You just brought home your first Monstera or Swiss cheese plant and you’re excited to add it to your mix. Maybe it’s your first foray into house plants because it looks so cool! Either way, congratulations, these plants are quite original and stunning in their displays.
The problem is a lot of nursery helpers—especially employees at big box stores—don’t know much about any of the plants they sell. That’s not a knock on the employees at all, they simply aren’t given the knowledge and are usually overworked as it is.
Anyway, you got it home, found the perfect spot for it, and now you need to know when you should water it. Should it get a little bit of water every day, should you set a timer on your phone to remind you to water it every week? Will tap water work, do you need to get expensive, spring fed, bottled water for it?
“Wait, I didn’t know watering a simple plant could be so difficult!” Don’t worry, it’s really not, but there is a lot to think about and several different options but we’re here to clear up the confusion.
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How Often To Water Your Monstera Plants
There are a lot of factors that would determine how often you need to water your Monstera. Placing a reminder every week or two may help to remind you, but you shouldn’t stick to a strict schedule.
Factors That Determine When Your Plants Need Water
Several factors come into play when it comes to how much water your plant needs. You may have to water your Monstera daily, or it may be good for an entire week or two. Letting your Monstera plant dry out a bit is much better than over watering it.
They are hardy plants that can withstand slight drought conditions, but they don’t like to be swimming in water. Their roots can actually rot which could kill the plant, so usually, less is more when it comes to water.
Let’s check on all the factors that can affect how often it needs a drink. First, the temperature in the house can determine how much water it needs.
Monstera plants like it warm as they come from tropical lands. The best growth temperatures are between 65-85℉. The higher the temperature though, the quicker the moisture will evaporate, leading to the soil getting dried out.
You’ll need to water it more often if the temperature is in the 80s compared to the upper 60s or 70s.
Monstera plants like it humid as well. A very humid setting will require less watering than a dry area. Aim for a relative humidity around your Monstera around 60 to 80%.
You can add a humidifier to the area, mist it daily, or do a drip tray underneath the pot. Add some rocks, pebbles, glass beads, marbles, or something similar to a tray, add some water, then place your pot on top of the tray.
Make sure the pot isn’t sitting in water as this could get absorbed into the soil. Leaving the roots soaking in water will cause root rot.
If you’re new to house plants, you may not be aware that inside plants also go through growth seasons. They don’t lose all their leaves like deciduous trees, but they will slow down and require less water.
During seasons that see longer days and subsequently, more sunlight, Monstera plants grow pretty quickly. During fall and winter, they slow down.
As they grow, they need more water, so you will be tending to them more often during the warm months. They still need water throughout fall and winter, just not as much.
Size of the Plant
This is kind of a given, but it’s worth mentioning. A larger plant will need more water than a brand new, small plant.
Some species of Monsteras can grow up to 15 or 20 feet tall indoors. These plants need much more water than the little seedling with only a few leaves.
Soil Type Used
We recently went over the best kind of soil to use for Monstera plants and there we found out there are many kinds to use. Some soils have a lot of coarse material that allows for better drainage, while others are better at retaining more water.
If your potting mix has a lot of large perlite pieces, bark, or chunks of charcoal, you’ll need to water your Monstera more frequently to keep it happy.
Using a more compact soil is fine, and actually helps to feed the plant better as there are more places for fertilizer to hang out. It’s really up to you what kind you’d rather have. Just keep in mind how often you’ll need to water it.
Yes, even the type of pot you use will affect how much water your plants need. If you’ve walked along the aisles in plant stores you’ll see there are as many pot types as there are plant subspecies.
There are plastic, glazed ceramic, wood, terra cotta, coco fiber, and more. The main thing to take into consideration when potting your Monstera is drainage, they all need drain holes.
Non Porous pots like plastic and glazed ceramic don’t absorb any water, but terra cotta and coco fiber baskets will. They can actually leech water from the soil and evaporate it into the air.
If you’re using these pots you’ll have to water more often. Actually, if you use terra cotta (I actually like these better than plastic, but that’s a personal preference) it’s best to soak them in water for several minutes when watering your plants.
Light promotes growth in plants. Adversely, more light means more growth, and more growth means more water.
Monstera plants like to have a lot of indirect sunlight. This adds a small amount of heat which also adds more water evaporation.
Unless you have a fan blowing near or on your plants, or you place them near an AC vent you won’t have to worry about this too much indoors. By the way, it’s never recommended to place any plant near a vent.
They can dry out the plant very quickly, and cause them to get too cold or too hot. Both of these extremes can harm house plants.
Outdoor plants are subject to natural winds. A lot of wind will cause the plant to lose more moisture, and it will cause the soil to dry out faster.
Indoor or Outdoor Plants
Outdoor plants do get the benefit of natural rain, but that’s never very reliable. Winds and heat from outdoors dry out plants faster so they need to be watered much more often compared to plants indoors.
