The Monstera genus consists of several flowering plant species. It is popularly grown as an indoor plant. However, many wish to grow Monstera outside in their gardens or yards. Hence, the question is, can the Monstera plant grow outside?
This article will discuss the possibilities of growing Monstera outside, some tips on keeping the Monstera alive, common mistakes people make when growing them outside, and more.
Can Monstera Live Outside?
Monstera is a tropical plant species found in the tropical rainforests of Central and South America, along with some of their surrounding islands.
The first ever Monstera to be found, and the most common Monstera is the Monstera deliciosa. The Monstera deliciosa was discovered in the late 17th century by the French royal botanist Charles Plumier. The Monstera plants were introduced to Europe and soon became beloved houseplants.
However, there is some confusion on whether you can grow Monstera outdoors. The simple answer is yes, it can. Be it the Monstera deliciosa Monstera adansonii, Monstera epipremnoides, variegated Monstera, or any other plant of the aroid plant family; they can live and proliferate outside.
Below are some conditions to grow Monstera outdoors.
USDA Hardiness Zone
The USDA hardiness zone represents different geographical areas, each with its average minimum temperature.
The USDA hardiness zone map is used by plant owners to research and understand the suitable areas for a certain plant to grow.
Monstera thrives in USDA hardiness zones 10b to 12. These areas experience warm climates throughout the year and are perfect for Monstera growth.
Monsteras do not tolerate frost or freezing temperatures, so if you live in colder climates, you might find it challenging to grow Monstera outside.
Temperature and Humidity
Monsteras are accustomed to a warm and humid environment in their natural habitat as tropical plants.
Monstera deliciosa does well in temperatures of 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, ad as long as the temperature does not fall below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, your Monstera is not in any real danger.
The Monstera plant prefers high humidity levels of around 70% but can also do well at a low humidity level of 40%.
The high temperature and humidity requirements are why these plants grow actively during the spring and summer and stop growing during the winter.
Monstera plants are covered in the wild with a forest canopy and only receive filtered light that passes through the leaf ceiling.
Over time, the Monstera plants adapted to do well in bright indirect light. Direct sun can harm the plants, burning the leaves and turning them brown.
Monstera does not like too much sun, unlike most outdoor plants. Hence, plant Monstera outdoors in the shade under tall trees or in a greenhouse to grow it outdoors.
Additionally, variegated Monstera, such as Monstera albo or Monstera variegata, are extremely sensitive to direct sun.
Typically, garden soil is a poor choice for the Monstera. Garden soil lacks nutrients and organic matter, causing stunted plant growth, and is not considered a well-draining soil.
Monstera plants require well-aerated soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH level of 5-7.
For a Monstera, loamy soil works best as it does not constrict root growth. Sandy or compacted soil has poor drainage and can cause problems like root rot.
Monstera plants do not require a lot of water to grow and do well with medium watering.
Watering a Monstera should be done once every week during the growing seasons (summer and spring) and once every few weeks during the winter.
Fertilizers aren’t necessary for the Monstera, but they can increase the plant’s growth rate and create healthy and thick stems.
Monstera does well with a liquid fertilizer of equal nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Additionally, slow-release fertilizers are the best choice for Monstera deliciosa and other large Monstera species.
Pruning and Repotting
Monstera species are fast growers and grow to great heights. The name “Monstera” was derived from the Latin word “Monstrum,” which means monster, and was given to the Monstera due to its large size and abnormal appearance.
If you want t control the growth of the Monstera outdoors, pruning is necessary. Use gardening shear to cut off some branches of the Monstera. These branches can be used for propagating the Monstera.
Their fast growth goes beyond sprouting new vines and leaves; they also grow adventitious roots that can pour out of the pot. Hence, if you grow your Monstera in a pot outside, you might have to repot the plant regularly.
Usually, a juvenile Monstera grows faster and needs to be repotted every few weeks, and a mature Monstera deliciosa only needs to be repotted once every two to three years.
