How to Repot a Monstera Plant in 6 Easy Steps
Does your monstera plant need repotting? Whether it's to move them to a bigger pot, or a cleaner pot, repotting a monstera is a straightforward process. In this article, gardening expert and houseplant enthusiast Madison Moulton walks through how to repot your monstera in six simple steps.
The Monstera genus is one of the most beloved in the houseplant community, featuring several favorites that have become staples in any indoor plant collection. They have large, tropical heart-shaped green leaves that even come in variegated colors that look great in any space.
Almost all varieties of Monsteras are hard to kill, but they are living plants that have basic needs to keep them thriving. The key to maintaining the stunning leaves of these plants is the correct care, particularly when it comes to repotting.
If you think your Monstera may need repotting but you’re not sure how to get it right, follow these six essential steps to repot your Monstera. With a new container and some extra love, your Monstera will be thriving year after year.
We’ve made a video walkthrough of how to repot a Monstera for you to watch. Sometimes watching it helps to better understand each step! After you’ve watched Madison repot her Monstera, continue on and read more about the six steps she takes to keep her plant healthy and happy.
Monstera is a fascinating genus of plants known for their stunning foliage with large heart-shaped leaves. Originating from the tropical forests of Central and South America, they love warm weather and tons of humidity.
Although this makes them tricky plants to grow outdoors in many climates, it does mean they are ideal houseplants, grown indoors where conditions can be controlled. Monsteras can also be easily propagated, regardless of the variety.
This genus contains several interesting species, the most well-known of which is Monstera deliciousa, or Delicious Monster. They are also commonly known as Swiss Cheese Plants due to the holes and splits in their leaves. This phenomenon is known as fenestration and only occurs in a handful of plants – just one of the reasons why Monsteras are so special.
If you’re a houseplant lover, chances are you have more than one of these indoor gardening favorites in your home. The large leaves can fill spaces with ease and instantly add a tropical feel to your space. It’s no wonder the Monstera leaf has become the botanical motif of interior design prints around the world.
They are also not too fussy when it comes to growth, as long as their preferred conditions are met. And one important aspect of Monstera care, especially in younger plants, is repotting.
Why Repotting is Important
All plants, including houseplants, are not designed to grow in containers. There are some plants that may fair better than others in this restricted space, but that doesn’t mean conditions are ideal.
Plants’ roots are continuously growing and expanding to support the growth of the plant above the soil line. In their native habitats, these roots have plenty of room to travel both outwards and downwards with little restriction. Planting in containers greatly limits the space the roots have, affecting growth and overall health dramatically.
Monstera plants don’t mind being slightly confined. This can even encourage better growth early on. However, they will eventually run out of space, with roots circling the bottom of the pot and looking for gaps for new growth.
Once the roots start circling the bottom of the pot, they become restricted, unable to grow further or find space to spread out into. Their capacity to absorb water and nutrients also becomes limited. If the conditions are not resolved, the plant will stop growing and will ultimately die.
That’s where repotting comes in. Giving your Monstera a new pot will provide that much-needed space for the roots to expand outwards. It also gives you a chance to refresh the potting soil which disintegrates over time, no longer able to hold onto moisture or added nutrients.
Repotting is best done in spring for quick recovery and new growth. However, if your plant is struggling, repotting sooner out of season may be better than waiting.
Four Signs It’s Time to Repot Your Monstera
Some eager plant parents like to repot their plants as soon as they bring them home. Others forget about the task completely until it is too late. A fine balance between these two extremes is needed to limit the chances of transplant shock and spur growth.
Young plants that are in perfect condition and growing quickly will likely need repotting annually. However, once the plant matures, you can generally wait two or three years before repotting again.
It’s best to look out for signs your plant needs repotting rather than following a schedule. This will prevent any unnecessary growth problems, catering to your Monstera’s needs at just the right time.
Look out for these few signs indicating your Monstera is ready for some more space.
Roots Growing Through Drainage Holes
The first sign to look out for and one to act on immediately is roots growing through the drainage holes. This indicates the roots have used up the available space in the container and are looking for new areas to spread to.
This is a problem for several reasons. Not only will this impact root growth, but these roots can also block the drainage holes. This can cause waterlogging and root rot.
As mentioned before, root growth below the soil translates to leaf and stem growth above the soil. So, if your Monstera stops putting out new leaves suddenly, it may be time to repot.
Stunted growth can also be caused by incorrect environment and care, such as overwatering or cold temperatures. But if the plant is in the right area and has previously been growing successfully, look to repotting to resolve the problem.
