Known for their enormous leaves and beautiful fenestrations, Monstera deliciosa, also known as Swiss Cheese Plants, are highly desired and priced accordingly. If you’ve been to a nursery looking for a well-established Monstera, you’ve probably noticed they often come with a hefty price tag. Don’t let that deter you, though! These beauties can be grown from seed at home without any previous experience.
Can you grow a Monstera from seed? Yes! Harvested from the fruits of the Monstera Deliciosa, seeds can be grown with only a few supplies and a bit of time. If you don’t have access to the seeds at home, they can be purchased online from reputable sellers. But beware, the internet is full of scam seeds.
If you have any experience starting plants from seeds, or even if you don’t, growing a Monstera is an excellent option to gain multiple plants without the cost of purchasing full-grown houseplants. Though it takes a longer time before you’ll have a mature plant with fenestrations, Monsteras started from seeds are healthy and happy houseplants.
Can Monsteras Be Grown From Seeds?
If you’re wondering if you could start a Monstera from a seed, the short answer is yes! Under the right conditions, similar to those Monsteras are exposed to in their natural habitats, you can grow a Monstera from a seed.
The process is really straightforward and similar to growing other plants from seeds. The difficulty in growing a Monstera comes in finding the right seeds. Not all sellers are honest about their product. There are plenty of horror stories about plant enthusiasts paying top dollar for a variegated Monstera seed only to have the plant never develop the coveted coloring (more on this later!)
Growing a Monstera from seed requires some basic supplies, including soil and plastic pots, and the right amount of heat and humidity. If your home doesn’t have these ideal conditions, you can emulate them with just a few pieces of equipment.
Where Do Monstera Seeds Come From?
While the one in your home likely never will, well-developed and established wild Monsteras actually produce fruit. The fruit looks like an oddly-shaped pine cone or a corn cob and tastes like a combination of other tropical fruits, including bananas and pineapples. It is inside of this fruit that you’ll find the seeds, randomly dispersed in the fruit pulp.
Most harvesters collect the fruit before it’s ripe. Though it can’t be eaten at this point, it can be brought indoors to prepare to be harvested. The honeycomb texture allows Monstera fruit to be easily broken apart, and each piece opened up to check for a seed.
Monsteras rarely produce fruit indoors, but if you’re lucky enough to live in a region where Monsteras grow freely (like Florida or Hawaii), you may be able to go out into your yard to collect some fruit! If you don’t have access to an abundance of wild Monsteras, you can plan to order your seeds online from a reputable seller.
How to Harvest Monstera Seeds
Monstera fruit can be best harvested when the honeycomb-textured berries that make up the cone have begun to split apart at the bottom, showing the white flesh underneath. When you’ve found a fruit that is ready to be taken, you’ll just need to snap it off of the stem.
To make the process easier (and to allow you to eat the fruit), the semi-ripe fruit can be placed in a brown paper bag for several days. You’ll want to wait for the green exterior to begin falling away. It’s important to avoid eating any portion of the fruit that still has a green covering. These unripe pieces can cause serious throat irritation that may result in difficulty breathing.
If you don’t plan to eat the fruit, this isn’t really a necessary step but may make it easier to remove the seeds. For more information on Monstera fruit, read this article.
Most harvesters individually remove the hexagonal berries from the fruit and squish them or break them apart to check for a seed. Not every berry will have a seed, so the process can be slow.
If you’ve found something that’s a pale green or white and hard, it’s most likely a seed. If you aren’t sure, do a quick search online to verify. Most seeds look like oddly-shaped peas or sunflower kernels, but there are a lot of variabilities.
Where to Safely Buy Monstera Seeds
If you don’t have access to fruiting and flowering Monsteras, you can purchase seeds online. But beware! There are many potential scams out there, so you’ll need to do research to make sure you are getting real Monstera seeds and not something else.
Many plant enthusiasts recommend using Etsy for all your seed buying needs. There are tons of retailers, and many have exceptional reviews. Just be sure to sift through the reviews: while one of their products may be phenomenal, they could have others that fall flat.
Etsy also gives you the choice to filter out seeds from other countries, meaning that you won’t have to worry about your seeds getting caught in Customs and winding up non-viable because they’ve been sitting too long.
I recommend avoiding eBay. I’ve purchased seeds from there before and have never successfully produced a plant from them. Plus, it’s difficult to get in contact with these sellers to get a refund or replacement.
If the website or seller you are considering doesn’t have many reviews, understand that you’re taking a risk in purchasing from them. Not all sellers are honest, and you may end up with seeds that aren’t even Monsteras! There’s no guarantee you’ll be able to get your money back if this happens.
