If you are like most of the plant parents out there, fertilizing may not be on the top of your mind. But when it comes to your Monstera, fertilizing is important and will help you keep your plants healthy, vibrant, and growing strong. Think of adding fertilizer like adding all the servings of fruits and vegetables with a stack of vitamins to your own diet.
So does your Monstera need to be fertilized? The answer is yes. You should be fertilizing your Monstera at least once a month with a balanced houseplant fertilizer diluted to half strength. But be careful! Too much fertilizer can burn the foliage of your Monstera Deliciosa.
There are lots of different fertilizer options out there. Plus, you’ll need to know when, how, and why your Monstera needs to be fertilized. So I’ve made it super simple for you and put all the answers in this article. Keep reading to understand everything you need to know to keep your Monstera healthy and happy.
Why Monsteras Should Be Fertilized
Monsteras can grow very large, even in an indoor setting. Sometimes reaching up to 6-8ft tall, depending on the size of the pot, lighting conditions, and access to nutrients.
Most potting soil is fortified with nutrients, so initially, houseplants can gain what they need from that. But after 6-12 months of residing in the same pot and soil, Monsteras deplete all the available nutrients and run out of what they need to thrive.
Outside in nature, plants have access to these nutrients from rainwater and the expanse of the forest floor. But, inside your sunroom, these plants must depend on you for this aspect of their well-being.
You may have heard that fertilizer is food for your plants, but it is more similar to vitamins than food. Plants use photosynthesis to convert sunlight, gases, and water into their food. But they still need nutrients from the soil to be strong and healthy, and this is why the fertilizer is so important.
Monsteras are pretty tough plants and can rebound if neglected. But you’ll need to stay on top of its nutrition if you want this beautiful plant to thrive for years to come. Adding a high-quality plant fertilizer to your Monsteras will give you great returns in a healthy, life-loving plant.
When To Fertilize Your Monstera Deliciosa
As mentioned above, your Monstera is going to use up the nutrients stored in your potting soil. So, replenishing these nutrients with a quality fertilizer is essential for the longevity of the plant.
For an indoor Monstera, knowing when to fertilize is pretty simple. It tends to grow the most during the Spring and Summer, so these are the months we want to feed it more often.
Typically in these fast-growth months, feeding your plant with fertilizer should be done every two weeks to once per month. Once it starts to get a bit colder and your Monstera enters its dormant state, you will not want to fertilize the plant.
What Fertilizer Is Best for Monsteras
For a good, high-quality fertilizer, you need to have the right mineral content for the particular plant you are feeding. The three most important are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
While these three ingredients are needed in the largest quantities, others are important as well, just in smaller doses. These include magnesium, calcium, and sulfur.
You will often see the main three represented on a container listed as the N-P-K ratio (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in that respected order). This ratio will usually be listed in a series of three numbers, such as 10-12-14. In this example, this fertilizer would be 10% nitrogen, 12% phosphorus, and 14% potassium. The rest of the 64% would be made up of all the secondary minerals in smaller quantities.
All plants need these essential minerals, but different plants will require different ratios to stay in tip-top shape. For a full foliage type plant like the Monstera, typically, a 20-20-20 liquid fertilizer is going to be best to achieve optimal health. This balanced mix of the main three encourages healthy, strong growth.
Note: While Monsteras Deliciosas will rarely produce any fruit indoors, a higher phosphorus level fertilizer ratio of 15-30-15 may encourage blooming in outdoor plants.
Personally, I use liquid fertilizer for most of my houseplants, Monsteras included. My favorite is Jack’s All-Purpose 20-20-20 Houseplant Fertilizer. I always dilute the fertilizer to half strength, per the instructions on the package. Remember, you can add more fertilizer, but you won’t be able to take away.
How Often to Fertilize Monsteras
Monsteras should be fertilized between every two weeks and once per month during their growing season. The growing season occurs during the warm months of the year and is from early spring to early fall for most of us.
In the late fall and winter, when growth has slowed down, and the plant is dormant, you should not fertilize your plant. Because your plant is in a hibernating sort of state, it won’t be able to process the fertilizer effectively, and too much fertilizer could burn and damage its roots.
Using Compost to Fertilize Monsteras
Another option for fertilizing your Monstera is to use all-natural compost, such as worm castings. This is going to mimic much more closely what the plant would get outside in its natural environment.
Typically, a plant outside will gain its nourishment from other plant matter decomposing on the surface of the ground. And of course, worms and insects aerating and enriching the soil with their droppings are a big part of the natural fertilization process.
Buying and using compost to feed your Monstera is the closest you can get to convincing it that it’s living outside. One of the best types of compost to use is going to be an all organic worm compost.
It’s very easy to use compost as your food of choice. Simply apply once or twice a year, depending on the plant’s health. Layer ¼ to ½ inch on top of the soil, work it in slightly with your fingers and give it a good watering. The worm castings will start to enrich your soil and will, in turn, feed your Monstera.
A Quick Warning on Over-Fertilizing Monsteras
There is definitely such a thing as too much fertilizer for your Monstera. Keep in mind that too much compost can burn houseplants, and so you shouldn’t apply more than that once or twice a year.
There are also a couple of signals coming from your plant that you are over-fertilizing. If your leaf tips turn brown, you are either watering inconsistently or fertilizing too often.
Another sign you need to hold off on the fertilizer is if a white, chalky substance forms on top of the soil. This is a buildup of fertilizer salts, and you need to wait a while before fertilizing again.
If you have reason to believe that you’ve added too much fertilizer to your Monstera, flush it as thoroughly as possible. Do this by taking it to the sink or shower and letting the water run through the soil and out the drainage hole in the bottom of the planter. This will remove the leftover fertilizer from the soil and should keep it from doing any more damage to the plant.
Monsteras can grow to be huge. But indoors, they need a little bit of help from us. If we continue to give them the nutrients they need and mimic their natural environments, they will grow into monster Monsteras and be with us for years and years to come.