Hi there! This month's chosen plant is a Monstera Deliciosa, and has been paired with a beautiful hand painted pot by @potsbysammy. Once you have received your package and unpacked your plant, there are some things you need to know to help keep your plant healthy!
Since the plants have been in transit, they may arrive slightly droopy or sad-looking. This is nothing to worry about, and normal for a plant that has been in darkness for a while. After you have taken it out of the packaging, place your Monstera in bright indirect light for a couple of days to give it some time to recover. It will spring back in no time. Avoid placing the plant in direct sun straight away as you will burn or shock the plant.
As for watering, check whether the potting mix is dry by inserting a finger down into the soil to the second knuckle. If it feels dry, give it a good drink, making sure that the water drains out and doesn’t pool inside of the cover pot. If it feels moist, let it sit for a day or two until you water.
How Do I Keep it Alive?
The Monstera Deliciosa is a super rewarding and hardy plant from the Arcaceae family. The plant is native to Mexico and Panama making it an ideal plant for the warm and tropical Australian climate.
For the light requirements, I have seen established Monstera grown in anywhere from full sun to deep shade, however I would recommend keeping it in light shade and it will thrive. If you have the plant inside, place it near a window. If you have it outside, somewhere where it is sheltered from the majority of the days sun is great. A little bit of morning sun is fine, though. Sometimes too much light can cause the leaves to turn yellow and develop burnt patches.
The Monstera Deliciosa, like to be kept moist but not wet. As an indoor plant this means watering around once a week, but this is variable depending on its growing conditions. If watering is a difficult issue for you, a handy tip is to pick the same day each week to water, and each time before you water, check if it's still moist first. Use cues such as touch (insert a finger into the soil... is the pot heavy?), vision (does it look wet?) and smell (does it smell damp or like rot?) to determine whether you need to water.
They don’t mind drying out for a short period of time every once in a while, but can’t recover once the roots have rotted from being too wet. This means that if you’ve followed all the cues and are still unsure whether or not to water, leave it. I have found by trial and error that it’s easier for indoor plants to recover from underwatering than overwatering.
The time to fertilise your Monstera is the growing season, which is the warmer months. There are two options when it comes to fertiliser.
The first option is a slow release granular fertiliser, which I like to use. It's easy, as one application can last anywhere from 6 to 12 months. However if you have young kids or pets around you don’t want colourful fertiliser sitting on top of your pots for a long time as they might eat it. The second option is a water soluble fertiliser. Although it has to be applied more often, it is fast acting and shows results quicker. Add this into the water when you water your plants, following the labels instructions.
As for pests, the main pests you will see on your Monstera are sap-sucking bugs such as scale and mealybug. These tiny critters can be taken care of by spraying with a pest oil or neem oil from your local nursery. Keep a close eye on your plant as Australia’s humid summer is where pests thrive.
I wish you the best of luck with caring for your new plant baby! If you have any questions or plant problems, feel free to give us a buzz at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you!