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How to Grow and Care for Monstera deliciosa (Split-leaf Philodendron)


All About Monstera deliciosa

Monstera deliciosa
Monstera deliciosa is an excellent houseplant with big, bold, and glossy green leaves. Credit: Flicker

Monstera deliciosa vs. Monstera adansonii

Both Monstera plants are tropical vines with bold, fenestrated, and lush green leaves. They are easy to grow and maintain (beginner-friendly plants) and belong to the same Araceae family. However, these two Monsteras possess many differences. For example, Monstera deliciosa leaves grow up to 1 to 3 feet long, and their holes grow toward leaf edges that open up as the plant matures. Therefore, the common name split-leaf philodendron refers to its deep foliage fenestrations.

Flower of split-leaf philodendron
Monstera deliciosa (split-leaf philodendron) produces creamy white, jack-in-the-pulpit type that matures into edible fruit. Credit: Flicker

On the other hand, Monstera adansonii produces tapering leaves with fully enclosed deep holes or fenestrations that resemble Swiss cheese. Also, its leaves are smaller than the Monstera deliciosa, which grows only 1 foot long.

Quick care guide of Monstera deliciosa

Common nameCeriman, Cutleaf Philodendron, Hurricane Plant, Mexican Breadfruit, Windowleaf, Split-leaf PhilodendronBotanical nameMonstera deliciosaFamilyAraceaeMature plant75 feet tall outdoors and 3 to 8 feet tall with 3 feet spread as a houseplantPlant typePerennial, woody, houseplant, vining plantGrowth rateRapidGrowth habitClimbing (can easily be trained to cling onto a trellis or moss pole)MaintenanceMediumNative RegionCentral and South America (Mexico, Panama)USDA hardiness zone10a, 10b, 11a, 11b, 12a, 12bLightPartial shade (2-6 hours of direct sunlight per day), dappled sunlightSoilMoist, Well-drained soilWaterApply water when the top 1-inch layer of soil feels dryTemperature65-85 degrees FahrenheitHumidityAbove 60% is the ideal humidity levelsFlower colorWhite, greenBloom timeSpring(as an indoor houseplant, it does not bloom)PropagationStem cutting, layeringDiseasesRoot rot, Bacterial leaf spot, AnthracnosePestsMealybugs, spider mites, aphids, whiteflies, scale insects, thripsToxicityToxic to pets (cats and dogs)

How to Care for Monstera deliciosa (Split-leaf Philodendron)

Mexican breadfruit is native to tropical climates and has an epiphytic growth habit. It is a beginner-friendly plant for its easy-to-grow and care-for lifestyle. When growing it as a houseplant in a USDA hardiness zone below 9, keep the humidity levels above 60% (the kitchen and well-lit spot of your bathroom are ideal). While in the growing area 10 through 12, gardeners can grow the Mexican breadfruit plant outdoors all year round with no damage from frost. (Be sure to plant it in a partial sunlight garden with well-draining soil).


Monstera deliciosa need regular watering during the growing to produce healthy and lush green leaves. So water it once a week or every three to four days (when the top 1-inch of soil feels dry to touch) to keep the root hydrated.

When watering your plant, ensure the excess water drains through drainage holes while hydrating the roots. During winters, water every two weeks to avoid soil compaction and root drying.

How do I know if my Monstera is overwatered?

One of the first signs and symptoms of an overwatered Monstera plant is the yellowing and downward curling of older leaves. Another symptom is the development of brown spots that begins from leaf edges and extend to the midrib.


Monstera deliciosa performs best in bright indirect sunlight based on their natural habitat. Therefore, position the indoor Monstera in a spot where it receives bright morning sunlight for 3-4 hours daily. East, west, and north-facing windows are best for this evergreen plant. For the south-facing window, place the planter 1 foot away to protect it from the scorching sun.

Select a garden site with dappled shade and well-draining soil for outdoor plants to achieve fuller growth.


A houseplant requires peat moss-based potting soil mix to provide aeration and good drainage. Plant it outdoors in moist and sandy loam soil to prevent waterlogged conditions for roots.


Monstera deliciosa is a tropical perennial, meaning it survives and thrives in warm temperatures. Such as temperatures between 65-85 degrees Fahrenheit are best for lush green growth. It is best not to let the temperatures go below 60 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid plant wilting and stunting growth.


Split-leaf philodendron needs higher humidity levels to perform best as indoor and outdoor foliage plants. So, use a fine mister or humidifier to keep the humidity levels above 60%. Or you can use a water-filled pebble tray to achieve the highly humid environment.


Fertilize the potted Monstera plant once a month during the growing season to supplement it with nutrients. It will boost plant growth and help disease escape. Be sure not to apply the plant food or fertilizers in fall and winter because the Monstera deliciosa is dormant (not taking up the nutrients from the soil that will lead to toxicity).


Due to its rapid growth habit, this tropical evergreen needs frequent trimming and pruning. Prune off the unruly aerial roots or tuck them back into potting soil. Cut away the older leaves and leggiest branches to promote new growth. It will induce new growth and give the plant a tidier look.

How to Grow and Propagate Monstera deliciosa

Potting and Repotting Monstera deliciosa

With its fast growth rate, Monstera deliciosa needs repotting every two years because it outgrows its current container. So transplant it into a new container (clay or terracotta) slightly wider than the previous one and has enough drainage holes.

Here’s a guide on how to repot your Monstera deliciosa;

  1. Remove the plant from its current container by gently taping the bottom side with one hand until it slides out.
  2. Fill a new pot up to one-third with peat-based potting soil mix and insert the stake or moss pole for plants to climb on.
  3. Set the rootball into the center of the container and backfill it with peaty soil to firm it, and tie the stem with a stake to stimulate its vining growth.
  4. Water the plant after potting to settle the soil around the stem and hydrate the root system.
  5. Position the planter in a bright spot to help the plant absorb water.

