Plant keeping can be addictive, and no plant collection is complete without the addition of a monstera plant. Caring for a monstera can be fairly easy if you start with the right setup. While you may not think of a pot as being the most important part of plant care, making the right choice on pots can make or break your monstera growing experience.
In this article, we will go over all the most important aspects that should go into your pot buying experience to make sure you get the best pot for monstera. There are many factors that should influence your choice, but don’t get overwhelmed. We will help make the process painless.
One important factor to take into account when choosing a plant pot is the weather. Is it hot or cold, humid or dry, sunny or shady? We will go over all this and more in our weather section.
Inside or Outside
Before diving completely into the weather outside, an important place to start is whether your plant will be living inside or outside. If you plan to keep your plant inside, it will likely be kept at a pretty stable temperature, a measured amount of light, and a steady amount of humidity.
Most monstera that are kept indoors will thrive in a variety of pots. You will just need to adjust your watering schedule to match.
If kept outside, you will want to choose a pot that matches your weather patterns and accounts for rain, sunlight, heat, and humidity.
Hot or Cold
Plants that are hot absorb more water than plants that are cold. This means that if your plant is being kept somewhere with higher temperatures, you will likely want to keep it in either a ceramic pot, a glazed terra-cotta pot, or a plastic pot. These materials are non-porous and will keep moisture inside the pot for longer than other types.
If the weather near you is cooler, your plant will be slower to absorb water and will likely need a more porous pot that will absorb and release water from the soil. Good choices for this are unglazed terra-cotta, concrete, and wood.
Humid or Dry
Another consideration to think about is your humidity levels. If you live in a tropical region like Florida, your monstera will be able to tolerate drier soil conditions as they can absorb some of the moisture they need from the air with their aerial roots. This makes porous pots a great option. Look into terra cotta, concrete, or wooden pots.
For areas with dry air such as Arizona, you may need to keep your plant’s soil more moist to keep them hydrated and happy. Dry air can be hard on plants like Monstera that are happiest in humid tropical areas. A plastic, glazed terra-cotta, or ceramic pot would be the best option here.
Sunny or Shaded
Monstera plants live in the understory of the rainforest and their leaves are designed to absorb as much low-level indirect light as they can. Keeping them in direct sunlight can cause their leaves to burn. While you want to avoid direct light, the amount of indirect light your plant receives can have an effect on your plant’s water absorption and therefore your pot choice.
If your plant receives a lot of indirect light, it will absorb water at a faster rate and will likely need a non-porous pot. If it receives a lower amount of indirect light, it will absorb water slowly and can benefit from a porous pot that will wick out excess moisture.
Now that you have a basic understanding of how the weather and environment will affect your plant’s pot choice, let’s take a look at drainage holes.
Why they are important
- Prevent water stagnation
- Prevent root rot
- Allow for overwatering
- Help the soil stay aerated
- Prevent mold and fungus
Prevent Water Stagnation
Pots without drainage holes are prone to having water collect at the bottom of the pot and become stagnant. This can lead to your plant smelling rotten, its leaves turning yellow, and even your plant dying. A drainage hole will allow excess water to drain from the pot, keeping your plant happy and healthy.
Monstera plants are very susceptible to root rot. They prefer their soil to be thoroughly saturated and then for it to dry out fairly quickly over a few days. If your monstera’s pot doesn’t have drainage holes, it is easy for the water to remain in the soil and the roots to begin to rot from the excess moisture.
One of the biggest mistakes made by many plant enthusiasts is overwatering. If you are prone to overwatering your plants, a drainage hole is even more important. The drainage hole will allow excess water to flow out of the pot instead of allowing it to stagnate at the bottom and foul your soil.
Keep the Soil Aerated
Another benefit of a drainage hole is that it allows air to get into the bottom of your pot. While this isn’t the biggest benefit to a drainage hole on this list, it does help your soil stay healthy and keeps things from smelling.
Mold and Fungus
A common side effect of overwatering is mold or fungus growing on your soil. If that isn’t bad enough, this will also attract fungus gnats, which are a real pain to get rid of once they are in your house and near your plants. Having a drainage hole in your pot should help to prevent mold and fungus as well as the gnats that come with it.
Drilling Your Own Holes
If you have found the perfect pot, but it doesn’t have drainage holes, don’t despair. With most pots, you can drill your own holes. Be sure to use the correct drill bit for the job. Most hardware stores sell material-specific drill bits. For unglazed terra cotta, you will want to use a masonry bit, and for glazed or ceramic pots you will use a tile/glass drill bit.
