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Fertilizing Monstera: A Complete Guide

Fertilizing Monstera: A Complete Guide

Monstera Deliciousa is an iconic plant, and learning about fertilizing Monstera is key to keeping them healthy. Its large, glossy, split leaves are easily recognizable. It’s found its way into many homes and office spaces thanks to its dramatic appearance. 

They are low-maintenance plants, which makes them accessible to both new and seasoned plant owners. At first glance, fertilizing your Monstera can seem intimidating. 

The good news is, it doesn’t have to be. We’ll take a look at everything you need to know to keep your Monstera thriving year-round. 

Monstera Deliciousa

Monstera Deliciousa is native to the Central American rainforests. It thrives in a tropical environment naturally. However, it also does well as a houseplant. 

The Monstera Deliciousa is also known as the Swiss Cheese plant. Ironically, it doesn’t look like Swiss cheese. Instead, it produces a large tropical fruit that tastes like a cross between a pineapple and a banana. 

When grown indoors, the plant doesn’t typically produce fruit. However, it still provides a hardy ornamental plant for you to enjoy. If you happen to live in hardiness zones 10-12, you can consider planting your Monstera outdoors. 

Why Fertilize Monstera Deliciousa

Fertilizer is often referred to as food for plants, but this isn’t completely accurate. Instead, it’s better to think about it as vitamins for your plants. 

It’s common for us to supplement our diet with vitamins. This closes the gap between the nutrients we get from our food and what our body needs. 

Your plant will get most of its nutrition from sunlight, water, and the soil. Sunlight is converted via photosynthesis, which provides the fuel your plant needs to grow.

It will initially pull other nutrients it needs from the soil. Over time, the vitamins in the soil get depleted. This is why fertilizing your Monstera is important, especially if it’s remained in the same pot and soil for many months. 

In the wild, the nutrients in the soil get replaced through natural processes. Plants also have the ability to spread their roots in search of the vitamins they need. 

When confined to a pot, the Monstera doesn’t have this option. Once the nutrients within the soil are depleted, the plant depends on you to replace them. 

Just like us, most plants will survive without these vitamins. However, they will not thrive. Just as vitamins can boost your health and wellbeing, fertilizer will allow your Monstera to grow to its full potential. 

A monstera plant

When to Fertilize Monstera Deliciosa

Your Monstera doesn’t require year-round fertilizing. It will naturally grow quickly in the spring and summer, and enter a dormant state in the winter. 

When you are in a state of growth or high activity, you require more calories and nutrients. Plants have a similar fluctuation in their needs. 

Just like us, too many nutrients can be as harmful as not enough. More is not always better. It’s important to give your plant what it needs to grow when it needs it, and avoid fertilizing when your plant is in a dormant phase. 

How often you need to fertilize your Monstera can vary greatly depending on the type of fertilizer you use.  

If you use fertilized potting soil, you should take this into consideration as well. If the soil contains fertilizer, you’ll need to wait until the soil is depleted before fertilizing. 

It’s best to check the package to learn how long the fertilizer will last. If this information isn’t available, watch for signs that your Monstera needs fertilizing. We’ll cover those signs, and the signs they are overfertilized, shortly. 

Best Fertilizer Ratio for Monstera Deliciousa

Fertilizers include a wide range of important nutrients for plants, but there are 3 main components. These are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. 

This is also known as NPK. Fertilizers will always list these nutrients in this order. So, a 10-15-10 fertilizer will include 10% nitrogen, 15% phosphorous, and 10% potassium. 

The remaining percentage is made up of other nutrients plants need in fewer amounts. 

The fertilizer ratio is important because different plants have different needs for these nutrients. 

The Monstera Deliciousa does best with a 20-20-20 fertilizer, at least for indoor growth. If you have an outdoor Monstera, a ratio of 15-30-15 can encourage blooming and fruit production. 

Monstera leaves close up

Types of Fertilizer for Monstera Deliciousa

We know the fertilizer ratio that Monsteras need, but there’s another important decision when it comes to choosing a fertilizer. There’s a wide range of fertilizers on the market today. 