Monsteras are a highly invasive plant species and are characterized as vining plants, a characteristic feature of the aroid plants of the Araceae family.
These vines spread out in search of light and nutrients. Additionally, the Monstera stem grows aerial roots that can attach and anchor the plant to a surface.
Unlike other plants in the rainforest, Monsteras grow on the forest floor and then on tree trunks in the wild, symbolizing their hemi-epiphytic growth habits.
In the garden, you must stake your Monstera using a moss pole, either a coco coir pole or a sphagnum moss pole. Alternatively, you can use a trellis for sturdy support.
Staking helps to grow the plant upright and helps keep the Monstera growing in a specific area. Additionally, staking the invasive species promotes the growth of the plant outside.
Moving an Indoor Monstera Outside
You might not have started growing your Monstera outside from the get-go and are only now considering moving it to the outdoor garden. You might live outside the required growth zone of Monsteras and want to move the plant outside during the summer.
To do so, you need to know when ad how to move your indoor Monstera outsides. Follow the steps below to do it.
Step 1: Wait For The Right Temperature
Do not rush moving the plant outside at the first sign of sunshine. Instead, wait for the temperature to warm to more than 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
A temperature below this will not allow the Monstera to grow and becomes accustomed to the new environment. Hence, avoid moving in nighttime temperatures.
Step 2: Take Your Time
Indoors, Monstera grows in a pot. The environment outside is unfamiliar and scary to it. Hence it needs time to get used to it.
Start by placing the Monstera outside for about two hours a day, preferably when the sunlight isn’t so harsh, and move the plant indoors if it is. Do this for at least ten days.
Once your Monstera has become familiar with the environment, you can move it to the garden, and it will thrive outdoors.
Step 3: Choose The Right Location
Before moving the Monstera, think about where you want to plant it.
Choose a location that does not receive direct sunlight for too long. You should pick a spot under a shade that receives early morning light for a few hours.
If your garden faces south, you can grow outdoor Monsteras well.
Step 4: Mist and Water
Your Monstera would require more water and humidity outdoors. The Monstera’s defense mechanism kicks in when it enters an unfamiliar habitat and goes into hyperdrive.
Hence, you need to give the monster enough water to grow. Additionally, the humidity levels vary outside, and unless in a greenhouse, you can not perfectly control the humidity. Hence, it would be best if you mist it regularly to increase humidity.
Tips for Keeping Monstera Alive Outdoors
If you are planning on growing your Monstera outsides, here are some tips to keep the Monstera alive and flourishing.
Tip 1: Provide Your Monstera with Shade
Lighting is the most important factor in keeping the Monstera alive outside. The Monstera uses light to photosynthesize and make chlorophyll. However, put the Monstera in the shade to prevent leaf burn.
You can choose a shaded area near a large tree in your garden or a shade caused by a large building nearby. If you have neither, you can create your shade by hanging a sheet above the Monstera.
Tip 2: Use a Potting Mix
As previously mentioned, gardening soil is not a good choice for Monstera. Hence, if you plan on planting the Monstera directly in the ground, we recommend against it.
Instead, use a potting mix for your Monstera. Generally, you can buy a potting mix made specifically for aroid plants, usually of orchid bark.
The potting mix has good water retention and drainage abilities and often comes with fertilizers added to the porous soil mix.
Tip 3: Bring Your Monstera Inside During the Winter
Unlike other plants, Monstera is extremely sensitive to temperature and does not like cold temperatures. If you live in an area with a very cold winter, especially one that sees snowfall, bring the Monstera inside during the winters.
Monstera deliciosa does well outside during the growing periods of summer and spring, but that’s not the case during the colder months. The same is true for all other Monstera species.
Tip 4: Use the Right Equipment
Monstera plants have specific growing conditions and are sensitive to environmental changes. Hence, you must provide them with the optimum conditions to stay alive outdoors. However, some rain monstera plants are sturdy and durable, adjusting to the environment quickly.
