No matter what type of monstera plant you have at home, you’ll need to apply fertilizer to keep it healthy. Since monstera plants are relatively slow-growing and rarely produce fruit in a home setting, they don’t require a lot of fertilizer, but they will suffer if you leave them without nutrients. This article will cover everything you need to know about when and how to fertilize Monstera plants successfully at home.
- Fertilizing Monstera Plants – The Essentials
- Why Monstera Plants Need Fertilizer
- What is Fertilizer Made Of?
- Signs Your Monstera Plant Needs Feeding
- Do all Monstera Plants Typically Need Fertilizing?
- How Often Should You Fertilize Monstera Plants?
- Things to Consider When Fertilizing Montera Plants
- The Best Fertilizer for Monstera Plants
- Fertilizing Monstera Plants FAQ:
- Everything You Need to Know About Growing Monstera Plants:
Fertilizing Monstera Plants – Key Takeaways
Feed your Monstera plant with a 1/4 diluted balanced liquid fertilizer with an equal NPK value, or one slightly higher in nitrogen for strong leaf growth monthly from April through September. You can also use a slow-release fertilizer applied once per season to release nutrients into the soil over time. Only apply the recommended amount to avoid overfertilizing and damaging the roots and leaves.
Why Monstera Plants Need Fertilizer
Plants make their energy from water, carbon dioxide, and the sun. However, they also require nutrients to help them complete necessary processes and build structural compounds.
In nature, nutrients continue to cycle through the ecosystem. In the soil, they turn into a plant-available form and are taken up by plants. However, houseplants are generally planted in an inert material such as peat or perlite that contains no nutrients. Even if you use a soil mix containing compost or nutrients, plants will eventually use these nutrients and require fertilizer.
Plants require 17 different plant nutrients to thrive but need different amounts of each nutrient. All plants require large quantities of three elements known as macronutrients. These are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). When you see three numbers listed on a bag of fertilizer, this refers to the amount of N, P, and K.
For example, a fertilizer with 5-15-5 on its label contains 5% nitrogen, 15% phosphorus, and 5% potassium by weight. While a fertilizer with a 10-30-10 label will contain the same ratio of nutrients, it contains more of each nutrient.
Plants also require smaller doses of micronutrients as well as trace elements.
Common Types of Fertilizers
Along with being concerned about the nutrients in the fertilizer, you should also take note of the fertilizer type. The form of fertilizer you choose impacts how you should apply it and how fast it becomes available to plants.
Liquid fertilizer typically comes in a concentrated form that needs to be diluted with water. Once it is diluted, you can then apply it to the soil or the plant’s leaves.
Solid fertilizer is mixed into the soil or sprinkled on top of the soil’s surface. Solid fertilizers are often available in powder or granular form.
Fertilizer spikes slowly release nutrients over a period of time. It’s important to note that while these spikes make it easy to apply nutrients, they also decrease your control over nutrient application.
What is Fertilizer Made Of?
Fertilizers can be made from a wide variety of materials. To help understand these materials, it’s helpful to break fertilizer down into organic and synthetic.
Organic fertilizer is made from materials that are naturally occurring. Some materials commonly used in organic fertilizers include composted manure, rock dust, bone meal, blood meal, and seaweed.
Organic fertilizers tend to be slower-acting and lower in nutrients than synthetic fertilizers.
Synthetic fertilizer is produced in a lab. Examples include ammonium phosphate, ammonium nitrate, and potassium chloride.
These fertilizers may be quick-release or slow-release.
Signs Your Monstera Plant Needs Feeding
If you notice any of the following, it may be a sign that your monstera needs fertilizer.
Lack of Growth
If your plant is receiving enough light and water yet isn’t growing, it might not have access to enough nutrients (your monstera may also need repotting).
Yellowing or drooping leaves can indicate a wide variety of problems, including too much water, not enough water, and a cold environment. However, they can also be a sign that your plant needs a dose of fertilizer. If all of your plant’s leaves are slightly yellow, it’s more likely to need fertilizer.
Do all Monstera Plants Typically Need Fertilizing?
Monstera plants aren’t heavy feeders, so you don’t have to fertilize them often.
How Often Should You Fertilize Monstera Plants?
Before adding fertilizer to your monstera plants, it’s essential to understand when and how often to fertilize. While fertilizer will help plants grow, applying too much can harm plants.
You should apply fertilizer when your plants are actively growing and avoid fertilizing when they have slowed their growth. This means you should only apply fertilizer from April through September in the northern hemisphere.
As most liquid houseplant fertilizers are diluted, with nutrients made immediately available to the plants, there is no need to start fertilizing in late winter to prepare for spring. Once the temperatures increase and the soil warms outdoors, you can begin fertilizing indoors.
