Monsteras are famously known for their unique gigantic leaves with decorative splits and holes.
It was used before as an excellent addition to backyard gardens. But nowadays, this climbing vine has become popular growing as houseplants.
Generally, almost all varieties of Monstera aren’t complicated to grow indoors. However, they could be a bit picky regarding the humidity level of their environment.
Monstera loves to stay in humid environments where it can preferably receive a humidity level between 40% to 60%. This might not be possible to achieve in some regions; therefore, testing the humidity level and providing appropriate humidity methods is essential in growing Monstera.
How Does Humidity Affect Monstera
Monstera originates from tropical regions where humidity levels are knowingly higher compared to what you have at home. Therefore, it is necessary to mimic the natural habitat of this plant to create the growth conditions needed for it to thrive.
Aside from the fact that Monstera naturally thrives in humid places, the best possible reason your plant loves humidity is that it helps maintain adequate water needed as it undergoes photosynthesis.
If Monstera fails to receive enough water, the stomata will close. If that happens, carbon dioxide will be blocked, hence photosynthesis will be interrupted.
Since Monstera has large leaves, it requires a generous amount of water intake, which you can fulfill by regularly maintaining its water requirement.
The best way to aid the watering needs of Monstera is by placing it in a humid environment.
How Much Humidity Does Monstera Need
Monstera will normally thrive within humidity levels above 60%. Unfortunately, your house might not have that much humidity.
But fret not, Monstera will still survive even if the humidity level drops to 40%.
It’s also advisable that you maintain a room temperature of 60 to 80°F (15 to 26°C) together with the ideal humidity level.
How to Measure Humidity in Your Home
If you’re in doubt if your Monstera isn’t receiving the required humidity, then you need to check the humidity level of your house.
Here are some of the ways on how you can test the humidity level of your house.
Ice Cube Testing
This method will not provide any measurement or exact level of humidity. But, it’s an effective method to check if your house is humid or dry.
Follow these simple procedures in performing ice cube testing.
- Prepare a glass of water and ice cubes.
- Go to the room or area where you want to conduct the test. Technically, this is the place where you grow your Monstera.
- Put four to five ice cubes in the glass of water and leave it on the table inside the room.
- Leave it there for five to ten minutes.
- Once the time’s up, check the glass. If there’s a lot of moisture formed outside the glass, then the relative humidity is high. Otherwise, if there are few or no visible signs of moisture, then the air is too dry.
- Again, this is just a good method for initial testing. If you want to have accurate results, then purchase a humidity tester to the nearest store or hardware.
A hygrometer is a humidity tester instrument that measures the humidity levels of a specific environment. The science behind this is simply measuring the amount of vapor that is present in the environment.
Most hygrometers are accompanied by built-in thermometers since temperature affects the humidity level. Click here to get one.
To give you a better insight into properly using a hygrometer, I provided a step-by-step procedure on how to use it accordingly.
- If you’re using a wall-mounted hygrometer, select a good spot where you can mount it. Preferably, place it in the middle part of the room where it can cover all areas.
- Turn on the meter and wait for a couple of minutes to allow the instrument to calibrate.
- Set the meter to humidity and select your preferred units to display.
- Monitor and record the reading every hour or two. Take note of the maximum and minimum percentage readings that you will get.
- Make sure that the hygrometer is securely mounted to avoid damages and casualties.
You have the option to use a hand-carry or wall-mounted hygrometer. There’s no difference between these two types regarding their proper usage. They only differ on how you’re going to use it.
A wall-mounted hygrometer is usually used in monitoring the humidity level of a small area from time to time.
Subsequently, a hand-carry hygrometer is used in checking the maximum and minimum relative humidity levels of larger areas.
It might be a good idea to use a wall-mounted hygrometer if you want to check if your Monstera receives the needed humidity from time to time.
Helping Monstera Deal with High Humidity
Although Monstera loves places with relatively high humidity, receiving too much of it can make your plant susceptible to pathogenic infections. This usually happens during the winter seasons.
If you find out that your house is becoming too humid, you can try the following strategies to reduce humidity.
Avoid Excessive Watering
If humidity starts to rise above the tolerable range for your Monstera, you need to minimize your watering frequency. As much as your plant loves a humid environment, too much humidity will result in too much moisture which eventually invites fungi to infest your plant roots.
Preferably, if humidity increases, water your plant only once every ten days during summer seasons and halt watering during winters.
You can also check your pot’s drainage system to ensure that there’s no water build-up happening underneath.
Improve Indoor Air Circulation
Here are some tips on how to provide good indoor air circulation for your Monstera and other houseplants.
- Avoid placing your plants near the walls. Provide some space from the wall so that air can circulate from all sides of your plants.
- Allow six to ten inches of spacing between your houseplants.
