If you’ve been looking for a gorgeous plant to “spruce up” your home, but don’t necessarily want a plant that requires a lot of attention and a lot of care, you’ll fall in love with this Monstera almost immediately.
It’s a somewhat rare plant that grows in subtropical and jungle environments primarily (with a lot of Monstera plants coming from Thailand), this plant feels like it was tailor-made to be a houseplant.
Relatively small with gorgeous, leather like green leaves that have an iridescence to them, it’s hard to imagine and easier to take care of plant than this one – once you get it stabilized, anyway.
All you really need to do make sure it gets indirect light, a bit of regular watering, and put it in soil that drains well and you should be good to go.
But if you’re wanting to keep them gorgeous and healthy then you’ll want to know the full ins and outs of care for it. That’s why we have put together this complete guide, for you.
We’ve covered everything in depth, from their basic care needs, to propagating and potting, to growing tips, and even how to troubleshoot some of the health issues your Monstera Karstenianum may come down with in the future.
Soil For Your Monstera Karstenianum
Because these plants are native to jungle environments they absolutely love soil that is moist, fertile, and has absolutely no trouble with drainage whatsoever.
You’re going to want to be sure that it’s planted in soil that remains pretty loose, and that can shed water in a hurry, but soil that is also going to allow extra oxygen to get into the roots of your plants so they can thrive.
One of the biggest challenges that people growing Monstera have to face is getting soil too compacted.
Even if the soil has otherwise great drainage properties a compacted soil is going to “choke” your plant.
If it doesn’t die out right it’ll likely it will never reach its full potential, you’ll never get bright green leaves, and you’ll always deal with stunted growth problems.
Another issue you want to avoid by choosing the right soil are moisture retention problems. You obviously want soil that can hold a little bit of moisture to keep your plants topped up on water, but you definitely do not want soil that’s going to hold moisture for any longer than absolutely necessary.
These kinds of soils will create moisture retention that leads to waterlogging, and then you have to deal with root rot problems that kill plants faster than maybe anything else out there.
Avoid that trouble altogether by getting loose, high quality soil that has plenty of drainage.
If you’re wanting to make your own, then you should consider mixing compost, mulch, perlite, sand, vermiculite, or even a bit of shredded bark and peat moss and you should be good to go.
You also want to aim for a neutral soil pH, something that sits between say 5 to 7 ½ pH.
Light For Your Monstera Karstenianum
Again, the natural jungle habitat of this plant actively guaranteed that it wasn’t ever going to be exposed to direct sunlight – mostly because of the thick, almost parachute like nature of jungle canopies.
The sun that these plants did get in their natural habitat was always filtered and diffused. That’s what you want to aim for.
People have a lot of problems with their Monstera when they expose it to direct sunlight, usually by sliding these plants in front of a window or hanging them outdoors without a bit of shade.
That’s going to burn these vines up in a hurry. It can happen so quickly that you’ll actually see it in real time.
It’s not at all uncommon for “sunburnt” plants to actually have burn marks on their leaves, with big, black or red scorch marks obvious to everyone.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, though, your plant will not do well hidden in total darkness. Total shade is going to choke the life from them, eliminating any real potential to go through the photosynthesis process that is so critical to itself.
Your best shot at “feeding” Monstera just the right amount of light is to try and find a position for them near a northern facing window.
This guarantees that the plant gets just the right amount of indirect sunlight without overexposure, but it also guarantees that your plants isn’t going to be shrouded in darkness where it never gets to thrive, either.
If you decide instead to go with the artificial light options available on the market today you still want to avoid direct exposure. Any more than say 30 minutes of direct sunlight will really wreak havoc on it.
Watering Your Monstera Karstenianum
One of the most important reasons to choose well draining soil, because you’ll want to keep it wet as often as you can without it pooling.
Monstera do poorly when soil becomes really dry and brittle, but it doesn’t like to be absolutely swimming in water, either.
Striking that balance point is probably the most tricky part of caring for this plant. It’s going to come down to adding water and then hoping that the draining properties of your soil make sure it’s never too much.