Most liquid houseplant fertilizers suitable for Monstera plants are applied once every 4-6 weeks, which can be stretched to 8 weeks for slower-growing plants in low-light conditions. Slow-release fertilizers are slightly different as they dissolve in the soil over time, usually only applied once per season.
The exact timing will depend on your chosen product and its concentration. Some lower- concentration fertilizers can be applied as often as every two weeks, while others require longer waiting times to avoid salt build-up in the soil.
Things to Consider When Fertilizing Montera Plants
Remember that not all fertilizers are created equal, and too much fertilizer will have negative consequences.
Too Much Fertilizer
If you apply fertilizer too often or apply an undiluted form, your monstera will be negatively affected.
Signs of too much Monstera fertilizer include brown spots or yellow leaf edges, or stunted growth. Another indicator that you may be applying too much fertilizer is the presence of a crust on the soil surface, which is salt buildup from fertilizer.
Wrong Type of Fertilizer
If you use the wrong type of fertilizer, you’re not supplying your monstera with the nutrients it needs. This can lead to excess nutrients and a deficiency of other nutrients.
The Best Fertilizer for Monstera Plants
Now that you know why monstera plants need fertilizer and when they need it, it’s time to understand what fertilizer is best.
Monstera plants benefit from fertilizer designed for houseplants. Look for a product that contains a similar amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Acceptable ratios include 1-1-1, 2-4-2, 3-2-3, and others.
Both liquid and solid fertilizers can provide excellent results. It’s best not to use fertilizer spikes since these can lead to problems with overfertilization.
No matter what fertilizer you use, make sure to dilute it. It’s better to under-fertilize your plants rather than over-fertilize them.
Ready to Use Monstera Fertilizers
Fortunately, there are many great ready-to-use fertilizers available for monstera plants. Any of these products will provide your monstera plants with the nutrients they need.
- Jack’s All-Purpose Fertilizer (20-20-20): I’ve had good results with several tropical houseplants indoors with this all-purpose houseplant fertilizer (from Bloomscape).
- Espoma Indoor! Houseplant Food: This is an organic, liquid fertilizer (via Amazon) with an NPK ratio of 2-2-2. It also contains several beneficial bacteria that help make the organic nutrients available to plants.
Blending Your Own Fertilizer
While you can mix to make your own monstera fertilizer, it’s generally recommended (and a lot easier) to buy a pre-blended fertilizer. Since monstera plants don’t need a lot of fertilizer, it also makes sense to buy one product rather than three or four you have to mix.
Fertilizing Monstera Plants FAQs:
Should I fertilize my Monstera?
Monstera plants need feeding and fertilizing to help keep them healthy. Since monstera plants are relatively slow-growing and rarely produce fruit in a home setting, they don’t require a lot of fertilizer, but they will suffer if you leave them without nutrients.
How often should you fertilize Monstera?
Fertilize your Monstera plant once per month only from April through to September each year.
Do all Monstera plant types need fertilizer?
Monstera plants aren’t generally considered heavy feeders but all types of Monstera (including Monstera deliciosa, Monstera adansonii, and variegated monstera plants) will benefit from a regular fertilizing routine during the spring and summer months.
What should I feed my Monstera plant?
Monstera plants should be fed with a balanced fertilizer comprising nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium components in either liquid or solid form.
How do I know if I’ve over-fertilized my Monstera plant?
A common sign of too much fertilizer includes brown or yellow leaf edges or stunted growth. Another indicator that you may be applying too much fertilizer is the presence of a crust on the soil surface, which is salt buildup from fertilizer.
Now that you know all about feeding and fertilizing monstera plants, you can feel confident you can provide these beauties with the nutrients they need.
Everything You Need to Know About Growing Monstera Plants:
For more on the famed Monstera plant and to learn more about how to grow and care for these plants at home, please see our guides to:
- The 12 Best Monstera Varieties to Grow at Home
- Monstera Plant Light Requirements
- The Best Soil Mix for Monstera Plants
- When and How to Water Monstera Plants
- 12 Common Reasons Your Monstera Plant Leaves are Turning Yellow
- How to Grow and Care for Variegated Monstera Plants
- Monstera Peru Ultimate Care Guide
- Monstera Plant Meaning and Symbolism
- How Fast do Monster Plants Grow?
- How Long Do Monstera Plants Live For?
- The Uses and Benefits of Monstera Plants.
- Common Monstera Plant Pests & Diseases.
- Monstera Plant Temperature & Humidity Preferences.
- Where to Position Monstera Plants in the Home
Briana holds a B.S. in Plant Sciences from Penn State University. She manages a small market garden where she grows vegetables and herbs. She also enjoys growing flowers and houseplants at home.