Monstera plants are from the deep tropics and are used to rainfall.
However, it can be difficult to judge how much water you should give them without risking damaging the plant itself.
Many people have set a watering schedule for these plants and have got it tragically wrong, which is not only unfortunate, but can also doom the plant as well.
While we are not saying you should never use a watering schedule, we are saying you should make sure you are using the right one.
So, what can be done?
What are the best practices for watering your monstera? Well, there are a few things that you should, and we have put them in this article.
The Factors You Should Consider For A Watering Schedule
While many people will water a monstera once a week heavily and call it a day, this isn’t the best to do for the plant.
For starters, there are many factors that affect how often you water it and when you should water.
These can range, but we have placed the most important down below:
Seasons affect plants heavily, unless they are from the narrow area around the equator that basically has only a dry season and a wet season.
This is the same for monstera, as even though they are from close to these areas, they still react to varying temperatures and climates.
During the winter months, the monstera plant’s watering cycle will be completely different from the summer months and will require you to adjust it for them.
During this period, the monstera will enter a dormant state due to the temperature and low humidity of the winter, not being great for photosynthesis.
As such, the roots won’t absorb as much water, because simply they don’t need to, which means that if you keep providing the same amount of water, you risk overwatering the plant, and it could develop root rot.
Instead, you should water the roots lightly during winter, rather than soaking the water to point it is moist.
You should water the plant once every 2 to 3 weeks just enough to moisten the soil, or you should water when the soil is almost completely dry.
In summer, you should keep the soil moist, but never wet or waterlogged.
Monstera plants, like all plants, require photosynthesis and as such they need sunlight.
However, they are native to tropical forested regions, which means that they are never really in direct sunlight.
As such, you should have monstera in indirect, but bright sunlight near a south or east facing window.
When in these kinds of conditions, the monstera will do great with a weekly watering schedule.
However, if your monstera is in a place with little sunlight able to shine into your home or apartment, then you need to adjust your watering, as this kind of environment means monstera doesn’t need as much watering.
These kinds of conditions necessitate watering maybe once or twice a month, just to keep the soil moist and to not overwater the plant.
The Temperature And The Humidity
Water, in any environment, is affected deeply by the temperature and the humidity of said environment.
It can affect the rate of transpiration of the water through the plant’s system and the rigidity of the plant’s overall structure because of this rate of absorption.
When it is hotter and more humid, it is best to reduce the length of time between waters to make sure that the water does not evaporate before the plant has a chance to drink it.
If you live in a hot and humid place, like Hong Kong, then you should water your monstera every 2 to 3 days, but if you are in cooler climes, then increase the time as appropriate.
You can work it out by testing how moist the soil stays over time and work your schedule around that.
The Soil Mix
Monstera is a plant that needs an aerated, well-draining, and nutrient rich soil.
Its native home is a place with daily rain cycles, that means it constantly gets water without sitting in water, and the soil is light.
Some people buy store bought soil for this purpose, but others like to make their own.
You can do this by getting a regular bag of potting soil and adding pertile, coconut coir, orchid bark chips, and peat moss.
However, make sure it doesn’t drain too quickly, if you add too much of these substances, the soil struggles to retain water, and you will find yourself watering your plant constantly.
The Pots And The Drainage
Pots are something that definitely need to be considered when creating a monstera watering schedule.
The reason is that pots are made of different substances – terracotta, ceramic, metal, plastic, etc.
As such, you want to pick a pot that is perfect for your plant.
For monstera, most people would recommend a terracotta or a ceramic pot, because they are porous, meaning they evaporate water more quickly.
While this does mean you will have to water your plant more frequently, it also means that your plant will not be as susceptible to waterlogging conditions, such as root rot.
Most people will also say that a larger pot will be necessary for the plant to grow into, but this is also a bit problematic for monstera.
They are a plant that prefers a constant cycle of water, rather than a soil that is constantly soaked.
It also takes these plant’s roots some time to reach the edge of the pot, which means that bacteria can grow in the water that is sitting in these areas.
When the roots finally reach these parts of the pot, the bacteria will attack them, and they may damage your plant.
A pot that houses a monstera plant will also need an assortment of drainage holes.
Most pots have one or two on the bottom of them, but a monstera plant will require at least four to keep water cycling through the soil and to stop the water sitting in the pot.
Whether The Plant Is Grown From A Cutting Or Not
If you have grown your monstera from a cutting, rather than from a seed, then you will have to adapt the watering schedule as well.
For starters, you will probably place them in a jar with water, rather than in soil, and you will need to treat them more like a mature monstera than a juvenile one.
The main difference is that the water of these cuttings needs to be changed once every 3 to 5 days, so as to avoid the water becoming a breeding ground for fungi and bacteria.
After a month or so, when the monstera cutting has grown roots and been moved into a soiled pot, then you can start treating it as you would any other monstera.
Improper Watering: The Clues And Signs
One of the things you have to know what to look out for – especially with monstera – are signs of improper watering (whether that be under or over watering).
