Part of the appeal of Monstera Deliciosa as a houseplant is its ability to grow into a statement piece that stands out in any room. However, we don’t all have the space to let this plant grow to its full potential. Many people find that Monsteras get too big, too fast, and start to take over a room before they even know what is happening.
Monstera getting out of control? When your Monstera Deliciosa is growing too fast, you can slow its growth by restricting its access to space, light, and fertilizer. Occasional pruning also helps keep a Monstera at a manageable size. These fast-growing houseplants can become sprawling and overgrown, so they need regular attention to keep them looking their best.
Since most of us have the goal of maximum growth and productivity for our other houseplants, it can feel counterintuitive to try to keep a plant from growing. But for people with limited living space, letting a Monstera grow to its full capacity simply isn’t an option. Below I’ve put together some tips on keeping your Monstera from growing too fast, as well as how to trim it back if you need to.
How Big Do Monsteras Get?
Monsteras can get huge! In the wild, when they’re climbing up tall trees, Monsteras can grow up to 60 feet tall. They attach to tree bark with their aerial roots, which give the plants moisture and nutrients. Monstera leaves can grow to as large as 2 feet across. Larger leaves also tend to have more of the distinctive holes that Monsteras are known for.
Of course, you’re unlikely to grow your houseplant to those dimensions, but this plant still lives up to its monstrous moniker when grown indoors. Monsteras kept as house plants can grow up to 6-8 feet high with support. Typically, a Monstera kept indoors with the right conditions can be expected to grow 1-2 feet per year, making them one of the fastest-growing houseplants around.
Keeping Monsteras Small
Although Monsteras naturally grow to quite impressive sizes, this isn’t always desirable indoors for obvious reasons. Luckily, it is possible to keep your Monstera Deliciosa down to a reasonable size and stop it from taking over your home.
In general, you can keep your Monstera smaller by minimizing the things that stimulate it to grow. Monsteras grow best with bright, indirect sunlight, fertilizing during the growing period, and room for their roots to expand in the pot. There are ways to remove or reduce how much of each your plant gets, which will keep it from reaching full size.
Other methods of maintaining the desired size and shape of a Monstera include pruning the stems and leaves and staking it to promote upright growth.
Minimize Access to Light
If your Monstera is in a darker place, its growth will slow. You will probably notice your plant produces lots of new leaves in the spring and summer, but the number tapers off through fall and winter as sunlight decreases.
Simply moving your plant farther from the window can slow down a fast grower. The key to this option is to give it enough light to still be happy, but not so much that it triggers your plant to put out new leaves.
Monsteras are tolerant of low-light conditions, which is one of the reasons you see them in dark corners of homes and offices so often. Be aware that low light will sometimes prevent this plant from developing the distinctive holes in its leaves. If that is important to you, it might be better to try some of the other ideas on this list.
Reduce Available Space
When it comes to pot size, Monsteras are okay with their roots being a bit confined. Usually, they only need repotting every 2-3 years. If you are trying to keep your Monstera from getting any larger, you can repot it into the same pot instead of sizing up. That allows you to provide nutrients to your Monstera but still signals to the plant that it shouldn’t grow any further.
Make sure your plant has enough potting mix around the roots to retain water for at least a few days. If the pot is totally full of roots, the remaining soil can dry out quickly and damage your plant.
In this situation, try root pruning. Although it can be scary since we always take pains to avoid damaging our plants’ roots, they can take some rough treatment. Trimming back roots is one of the best ways to keep a Monstera in the same size pot, without harming the overall health of the plant.
Use very minimal fertilizer, or none at all, to keep your Monstera compact. Remember that some commercial potting soil mixes already contain fertilizer, so double-check that before using it on your houseplants.
You may want to fertilize your Monstera minimally to keep the color and condition of the plant in top form, but be aware that this is likely to give your plant a growth spurt.
Trim Back a Monstera Deliciosa
Trimming, or pruning, your Monstera is a good idea even if you are happy to have it get bigger. Remove any leaves or stems that get damaged or yellow to promote the overall health of the plant. You can also prune to redirect how the plant is growing, which allows you to get the desired look for your plant.
It is fine to cut your Monstera most anywhere, as it will not damage the plant. It looks most natural to cut it near where stems naturally divide, or near the base of the plant.
Monstera cuttings can be used to propagate new plants, making it easy to share with friends (see the propagation tips below). Be aware that, wherever you cut, there’s likely to be new growth from that area in the future. Pruning this plant isn’t a one-time task!
Get a Mini Monstera
If you haven’t purchased your Monstera yet and you are worried about space, there is a compact form of this plant. Monstera Deliciosa Borsigiana (also called Monstera deliciosa mini) has a maximum size of about half of the typical variety.
It can be hard to tell if you have a Borsigiana variety or just a juvenile of Monstera Deliciosa, so be sure you’re purchasing from a trusted nursery. An added bonus with the mini form is that it is more likely to surprise you with unexpected variegation.
Add Support to Your Monstera
In the wild, Monsteras grow like vines, clinging to the sides of trees. When grown indoors, they also like to have something to grow on vertically. Without some kind of support, this plant is likely to flop over or start trailing on the floor.
Your best option is to give your Monstera support by staking it with a trellis or pole. For details about the pros and cons of each type of support, plus instructions about how to stake a Monstera properly, read this article.
When you provide Monsteras with support, it promotes an upright growing habit, which keeps the plant from taking up too much of your limited floor space.
Propagate What You Clip
Creating new Monsteras from the stems you have pruned off your plant is easy. While you may not have space for another in your home, there’s probably a friend or neighbor nearby who would love to take a Monstera baby off your hands.
The best way to get a cutting that will root easily is to cut just below an aerial root or root node so that the node is included with the part you have cut off. You can then root the cutting in water or potting mix. Monstera cuttings usually root easily, with no special care needed. For more information on taking the best Monstera cuttings, click here.
Monstera Deliciosa is fast-growing and gets really big in its natural habitat. When we bring a plant like this into our homes, of course, it is going to try to behave in the exact same way. Although it takes some effort to train this plant to do what you want, there’s no denying the beauty of a Monstera as a statement piece.
Luckily, these plants are also tolerant of a wide range of conditions and will continue to look great even if they are pruned frequently or given less-than-ideal treatment. By using these tips, I hope you’re able to keep your Monstera precisely the size you want!