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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 growing your plant in a 2 to 5 gallon pot (8-20 liters) for at least 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 fine-grade orchid bark, and 2 parts perlite, with some slow-release fertilizer mixed in.  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 tend to glue themselves to the pot.  First, give the soil a thorough watering 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 probe, which you can buy inexpensively at garden and hardware stores. 

 Growing indoors -- Grow your plant indoors, unless it doesn't freeze in your area, in which case you can grow it outside.  The plant can handle a wide range of temperatures, but it's happiest between about 65-85 degrees F (18-29C).  If the humidity drops below about 40% indoors, consider using an ultrasonic room humidifier, from a home improvement store or thrift shop.

Training your plant -- Your plant will want something to climb on, like a wall/ceiling, a trellis, etc.  The plant holds on by using its long, dangling aerial roots, which adhere very strongly.  It may be hard to pull the aerial roots away from its support, so keep this in mind when choosing a spot for it.  I've pulled the paint off my walls trying to remove the roots!  You may cut off the aerial roots if you wish, and tie the plant to its support. 

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

Light -- Monstera does best with bright light, but not much direct sun, unless it's weak sun.  The leaves may 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, following the dosage on the package.

 If an older leaf turns yellow, it may be a sign that the soil is too dry down in the root zone, which you can check with a moisture meter probe.  If you are certain the root zone is moist, 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 email me. 

Enjoy your plant!

- Jeff

Strange Wonderful Things

 

 
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