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Turquoise Puya

 

Variegated Monstera

Variegated Monstera deliciosa var. Borsigiana

Caring for your plant

 

Pot size -- A permanent home for a full-sized plant would be about 10 gallons (40 liters), but smaller plants may be grown in smaller containers.  I recommend starting your plant in a 1 to 2 gallon pot (4-8 liters) for a few months before moving it to a larger container.  Use a pot with drainage holes. 

Soil -- Monstera likes well-draining soil that's high in organic matter.  A typical mix is 3 parts potting soil to 2 part perlite, pumice or coarse horticultural sand.  An alternate mix is 2 parts of coir fiber or peat, 1 part small-grade orchid bark, and 2 parts perlite.  If you tend to overwater your plants, add extra perlite to your mix.

Transplanting -- The plant may be hard to slide out, since the roots are adhesive and can glue themselves to the pot.  First, water the soil and wait 15 minutes for it to soak in well.  If the roots stick to the pot, try squeezing the sides and bottom of the container while gently pulling on the stem.  If that doesn't work, you may need to cut the pot apart with scissors or a box cutter blade.  Wear leather gloves if you do this, and be careful!

 After repotting, don't pack the soil down - simply water it.

Watering -- Monstera likes soil that is evenly moist, but not constantly saturated.  Don't let the pot sit in a tray of water.  If you tend to overwater your plants, use a moisture meter

 Growing indoors -- Grow your plant indoors, unless it doesn't freeze in your area, in which case you can grow it outside.  It can handle a wide range of temperatures, but it's happiest between about 65-85 degrees F (18-29C).  If it seems to suffer from low humidity indoors, consider using an ultrasonic room humidifier, sold at home improvement store and some thrift shop.

Supporting your plant -- It will want something to climb on, like a wall/ceiling, a trellis, wires, etc.  It holds on by using its long, dangling aerial roots, which adhere very strongly and may damage surfaces if removed.  Keep this in mind when choosing a spot for it.  You may cut off the aerial roots if you wish, and tie the branches to their support.

Pruning -- The plant can eventually grow 15+ feet vertically and horizontally if left unpruned, however you may cut it back to any size you wish.  It will form side shoots from below where you prune.

Light -- It does best with bright light, but not much direct sun, unless it's weak sun.  The leaves might burn if exposed to too much sun, so its best to filter it through a curtain, shade cloth, etc.

 If the new growth becomes too "white" for your tastes, you may be able to encourage more green coloration in future leaves by reducing the light intensity.  Conversely, if the leaves become too green, increasing the light intensity may encourage more white in future leaves.  It may take a few leaves for changes to become evident.

Fertilizing --  Monstera likes moderate amounts of fertilizer and does not need a lot of fertilizer to be happy.  Feed about every 4 months with a general-purpose fertilizer that contains micronutrients.  Follow the dosage on the package.

 If the older leaves turn yellow, it's often a sign that the soil has been too dry down in the root zone, which you can check with a moisture meter probe.  If you are certain the roots have been moist enough, the plant may need more fertilizer, particularly nitrogen.  Keep in mind that it's normal for the plant to shed an old leaf occasionally.

Pests to watch for -- Look for any bugs that can affect your other houseplants, such as Scale (little brown disks on the stem or leaves), aphids, spider mites (tiny "dots" under the leaves), mealybugs, and fungus gnats.  Try insecticidal soap first before using harsher chemicals.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. 

Enjoy your plant!

- Jeff

Strange Wonderful Things

 

 
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