When you think of houseplants, chances are the Monstera is the first to come to mind —it's that trendy. It’s easily the most recognizable houseplant out there, but when it comes to the actual plant, what makes it so great? 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, but it's time to talk about why this popular plant might be a bit overrated. Plant expert Raffaele Di Lallo of Ohio Tropics weighs in on why they may not be worth it.
Meet the Expert
Raffaele Di Lallo runs the plant care company Ohio Tropics. He is a plant blogger and author of the upcoming book Houseplant Warrior.
1. Only Visually Appealing When Mature
“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,” Raffaele says. “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. Many plant websites sell Monsteras that don’t look like the leaf that everyone recognizes. Monsteras take time to grow and evolve so if you’re not into waiting, move along.
2. Not a Space-Saving Plant
“If you are short on space, these are not ideal plants,” Raffaele says. “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 adds
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, big sunny corner if you want to watch your Monstera grow and grow.
3. Time-Consuming Upkeep
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. If you use a moss pole to support your Monster, you need to keep it moist at all times so that the air roots of the plant will start to latch onto it. 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 completely. If this is putting you off to Monsteras, go and buy a pothos, they’re much easier to maintain.
4. Variegated Monsteras Aren't Affordable
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.