- Use a fan to let the air circulate all throughout the room. It will also prevent moisture and dampness on the leaves. However, it’s not advisable to place your fan directly on the plants. Maintain a spacing for at least one to two meters.
- If possible, install an exhaust system within the room. This will help air circulation by removing stale air and allowing fresh air and carbon dioxide to flow regularly.
Place your Monstera Near the Window
Placing your Monstera near the window will expose it from receiving an adequate amount of sunlight. This will help the plant to reduce the moisture that it gets from its environment.
Aside from getting sunlight, areas around the window have circulating air which prevents from creating an overly humid surrounding.
Monsteras like to receive bright indirect sunlight, therefore placing it in a south-facing window is a good choice. However, if you notice that the amount of sunlight is too much for the plant, then try placing it on another window or use blinds to minimize the entry of sunlight.
Apparently, this method is not effective during the winter seasons. In fact, you should remove your Monstera away from the windowpanes since cold temperatures might cause too much moisture on your plant leaves.
Use the Right Type of Soil
Generally, a combined well-drained, good aerating and moisture-retention type of potting mix is ideal for Monstera to thrive. This is also an excellent potting mix to support the plant during seasons with high humidity.
Preferably, combine perlite, orchid bark, coco chips, and coarse sand to a peat-based potting mix. In that way, it can support a modest amount of moisture while providing well-draining and good aerating capabilities at the same time.
You may also opt to add some compost to make it more organic and richer in nutrients.
Grow Lights for Monstera
If you allow an adequate amount of sunlight, humidity and plant transpiration will most likely decrease. However, this might not be met if you don’t have a good spot for sunlight or during the winter seasons. That’s where to grow lights come to aid.
In using grow lights, you need to at least mimic the color of sunlight and aim for low to medium light levels. At least 75 to 200-foot candles.
Signs Your Monstera Needs More Humidity
If you suspect that your Monstera requires more humidity, you will notice the following.
- The leaves suddenly become brittle and easy to break. Since Monstera is a water-loving plant, it can absorb much more water than what you have provided. As a result, the leaves become crispy as a sign of water shortage.
- You will also notice a sudden appearance of brown edges on your Monstera leaves.
- If you observe further, you will also see some drooping and wilting of leaves.
These are all similar indicators that your plant lacks water intake, so you might also want to check if you’re correctly providing your plant the watering frequency that it needs.
Methods for Improving Humidity Levels
If your house can’t provide the required humidity level that Monstera needs, don’t give up yet. There are still effective methods that you can try to help your plant achieve its humidity requirement.
Individually, plants produce moisture through their foliage. This process is called transpiration. Therefore, placing your plant close to each other can create a more humid environment. Group your Monstera together or combine it with other houseplants that require high humidity.
This is an effective method to increase the indoor humidity level around your plant.
Here’s how you can do it.
- Using a clean tray, fill it up with gravels or pebbles of at least an inch high.
- Pour water within the tray for at least half the height of pebbles or gravels.
- Place your pot above the gravels, making sure that the pot doesn’t directly hit the water.
- Regularly rinse the tray to avoid pathogenic growth.
This method needs no further explanation. Just simply place a humidifier about four to five feet away from your plants. This will increase the humidity levels within the room, which is needed for Monstera to thrive.
If the previous method doesn’t work, then try purchasing an indoor greenhouse for your Monstera. Just make sure that you know the size of your area before having one.
Click here to get the Indoor Greenhouse on Amazon!
Typically, a greenhouse environment has high relative humidity since the air inside is warm. The warmer the air, the more moisture it can hold.
Plants are also closely packed together in a greenhouse enclosure, therefore producing and maintaining humidity is ideal inside.
Place your greenhouse near a south-facing window where it can get a suitable amount of sunlight.
You can also add some grow lights if your place doesn’t have a spot for sunlight.
Since humidity is highly needed for your Monstera to thrive, you might consider misting as an excellent method to try. However, I highly oppose using this method for some apparent reasons.
If you’re in a high humid region, misting might cause excessive moisture to your plant leaves which can lead to pathogenic infections.
If you’re in a low humid region, misting might help a little, but it will never be enough. Hence you will need to mist your Monstera every 15 minutes to achieve the required humidity level. That’s tedious, isn’t it?
Therefore, it’s best to look for other ways, such as using those previous methods I discussed earlier.
To sum it up, Monstera definitely loves to stay in a humid environment. However, you need to set boundaries to make it stay in its ideal range. Here are some of the pointers that you need to remember regarding the humidity level of Monstera:
- Make sure that the humidity level doesn’t drop below 40%
- Use a hygrometer to accurately check the humidity level of the room.
- You can try using gravel trays, humidifiers, indoor greenhouse, or grouping methods to increase your house’s humidity level.