How To Tell When Monstera Plants Need Water
Get into the habit of checking your Monstera plant periodically. Check it at least every other day if it’s not in a prominent place that you see every day.
When you check it, get into the habit of not only looking at it but do a physical inspection as well. Look at the soil and leaves, this will give you some kind of indication.
If the soil is wet, you know it doesn’t need water. The same with the leaves. If they are perky, green, and healthy then you can leave it alone.
Drooping leaves are usually an indication that the plant needs a drink. Before you reach for the watering can though, stick your finger into the dirt. If it’s still dry about an inch or two down, then go ahead and give it a deep drink.
Drooping leaves and damp soil could mean something else is wrong with your plant. Maybe the plant is cold, has too much water, or is in transplant shock.
Pick up the pot when you are doing your inspection. You’ll get used to the weight and will eventually be able to tell when it needs water just by the weight. A heavy pot has plenty of water, while a lighter one is more dry.
Take a Good Look at the Leaves
Drooping leaves means it’s probably thirsty or hot. Actually, waiting for the first signs of wilting in your Monstera is a good way to go about watering it.
Look for the different colors on the leaves and where they are located. As this plant grows it will drop leaves naturally. Most times they will begin by turning yellow, then brown, then drop off.
If a few do this occasionally, it’s a part of natural growth, but if you notice several leaves turning yellow, or turning straight to brown, you may need to scale back how much water you’re giving it.
Root rot is difficult to heal, and can accelerate quickly. If it gets bad, the plant might not survive it.
Use a Moisture Meter
To help take the guesswork out of when your house plants need water, try out a moisture meter like this XLUX Soil Moisture Meter. All you have to do is poke it into the pot and it will tell you how moist the ground is.
Tips On How To Water Your Monstera
You’ve inspected your plant and have determined it needs water, what should you look out for now?
You can use regular, room temperature tap water, but if your water has high amounts of chemicals or is very hard water (has a lot of mineral buildup) these can be detrimental to your plants.
You can do an easy test to find out if you have hard water or not. Premium Water Hardness Test Kit is simple to conduct. If your sink gets water spots easily, or a minerally crust builds up around your faucet and sprayer, you may have hard water.
This can also manifest itself on your houseplants as a white crust on the top of the soil. Using filtered water helps get rid of some of these extra minerals, and leaving water sitting out for 24 hours helps get rid of chlorine and many other chemicals.
Distilled water or rainwater works great if you have undesirable tap water.
Take your plant to the sink or put it in the tub and slowly pour water over the soil. Be sure you don’t soak the leaves. They don’t mind getting misted on occasion but try not to get them soaking wet.
Very dry soil can be hydrophobic, so the first pour may send the water draining straight through without absorbing. You’ll have to wait a few minutes and water it again, or mist the top of the soil to get water to absorb.
Keep watering like this until the soil is damp throughout, the pot feels heavy, and water drains easily through the holes. When it stops draining, place it back in the tray.
Bottom watering is beneficial to many plants and makes sure the plant and soil get plenty of water, but it can be very time consuming. Especially if you have a lot of plants that need watering at the same time.
Using your sink or a large container like a bucket, fill it up with a few inches of water, then take your dry plant and set the entire pot into the water.
Water will work its way up through osmosis, or capillary action. This keeps nutrients from getting washed out from top watering, and when the soil is very dry, this makes sure the plant gets enough moisture.
It takes time because you need to let the plant soak for 5 to 20 minutes depending on how dry and how big it is. As you can see, if you have a ton of plants, this could easily be an all day task.
Once the water in the basin is no longer dropping, pull your plant out and let the excess drain. This is important as you don’t want Monstera roots sitting in water too long.
If you accidentally forget and leave your plant soaking in the tub while you go grocery shopping, it won’t hurt it but try not to let it soak for more than a few hours.
Bottom watering is also the best way to water when the soil becomes compacted and pulls away from the pot. Watering from the top when the dirt is this dry will only result in most of the water washing straight through.
As the water soaks up from the bottom, all of the soil and the roots get a good soaking.
Why You Shouldn’t Water Monsteras With A Watering Can
It is definitely an easy way to water your plants. Fill up a watering can and go to all your plants giving them life sustaining water.
While most houseplants can take this kind of watering, if the drip tray catches a lot of water, the roots could be soaking for too long. Despite being a tropical rainforest plant, Monsteras don’t like swimming in soggy soil.
Either be sure to drain your drip trays after watering your Monstera plants, or take them to the sink and water them to make sure all the excess is drained away.
How Long Should It Take The Soil To Dry Out?
If you find the soil isn’t drying out in 7 to 10 days, you may want to find out what’s going on. Does the pot have a clogged drain hole? Is it too cold, or is it not getting enough light?
A Monstera plant should require water about every 5 to 10 days, but if the soil is still wet after this time you’ll need to see why.
Check to make sure it’s draining well. As we know, too much water is very bad for this plant. Your soil might also be too dense. Add some perlite, orchid bark, or some other aerating particles to the soil to help water drain out better.
