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7 Mistakes in Monstera Care and How to Fix Them

Learn how to avoid the common pitfalls in Monstera care with expert tips and insights. Ensure your Monstera thrives with this detailed guide on proper plant maintenance.

Monstera plants are a beloved choice for indoor gardening enthusiasts, but even seasoned plant owners can make mistakes that hinder their growth.

In this guide, I’ll share the top seven common mistakes that could be affecting your Monstera and how to avoid them. 

By understanding these pitfalls and learning the correct care techniques, you can ensure your Monstera thrives and adds beauty to your home. 

Let’s explore what you might be doing wrong and how to fix it to help your Monstera flourish.

Table of Contents

Mistake 1: Choosing the Wrong Monstera

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is choosing a Monstera that isn’t healthy from the start.

Selecting a robust and disease-free plant sets the foundation for successful care.

Here’s how to ensure you pick the right plant:

Inspect the Leaves

When selecting a Monstera, inspect the leaves carefully.

Look at both the top and underside of the leaves for pests and blemishes. Pests often hide on the underside, and blemishes can indicate mechanical damage or disease. 

Healthy leaves should be vibrant green, free of spots, and firm to the touch.

Avoid plants with yellowing or wilting leaves as these can be signs of underlying issues.

Check for Pests

Shake the plant gently and observe if any fungus gnats or other pests fly out. Avoid plants with visible pests. 

Common pests include spider mites, aphids, and mealybugs.

These can quickly spread to other plants in your collection. Use a magnifying glass to inspect for tiny insects or eggs on the leaves and stems.

A healthy Monstera should be pest-free and show no signs of infestation.

Examine the Roots

Remove the pot and check the roots. Healthy roots are firm and white. Avoid plants with mushy, brown, or foul-smelling roots, as these are signs of root rot.

Roots should fill the pot without being overly crowded. If the roots are brown and mushy, it indicates the plant has been overwatered. Conversely, dry and brittle roots can signal underwatering.

A healthy root system is crucial for nutrient uptake and overall plant health.

Evaluate Plant Structure

Choose a Monstera with at least two or three well-established plants in the pot.

This ensures a fuller and healthier growth as the plant matures. Multiple stems can be pruned and shaped as desired. When purchasing, look for a plant that stands upright without any drooping. This indicates strong stems and good health.

Additionally, check if the plant has aerial roots, which are a sign of maturity and will help the plant climb and stabilize as it grows.

By carefully selecting a healthy Monstera, you can avoid many common problems and set your plant up for success from the beginning.

A healthy start means fewer issues down the road, allowing your Monstera to thrive in its new home.


Regularly clean Monstera leaves with a damp cloth to prevent dust buildup and enhance photosynthesis.

Mistake 2: Incorrect Lighting

Proper lighting is crucial for the health and growth of your Monstera. Many new plant owners make the mistake of exposing their Monstera to too much direct light or insufficient light. Here’s how to strike the right balance:

Avoiding Too Much Direct Light

Monstera plants are native to the tropical rainforests of Central and South America, where they thrive under the canopy of taller trees, receiving filtered, indirect light

If your plant is not acclimated correctly, excessive direct sunlight can lead to leaf burn, evidenced by brown, scorched patches on the leaves, as well as yellowing and drooping foliage

To prevent this, place your Monstera in a spot with bright, indirect sunlight. Use sheer curtains to diffuse any direct sunlight or position the plant a few feet away from the window. 

If you need to increase the light intensity, do so gradually by moving the plant closer to the light source little by little.

Ensuring Sufficient Light

On the other hand, insufficient light can be just as detrimental to your Monstera. While Monsteras can tolerate low lighting conditions, they do not thrive in them. 

Inadequate light slows down photosynthesis, stalling their growth and overall health. 

Symptoms of insufficient light include long internodal spacing (leggy growth), small, underdeveloped leaves, and slowed or halted new growth. If your Monstera is in an area with insufficient natural light, consider supplementing with artificial grow lights. This will ensure your plant gets the light it needs to thrive.

Finding the right balance of light is essential for your Monstera’s health. Proper lighting not only supports growth but also encourages the development of the plant’s characteristic fenestrations (holes in the leaves) that make Monstera plants so desirable.

Did You Know?

Monsteras are also known as "Swiss Cheese Plants" due to the unique holes in their leaves.

Mistake 3: Overwatering

Overwatering is one of the most common mistakes Monstera owners make. Monsteras are prone to root rot if their soil stays wet for too long. Here’s how to properly water your Monstera:

Symptoms of Overwatering

Overwatered Monsteras often show signs like yellowing leaves and mushy, blackened roots. If you notice these symptoms, your plant may be suffering from root rot, which can severely damage or kill your plant if not addressed promptly.

Proper Watering Techniques

To prevent overwatering, water your Monstera when the top 2 inches of soil feel dry to the touch. Ensure that your pot has drainage holes to allow excess water to escape. Using a well-draining soil mix containing peat moss, perlite, and orchid bark helps maintain the right moisture level without waterlogging the roots.

Choosing the Right Pot Size

When repotting, select a pot that is only 1-2 inches larger than the current pot. This reduces the risk of overwatering, as a significantly larger pot holds more soil, which can retain too much moisture for the existing root system. If you do opt for a larger pot, manage the watering carefully and use a soil mix with increased drainage to prevent root rot.

By paying close attention to your watering habits and choosing the appropriate pot size, you create a healthier environment for your Monstera. Think of it as a balance—your Monstera needs just the right amount of water to flourish without getting its roots soggy.


Proper lighting is crucial for Monstera growth. Too much direct sunlight can burn the leaves, while too little light can stunt growth.

