Hi Master Gardener
I’m wondering how to improve the health of my indoor monster plant. I assume the brown leave tips suggest it is lacking something – nutrients or water or sun? I water it about 1/week; the soil is the standard soil which came in the pot (I think I bought it at Ikea). I’m wondering if it’s also time to re-plant it in a bigger container; as well as I’d like to make it more vertical since I live in a small condo, and the leaves are quite spread out!
Thanks for your time.
Dear gardener, what a beautiful plant you have!
Diagnosing plant diseases is always a bit tricky as many factors can influence its health, however, we can guide you narrow down possible causes. To begin, let’s list the plants requirements of Monstera deliciosa or Swiss cheese plant:
- Light: filtered light but never direct as the latter will cause scorching and yellow leaves. Please note that the opposite, dark locations, can cause the plant to loose its traditional ‘holes’ and stimulates its spreading habit as it searches for light.
- Water: during the winter months keep soil moist but not waterlogged. During the warmer months, water thoroughly but allow the soil to dry a little between waterings.
- Humidity: as a native plant to the rain forest of Central America, this plant requires above average levels of room humidity and, dry air will affect its leaves. Therefore, avoid placing it near a heat source.
- Temperature: avoid cold drafts and temperatures below 10C.
- Repotting: repotting plants after they have outgrown their space it is always a good idea and, spring is the best time as it is its actively growing period. The soil the plant was purchased in, is quickly depleted of nutrients and repotting gives the gardener an opportunity to feed their plant naturally. However with M. d. be aware that the larger the pot, the larger the plant will grow which sometimes can be an issue in city condominium’s space. Choose a pot slightly larger than current one, with good drainage and repot with potting mix suitable for indoor plants.
- Other: as a plant which naturally gets most of its nutrition from the air, there is no need to fertilize, however, keeping the leaves cleaned with a moist cloth, will allow the plant to absorb better and look fantastic!
Now to your diagnosis, brown tips are generally a sign of overwatering. If the plant is waterlogged, it will also show general signs of yellowing. If the edges start becoming brown and papery, dry air is the most probable cause. Lastly, a pot bound plant will also show signs of browning leaves.
Growing vertically: you can train your plant vertically if you provide it with a ‘moss stick or tube’. You can purchase one at a nursery or make your own by filling a plastic or metal net tube with damp moss. Allow the aerial roots to grow into this moist support.
Lastly, I noticed in your photo that you may have a cat. Please be aware that some research indicates that this plant may be poisonous for cats. I just thought I would make you aware in case yours likes to munch in its leaves.