Again, when it comes to buying things online (especially seeds), reviews are king! Do your research and only buy from respectable sellers.
Warning Signs When Buying Online Seeds
There are a few things you should be on the lookout for when purchasing Monstera seeds online. If you know what to avoid, you’ll be less likely to end up with an unsatisfactory product.
The first red flag is price. You should expect to pay $1-$2 per seed. If you see someone advertising 50 or 100 seeds for $10, an alarm should go off in your brain that these are very unlikely to actually produce Monsteras. It is also worth noting that most reputable sellers sell seeds in sets of 5 or 10.
The next thing to look out for is seeds claiming to be variegated varieties of Monsteras. Variegation is a recessive trait, and even seeds that have been harvested from a variegated plant may or may not produce variegated Monsteras. Sellers who are claiming to sell you variegated seeds at a high price should not be trusted.
Also, Monstera seeds must be fresh. If the seeds you received in the mail are shriveled or hard and dry, they will most likely not germinate. Monstera seeds to be planted relatively soon after harvesting.
When to Plant Monstera Seeds
Monstera seeds can be planted at any time throughout the year as long as they have the right conditions: warm temperatures and high humidity. If you have an indoor growing station already set up, this should work well for you.
If you don’t have access to grow lights or heating mats, you should plan to start your Monstera seeds in the spring. This will give them plenty of time to go through the germination process, which can be started early to prepare for the summer growing period.
As I mentioned before, Monstera seeds must be fresh to germinate. The seeds will not stay viable for very long, so you must plant them as soon as possible.
Starting Monstera Seeds
If you’ve ever started seeds indoors for your garden or otherwise, this should be a pretty familiar process. It involves several steps, but they aren’t complicated. I’ve outlined everything you need to know below:
Before I planted my Monstera seeds, I soaked them first. The processing of soaking seeds before planting is a common practice in gardening. Soaking encourages seeds with a hard shell to soften, allowing germination to happen more quickly. Not soaking the seeds won’t necessarily prevent the seed from germinating, but it will cause it to take much, much longer.
Monstera seeds can be soaked for 12-24 hours before planting. Make sure the water is lukewarm and leave the seeds somewhere warm. You should notice that they’ve swelled a little bit after soaking.
After soaking the seeds, find a somewhat shallow container to plant your Monstera seeds in. Shallow dishes will help prevent mold from developing as it allows the soil to dry out quickly. If you’re unsure of what to use, seed-starting kits are a great choice.
From here, make a small hole in the soil that is about 1/2 to 1 inch deep. Insert the seed, cover it up, and water it well! If your seeds have already started to germinate with a little sprout, be sure to plant it sprout side up. Planted seeds should be kept in a warm environment of at least 70 F, though warmer is always better for Monsteras.
I have a heat mat I use for all seed starting. I own this one from Amazon, but most are similar. These mats help to increase the temperature around your seeds and will usually lead to quicker germination. If you want to increase the odds of your seeds sprouting into Monsteras, a heat mat (like this one on Amazon) is helpful.
Don’t worry about giving the seeds a lot of light at first. Seedlings are delicate, so too much light will damage them and potentially kill the plant before it has a chance to grow. As the plant gets larger, you’ll need to move it to an area with brighter, indirect light, but for now, don’t worry about it.
The level of humidity around the seeds is essential. Many sellers recommend placing a ziplock bag over the seeds as they germinate to ensure they have the right environment. If you have a seed starting kit (like this one) it comes with a plastic cover to keep humidity levels high.
Once planted, keep the soil damp but not wet. I initially mist all seeds until I start to see the sprouts break through the soil. At that point, I switch to bottom watering the containers.
Can You Grow a Variegated Monstera from Seed?
Variegated Monsteras are extremely popular right now, and they hold the highest price tag of all. For that reason, many people hope to try their hand at growing one from seed, rather than investing in the full-grown plant for hundreds of dollars.
While it is conceivable to grow a variegated Monstera from seed, it is extremely unlikely. Variegation is a recessive gene, so even seeds that have been harvested from a variegated fruit on a variegated plant are highly unlikely to produce any variegation in the seedling.
On a similar note, you should also know that even a variegated Monstera leaf cutting is not guaranteed to produce more variegated leaves. Sometimes the only variegation that will occur on an entire plant is on one single leaf.
Variegation is still something that major plant growers are trying to master. If you find seeds online that are touting to be of a variegated variety, steer clear! These seeds are most likely a scam.
Best Soil & Containers for Monstera Seeds
Plastic pots are ideal for starting any type of seed because they retain moisture well. However, they must have adequate drainage. Too much water accumulation can rot the seeds or cause mold to develop, preventing the seeds from ever starting.