These include liquid fertilizer, granular fertilizer, and stick fertilizers. Some offer convenience, but you sacrifice some control and distribution. The type of fertilizer you use for your Monstera is actually nearly as important as the fertilizer ratio. 

Liquid Fertilizer 

Liquid fertilizer is the best fertilizer for Monstera Deliciousa. It allows you to control the concentration and how often it’s applied very easily. It is also distributed evenly throughout the soil. 

You’ll need to mix your fertilizer with water before applying it to your plant. Using full-strength fertilizer on your Monstera can cause root burns and injure your plant. 

How much to dilute your fertilizer depends on the season. Generally, in the spring and fall, you’ll want to dilute the fertilizer to 1/4 strength. During this time, you’ll fertilize your plants once a month. 

In the summer, when the Monstera is at its maximum growth phase, dilute the fertilizer to 1/2 strength instead of 1/4 strength. You can fertilize the plant every 2-4 weeks during this time. 

Granular Fertilizer

Granular fertilizer is another option. This type comes in a granular or powder form. Application is similar to liquid fertilizer. 

Use half the recommended amount, just as you would dilute liquid fertilizer. How often you’ll need to apply it depends on how slowly it’s released. Consult the package for instructions. Remember to only fertilize during the plants’ growing period. 

Slow Release Fertilizer 

Slow-release fertilizer typically comes in the form of plant sticks. These are designed to release nutrients into the soil slowly over time. They have the downside of not being adjustable and don’t distribute evenly through the soil. 

They are a good choice if you struggle to remember to fertilize your Monstera. You’ll only need to fertilize at the beginning of summer with this method. 

Organic Fertilizer

Organic fertilizer offers a gentler and more natural way to fertilize your Monstera. The most popular natural fertilizer for the plant is worm casings, which mimic natural conditions. 

Worm castings, also known as vermicompost, are essentially the waste earthworms produce. It is high in nutrients and beneficial microorganisms. 

In the wild, earthworms break down dead plant matter. Their leavings then enriches the soil, allowing the plants to access the nutrients. Worm castings are made by feeding worms plant matter or compost. The leavings is then harvested. 

Because worm casings are natural, they are less risky than other types of fertilizer. It’s difficult, but not impossible, to overfertilize using this method. 

If you are potting or reporting your Monstera, you can add 1/4 cup worm castings to every 6 inches of soil. 

You can also add worm castings to your plant’s topsoil. Just add 1/4 to 1/2 inch on top of the soil. You’ll then water your Monstera. Worm castings can be added once or twice a year. 

A monstera in a white pot next to a chair

Overfertilizing Monstera Deliciousa

Overfertilizing your Monstera is damaging to them. This includes applying too much fertilizer, fertilizing during the plant’s dormant phase, and using the wrong fertilizer ratio. 

Let’s take a look at how to know if you are overfertilizing your Monstera, and what you can do to fix it. 

Yellow Leaves 

Yellow leaves can be caused by overfertilization. Typically, it’s the lower leaves that will become yellow.

However, they can also be caused by a number of other things, including under or overwatering and a lack of sunlight. 

This is why you’ll need to watch for other signs of overfertilization as well. If yellow leaves are the only sign, you may have another issue with your Monstera. 

Dark Brown Spots on Leaves

In addition to yellow leaves, you may notice dark brown spots on the leaves. These typically occur at the end of the leaves. This is caused by damage to the roots or a lack of proper water absorption. 

Over or under watering can also cause brown spots. To determine if your plant is overfertilized or if it’s actually a watering issue, check your soil. Dip a finger into the soil. It should feel moist, but not wet. 

White Crust on Soil 

A white crust on the soil of your Monstera is definitely caused by over-fertilization. The white crust is actually the minerals from the fertilizer. The plant can’t absorb them all, so they build up on top of the soil. 

Brown or Black Roots 

If you are reporting your Monstera, you may notice that their roots are brown or black. They may also be limp. This is an indication of root damage. 

