Monstera Growth Rates: How Fast Do Monsteras Grow?
Curious to find out how fast Monstera plants grow? These popular plants can grow quickly under the right circumstances. In this article, gardening expert Madison Moulton shares what you can expect from your Monstera, whether it's grown indoors or outdoors.
Deep in the tropical rainforests of Central and South America, you will find several plants those in the houseplant community will recognize. One of those is the famous Monstera, a fast-growing vine that adds a foot or more to its length each year.
Monstera growth rates can be improved by closely matching the conditions in their native habitats, specifically the light, nutrients, and humidity.
The variety you choose and care you provide will also impact how fast they grow. Let’s take a look at the average growth rates of Monstera plants and what you can expect when welcoming one of these beautiful plants into your houseplant collection.
About Monstera Plants
The Monstera genus contains more than 50 plant species, the most well-known being Monstera deliciosa. They all fall under the Araceae, or Arum family, collectively known for their interesting spadix blooms.
If you’ve noticed that the name monstera sounds awfully similar to monster, you’ve almost identified the Latin root, meaning abnormal or monstrous.
This name describes the massive leaves with interesting holes and splits that make these plants look unlike any other. It is also why the famous species, Monstera deliciosa, is commonly called the “Delicious Monster.”
Monsteras are ubiquitous in their native habitats and in tropical areas where they have naturalized around the globe. But, in cooler parts of the world, they are reserved for growth as houseplants, where their large, stunning leaves fill corners and make any room feel like a tropical paradise.
Types of Monsteras
Monstera is a wide genus of plants with several species to choose from. Some are rarer than others, becoming impressive collector’s items, but there are a few easy-to-find options too.
We’ve already covered Monstera deliciosa, the one all monstera lovers typically start out with. This species is also known as the “Swiss Cheese Plant” because of the fenestrated leaves, but this common name is also shared with a few other plants.
The variegated cultivar of this species is also incredibly popular, beloved on social media for its fascinating leaves. Although variegated monsteras used to be considered rare, their widespread popularity and growth have made them easier to find in recent years.
Lovers of variegated leaves will appreciate Monstera adansonii, a species with much smaller leaves but even larger holes in the foliage. This plant is often compared with the incredibly rare Monstera obliqua. Although they may look similar, the latter is so difficult to find that any plant labeled M. obliqua is probably M. adansonii.
If you’re not a fan of the holes in the leaves, you will likely prefer Monstera dubia, a vine that is covered in small heart-shaped leaves.
The mottled pattern makes this species incredibly eye-catching. Unfortunately, they can be tough to find in local nurseries, so you may have to search online or in your area to grab one.
Plants with confusing common names may be mistaken for a monstera even when they come from a completely different genus. Rhaphidophora tetrasperma is one of those, commonly known as the “mini monstera.” To make matters more confusing, it is sometimes labeled Philodendron minima, despite not being a philodendron at all.
Growing Monsteras as a Houseplant
Monsteras are native to tropical rainforests in Central and South America. As hemi-epiphytes, the vines have some roots in the soil and use aerial roots to climb trees and absorb moisture and nutrients.
In these native habitats, the vines can reach over 50 feet tall when given the space to grow. They need almost perfect conditions to achieve this impressive height, including warm temperatures and high humidity. Having a nearby structure to climb also improves the growth of these plants and prevents overcrowding.
Many Monsteras are not grown outdoors but indoors. Confined by the space of a pot, their growth is much more limited.
The inadequate environmental conditions, from limited light to low humidity and temperature fluctuations, mean the plant will not grow as well as outdoors. The leaves will also likely remain smaller, never reaching the several feet in size they can in native conditions.
However, that doesn’t mean it won’t grow impressively large within your home (a look at #MonsteraMonday on Instagram will quickly disprove that theory). Monsteras can still grow to the height of your ceiling if given the right conditions and space. They just take longer to get there.
How Fast Do Monstera Plants Grow Indoors?
Compared to some other houseplants, most monstera species are classified as fast-growers. Monstera deliciosa, in particular, regularly puts out new leaves in spring and summer and often outgrows its container.
Some species may grow slower for various reasons. For example, Monstera adansonii has less surface area in the leaves, leading to lower rates of photosynthesis and slower growth. The variegated monstera will also grow slower than the parent species as the variegated areas lack chlorophyll and don’t contribute to photosynthesis rates.
This table shows a general comparison of Monstera growth rates in the various species, giving you an idea of what to expect in ideal conditions.
|Growth Per Year
|5 – 10 inches
|2 – 4 inches
These numbers are very general estimates that may change depending on the conditions around your plant. In the right conditions, they may grow quicker, but several factors may slow growth dramatically.
How Long Does It Take Monsteras To Reach Full Size?
