it was in before the repotting and water it vigorously once you have moved it back into position.
Watering can soften the blow of transplant and will also get your plant back into its regular routine of feeding and drinking.
Remember, though, that monsteras do not like overwatering, simply moist soil.
One important thing to note is that you should never fertilize a monstera plant until at least 4 weeks after it has been transplanted.
The roots are very vulnerable at this point and since fertilizer can be abrasive, it could harm the plant.
You should also try to imitate its natural environmental conditions. That means high humidity and indirect, but bright sunlight.
This will help it recover and avoid shock as best as possible.
Repotting Monstera: How To
Monstera plants are actually fairly easy to repot, as long as you repot them properly. As such, you should follow these crucial steps:
- Prepare everything: Make sure your pot, shears, moss pole, and soil mix are prepared and ready, right next to where you are going to need them. Then fill up about a third of the pot with soil mix.
- Take the monstera out of its old pot: This step may require a second person, depending on the size of your plant. Carefully and gently, take out the monstera from the pot, trying not to disturb the roots at all. Some people would remove some roots for this, but if you can, try and keep as many intact as possible.
- Repot the plant: Put your monstera into the new pot on top of the soil. Make sure it is at the center of the pot, and make sure the root ball is at least a few inches below the brim of the new pot. After this, fill the pot with soil, but don’t pat it down. Remember, monstera prefers light aerated soil that drains easily and having it loose helps it breathe. This is also the point where you place and position your pole.
- Water, water, water: Once you have finished the repotting process, water the monstera thoroughly. Don’t use tap water – because the chlorine will not help with the transplant shock. Try to use rainwater or even filtered water instead. Water for a minute, then wait and let the water sink. Then top the water up to make sure the soil is moist but not waterlogged and add some soil on top.
- Watch it closely for the next month: Your monstera could suffer from the transplant shock, and you may not know, therefore keep watching it for a month until you are sure that it isn’t.
- There you have it, 5 easy steps to repot a monstera.
Due to the nature of the monstera plant, it may seem like a hassle to repot them.
However, if you keep to the steps we have lined out here, then you should have no problems repotting your monstera.
If you liked this article, you might enjoy our post on ‘Ficus Plant Care Guide And Tips‘.