Repairing Over Fertilization 

If you’ve over-fertilized the Monstera, don’t worry. You can reverse the damage in most cases. Overfertilization can permanently stunt your Monstera’s growth if they are over-fertilized for a long period of time. 

One way to fix over-fertilization is to leach the soil. Start by removing the white crust from the soil with a spoon or trowel. Place the pot in an area where it can drain easily. 

You may place it in your tub, sink, or outdoors. Slowly add water to the soil. Allow it to drain. Once it’s finished draining, repeat the process. You’ll need to do this 3 to 4 times. 

The water will remove some of the fertilizer from the soil. Because it is allowed to drain, it shouldn’t cause overwatering. 

The other method is to remove the soil from your Monstera. Uproot the plant and then massage the root ball to remove as much soil as possible. 

Rinse the roots to remove any remaining fertilizer. Repot the Monstera using fresh soil. Water the plant generously. 

If you use either of these methods, do not add fertilizer for at least one month after the process. 

A monstera adansonii plant in a room

Under Fertilizing Monstera

Just as you can overfertilize your Monstera, you can also under fertilize it. The good news is that under fertilizing your plant is easier to remedy than over-fertilizing. 

Stunted or Slow Growth

If your Monstera is growing slowly or has stopped growing, a lack of fertilizer is the likely culprit. Monstera Deliciousa grows quickly. When in its growth phase, it requires plenty of nutrients to sustain its growth. 

If your plant begins growing slowly or has stopped growing, consider adding fertilizer. 

A Monstera Delicousa can grow up to 2 feet in a year under ideal conditions. If your plant is growing between 1 and 2 feet a year, it’s a happy and healthy plant. 

Keep in mind that Monsteras tend to grow out as well as up. 

Discoloration 

If new growth is discolored, this is a sign that the new growth isn’t getting the nutrients it needs. 

Chlorosis 

Chlorosis causes the leaves to become yellow due to a lack of chlorophyll. This can also be caused by under fertilization. 

Natural Fertilizers 

Some plant owners prefer using natural means to fertilize their Monstera Deliciousa. The downside of these natural options is that there’s less information about how much to use and the exact composition of nutrients they provide. 

The upside is that it’s difficult to overdo it with natural options. 

Natural fertilizers are, at the same time, more and less complicated due to these factors. 

Aquarium Water

The next time you clean your fish tank, consider using the water as fertilizer. In nature, plants will grow near ponds. They use the nitrogen produced by fish as a natural fertilizer. 

This is also the basis for aquaponics. This type of growth allows plants and fish to share an environment, creating a symbiotic relationship. 

Banana Peels 

Banana peels are another natural fertilizer. There are a few ways to use banana peels. You can lay the peels directly onto the soil. You can cut them up into small pieces and blend them in with the soil. Lastly, you can puree the banana and mix it with water for liquid fertilizer. 

Bananas are high in potassium. They also contain nitrogen, phosphorous, and magnesium. As the banana peels decompose, they slowly release nutrients into the soil. 

Coffee Grounds 

Coffee grounds are slightly acidic, so it’s thought that they are good for plants that prefer an acidic environment – like Snake Plants.

Monsteras do well in neutral to slightly acidic soil, so coffee grounds may be beneficial. 

The grounds have a high nitrogen content but have less phosphorous and potassium. The simplest way to use coffee grounds is to blend them into the soil. 

You can also create a liquid fertilizer by allowing the coffee grounds to soak in water for one week. 

Final Thoughts on Fertilizing Monteresa Deliciouso 

If you aren’t fertilizing your Monterasa Delicouso, you should consider doing so. Fertilizing allows your plant to thrive. It will aid its growth, and keep its leaves healthy and glossy. 

However, Monteresa Delicoouso doesn’t require a large amount of fertilizer. It can easily be overfertilized, especially if you are using synthetic fertilizer. 

Generally speaking, liquid fertilizer should be diluted to half strength. If you use granulated fertilizer, use half the recommended dosage. 

With either type of fertilizer, you’ll need to fertilize lightly in the spring and fall. Do not fertilize in the winter, because the plant enters its dormant period.