Using the right equipment goes a long way in keeping the Monstera plant alive. Such equipment includes using a room thermometer to measure the temperature, a humidifier to regulate humidity, a water meter to measure water levels, and a pH meter to measure the pH of the soil.
Tip 5: Know the Tricks
Not everything has to be done by the book. A good Monstera owner knows when to adjust and make use of the things he has.
If you own a Monstera plant, you already know how expensive it can get to care for them perfectly. Hence, you need to know a few tricks to keep your pockets from emptying.
One trick is to use gravel or pebbles in the soil if it’s not draining well. You can place the stones at the bottom, creating air spaces that allow water to pass.
Additionally, instead of using a water meter, you can water your Monstera by checking the top two inches of the soil using your finger to see if it is dry.
Another trick is to mist the plant using a spray bottle to maintain humidity, which is cheaper than getting a humidifier. If you feel like you would forget to mist them regularly, you can also use a moist pebble tray.
Instead of expensive chemical fertilizers, you can also use compost soil or cow dung, which works just as well.
Using antifungal soap and insecticidal soap is a good way to deal with diseases and pests like spider mites. Alternatively, you can use Neem oil to prevent pests from taking a few bites off the plant.
Common Mistakes of Planting Monstera Plants Outside
If you have grown a Monstera before or if it’s your first time, you could make many common mistakes when planting Monstera plants outside. Some of these mistakes are mentioned below.
Mistake 1: Overwatering and Underwatering
One of the biggest mistakes that plant growers make is when watering the Monstera.
Overwatering the plant can cause root rot, a fungal disease that causes the roots to deteriorate. Root Rot can be treated in the early stages by cutting off the diseased parts of the plant.
Additionally, the fungus can spread to nearby plants in the garden. Hence you need to treat it properly and dispose of contaminated soil.
You can identify root rot when you see yellowing leaves with black spots.
Similarly, underwatering the Monstera plants can cause wilting and drooping leaves, and if underwater for a long time, the Monstera will die.
Mistake 2: Improper Repotting and Pruning
When pruning the plant, you must ensure not to cut more than 20% of the Monstera at once. Additionally, pruning the Monstera should only be done during the growing seasons.
Similarly, when repotting the Monstera, most people make a mistake in choosing the plant pot. Choose a clay pot as it retains water adequately. Also, choose a drainage hole pot to avoid overwatering your houseplant soil.
Choose a pot about three inches larger in diameter when repotting with a well-draining mix.
Mistake 3: Putting the Monstera in Direct Sunlight
While plants prefer bright sunlight, too much direct sunlight does more harm than good.
Monsteras are famous for their fenestration, tiny holes in the leaves responsible for the Monstera being called the Swiss cheese plant.
However, having these fenestrations and splits in the leaves means that Monstera does not have as much chlorophyll as you would expect and can only absorb little sunlight before turning into a crispy plant.
Generally, Monstera does well with ten to twelve hours of bright indirect sunlight.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What temperature can an outdoor Monstera survive?
Monstera live outside and grow well as rainforest plants in USDA zones 10b to 12.
The Monstera thrive in temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Can Monstera live outside in cold weather?
Monsteras prefer warm temperatures and do not tolerate cold weather. Hence, do not place our Monstera outside in the cold, as the plant will die.
3. Can I put Monstera deliciosa outside?
The Monstera deliciosa plant is a part of native plants found in tropical regions of South and Central America. You can grow this plant outdoors under the right conditions.
If you live in the hardiness mentioned earlier, you can grow your deliciosa plant outsides year round. Otherwise, you can place your Monstera outside for a few hours in bright light in the early morning
My name is Daniel Elrod, and I have been houseplant love ever since I was 17. I love how much joy they bring to any room in the home. I’ve always been amazed at how a few pots of flowing leaves can turn a drab and sterile office into an inviting place where people love to work at.