This is the story of my journey from monstera envy to becoming mother of monsteras. In six months I went from no monstera plants to having more than twenty. This post lets me reflect on all the ways I went wrong and ended up with a certifiable case of plant hoarding!
My mum had a monstera (aka that 70’s staple of home decor the swiss cheese) plant in the 80s that grew to such monstrous proportions that it became the stuff of childhood legend. I remember watering it attentively until it outgrew our house and she sold it for the princely sum of £15.
Fast forward to last year and monsteras were everywhere but I still didn’t have one. And this despite my house acting as a ‘staging post’ for plants between PlantSwap events and crowding every surface. Monstera are just so impressive that I was on a long time hunt for one but so far none had crossed my path.
That is until idly browsing eBay I find a listing for, ‘Large chees plant’ [sic]’.
I thank the gods of eBay for the spelling mistake and the rubbish photo and watch it like a hawk. It is hard to tell what condition it is in but I can see a large pot and a mass of stems and leaves that look green and healthy so it is worth the gamble. I buy it for a fiver.
The journey to collect it is something of an epic trek, as was trying to slide it into the back of my car horizontally without harming any of its beautiful leaves.
How to tame a monstera?
We get it home and I inspect it.
It is very large that much is true, but it has also seen better days. It has lost a lot of leaves so it is a mess of sinuous twisting stems ending in a few large, dramatic leaves.
I think about it and on where it will live and decide the best thing to do is a radical prune.
Pruning a monstera
I have to be brave and steel my nerves. It feels criminal to cut off its biggest and most beautiful leaves but as these are at the end of long gnarly stalks it seems to the only option. Every cut and snip it feels like I am killing my beautiful baby.
Now I make my first small step in my slide into plant hoarding…. I start researching propagation. And amazingly monsteras seems exceptionally easy to propagate although as is the way of the internet, the advice is both helpful and contradictory:
- some people swear by rooting them in soil, others that water works best;
- an old house plant book recommends a heat pad, more recent blogs imply that’s unnecessary,
- there is a lot of confusion as to whether it is essential, desirable or unnecessary to have aerial roots on the cutting you are trying to root.
I have so many sections that I can try multiple methods to see what works best. The largest leaves still attached to stems I repot as medium sized plants in their own right. I then cut the long stems into short lengths and pot them up in water and some in soil.
How many monsteras is too many?
And this is how I end up with 24 monsteras in my tiny terrace house that is already overflowing with four kids, a partner and a cat and more plants than you can shake a stick at!
Not all my monsteras are monsters though. I have a lot of baby leaf stem cuttings but even their pots take up a surprising amount of room. So much so that they now inhabit the stairs as well as every window sill and bookshelf.
My biggest issue are my mid-sized plants that are just so beautiful that I can’t bear to get rid of them but they continue to grow and throw out new leaves apace.
Mother of Monsteras
Meanwhile Mama Monstera is happily ensconced on top of my washing machine and has lots of vigorous new growth. I completely repotted her and she seems to have forgiven me for the drastic prune.
The additional greenery is very welcome and makes up for what is lacking in decor; our downstairs currently resembles an experiment in brutalist interior design. Incidentally, I am seriously hoping for concrete walls as the next designer trend to save me from having to decorate.
So that is how I became mother of monsteras. The children complain that I love my plants more than them; I remind them that I don’t have favourites and love all my children both human and plant equally!
The secret of propagating monsteras?
Tell me about your plant hoarding tendencies. How many plants do you have? Have you ever ended up living in a jungle of your own creation?
Also, if folks would be interested I’ll post a how-to and other advice from my adventures in monstera propagation! Let me know in the comments if this is something that you would find useful.