The perfect container for starting Monstera seeds should be wide and shallow. The shallowness of the container will prevent the soil from retaining too much moisture, which can cause unwanted fungal growth. Similar to sizing up your plants during repotting: too large of a container is not good for plants of any age.
You need the container to be wide if you are planting a lot of seeds. This will ensure there isn’t any overcrowding, which can prevent growth, and will allow you to apply similar conditions to all of the seeds.
You can also invest in small plastic nursery pots. These tend to be deeper but can work just as well, especially if you are concerned about trying to replant the seedlings as they develop. This will also prevent mold from spreading across the seeds and potentially destroying all of them.
Several options are available online that meet these criteria, and some even come with a plastic cover to retain humidity. This is similar to the style I use for starting seeds at home.
The best soil for starting Monstera seeds should be nutrient-dense and well-draining. Anything too heavy will prevent the seeds from growing and can cause mold to develop. An organic potting mix should work well and is almost always available at your local nursery or supply store.
A soil mix specific to starting seeds is also an excellent choice. These are formulated to drain well and will have many extra nutrients, which may encourage your Monstera seedlings to grow even faster.
If you have difficulty finding any of these supplies in-store, wait until the spring. Most retailers roll out a huge selection of seed starting supplies beginning in February and March. You can also purchase them online at Amazon or other marketplaces.
Caring for Monstera Seedlings
Once planted, it takes Monstera seedlings about ten days to sprout. Don’t be surprised if you see any variation in that, though. That number is an ideal estimate, and your seedlings could sprout sooner or later, depending on the conditions in your home.
If you haven’t noticed sprouts within three weeks, there’s a possibility that your seeds are either not viable or have been compromised by rot. You can continue to let them try to grow or take a look by digging the seeds up. One that is in the process of sprouting will be split open and showing either white or green growth. You can rebury these and allow them to continue.
Once the seedlings have sprouted, continue to care for them the way you have been. A plastic bag to retain humidity is important, as the plants aren’t established enough to thrive without that.
When watering, make sure that the soil isn’t sopping wet. Allow it to dry slightly but keep it damp. I like to use a spray bottle to mist young seeds and their soil. As they sprout and grow larger, I switch to bottom watering, which protects the brittle new growth and still provides the roots with what they need to grow.
Seedlings should never be put in direct sunlight. Direct sunlight can be potentially damaging to a developed Monstera and can kill seedlings outright. Indirect sunlight is key.
What to Expect From Your New Monsteras
Growing an enormous Monstera, like the ones popular on Instagram, takes years. That’s part of why an established plant can be so expensive. Keep this in mind while your seedlings grow. If their needs are met, you can expect your new Monsteras to put out a new leaf every few weeks. They should get glossier and thicker with each new leaf.
Your new plants will eventually outgrow their nursery pots or planting tray, so make sure you have enough small planters on hand to accommodate your new family of Monsteras when it’s time to repot. The process is just like repotting anything else. You’ll just need to be extra careful not to damage the leaves or roots.
Keep in mind that not all of your Monsteras will survive the first repotting. This isn’t an indication you’ve done anything wrong. It is not uncommon to lose a few seedlings. Most of your Monstera plants should make it through!
One thing to note is that Monstera grown from seed will most likely not put out a fenestrated leaf for years. Fenestrations (the characteristic holes we’ve all come to love from Monsteras) are an indication that a plant is very well cared for, gets the perfect amount of light, and is well-established. That’s part of why young plants tend to be cheaper: they won’t produce fenestrations for a while.
Continue to care for your Monstera, and it will get large enough to produce leaves with fenestrations in a few years. There’s nothing more exciting than seeing the first fenestrated leaf unfurl!
Final Thoughts of Growing Monsteras from Seeds
If you have any experience growing plants from seeds, this process of growing Monsteras is very similar. Of course, all plants have different needs, but Monsteras aren’t finicky. If you can grow a tomato plant, you can grow a Monstera.
Growing Monsteras from seeds can be a really fulfilling process. Imagine the pride you will feel two to three years from now when you have a big, bold, mature Monstera that you grew from the tiniest seed!
But not every seed you plant will germinate. I would recommend planting at least five to ten seeds in hopes of having one to two mature plants. If you do wind up with a bunch of Monsteras, the little plants make great gifts for friends and family.
When buying seeds online, be diligent about avoiding scams. Read all the reviews from a seller and make sure that the seeds they’re selling actually grow into Monsteras. With some research and a bit of luck, you’ll find the right seeds to grow yourself a beautiful Monstera deliciosa.