If you don’t constantly and rigorously check, then by the time you do notice, it might be too late:
- Curling or droopy leaves: If the plant has not been able to absorb water, or it has evaporated before the plant was able to absorb it, parts of the leaf will begin to droop and curl, as the plant sacrifices external parts to maintain its core body.
- Discolored leaves with spots on them: If your monstera’s leaves begin to develop a yellow color with brown spots over them, then this is a sign of underwatering. The leaves are in fact drying out, because the plant is dehydrated.
- Slow or stunted growth: If your plant is not growing as it should it could be down to being root-bound or most commonly it could be dehydrated. If it doesn’t get enough water, it will struggle to photosynthesize and without this process, it cannot feed or grow as it wants.
Luckily, with underwatering, you can easily fix these problems.
All you have to do is to give it a thorough watering and keep going until you see water come out the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot.
Then, just keep an eye on it for a few days to make sure it recovers.
- Discolored leaves: If your monstera’s leaves are turning yellow, then it could also be a sign of overwatering as well as underwatering. However, it is important to note that they should not be dry or crinkly, just yellow in color.
- Dark spots: If your monstera’s leaves have dark, brown spots taking up quite large areas of the leaf with the leaf not being dry or crinkly, then the plant has most likely developed root rot from too much water.
- Soggy soil: If the soil in the pot remains soggy after 10 days rather than moist, then the soil is draining poorly and the plant is at risk of waterlogging.
- Funny smell: If the soil starts to smell bad instead of like soil, then bacteria is building up within it and its congregation may become an infection to your plant.
Overwatering is incredibly dangerous for your plant, as it can cause root-rot, stunted growth, and eventually death.
You will need to change your water schedule significantly if this is happening, but make sure the soil is completely drained before you start watering again.
If the cause is poorly draining soil, then just water less or replace the soil in the pot with better draining soil.
Best Practice For Watering A Monstera
As you can see from the previous sections, it can be quite easy to over or under water a monstera.
However, if you use certain checking factors and proven ideas before you water, it should be quite easy to keep your plant hydrated without killing it:
Soil is the water bottle of a plant, everything that goes into it will eventually be drunk by the plant itself. As such, you should always check that your soil is the right level of moist through three simple means:
- Finger: Stick your finger into the soil to about 2 inches deep. If the soil is moist 2 inches down, then you can wait at least a couple of days before watering.
- Stick: Same as the finger test, but with a stick for those that don’t want to get dirty hands. Stick the stick in two inches, leave it for about 5 seconds, and pull it out. If it comes up damp, or with damp earth attached to it, then the soil is moist, and you don’t have to water for a few days.
- Soil moisture meter: These can be bought for relatively cheap from a garden center or online. Stick the meter into the pot until it reaches about halfway down. If the reading on the meter is above a 3, then you don’t need to water the plant just yet.
Monstera is like most plants, it loves the early morning and would prefer to be watered at that time.
This is the time when the plant is most active, but the sun has not yet gotten hot enough to evaporate the water from the soil.
As such, you should aim to water your monstera between 5 am and 9 am.
If you cannot water at this time, then the next best time of day to water your monstera is between 4 pm and 6 pm. This is because the sun is waning at this time, but the plant is still active.
Water before this and the water will evaporate, water after this and the water will sit and start gathering bacteria.
Anytime beyond these two areas is not great for the plant, so try to avoid them.
Water To Use
Unfortunately, monstera isn’t great for being watered with tap water.
The tap water contains chlorine to purify it a lot of the time, which is fine for humans but terrible for some plants.
The salts and chlorine can leech water from the plant rather than help them absorb it.
The best kind of water to use is rainwater. In some countries, like Northern and Western Europe, this is in ready supply almost all year round, but in other places it is hard to come by.
As such, you should invest in water catching devices, like a water butt or rain barrel. These are tanks that can be placed in your garden to collect water and will provide you with water year-round.
If rainwater isn’t available, then buying distilled or filtered water is a good second option for your monstera.
There are two ways you can feasibly water your plants: top watering and bottom watering.
Top watering involves watering the top of the soil using a watering can, hose, or others implement.
It is very convenient and easy, which is a plus, and it also washes off the minerals that may build up on the soil, which keeps the soil light and aerated.
However, continuous pouring using this method can cause the soil to compact from the impact of the water. Compacting soil can mean it stops being well-draining, causing water logging of your plant.
Bottom watering is when you pour water into a large saucer or tray and place the pot on top, letting the water be absorbed through the drainage holes.
This method encourages the roots to grow and expand throughout the pot, helps avoid water impact on the leaves and soil, and makes it difficult to over water the plant, as the water is limited to the size of the tray.
Yet, this method can mean that minerals build up in the bottom of the pot, which can mean that the soil is compacted or over-saturated for the plant, and this method can be quite tedious, as well.
Watering a monstera should not be a burden, but a fun endeavor with your favorite plant pet, and if you follow the advice in this article, it can be very much so.
However, just make sure you are checking to make sure you are doing it right before trying to fix your watering schedule.
If you liked this article, you might enjoy our post on ‘A Complete Care Guide For Your Domino Peace Lily‘.