Monsteras are incredibly reselient houseplant, but they do need a little extra care in the Winter, especially if you live somewhere that gets really cold!
Monsteras need watering only once every 2 weeks as they go dormant in the Winter. Additionally, installing a humidifier is necessary to add moisture to dry, heated air which keep the plant happy.
|Lighting||Place 2 – 3 feet away from window with access to bright, indirect sunlight|
|Watering||Water once every two weeks only.|
|Fertilizing||Cut back to fertilizing once a month or stop altogether|
|Humidity||Use humidifier to increase moisture level|
|Pest Infestation||Wipe leaves or mist with Neem oil|
In this article, I will also explain in more detail how to identify a dying Monstera and other tips you need to implement to make sure they survive the Winter.
Let’s get started!
What Happens to Monstera during the Winter?
Monsteras are naturally tropical plants, so in the Winter they go into a period of dormancy in which their growth slows or even stops.
But that’s not all, Swiss Cheese Plant does not survive freezing temperatures.
Some of my Monsteras start to struggle when the temperature is under 50° Fahrenheit (10° Celcius).
Signs that Monstera is Struggling in Winter
If it looks like your Monstera is struggling, it probably is. Plants communicate their needs through their leaves by drooping or turning yellow.
In the Winter, you should keep an eye on your Monstera for the following signs that it may be struggling:
Drooping leaves usually indicate that a plant is thirsty, but it’s also a symptom of shock. Your Monstera may be droopy for a few days after you move it indoors for the Winter.
Listen, if your Monstera’s leaves are still droopy after a few days, check the soil with your finger or a soil meter.
If the soil is dry, that means it just needs a good, deep watering.
However, if the soil is still really wet, there is a high chance that it suffers from root rot and need repotting into fresh soil.
Dark, mushy leaves
If your Monstera’s leaves are really dark, mushy, and droopy (almost as if they had been cooked), those leaves have been exposed to freezing temperatures and are already dead.
Move your plant away from the cold area—bring it inside or move it away from the drafty window—and cut off the dead parts with a clean pair of pruning shears.
But don’t worry! As long as the main stem is not all mush, your beauty is still alive and will start growing new leaves when it’s ready.
Cut way back on water and fertilizer until you see signs of new growth.
Yellow leaves on your Monstera could mean a few different things. It is common for maturing plants to let their oldest leaves shrivel up and die as they put new energy into their new, big, shiny leaf with lots of fenestrations!
You have nothing to worry about if only a few leaves are going yellow.
But beware, if most of the leaves turn yellow, you should do some detective work to see if you can find what the problem is.
- Most of the time, this is an indicator of overwatering. Check your soil to make sure it is not too wet!
- On the other hand, yellow leaves with brown tips could mean that your Monstera wants more humidity.
- Yellow-ish spots on old and new leaves at the same time is a sign that you should look for pests. Unfortunately, Winter is an expected time for houseplant pests to become a nuisance.
How to Care for Monstera in Winter:
1. Adjust Position for Optimal Lighting
In the Winter, the further you get from the equator, the less sunlight your house receives every day.
Shorter days and weaker sunlight will cause your Monstera to slow down its growth during the colder months and enter a pseudo dormancy (not a true dormancy like deciduous trees do when they lose their leaves in the Fall).
To keep your Monstera happy, you need to make sure it gets as much light as it can without getting a sunburn.
During the Winter, keep your Monstera two to three feet away from a south-facing window (or north-facing, if you live south of the equator). This allow your plant to get perfect bright, indirect light.
In case your room is in a low-light condition, consider getting a grow light. The price can vary depending on how elaborate of a system you create, so you’ll need to do additional research.
A lack of light is not an immediate emergency, but over time it will stunt a Monstera’s growth and cause it to become etiolated or “leggy.”
Also read: How Much Light Does a Monstera Need?
2. Decrease Watering Frequency
Monsteras don’t need as much water in the Winter as they are not actively growing. Schedule to water once every two weeks and make sure the pot and soil have proper drainage.
Too much water, or too frequent of watering, can cause your plant to become waterlogged and at risk for root rot.
Root rot can be fatal to the plant and requires repotting and fresh soil. It’s easy to prevent by watering properly!
In the Winter, follow your regular watering schedule for your Monstera, but with a little extra time between waterings.
Only water when the top inch or two (3-5 cm) of soil dries out. You can check soil moisture by sticking your finger into the pot. If the soil is dry up to your second knuckle, it’s time for your Monstera to have a drink!
3. Cut Back on Fertilizing
Plants only need fertilizer when they are actively growing. As mentioned, Monsteras will slow down their growth (or stop growing altogether) during the Winter.
