We’ve all been there, wondering if our Monstera (Swiss Cheese Plant) is over or under-watered.
A Monstera typically needs water once a week in the Summer and only once every two weeks in the Winter. But the best way to determine when to water your Monstera is to check the soil. The top two inches should be completely dry before adding water.
In this article, I’ll talk more in-depth about how to water a Monstera properly. I’ll also discuss the signs that you over-watered or under-watered your Monstera and share some tips to fix the issues.
Ready? Let’s get started!
How to Water a Monstera
Let’s not forget that Monstera doesn’t like over-watered.
The trick to proper watering a Monstera is to prevent the soil from soaking by having excellent drainage on the pot.
Here’s how I usually do it:
I slowly pour water using a watering can directly to the soil (not pouring on the leaves) until it runs out of the pot drainage.
Empty the drainage tray until all of the excess water runs out.
How Often to Water a Monstera?
Keep this in mind, Monstera is easy to take care of, but you have to make sure the water condition is right.
It doesn’t like dry or overly moist soil. So “moderate” watering is perfect for Monstera.
A good rule of thumb is to make sure the top 2 inch of the soil has dry out before another watering. Which in my case usually takes about a week.
That’s why I usually spend every Sunday morning watering my Monsteras with my boys.
Keeping a schedule helps me to avoid under or over-watering my plants.
|Amount of water needed||Moderate|
|Seasonal requirements||Typically once a week, unless the soil dries out faster during the hotter months.|
|Tip||Water only when soil seems dry.|
How Much Water Does Monstera Need in Winter?
Don’t you just miss watching new leaves sprouting as quickly as they do in the summer?
The growth of Monstera plants simply slows down during Winter. Therefore, it doesn’t require as much water.
In general, you’ll only need to water a Monstera once every two (or even three) weeks! As the temperature drops even lower, the less it needs watering.
And don’t forget that Monstera doesn’t do well in cold weather and regularly face dry air in Winter.
A little tip is to buy a humidifier which helps to make sure your Monstera plants are getting adequate moisture.
But that’s not all. You will also need to reduce the use of fertilizers. Your Monstera doesn’t need as many nutrients as it needs in Summer. You might want to slice the amount to half or so.
|Winter season||Plant growth slows down.|
|Water needs||Once every two weeks|
|Fertilizer needs||Once a month|
|Tip||Decrease watering as the temperature gets colder|
How to Tell if Monstera Needs Watering?
Have you ever found yourself forgetting when the last time you water your plant was?
Well, I have!
So, how do I know that my Monstera needs watering?
As a rule of thumb, having the topsoil dry is the easiest way to tell that Monstera needs watering.
Bear with me, because I’m going to show you how to check whether the topsoil is already dry or not.
1. Finger or Stick Test
Gently insert your finger or wooden stick about 2 inches deep into the soil.
If your finger feels dry or the wooden stick comes out clean, then you can water your Monstera plant right away.
By contrast, if it feels damp and some bits of soil sticks on it, you should give it a day or two before watering.
2. Soil Meter
If you are looking for a more accurate reading to measure soil moisture, pH value or even sunlight intensity, then you will need to purchase a soil meter.
Simply insert the probes of the soil meter about 4 to 6 inches into the soil, and you will get real-time soil condition values.
Best of all, it doesn’t require any batteries. So you won’t misread the soil condition.
How to Tell if Monstera is Under-watered?
If you observe some leaves turn brown, it’s probably just due to the shedding of old leaves.
Then again, if most of the leaves are turning brown and droopy, it’s a red flag indicating that you have accidentally let the soil to be completely dry out for a while.
Also, upward curling of leaves is another sign of under-watering. The Monstera tries to retain moisture and minimize water evaporation from the surface of the leaves. Hence, it curls them up until water requirements are fulfilled.
Needless to say, when the soil is extremely dry all the way through the pot, you need to do a thorough soak for the plant.
My favorite method for under-watered Monstera is to do a Bottom watering.
But more about that later.
|Signs of under-watering||Crispy brown leavesCurling of leavesDrooping leavesTopsoil dried out|
|Tip||Get a moisture/water meter to check water requirements|
How to Tell if Monstera is Overwatered?
Have you ever seen Monstera leaves turn yellow and wilting, or worse rotten odour raise from the soil?
Here’s the scary part:
It means your Monstera has been overflowed with water for a while and has a high chance of suffering from root rot.
How to save an overwatered Monstera?
Well, if you catch the sign early, then not all hope is lost.
First, you have to trim the wilted leaves to preserve as much energy to recover.
Next, you have to inspect the root by removing the Monstera out of the pot.
This is the part where you need to brush the remaining soils away from the root and check its colour. If all of the roots are dark brown or black, then your plant is beyond saving.
However, if only a few roots have turned dead, try cutting and separating them from the healthy ones and replant your Monstera in new soil and pot.
