Houseplant of the Year: Monstera Deliciosa

The latest craze within the houseplant community
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At Esposito’s, we’ve realized monstera deliciosa is the latest craze within the houseplant community, and with good reason! It’s big, it’s beautiful, and it’s easy to grow — the perfect plant for adding tropical flair and a pop of color to your interior décor. The first part of the name, monstera, is derived from the Latin word for monster, likely an allusion to the plant’s massive leaves; deliciosa means “delicious,” a reference to the edible fruit the plant produces in its native habitat.

In nature, this member of the philodendron family is found in tropical regions ranging from Mexico to Panama. Planted outdoors, monstera commonly reaches up to 60 feet high as it climbs trees in search of sunlight, aerial roots hanging like curtains in the breeze. In the home, you can expect it to grow at a rate of about 1-to-2 feet per year to a much more reasonable, yet still robust, size of about 6-by-6 feet. The large, glossy, split leaves that the plant is known for gain their unique fenestrations, or holes, as the plant ages; younger specimens start out with solid leaves. Esposito’s has an extensive selection of monstera in a variety of sizes.

Generally speaking, monstera prefers medium to bright filtered sunlight. Maximizing the amount of bright, indirect light typically results in more rapid growth and a greater number of fenestrations.

Drainage is an important consideration for all houseplants, and you will have far greater success if you use our in-house blend of potting soil. This custom mix allows you to water more frequently without the soil becoming overly soggy.

When considering when to water your monstera, take a few moments to assess your soil moisture on a day-to-day basis by sticking your finger (or a wooden dowel) into the soil to see how deep the dryness persists. When the top 25% of the soil feels dry, it’s time to water.

It is almost always better to underwater than to overwater. Like most other houseplants, Monstera will show signs of wilting when in severe need of water. Root rot due to soggy soil often remains unnoticed until it’s too late and the plant is already on death’s door. Make sure your pot has several drainage holes to help prevent soggy soil, and mist occasionally.

During the warmer months, you may feed your monstera every two weeks using Espoma’s liquid houseplant fertilizer. During Florida’s brief winter, dilute the fertilizer to half-strength and only apply every 4-to-6 weeks.

Aside from regular water, sunlight, feeding and the occasional dusting, there isn’t much care associated with growing monstera indoors. Staking may be needed to support top-heavy growth that results in leaning, and trimming small suckers or leggy growth will help promote healthy airflow and improve the overall shape of the plant. Trimmed leaves placed in a vase of water generally last for 1-to-3 weeks.

For the beginner whose houseplant journey is just beginning, there is another option to consider: pothos. Perhaps the easiest plant to grow, pothos tolerates a range of conditions and is nearly impossible to kill. Esposito’s has a wide variety of specimens to choose from, including baskets with runners up to 4 feet long, golden pothos growing on trellises, and the highly sought-after variegated cultivar, marble queen.

 

Esposito Lawn & Garden Center  |  2743 Capital Circle NE, Tallahassee  |  (850) 386-2114 |  EspositoGardenCenter.com

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