Monstera is a beautiful evergreen plant belonging to the epiphytic lianas. This is one of the most common indoor plants, previously ranked among the philodendrons, relatively recently identified by scientists as a separate genus. 38 species and about 10 varieties have been registered. The shoots of lianas in natural conditions reach about 20 meters in length, leaning on the trunks of tall palms or clinging to rocks with a huge number of aerial roots. Monsters live mainly in humid equatorial foggy forests. Leaves are asymmetric, oblong or ovate-elliptical, adults - perforated or pinnately incised as a result of the death of some cells, on very long petioles. Flowers are bisexual, axillary, formed in the nodes. The cover of the inflorescence is white or cream-colored, boat-shaped, inside there is a yellow-green ear, cylindrical, the cover is slightly shorter. The fruit of the monstera is a berry, it is rarely formed at home.
- Pros: Monstera purifies the air and humidifies it, and very significantly, due to the large leaf mass. Optimization of the microclimate activates brain activity, breathes easier.
- Cons: monster juice is poisonous, it is necessary to keep away from small children and properly handle the plant (wash your hands after transplanting and pruning).
Monstera is unpretentious and grows quickly, occupying an area of about 2 square meters in a room after 3-4 years. m. Do not put the monster in the aisle, as the feathery leaves can be injured or torn when touched. Monstera does not tolerate cold drafts, from which brown spots appear on the leaves or the leaves turn yellow.
The numerous aerial roots of the plant must be tied up, directed into the ground or towards support, but not cut off.
In summer, the optimal temperature for monstera is between 18-25 ° C, the flower lives well in normal home conditions all year round, although it loves fresh air, small plants can be taken out into the garden or on the balcony. Avoid placing the pot next to the air conditioner!
In winter, ideally, it is desirable that the temperature at which the monstera is kept is 16-18 ° C. This is necessary so that, with a natural decrease in illumination from late August to late January (in central Russia), monsters do not stretch, because the growth of leaves and new shoots occurs at any temperature above 14 ° C, only at a different pace. In the coolness, your beauty does not turn into a monster (as the name of the genus is translated). If the house is very light, southern unshaded windows, it survives the heating season well, but regular spraying will be needed. When grown in a conservatory or greenhouse, the minimum is 12 ° C, at this temperature, a decrease in illumination no longer plays a significant role, it is important to keep the plant dry, replace watering with spraying.
Monstera does not tolerate direct sunlight at midday from February to mid-August. At this time of the year, all aroids need shading, if the pot is in the immediate vicinity of the south or west window (or young plants on the windowsill) - a tulle curtain is enough. But if the direct sun hits the leaves before 11 o'clock in the afternoon or after 17 o'clock in the evening, it is not dangerous and even useful.
Many believe that the monstera is shade-loving, and put it far from the window, as an interior decoration. This is wrong, in fact, the monstera is shade-tolerant, and the best place for her is where there is a bright, but diffused light or slight partial shade - next to a window that is not shaded from the street by trees or neighboring buildings. Only then will the monstera have beautiful large leaves and a dense crown.
Monstera needs additional lighting in winter and in a dark place: fluorescent lamps - for one plant about 1 m high, 2 lamps with a power of 15-20 W, from different sides. LED lamps - 2 pieces with a conventional base (E27), with a power of 7.5-14 W, also at different heights or from the shaded side.
Monstera has a huge leaf mass - the evaporating surface is very large, but if you compare it, for example, with a cucumber bush of the same size, then it needs much less moisture, because its leathery leaves evaporate less water than grassy ones. The cells of the leaf epidermis are saturated with fatty or waxy substances, the leaves look shiny and smooth. Therefore, although watering the monstera should be abundant in the warm season (and in winter in a heated room), you need to wait until the top layer of the earth dries out. When kept in a greenhouse in winter or on a warmed balcony, in cooler conditions, watering is rare, after the soil is thoroughly dry.
The recommendation for how much water to pour by days of the week is incorrect, the frequency depends on the change in the weather, respectively, the temperature and humidity. Focus on the fact that for the next watering, the upper part of the soil, about 1/3 of the height of the pot, should dry out.
From March to September, monsters are fed with complex fertilizer for indoor plants. Top dressing should be done every two weeks. For large plants that are transplanted every few years, you can remove the top layer of soil in the spring and add fresh soil with well-rotted humus. If in September the weather is cloudy, there is no additional lighting, then feeding should be stopped until the end of February. If in winter the monstera has a slow regrowth of new shoots, and there is enough light, you can continue to feed it once a month. If in autumn and winter the monstera grows small leaves with long petioles - these are signs of a lack of light, feeding is not necessary, but it is worth increasing the lighting with lamps or rearranging the pot to a cooler place. Old specimens of plants that cannot be transplanted must be fed not only by watering the soil, but also by spraying on the leaf.
Monstera loves humid air, the optimal indicator for her is 50-60%. The plant responds well to regular spraying, since the humidity is usually much lower at home. From time to time, monstera leaves are washed, rubbed with a sponge and even polished to remove dust and give shine. Placing a plant near radiators is a serious violation in the care, the tips of the leaves will dry out in the monstera, and spots will appear. Therefore, it is more correct to move the monster away from the batteries, and hang lamps nearby. The best option is to use a humidifier, otherwise you will have to cover the batteries with a damp sheet (moisten it as soon as it dries - 2-3 times a day).