Different Types of Monstera

There are many varieties of Monstera deliciosa, but the following make the best choice as houseplants.

Monstera dubia is a creeping vine that grows to 3 feet tall and 12 inches wide. This species differs from typical Monsteras for its textured and heart-shaped leaves. The leaves are solid green with silver veins. Also, the foliage of this plant does not develop any holes or slits when grown as an indoor houseplant. It is also known as the Shingle plant for its growth habit (it first grows along a vertical surface, creating a shingle-like appearance.

Monstera karstenianum ‘Peru’ makes an excellent houseplant with its compact size (it grows only 2 to 6 feet long and 6 inches wide). It is perfect for kitchen countertops and living rooms.

Monstera pinnatipartita (also known as hurricane plant) is popularly grown as a houseplant for its unique and attractive foliage.

Common Diseases and Pests of Split-leaf Philodendrons

The following are the common diseases and pests of the windowleaf;

Root Rot

Overwatering and poor soil drainage result in root rot of

Spider Mites

Warm and dry weather conditions favor the infestations of spider mites in Monstera deliciosa. It results in yellow leaves with silver-white dots or stippled appearance due to sap feeding. While feeding on host plant sap, they inject toxins through piercing-sucking mouthparts, thus causing the entire plant to be weak.

To prevent spider mite feeding damage, apply neem oil and insecticidal soap spray once a week during the growing season. Use a high-pressure water stream to dislodge the mites from infested plant parts.


Like spider mites, aphids are sap feeders that weaken the plant by interfering with photosynthetic activity. They excrete sticky substances on infest plant parts and attract the invasion of secondary pests (black ants and sooty mold fungus).

To prevent the damage of aphids on host plants, monitor your houseplant regularly and treat them with organic insecticides. Remove the infested plant parts and discard them. Before the active growing season starts, thoroughly examine and trim your houseplants to remove older leaves and branches. This practice will promote new growth and assist in pest and disease escape.

Scale Insects

These nasty bugs can kill trees and shrubs if they go undetected. Scale insects are sessile pests that suck out nutrients from plants through their piercing-sucking mouthparts. Also, they secrete sticky substances (just like aphids) that support the attack of ants and sooty mold fungus. Apply neem oil and horticultural oil sprays to suffocate the scale insects. Be aware not to overdo the applications of these oils because they can burn the bold and beautiful leaves on Monstera.


They appear as white cottony masses on plants and rarely move from their feeding sites. Mealybugs, like scale insects, cause severe damage and negatively impact plant growth and development. To prevent mealybug infestations and damage, apply 70% isopropyl alcohol solution daily. Make sure to wet the leaf surfaces thoroughly so there will be no eggs and nymphs of mealybugs.

Common Problems of Monstera deliciosa

Even though Monstera deliciosa is easy going houseplant once established. However, it succumbs to many problems when growing in improper conditions like poorly drained soil, overwatering, underwatering, low humidity, and temperatures.

Yellow Leaves

Water stress, especially drought, is the primary cause of yellowing leaves in the split-leaf philodendron. Water your houseplants regularly and remove the affected leaves to prevent this problem.

Brown Tips

Poor soil drainage and too much watering lead to brown tips in Mexican breadfruit. Such conditions also encourage the infections of soil-born pathogens, resulting in brown tips of foliage. To avoid this problem, maintain a watering schedule throughout the growing season. Check the soil moisture content before watering, and if the top 1-inch of the soil layer is dry, water your plant.

Wilting Leaves

It occurs due to water stress (overwatering and underwatering). Overwatering causes the yellowing of leaves and wilting due to root rot. While underwatering stresses the plant’s root system, thus turning the aboveground parts weak and brittle.

If you notice all these symptoms on your plant, repot immediately into a new planter. This way, you can evaluate the roots and remove them. Also, you can shift your plant to a new home with a fresh potting soil mix.

Monstera deliciosa Landscaping and Gardening Ideas

FAQs on Monstera deliciosa (Split-leaf Philodendron)

Does Monstera deliciosa need a lot of sunlight?

A native of rainforests of South and Central America, Monstera deliciosa needs bright indirect sunlight for extraordinary leaves. Therefore, plant it where it receives shade through the upper canopy all day.

Is Monstera deliciosa toxic to humans?

Yes, Monstera deliciosa is toxic to pets, not humans (it can cause mild irritation when handled without safety clothing due to oxalic acid crystals).

Is Monstera easy to care for?

Yes, Monsteras are easy to care for when grown in ideal conditions. It includes moist, well-draining potting soil, dappled sunlight, high temperature, and humidity. Once your tropical plant is established under these growing conditions, it can live for over 40 years.

What are the tips for growing Monstera?

Monsteras are easy to grow and care for tropical perennials. Follow these growing tips for successful growth.

  1. Plant in moist and aroid potting mix to achieve the best growth.
  2. Maintain higher humidity around Monsteras using a humidifier or water-filled pebble tray.
  3. Choose a container with drainage holes and a suitable size.
  4. Water once a month during the active growing season for deep hydration of roots.
  5. Position the Monsteras in a bright indirect light spot for ideal sunlight when grown as houseplants.

How do you know if Monstera is happy and healthy?

If your Monstera plants are growing 2-3 leaves per growing season (spring and summer), it means your plant is happy and healthy. To promote healthy growth, feed your plant monthly during the active growing season (apart from winters) and repot every two to three years. It will provide the root system with fresh growing medium and new planters.