When drilling pots, it does help to apply painter’s tape to the area you plan to drill. This will help your drill not to slide and keep you and your pot safe.
Types of Pots
There are a huge variety of pots on the market, from basic plastic nursery pots to elaborate carved wooden pots. The choices can seem endless. In this section we will go over the pros and cons of each pot type and when it’s the best time to utilize them.
- Terra Cotta
Plastic pots are often some of the most affordable. They can be utilitarian or they can be ornate and decorative. When it comes to monstera plants, plastic can be a great choice if you tend to underwater, if your home or region has moderate to low humidity, or if you live somewhere that is hot most of the year.
Basic plastic pots, like black nursery pots, can be great for smaller plants or new cuttings that are just starting to root, but they might not be the best for top-heavy larger plants. If you have found an incredible decorative plastic pot that you want to use, but it doesn’t have a drainage hole, you can always drill your own holes.
Decorative ceramic pots are often quite beautiful, and if you get them from a local potter they can also be unique one-of-a-kind pieces. Like plastic, ceramic is an ideal choice for hot weather, low humidity, and for people who tend to underwater.
If you don’t meet the ideal requirements for ceramic pots, but still want to use one, you can make them work. Make sure that your pot has drainage holes, and come up with a good watering schedule for your plant. As long as you don’t overwater, your plant should be fine.
There are two types of terra cotta plants, glazed and unglazed. Unglazed pots are great for areas with higher humidity, lower temperatures, and for overwaterers. Unglazed terra cotta pots are very porous and will wick moisture away from the soil. This also makes them great for people keeping their plants outdoors in an area that gets a lot of rain.
Glazed terra cotta pots are comparable to ceramic and plastic pots. They are often decorative and make a great choice for monstera plants that live in low humidity, high heat areas.
Concrete pots aren’t as common, and you may have trouble finding one at most hardware and big-box stores. If you want to DIY your own pot, or if you have found a specialty plant store that carries them, concrete pots can be a great choice for large, mature monsteras.
These pots tend to be very heavy, so you will want to find the ideal spot to place it before adding in your soil and your plant. They often don’t have drainage holes and these can be hard to add to concrete pots, so be sure the one you buy already has them.
Concrete can be porous, but it isn’t quite as porous as terra cotta, so these pots can really work for just about any environment.
Like concrete, wood pots aren’t super common, but when you do find them they are often quite ornate and beautiful. These pots are porous and great for monstera plants that are overwatered, in high humidity areas or cooler areas. Wood pots can sometimes be prone to getting moldy, so be sure to check the wood often and make sure it still looks good.
While you don’t want to use a wicker pot by itself, these are great for dressing up plain terra cotta or plain plastic pots. Simply place your monsteras pot inside the wicker pot and you are good to go. These are a great option if you are looking for something more decorative, but are having trouble finding it in the pot style that is best suited for your environment.
Another important factor when choosing a pot for your monstera is size. There are two common types of monstera currently on the market. Monstera adensonii and Monstera deliciosa. Adensonii is a much smaller variety, while deliciosa tend to grow quite large.
You will always want to select a pot that is only a few inches larger than your plant’s current pot. Choosing a pot that is too large can lead to the soil staying too wet. This can cause your plant and its roots to start having serious issues.
While a pot that is too large can cause issues, the same can be said for a pot that is too small. You don’t want your monstera’s roots to become overly cramped or root bound as this can lead to stunted growth and issues with water and nutrient absorption.
Monstera plants that are kept indoors do best when given a moss pole. Moss poles give the plant’s aerial roots something to climb on and help your plant grow upwards. A plant that has nothing to grow on won’t be very happy. If its leaves and vines are left on the ground, it can often lead to issues with stem rot and even pests.
Moss poles can also help with humidity issues with your plant. The moss used in the moss pole can hold water, giving your aerial roots somewhere they can be damp and healthy. When choosing a moss pole, try to get one made from sphagnum moss and not coco coir sheets, as the sheets are less effective at holding in humidity.
When selecting your pot, you will want to leave enough space for your moss pole in the pot. If your plant is large, you will want the pole to reach the bottom of the pot for added stability. If it’s small, you can get away with the moss pole only going halfway down.
If you’re keeping your monstera outside and your area tends to be humid, you can skip the moss pole and simply place your monstera near a tree or a trellis. They will be able to get enough water from the air and won’t need to grow into the moss.