Cut back on fertilizing during the Winter, and let your plant rest in its dormancy.
If your Monstera seems happy and is still growing, you can keep fertilizing, but at half strength. You should resume your regular fertilizing schedule once it warms up again in the Spring and you see new growth on your plant.
Also Read: Fertilizing Guide for Monstera
4. Increase Room Humidity
Monsteras, as tropical plants, really like high humidity (as in, 80% or higher).
It is usually not an issue in the Summer! But in the Winter, many people’s houses get really dry from the heaters running, down to 20% humidity. That’s too low for Monsteras to stay happy.
You need to make sure your Monstera has adequate humidity through the Winter months. There are a few different ways to achieve this.
- If you have a humidifier, run it near your Monstera (and other tropical plants, if you have them).
- If you don’t have a humidifier, place a tray of water near your plant. It will evaporate in the warmth of your home and gradually increase the humidity of the air nearby.
- It would be best if you also considered keeping your Monstera in the bathroom, as long as it has enough bright light in there. Daily hot showers will raise the humidity.
5. Constantly Check for Pest Infestation
If you like to keep your Monstera outside for the Summer and then bring it inside from the cold, then you’ll need to keep an extra eye out for pests.
Two main pests seem to take an interest in Monstera plants: spider mites and scale insects, such as mealybugs.
Spider mites are microscopic, almost too small to see, but they create webbing between stems and leaves of their host plant. They suck the sap out of leaves, which turns the leaves yellow.
Solution: When you identify a spider mite infestation, the first thing you should do is quarantine it from your other plants. The last thing you want is for the infestation to spread!
Get rid of spider mites by wiping down leaves with warm, slightly soapy water every day until the infestation is gone.
Neem oil is also effective against spider mites when misted on the leaves. Prevent a spider mite infestation by keeping your Monstera hydrated and in high humidity.
Mealybugs and other scale insects also suck the sap out of leaves, slowly killing the plant. These bugs are easier to see, but don’t wipe off as easily.
Solution: You will need to use an insecticidal soap or neem oil to kill these nasty bugs.
As with spider mites, keep your Monstera happy, and it will be less prone to infestation by unwanted pests.
Should I Repot Monstera in Winter?
Generally Winter isn’t the best time to repot a Monstera plant.
But if you have to, then wait for mid to late Winter time.
During these months, your Monstera is not actively growing and will experience less stress during repotting and bounce back in the Spring.
When it is time to repot your Monstera plant, choose a pot no more than 2” (5 cm) wider in diameter than its current pot.
Too much extra room can cause the soil to hold on to too much moisture, leading to root rot.
Monsteras like their soil to have extra peat in it. For repotting, you can mix a regular potting soil with a little extra peat. You won’t be replacing all of your plant’s soil, just adding enough to be able to fill the new pot.
First, place a few inches of peaty potting mix in the bottom of the new pot. You should NOT set a layer of gravel at the bottom, as this prevents proper drainage.
Gently release the Monstera from its current pot. If your plant is big and bulky, you may want to ask a friend’s help with this step.
Be careful not to damage the Monstera’s big leaves! Manoeuvre the plant using its main stem and root ball as much as possible.
Place the Monstera in its new home. Keep it propped upright and in position (more work for your friend) while you add more new soil around the edges, pressing down gently as you go to release any air pockets.
Water gently, and add more new soil to fill in gaps if necessary.
Keep in mind that with all this new soil, your Monstera will not need to be watered as frequently, in addition to it needing less water in the Winter.
It may look droopy for a little while from transplant shock, but don’t water it until you check with your finger and the soil is actually dry.
Can I Propagate Monstera in Winter?
You can propagate cuttings from your Swiss Cheese plant any time of year.
But be warned, if you choose to propagate Monstera in the Winter, it may just take a little longer because the plant doesn’t grow as fast during this time of year.
There are two main ways to propagate Monstera plants:
Taking cutting is simple. All you need to do is cut off a piece of stem from the main plant, put it in its own pot or glass of water, and wait.
Given enough time, new roots and leaves will sprout from the nodes along the stem, creating a whole new Monstera plant!
Air layering is a way to grow new roots from a node before cutting the stem off the main plant. To do this you need a handful of damp sphagnum moss (or similar material), some twine, and plastic wrap.
Place the sphagnum moss around the Monstera stem where you would like new roots to grow, and fasten it on with twine.
Wrap a layer of plastic wrap around the moss to retain moisture, and then poke a couple of holes in it to allow some airflow.
When you see new roots growing into the sphagnum moss, remove the plastic wrap and twine. Cut the stem below the new roots, and place the new Monstera plant into its own pot.