If the roots are struggling below the soil for long periods, you will begin to notice signs of a problem in the leaves. Yellowing is one of these signs, along with browning leaf edges. The lack of space, and the inability to absorb water and nutrients, lead to discoloration in the leaves.
Again, these issues can be caused by a long list of concerns, so make sure you can identify the cause before you consider repotting. A new pot when the plant is already stressed can lead to further growth problems.
After a few years of growing in the same container, the soil quality of your potting mix will begin to decline. As it disintegrates, it will not retain as much moisture as it used to and will flush any added nutrients quickly from the bottom of the pot.
If you notice the soil drying out quicker than usual after a few years, or if your fertilizer is not having the desired effect, your Monstera needs a soil refresh.
Materials You’ll Need
When the time for repotting comes based on these signs, you’ll need a few items to get started. Gathering everything you need and preparing well is essential, as you don’t want to leave the roots of the plant exposed to the air for too long.
The first thing to look for is – of course – a new pot. Although you may want to see impressive growth from your Monstera, it’s best to choose a pot only one size up, or two sizes for younger plants. Excessively large pots hold onto moisture in the areas the roots have not expanded to, leading to fungal growth and rotting.
You can choose any container material, but moisture-wicking ones like terra cotta are best for preventing root rot. The most important characteristic of the new container is drainage. It should have plenty of drainage holes to stop the roots from sitting in water and rotting.
Finally, you’ll need a new potting mix. A lightweight houseplant potting mix is essential for strong growth. You can buy premixed bags online or you can make your own using this easy recipe:
- 2 parts high-quality potting soil
- 1 part perlite
- 1 part coconut coir (or peat moss)
Have your soil mix ready to go so you can quickly transfer the plant to the new container. This limits the times the roots have in contact with the air, lowering your risk of transplant shock.
If you want to trim the plant, you’ll also need a sharp pair of shears. And if you want to add supports to the new containers, such as a stake or moss pole, get that ready too before you start.
Six Steps to Repot a Monstera
Now that you’re properly prepared, Monstera plants can easily adapt to a new pot. They can even grow larger and healthier in a new home. Follow these six steps if your plant is experiencing any of the four possible reasons it would need to be repotted. Let’s take a look at each step!
Step 1: Prepare Your Container
Before you even look at the plant that needs repotting, prepare the new container first. Fill the bottom layer with the new potting mix, measured so that the soil line in the new container will be the same as it was previously.
You can add pebbles to the bottom of the pot to stop soil from escaping from the drainage holes. However, make sure those pebbles are not blocking the holes in any way.
Step 2: Remove the Plant From Its Pot
Next, bring in your Monstera and get ready to remove it from its container. Depending on the size of your plant, this can be tricky. For larger Monsteras, it’s best to lay some newspaper on the floor and turn the plant on its side to gently pull it out. Smaller plants can simply be pulled from the base.
If there is any resistance, squeeze the sides of the container to loosen the plant before removing it. Always pull from the base, never the leaves, to avoid damaging the plant.
Step 3: Tease the Roots
Once removed, you’ll likely see a mass of roots at the bottom of the plant circled around the container. These need to be released so they can expand outward and not around when planted in their new container.
With your fingers, gently release the roots, removing some of the old soil as you go. This is also a chance to monitor soil health and look out for any signs of disease or rot.
Step 4: Tidy Up and Support (Optional)
This next step will depend on the look of your plant, its growth habit, and its age. If your Monstera is getting too large and you want to contain its growth, you can trim the roots back with a sharp pair of shears. This will also make it easier to plant in the new container.
Make sure you don’t remove too much of the root ball at one time as this will lead to shock, which can be a challenge to repair. You can also trim any damaged leaves above the soil to promote new and healthy growth.
If you want to add support, this is also the right time to do it. Placing the support before you plant avoids any root damage later on and allows you to adjust your chosen support until it’s in a perfect position before planting.
Step 5: Start Replanting
Gather the teased roots and lower the Monstera into the new container. Hold the base with one hand so that the soil line is an inch or two below the rim of the pot. Then, fill in the gaps around the sides with more houseplant soil mix until the plant is secure.
Don’t fill all the way to the top as this can cause soil to spill out the sides of the container when watering. Press down gently to anchor the plant in place, but not so firmly that the soil becomes compacted.
Step 6: Water
With those steps complete, all there is left to do is water your Monstera. This removes any large air pockets and encourages the roots to settle and begin expanding. Place your plant back in the same spot it was previously and watch over the next few months as new leaves unfurl.
Now that you’ve repotted and watered your Monstera, treat it as you would any other Monstera. Repotting has many benefits and your Monstera will appreciate a fresh container. Just follow the six simple steps outlined above and your plants will be happier than ever in their new home!