You’ll need to be patient here. Don’t expect your plant to rejuvenate in a day. It might take 4-5 days for it to recover. So do your best and let God handle the rest.
|Signs of overwatering||• Leaves turning yellow|
• Stem turning black.
• Moss residue on stem
• Plant appears lifeless
|Tip||Let the soil try out completely.|
Repot the plant with new soil
Can you Water Monstera with Tap Water?
You can water your Monstera with tap water, but you shouldn’t. Most tap water contains a hint of chlorine that is harmless to Monstera but may cause the development of brown patches on the leaf over an extended period of use.
The good news is you can easily remove chlorine from tap water by leaving it on an open-top bucket for 24 hours. This allows the chlorine to evaporate before using it to water plants.
A better alternative is to use a charcoal filter (like faucet-applied filters, filter pitchers, and fridge filters) to remove harmful additives such as chlorine from the water.
But here’s the secret, the best kind of water to use is still rainwater.
It is natural, clean, and has useful minerals that aid in plant growth. I usually collect rainwater in retention barrels or buckets.
|Filtered water||Pros: Contain no chlorine, Makes roots healthy.|
Cons: Needs investment
|Tap water||Pros: A cheaper alternative|
Cons: May contain chlorine
|Tip||Let tap water sit overnight, before using it to water the plant.|
Should You Bottom Water a Monstera?
Before I answer this question, you are probably wondering what is bottom watering.
Bottom watering is a technique where you place your potted plant in a tub or sink that has a few inches of water in it.
Water is slowly absorbed into the soil over a period of time through the drainage holes in your planter.
Bottom watering helps to ensure that the lower roots receive water while reducing the risk of over-watering ( as the soil will only be able to soak up as much water as it can absorb).
Besides, it can also strengthen the Monstera roots as it grows down toward the water.
But here’s the kicker
If you only bottom water your Monstera, mineral and salt deposits can build up on the soil and cause root damage.
By now you’ll have realised that Bottom Watering is good for Monstera, but you will need to Top-watered the plant at least once a month to wash off the mineral and salt build-up.
|Bottom watering||Pros: healthy roots, good water absorption|
Cons: root rot if inadequate drainage holes, topsoil can go dry
|Top watering||Pros: topsoil gets moisture|
Cons: roots remain dry if not watered thoroughly
|Tip||Water alternatively from top and bottom|
Should You Mist a Monstera?
Ok, I know what you are thinking.
“Houseplants need humid air in order to thrive! My house is so dry, so I’ll just mist my Monstera a couple of times a day!”
Fair enough, but spraying mist of water will increase the humidity around your plant for merely 5 minutes.
Soon after the mist will evaporate and disperse around the entire room; thus, the humid air doesn’t hover around the plant long enough to make any difference.
And what worse?
Leaving the leaves of your Monstera wet for a period of time might increase its risk of getting fungal and bacterial diseases.
So, what’s the solution?
All I did was get a humidifier and place it about 4 to 6 feet away from my Monstera. This gives the plants just enough space to breathe comfortably while still absorbing water vapors without becoming weak or soggy.
|When to mist||Not recommended|
|Reason||Increases humidity for a couple of minutes only.|
Leave the leaves wet, which might cause bacterial and fungal diseases.
|Tip||Buy a humidifier to keep the air humid continually.|
Should You Water Monstera after Repotting?
Think about it this way,
Your Monstera plant is being transferred to a new soil which is completely dry.
So you’ll need to water it straight away. Make sure you water the plant all the way through the roots. This makes the roots go deep and adjust to the soil accordingly.
Once you have thoroughly watered the plant, forget watering for a week or so. Let the plant make a home in the new soil. When you see signs of the plant being comfortable and the soil has gone dry, you can water it again.
Here’s a little tip: Schedule to re-pot the Monstera in early spring or late winter.
This is the time when the plant goes dormant and able to adjust to change better. If you try to re-pot it in summers, when it’s already thriving, you might face certain problems.
By the way, you should opt for repotting only if you want your monsters to grow wilder. Yes, the larger the container, the bigger it will grow.
So, if you have limited space, try pruning it and keeping it well within the potting mix.
|Water after repotting||Good soak till the roots get moisture|
|Tip||Choose spring/early winter for repotting the plant|
The big-eared and wild Monstera gives you lots of love without wanting much.
It is easy to care for. Even when I am not around, my twin boys are trained enough to take care of them. Their lustrous leaves make all of us happy. So, I hope you have got the answers to all your questions.
Just remember, Monstera comes from a tropical environment with high humidity and moisture levels. It has beautiful aerial roots that grab moisture from the air.
So while it likes being on a wet-side, being too wet might kill it. While drying out is less dangerous. So err on the side of less water than more!
You can also propagate this plant by dividing the roots. I am fond of keeping plants in water jars and monstera looks great in it!
Yes, you can put one in a jar filled with water. Even a single leaf on your kitchen shelf can take your heart away. Plus, decorating your house with plants is the best way to keep your air clean and bring some positivity within.