One of the easiest ways to tell if the soil needs a bit of water is to simply stick your finger into the soil all the way up to your first knuckle.
If the soil is dry that deep down you’ll want to add a bit of water. If the soil is still moist, though, you don’t do anything for another day or two.
As a general rule, expect to lightly water it every couple of days or so. You shouldn’t be watering it any more than twice a week, though.
Ideal Temperature For Monstera Karstenianum
Monstera plants do best when they live in temperatures between 65°F and 80°F, or basically room temperature for most people.
Like a lot of tropical plants, Monstera does not do well when temperatures start to drop – especially if they drop suddenly and without any warning.
These kinds of “sharp drops” that don’t even reach freezing temperatures can still absolutely devastate the internal structure of your plants and cause them to go dormant.
It’s essential that you avoid freezing temperatures at all costs, though.
Some people even like to move their Monstera closer to heat sources when winter rolls around, just to make sure that they aren’t going to catch any of that winter chill that can lockup growth and cause their health to plummet.
In fact, anything south of 50°F will cause your plants to go dormant completely. It usually takes the plant reaching internal temps of 65°F or higher after that to regenerate growth again – and it can’t go through this rapid cycle all that often without disastrous results.
Monstera does much better with high temperatures than low temperatures, though. Obviously you don’t want to go above 80°F all that often, but if you do you’ll usually just have to make sure that you are watering your plants more frequently than you would have otherwise.
Tropical and jungle environments are pretty humid (no surprise there), and Monstera plants really love a bit of extra humidity.
Most of us don’t want to live inside of a permanent spa or sweat lodge, though, which is why you want to do your best to localize the humidity around your plants specifically.
The easiest way to do this is to create a “pebble tray”. Get your hands on a plastic or glass tray, fill it with river pebbles all the way up to the town, and then add water into the mix – coming near the top but not completely submerging the pebbles themselves.
Leave this near your plants (as close as you can get it) and the evaporating water will add a bit of extra humidity to the air immediately around your Monstera.
You won’t have to deal with humidity issues anywhere else in the space but guarantee that “thirsty” plants pull all the moisture they need from the air with this pebble tray trick.
Just make sure that your pebble tray is always filled with water (without filling above the pebble line itself) and you’ll be good to go!
Feeding and fertilizing your Monstera plants should be pretty simple and straightforward.
A time-released fertilizer with a bit of extra magnesium should be added to your plants every month or so. This gives it all the food it needs to thrive, though you will want to stop fertilizing and feeding Monstera plants over the winter months.
Fertilizer during the winter months when the plant is at least a little bit on the dormant side of things will only cause salts to build up in the soil.
This can chemically burn the root system of your Monstera, causing all kinds of devastation and even killing off your plants while you were here thinking you were helping out.
Shoot for time-released options and only feed a little bit during the growing season once a month.
Propagating Healthy Monstera Karstenianum
Even though taking care of Monstera is pretty simple and straightforward (with just a little bit of regular attention), propagating them can be something else entirely.
A lot of newbies to the world propagating struggle to get their Monstera right the first couple of times. Don’t let that dissuade you, though.
A little bit of extra effort, little bit of focus, and strict adherence to what these plants really want – and dialed in timing – and you’ll be good to go.
Here are a couple of things to consider when you want to propagate healthy, gorgeous Monstera moving forward.
Propagating in Soil
The first thing you need to do when propagating Monstera in soil is make sure that you’re doing so in the springtime. You definitely don’t want to try propagating in the winter, that’s for sure.
Secondly, you need to get your hands on a quality stem cutting to start your propagation with. You want something between six and 8 inches in length, but you also need something that’s cut just above a leaf node – and with one or two leaves still on it as well.
You’ll get the best results if you use already sterilized pruning shears to make this cut, too. Any old isopropyl alcohol that you have laying around (something most folks have any first-aid kit) works wonders to sterilize your favorite shears.
After you cut the stem you’re going to need to go through the actual curing process. This is basically a process necessary to allow the cut end to sort of “callous” over. It’s a process that can take up to a week, or maybe just a little bit longer.
