Say the word houseplant to someone and I bet you $100 that the plant that comes into their mind is the Monstera—it's that trendy. It’s easily the most recognizable houseplant out there, but is it really that special? The Monstera leaf is printed on clothing, bedding, wallpaper, and jewelry. It’s everywhere. But when it comes to the actual plant, what makes it so great? Why is everyone constantly talking about it? Sure, the leaves are gorgeous, especially as they get bigger, but couldn’t that be said for a lot of other kinds of houseplants?
Personally, I used to love Monsteras. I have two Monstera deliciosa, two Monstera adansonii, and a Monstera peru. They come in all different varieties, but for we're going to focus on the most recognizable one—the Deliciosa. And what is today’s purpose? Well, I’m here to break the news do you: Monsteras are a bit overrated. Plant expert Raffaele Di Lallo of Ohio Tropics agreed with me on why they may not be worth it.
Meet the Expert
Raffaele has an amazing plant collection and knows what he’s talking about when it comes to caring for them, which is why I was interested in his opinion on Monsteras. He came up with 5 great reasons why the Monstera may be a little bit overrated.
1. “If you lack patience and buy a young plant, this is not the plant for you!”
“The main reason that most people seek this plant out is because of the gorgeous fenestrations (holes and slits) that form on mature plants. Juvenile plants will have pretty boring, nondescript, solid, heart shaped leaves,” said Raffaele. “As the plant grows and matures, the new leaves will have more and more fenestrations, but depending on growing conditions and how mature your initial plant is, it can potentially take years! If you want instant gratification, purchase a mature plant.”
Raffaele couldn’t be more right. I’ve seen so many plant websites selling Monsteras that don’t look like the leaf that everyone recognizes. I’ve seen friends who have purchased them think they’ve been sent the wrong plant! Monsteras take time to grow and evolve so if you’re not into waiting, move along.
2. “The plant will take up a lot of space.”
“If you are short on space, these are not ideal plants,” said Raffaele. “Sure, you can purchase a small plant, but over time they will get very large, so it's important to consider the mature size when situating it in your home. Plants can get several feet tall, and fairly wide. My own plant is about 6 feet tall and over 4 feet wide,” he added.
I’d have to agree. My two Monstera Deliciosas are absolutely massive and they just keep getting bigger and bigger. One of them is even tied up to the leg of our breakfast bar to keep it from tipping over. You definitely need a nice and big sunny corner if you want to watch your Monstera grow and grow.
3. The upkeep of a mature Monstera is time consuming.
Listening to Raffaele made me think of a few points myself, and one of them is about the upkeep of a mature Monstera. Once Monsteras get to be a certain size, you have to start staking them up or else the pot will get too heavy or unbalanced and fall over. Most people will use a moss pole. If you use a moss pole correctly, you need to keep it moist at all times so that the air roots of the plant will start to latch onto it. If you don’t have the time for that, you can do what I do, which is use plant velcro that you can buy online to attach the plant to the pole This can take a lot of time and as the plant grows more and more leaves, you may have to add to the pole or replace it all together. If this is putting you off to Monsteras, go and buy a pothos, they’re much easier to maintain.
4. “Variegated Monsteras cost a fortune.”
Making a great point, Raffaele continued, “Sellers are charging an arm and a leg for variegated Monsteras like the 'Albo variegata' and 'Thai Constellation' because of the beautiful, yet irregular and unpredictable, coloration of the leaves. Small plants and cuttings are selling for hundreds of dollars. Larger plants are selling for much more. For the cost of a single cutting, you can acquire quite a few other plants that are just as easy, if not even easier, to grow. The prices of these plants are absolutely insane.”
5. It’s almost too trendy.
For many people building a houseplant collection often starts with picking the trendier plants to add to it. However, at least for me, as my plant collection grew, I wanted to find some more unique plants and let’s face it, the Monstera is anything but unique at this point. Yes, they’re absolutely beautiful and I’m sure they’ll continue to be popular, but there are so many other great plants out there that haven’t become famous on social media yet.