Given the right conditions, your monstera should continue producing new leaves every year. They should add around 2 feet to their height each year until restricted by pot size or another growth factor. If yours grows slower, reaching its full size will take several years.
Monsteras are typically considered mature after around three years of growth. This is when they may begin producing flowers under the right conditions. Their leaves also begin to split after around two or three years, so don’t worry if your young or recently propagated monstera doesn’t look quite like the mature ones.
6 Reasons Why Your Monstera Is Growing Slowly
If your plant isn’t thriving, one of these factors may be off. Fortunately, most of these issues are easy to fix!
Lack of Light
Sunlight is essential for almost all plant life and a major component in photosynthesis. The energy from the sun allows the plant cells to convert water and carbon dioxide to glucose to feed the plant and keep it alive. Lower sunlight levels than the plant’s native habitat will result in less photosynthesis and, by extension, slower growth.
Monsteras need bright indirect light indoors to grow to their full potential. This means a full day of light right next to a bright window but out of the path of the direct sun. They also benefit from a few hours of direct and gentle morning sun if the light in the later parts of the day is not as intense.
If you want your monstera to grow to its full potential, avoid areas with medium or low light. They will not grow much or put out many new leaves in these conditions. Also, don’t forget to rotate their pots regularly so each part of the plant receives equal amounts of light throughout the week.
Lack of Nutrients
Nutrients also play a vital role in plant growth, much as they do for humans. Plants need a range of nutrients in different quantities to grow successfully. A lack of any of these nutrients, even the ones required in small amounts (micronutrients), can lead to problems with stunted growth.
Lack of nutrients is rare in recently purchased monsteras. Growers typically add fertilizers to the soil to keep the plant happy for several months. Although they will grow better with the right boost of nutrients, they won’t suffer much if nutrient levels are slightly lower than usual.
However, stunted growth is certainly possible if your monstera has been in the same container for several years without fertilizer or a soil change. They will need fertilizer or repotting to return to normal growth.
When it comes to nutrients, over-fertilizing is usually a more common problem than lack of nutrients. You may think that more fertilizer will improve growth, but too much can be bad.
Excess fertilizer in the soil has the potential to ‘burn’ the roots and shock the plant, leading to stunted growth. The leaves of your monstera may become discolored soon after fertilizing, indicating a problem below the soil.
At the first signs of over-fertilizing, flush the soil with distilled water until it runs clear. Avoid fertilizing for several months to allow the plant to recover. The plant may take a while to recover from the shock before growth returns to normal.
As mentioned before, water is a major component in photosynthesis, facilitating growth. When plants lack the right amount of moisture, they cannot make more glucose to further their growth. If the problem persists, the cells will lose moisture, causing the leaves to wilt and the stems to lose structure.
Regular watering as soon as the top layer of soil has dried out will ensure your monstera grows to its full potential. The exact time will depend on pot size, soil quality, and the surrounding conditions. It’s best to check the soil moisture every few days to prevent it from drying out completely.
Too much water can also lead to stunted growth. When the roots are exposed to excess moisture that does not drain away, the roots lack oxygen, and the water encourages fungal growth. This leads to a common issue known as root rot – a death sentence if not resolved quickly.
For your monstera to grow to impressive heights, you must carefully manage watering, adjusting your schedule through the seasons and as the plant grows.
Incorrect Pot Size
Most monstera species grow quite quickly, filling out the existing space in their pots. They are happy to remain confined for a while but will eventually stop growing if there is no more room for the roots to expand. Signs of this issue include roots growing through the drainage holes and a lack of new leaves.
Luckily, there is an easy fix that will improve growth almost instantly – repotting. Give your monstera a larger pot with fresh soil, and as long as their other needs are met, they should return to normal in no time.
Follow our tutorial on how to repot your monstera if you suspect this issue is stunting your monstera’s growth rate.
Pests and Diseases
Like all other houseplants, these tropical vines are susceptible to a range of pests and diseases found indoors. Some are more damaging than others, but given enough time, all will cause growth issues in your plant.
If your plant grows slower than usual and you spot signs of damage, such as spotted discoloration or bumps on the leaves and stems, pests are probably the issue.
Plants can take some time to recover from pest and disease damage, so don’t worry if growth doesn’t pick up immediately. Pruning the affected areas can also direct the plant’s energy toward putting out new growth rather than saving damaged growth.
How To Speed Up Monstera Growth Rate
While there is no way to make your monstera grow quicker than it naturally would, providing conditions that closely match their native habitats will deliver the best possible growth. Water regularly, give them enough sunlight, and fertilize them every few weeks in spring and summer to keep the plants happy.
In the right conditions, most monstera species will grow rapidly, reaching maturity within a few years. Avoid growing mistakes known to stunt growth if you want your plant to reach max height.