You can grow Monstera outdoors, be it Monstera deliciosa, adansonii, siltepecana, standleyana, acuminata, or any other species. But you should first ensure you meet the necessary growth conditions.
Learn more on Monstera outdoor plant care, including USDA hardiness zone, temperature, watering, humidity, fertilizer, and so on. We will also talk about moving this plant outdoors during warmer months.
Monstera is a genus with over 45 plant species that belong to the arum family Araceae, native to tropical America and surrounding islands.
It grows as hemiepiphytes in the neotropical rainforests. Hemiepiphytes have two growth phases, i.e., terrestrial (ground) and epiphytic (on other plants). Baby or seedling and juvenile Monstera grow as a terrestrial creeper or climber and in the mature stage as an epiphyte.
Many Monstera species are lovely houseplants treasured in the temperate region for their entire juvenile and huge split or fenestrated mature leaves. The most popular is Monstera deliciosa, followed by M. adansonii. Others are M. siltepecana, M. obliqua, M. lechleriana, M. dubia, M. Peru, etc. The list is endless.
All parts of the Monstera plant are toxic or poisonous to cats, dogs, or even humans. Why? Because they have sharp, insoluble needle-like calcium oxalates that will cause severe pain, burning feeling if chewed. Also, expect swelling, difficulties in swallowing, loss of appetite, drooling, etc.
That said, fully ripened Monstera deliciosa fruits are edible and safe. They have a sweet taste that resembles a mixture of pineapple and banana.
Monstera outdoors growth and care requirements
You can grow Monstera outdoors in pots/containers or on a raised bed if you live in favorable weather conditions. Unlike indoors, these plants will grow larger outside. Also, they may mature and even have flowers and fruits.
Here are the growth and care requirements:
1. USDA hardiness zone
Monstera USDA hardiness zone is 10b to 12. These plants are not frost-hardy and cannot withstand freezing temperatures. Only those in these zones can grow them outdoor all year.
Some of the regions you can grow Monstera outside in the US include some parts of Florida and California. Also, these plants grow in Hawaii.
You can grow these plants outside America in tropical and subtropical regions and warm temperate zones that don’t experience frost or freezing conditions.
2. Temperature and humidity
As tropical plants, Monstera will appreciate a warm and humid area. So long as temperatures don’t go below 35 °F (1.7 °C), you are good to go. However, lower temperature means slower growth.
These plants will grow best for humidity at least 40% to 50% or more. You can help raise it by misting them. Other ways to increase humidity include:
- Placing water-filled trays around the plant
- Growing them together with other plants.
In the wild, they receive dappled light from tall rainforest canopies. At home, you need to provide similar light. So, grow them under a tall tree or shade. Also, you can have shade clothes or a greenhouse.
On the other hand, no direct sunlight. Why? Your Monstera will suffer from sunburn – leaves will look washed out or faded, there will be brown tips and edges, and so on. See more on Monstera light needs – what kind and how much.
4. Best soil
The best soil to grow your Monstera should be high in organic matter, well-drained, aerated and slightly acidic to neutral in pH.
Well-drained, loamy soils are ok. But if they seem heavy or don’t drain well, add some gravel or perlite. Also, you can add some compost.
Avoid sandy, heavy, or compacted soils. They may cause root rot.
These plants need medium watering. Water them when the top few inches of the soil feel dry. How often depends on your conditions. It can be daily or after a few days.
We water when our moisture meter (XLUX) reads three or less If you want to buy it, go for the one with a long probe.
If you want lush leaves and a healthy plant, you must feed your Monstera. You can use liquid or granular (pelleted) slow-release balanced fertilizers. We prefer liquid, and you can add them to water.
Fertilizing once a month if you use liquid fertilizer is ok. For slow-release, follow what manufacturers say.
Last but not least, we recommend applying fertilizers when you see your plant adding new foliage or growing actively.
Use sterilized gardening shears to cut dead, diseased, or damaged leaves. Also, you can cut a few branches if you want to control growth and plant size. Never cut more than 25% of the plant at any given time.
Do you grow your Monstera outdoors in pots? Then you need to repot them just as you do to indoor ones.
These plants require repotting yearly or when rootbound when young and growing fast. Once they reach the desired size, do it after 2 to 3 years, unless they are rootbound. Use a pot a few inches larger in diameter.
These plants are climbers and will not reach maturity stage unless given a place to climb. Also, giving a stake means larger, split, or fenestrated leaves.
You can use a cedar or bamboo pole or even an arbor. If grown under a tree, let it climb on the tree trunk. Walls or fences are also an excellent place to climb. But you must train these plants to climb.
Moving your indoor Monstera outdoors
Not everyone is fortunate enough to live in areas where they can grow their Monstera plants outdoor all year. If you are one of them, you can still move these plants outside in the summers. But you need to know how to do it.
Here is how to do it:
- Wait until temperatures are at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10°C). Below this temperature, your plants won’t grow much. So, there is no point in bringing them outside.
- Do it gradually: Since they need to acclimate, do it gradually, i.e., start by bringing your plant outside for a few hours and gradually increase the time over the next 7-10 days. It will give your plants time to adjust. After five days, you can let them enjoy one or two hours of the early morning sun.
- Have a shade: Just because you are taking your Monstera outside doesn’t mean you sit it on direct sun. Instead, put them under a shade or get filtered light. Avoid direct sun except for early morning and late evening sun.
- Adjust water needs: Your plants may require more water outdoor. So always check when the top 2-3 inches of the soil is dry and water them.
- Mist them if you have low humidity: Mist your plant if your hygrometer tells you the humidity is very low. But people along the West Coast, Midwest, Southeast, and Northeast have enough humidity in summer, and misting may be unnecessary. Still check it.
- Move plants in during thunderstorms: It is ok to let your Monstera out during gentle rains. But if you see signs of thunderstorms, move your plant inside to avoid leaf or stem damages.
Be mindful of pests
Monstera pests like scale, thrips, spider mites, whiteflies, fungus gnats, or mealybugs are more prevalent outdoors than indoors. So, we recommend you regularly check for any signs and start treatment.
Signs include dots or bumps (the bugs), especially on the underside that may move or not, silvery stippling, holes, brown, yellow, or black spots, webbing, honeydew, sooty mold, wilting, yellow leaves, and so on. The exact symptoms will depend on the pests present.
Common problems and possible causes
|Yellow leaves||Overwatering, underwatering, low humidity, and nutritional deficiencies|
|Brown tips and edges||Too much light, low humidity, underwatering overfeeding,|
|Leaves curling||Underwatering, low humidity, or too much light|
|Leaves drooping||Underwatering, overwatering, root rot, too much light, heat stress, and low humidity|