A pot that is too big will also hold too much water. When repotting, sometimes it’s tempting to grab a big pot to give the roots plenty of room to grow, but they only need one that’s two to three inches larger than the root ball.
Next, check the temperature and how much light it’s getting. Maybe the plant isn’t growing as it should and not using as much water.
Winter can cause water needs to drop dramatically. If winter is the reason your plant isn’t needing as much water, just go lighter with the watering. You might want to check deeper for moisture in the soil and only water if it’s dry halfway down instead of an inch or two.
How To Save A Monstera With Root Rot
Since this is one of the most common issues with Monstera plants, let’s see what this looks like, and what you can do to save it. Quick action is the best course here, if you wait to fix it, you may be purchasing a new plant to replace the old one.
Drooping leaves can be a sign that your plant needs water, but if the soil is still damp, chances are it’s getting too much. Here are all the signs that root rot is starting in your plants:
- Drooping, wilted leaves – If you water the plant and the leaves continue to droop and wilt hours later, then it’s a sure sign it’s getting too much water.
- Yellowing leaves – One or two yellow leaves is a natural occurrence as the plant replaces old leaves that no longer contribute to the growth of the plant. But if you notice more than a few, or most of the leaves are yellow, it’s a sign of too much water.
- Brown leaf tips that continue to expand – Leaves that are being replaced will turn brown and eventually fall off. If an otherwise healthy looking green leaf gets brown tips, this is a sign of root rot. If the leaf continues to get more brown and curls up, it’s getting too much water.
- Crispy, curling leaves – A continuation of the previous entry.
- Leaf weeping – In an effort to save itself, the Monstera may push out excess water through its leaves. If you see water coming from the leaves, back up on the watering schedule.
- The soil stinks – When you notice a rotting smell coming from the soil, it’s most likely too late because you’re smelling rotted roots…or something else rotting in the soil.
What To Do Next
When you suspect root rot, if it’s not an advanced case, you may be able to save your plant. First, you should carefully pull your plant out of the pot and inspect the roots.
Look for mushy, brown, or black roots, and you’ll probably smell them. First, remove as much of the soil by hand as possible. Be careful not to damage the good roots any more than they already are.
Now, use a gentle spray and remove the remainder of the soil from the roots. You’ll want to get rid of as much as possible because the bacteria that causes the rot will be in the dirt.
Use some sterilized, sharp scissors, or snips and cut off any discolored roots. This next step is optional, but it can help.
Mix a 1 to 1 ratio of clean, preferably distilled, water and 3% hydrogen peroxide. Spray this around the roots to help get rid of any remaining bad bacteria.
Now, repot your Monstera in a pot that is slightly bigger than the remaining roots. You don’t want to use a general potting mix as this is too dense. Mix in some coarse perlite, or orchid bark to the potting mix, about a 50/50 mix, or use a good quality aroid potting mix.
After you get it repotted, be sure to give it some optimal care for a while. Keep the humidity high, give it plenty of light, and some fertilizer, and be sure to only water it when the soil is dry 2 to 3 inches deep.
For the first several weeks the plant will only focus on growing new roots so be patient. Once it’s got a good bunch of roots, it will then start growing new leaves.
How often should small Monstera plants get water?
During the growth season, a small monstera may need water as often as once a week. Check the soil to make sure, letting it dry out between waterings. When the soil is dry an inch or two down, give it a good soaking.
Daily light misting is beneficial to most Monstera plants. Cut back on the watering and misting during fall and winter.
How will I know when my Monstera needs water?
Like most house plants, Monstera leaves will start to droop when they get thirsty. The soil should be fairly dry between waterings too. A healthy Monstera will perk up in a few hours after getting a good soaking.
What does an overwatered Monstera look like?
The leaves will droop despite giving it water. The leaves could turn yellow or brown and crispy. You may notice a bad smell from the soil. If any of these symptoms show up, quick action and repotting may help turn it around.
We hope this hasn’t been too confusing and answered all the watering questions you had about Monsteras. Watering your Monstera shouldn’t be difficult.
Just be sure to use quality water; filtered, distilled, or tap water that has been sitting for 24 hours is best, but not absolutely necessary. Water your Monstera only when it has had a chance to dry out.
Dry soil and drooping leaves aren’t the end of the world, and giving it a good drink will perk it right up. If you accidentally do end up overwatering your plants, potting it in a fast draining soil and being careful next time will really help.
With the right care, your Monstera should give you many years of beauty.
More Monstera plant guides
- How to propogate Monstera plants
- How To Care For Monstera Aerial Roots
- Ways To Deal With Yellow Monstera Leaves
- The Best Soil To Use For Monstera Plants
- How to prune a Monstera
- Monstera Minima Care Guide
- Split leaf philodendron vs Monstera deliciosa
- Are Monsteras toxic to dogs
- Are Monstera plants toxic to cats
- Monstera lighting guide