Mistake 4: Using the Wrong Pot Size

Choosing the wrong pot size for your Monstera can lead to several issues, including overwatering and root health problems. 

Here’s how to select the right pot:

Risks of a Too-Large Pot

Using a pot that is too large can hold excess soil that retains too much moisture. This can increase the risk of root rot, as the existing root system may not be able to absorb all the water. The roots can become waterlogged, leading to mushy, unhealthy roots.

Optimal Pot Size

When repotting, choose a pot that is 1-2 inches larger in diameter than the current pot. This provides enough room for growth without overwhelming the plant with too much soil. A well-chosen pot size supports a healthy balance of moisture and aeration.

Tips for Repotting

Before repotting, water the Monstera to make the soil easier to handle. Gently remove the plant from its current pot, being careful not to damage the roots. Place it in the new pot, adding fresh, well-draining soil around the roots. Ensure the plant is at the same soil level as before to avoid burying the stem.

Selecting the right pot size is crucial for the long-term health of your Monstera. With proper repotting practices, your plant will have the space it needs to grow robustly and healthily without the risk of overwatering.

Quick Tip:

Use a well-draining soil mix with peat moss, perlite, and orchid bark to prevent waterlogging and root rot.

Mistake 5: Improper Fertilizing

Proper fertilizing is essential for the health and growth of your Monstera. However, many plant owners either over-fertilize or under-fertilize, both of which can harm the plant. Here’s how to fertilize correctly:

Fertilizing During the Growing Season

Monsteras should be fertilized during the growing season, typically from spring through early autumn. During this time, the plant is actively producing new leaves and requires additional nutrients. Feed your Monstera every 4-6 weeks with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer, diluted to half the recommended strength.

Avoiding Over-Fertilization

Over-fertilization can burn the roots, damaging the plant’s ability to absorb water and nutrients. Symptoms include brown, crispy leaf edges and yellowing leaves. To prevent this, always follow the dilution instructions for the fertilizer you’re using and avoid fertilizing during the plant’s dormant period in winter.

Leaching the Soil

Leaching the soil involves thoroughly watering the plant to flush out excess salts and prevent fertilizer buildup. This should be done every few months, especially if you notice signs of over-fertilization. Water your Monstera until water flows freely from the drainage holes, allowing it to drain completely, and repeat this process a few times in one session.

By understanding and implementing proper fertilizing practices, you can provide your Monstera with the nutrients it needs to grow strong and healthy, while avoiding the pitfalls of over-fertilization.


Rotate your Monstera every few weeks to ensure even light exposure and balanced growth.

Mistake 6: Neglecting Regular Health Checks

Regular health checks are vital for maintaining the vitality and longevity of your Monstera. Neglecting these checks can lead to unnoticed problems that compromise your plant’s health. Here’s how to conduct effective health checks:

Inspect for Pests

Regularly check your Monstera for common pests such as spider mites, aphids, and mealybugs. These pests can feed on the plant, weakening it over time. Use a magnifying glass to inspect the leaves, especially the undersides, and stems for any signs of these pests.

Monitor for Diseases

Look for symptoms of diseases like root rot caused by overwatering or fungal infections. Early signs can include discolored leaves, unusual spots, or a foul smell from the soil. Early detection allows for quicker intervention and treatment.

Check for Nutritional Deficiencies

Observe your Monstera for signs of nutritional deficiencies or toxicities. Yellowing leaves, stunted growth, or leaf discoloration can indicate a lack of essential nutrients or an excess of salts in the soil. Adjust your fertilizing routine accordingly to address these issues.

By incorporating regular health checks into your Monstera care routine, you can catch and address problems early, ensuring your plant remains healthy and vibrant. Consistent monitoring is key to preventing small issues from becoming major problems.

Did You Know?

Monsteras naturally climb trees in the wild using their aerial roots, which can be supported with a moss pole indoors.

Mistake 7: Not Staking the Plant

Staking your Monstera is crucial for supporting its growth and ensuring a healthy, aesthetically pleasing plant. Here’s why staking is important and how to do it correctly:

Importance of Staking

In their natural habitat, Monsteras climb trees and other structures using their aerial roots for support. Without proper staking, indoor Monsteras can grow unevenly, with their large leaves and long stems sprawling in different directions. This not only affects the plant’s appearance but can also lead to structural instability, increasing the risk of stems breaking under their own weight.

Choosing the Right Support

Select a sturdy support for your Monstera, such as a moss pole, wooden plank, or bamboo stake. Before inserting the stake, water the plant to ensure the soil is moist and soft, making it easier to insert the support without damaging the roots. Position the stake near the plant’s main stem, avoiding any major roots, and make sure the stake is firmly anchored and stable.

Securing the Plant

Gently secure the Monstera to the stake using soft plant ties, twine, or velcro strips. Avoid tying too tightly to prevent damaging the stem. 

Start at the base of the plant and work your way up, securing the plant every few inches to ensure even support. As the Monstera grows, continue to tie new growth to the stake, adjusting the ties as needed to accommodate the plant’s expanding size.

Staking your Monstera not only supports its growth but also enhances its natural beauty. A well-staked Monstera will grow upright, showcasing its stunning leaves and making a beautiful statement in your home.


Caring for a Monstera can be a rewarding experience when you avoid common pitfalls. 

By choosing a healthy plant, providing the right lighting, managing watering, selecting the proper pot size, fertilizing correctly, conducting regular health checks, and staking the plant, you ensure your Monstera thrives and adds beauty to your space. 

Consistent care and attention to these aspects will keep your Monstera healthy and vibrant.

Embrace the spirit of horticulture and spread the seeds of wisdom

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