It’s important that you leave the cutting in a warm room in your home to cure correctly. You want temperatures a little higher than 65°F (towards 75°F, if that’s okay with the humans living there) over this duration.
While your Monstera stem is curing you want to make sure that you get the pot or hanging basket ready.
You’ll want to fill it with high quality, easy training potting soil that’s been mixed with a little bit of vermiculite and maybe some fertilizer just to sort of jumpstart growth.
After your Monstera stem has cured you’re going to want to plant it with the cut and calloused end going directly into the soil. Try to get that end of your plant down about 3 inches into the soil, really packing things a little tighter than you probably would have otherwise around the cutting to fully support it.
Now all you really have to do is keep that cutting out of direct sunlight, make sure that it is watered on a regular basis (without drowning things), and keep the fertilizer to a minimum. In about three weeks you should start to notice signs of rooting – and then you are off to the races!
Propagating in Water
Like a lot of other plants, you can also choose to propagate your Monstera in water instead of in soil.
You’re going to need the exact same kind of cutting we mentioned above, but there are a couple of things you want to do before you start clipping your plants.
First of all, you need to double verify that the plant you are taking this cut from is 100% healthy. Even just a little bit of weakness will ruin the water propagation process completely and you’ll end up really unhappy with your results.
Secondly, you’ll need to make sure that this cut is a little bit longer than it would have been when you go with a soil approach. At least 8 inches in length (up to a foot) is best.
Finally, it’s a good idea to make sure that you cut the clipping right above a leaf node and have at least a single leaf attached for things to work out well. Use the sterilized pruning shears we mentioned earlier to get the job done right.
To actually go through the water propagation process, first place the stem cutting directly into a mason jar (or something similar). You want something clear so that you can watch as the process unfolds, just to make sure everything’s going the way you expect.
Fill the jar up about halfway with lukewarm, room temperature water that has been filtered. You need to be sure that it has been filtered as you have to remove all of the trace elements of chlorine. That’s a chemical that will destroy your plant in a hurry.
Stick your cutting into the water and relax. Change water completely every two or three days, continuing to use filtered water, and you’ll be good to go. As soon as you start to notice solid root structures growing you can move your propagated plants from your jar to regular potting soil – and then you are off to the races!
You really won’t run into a lot of problems with Monstera plants, at least as a general rule.
The only thing you want to keep your eyes peeled for our invasions of plant pests – particularly spider mites.
Spider mites can take hold inside of a Monstera plant and suck it dry almost overnight, robbing it of all of its hydration as well as draining it of its nutrients. You’ll see your plant start to flag when it comes to photosynthesis, turning shades of yellow, orange, and then brown. Before you know it your Monstera plan is dead.
You also want to be on the lookout for brown scales. These little brown spots are going to feed off of your plant just the same way that spider mites would. The infestation grows over time, draining your plant of its nutrients, killing it a little slower than spider mites – but killing it all the same.
A quick rubdown of your entire plant with 70% isopropyl alcohol usually is enough to kill off those pests without disturbing your plant itself.
If the infestation is a little bit more established you might need to use insecticidal soap. There are a lot of options on the market today worth looking into. A bit of research should turn you onto the best choice for your needs and your budget.
Tips and Tricks for Reviving Flagging Monstera Plants
If your Monstera plants are struggling for one reason or another, it’s important that you diagnose the symptoms ASAP and then take swift action to rectify the problem.
If the plant has started to lose leaves for no real reason whatsoever, the odds are pretty good that it isn’t getting enough sunlight.
You don’t want to remedy this by stuffing it in front of a south facing window, but you do want to make sure that it’s a little bit closer to a light source or that it gets a little bit more time in shaded sunlight for sure.
If, on the other hand, your Monstera plants are starting to turn colors – getting yellow, dried up, and shriveled – it usually means that the plant isn’t getting enough humidity or moisture from the air.
Use that pebble tray trick we mentioned above and in a couple of days you’ll see the health of your Monstera plant rebound.
That pebble tray trick works wonders if the edges of your Monstera plants leaves are starting to turn brown, too.