For some reason, a lot of people think that only outdoor plants need fertilizer. However, indoor plants like your Monstera need fertilizer too, in order to get the nutrients they need to flourish.
In the wild, Monstera plants get their nutrients from the soil as leaf and plant litter decomposes on the forest floor. Those grown as houseplants, though, may need some help from you to get the nutrients they need. Fertilizing your Monstera plants regularly ensures they have the essential nutrients needed to perform photosynthesis and thrive in an indoor environment.
This is why it can really help to know things like when and how often you should fertilize your Monstera, how to avoid over fertilizing your Monstera and more, so you can learn how to choose and apply the right fertilizer for your Monstera plant.
Does my Monstera need fertilizer?
Your Monstera needs fertilizer at least once a month during active growth, with a balanced fertilizer mixed to 1/4 strength. Monsteras are not heavy feeders, though, so pay close attention to your Monstera’s growth rate and health and give it a boost of nutrients when they are needed.
All plants need nutrients to grow and thrive and your Monstera is no exception. That’s why semi-regular feeds will help keep your plant at its best.
What fertilizer is best for Monstera?
Monstera plants need a balanced fertilizer and thus ideally you should use a fertilizer labeled with NPK 20-20-20. This means there is 20 percent nitrogen (N), 20 percent phosphorus (P), and 20 percent potassium (K) in the fertilizer. This is a balanced formula because it contains an equal amount of the three essential nutrients.
That is, the best fertilizer for Monstera is a balanced fertilizer, which is one where the three numbers listed on the plant formula should be approximately the same. These numbers, called NPK, tell you the percentage of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in the formula.
While the 20-20-20 fertilizer is best for Monsteras, other formulas, such as 10-10-10 or 5-5-5, provide a balanced formula, too, although are weaker than the 20-20-20 formula. What that means to you is that the application rate will differ to compensate for the relative amount of the essential nutrients, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in the formula.
Look for a formula with an NPK balance that is the same or nearly the same. For example, a formula of 3-2-3 is nearly balanced and can be used if you have difficulty finding one with equal percentages of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
Houseplant spikes with a formula of 13-4-5 are not balanced as they contain too much nitrogen for you Monstera plants. Using fertilizer with a high amount of nitrogen may produce lush, green foliage, but your plants may suffer without adequate amounts of phosphorus and potassium.
What’s the best liquid fertilizer for Monstera?
The best liquid fertilizer for Monstera plants is one that contains a balanced formula. Ideally, you should use a 20-20-20 liquid fertilizer but you can also look for another one with an NPK ratio that is equal or nearly equal, such as 10-10-10, or 5-5-5.
There are several good options to choose from. Consider these liquid fertilizers for your Monstera plants.
- Espoma Organic Indoor! This has an NPK ratio of 2-2-2 and is made from natural ingredients like manure, bonemeal, and kelp.
- Miracle-Gro Indoor Plant Food: This formula is also balanced with an NPK ratio of 1-1-1. It is not an organic fertilizer.
- Miracle-Gro All Purpose Plant Food: This formula is nearly balanced with an NPK of 18-18-21. If you have extra all-purpose plant food leftover from other gardening pursuits, you don’t need to buy a special Monstera fertilizer formula as this one is suitable, too. It does need to be mixed with water before applying it though.
How often should I fertilize Monstera?
Monstera plants tend to grow slowly and as such are not heavy feeders. They are perfectly content with fertilizing once a month from spring until fall. They do not need fertilizer during the winter when they enter dormancy and their growth slows down.
Monsteras will let you know when it is time to resume giving them fertilizer. When you see the first signs of new growth in the spring, begin your monthly fertilizing routine again.
When should you fertilize Monstera?
Monsteras need fertilizer when they are actively growing. New growth begins in early spring and continues until fall. In the fall and winter, your Monstera plant enters dormancy, and its growth slows down. Monstera plants do not need fertilizer during the fall and winter.
Your Monstera will need a boost of nutrients in the spring when a burst of new growth appears. Give it fertilizer once a month from spring until fall.
How do you put fertilizer on Monstera?
Most people choose to use liquid fertilizer on Monsteras, which is very easy to do. This simply involves diluting the fertilizer to ¼ of the recommended strength and pouring it directly on to your plant’s soil.
Monstera plants are not heavy feeders and flourish on less than the amount of fertilizer typically recommended for houseplants. That means you will need to use less fertilizer than the directions call for regardless of the type of fertilizer you choose to use.
How you put fertilizer on Monstera plants depends on the type of fertilizer you are using. Use these tips for applying fertilizer to your Monstera plants.
How to add liquid fertilizer to your Monstera
Liquid fertilizer comes in a bottle or container and needs to be mixed with water. Some come premixed.
- Water your Monstera plant the day before applying liquid fertilizer, so the soil will be moist (just don’t overwater your Monstera beforehand). Fertilizer applied to dry soil may burn or damage tender roots.
- Mix the fertilizer to ¼ of the recommended strength for your Monstera plants.
- Apply it with a watering can or glass by pouring it directly onto the soil.
How to add granular fertilizer to your Monstera
Granular fertilizer is solid and looks like tiny bits of colored gravel. This fertilizer dissolves gradually in the soil.
- Sprinkle the granules over the top of the soil and mix them into the top 2 to 3 inches of the soil, using the recommended application rate as a guide. Use ¼ the amount of granules recommended for houseplants.
- Water your Monstera plant until water runs freely through the bottom of the pot. Watering helps to release the nutrients into the soil.
- Empty the saucer or catch basin under your plant.
- Resume your regular watering routine. Nutrients from the granular fertilizer will dissolve with each watering supplying your Monstera plant with the nutrients they need to thrive.
How to add plant spike fertilizer to your Monstera
Plants spikes are designed to slowly release plant food for your houseplants. But, they do pose the risk of over-fertilizing your Monstera plant, especially if you use them too frequently. If you choose to use plant spikes in your Monstera plant, watch it carefully for signs of over-fertilization.
- Select the appropriate number of plant spikes for the size of your plant pot. For Monstera plants, you will want to use ¼ the recommended number for houseplants to avoid over-fertilizing the Monstera plant.
- Make a hole in the soil in the pot with a pencil or dowel.
- Insert the plant spike into the hole so that the top of the spike rests just under the surface of the soil.
- Water your Monstera plant to begin the process of releasing nutrients to your plans.
How to avoid over fertilizing Monstera
Monstera plants need nutrients to thrive but giving them too much fertilizer can lead to problems, too. The best way to avoid over-fertilizing your Monstera plants is to dilute the fertilizer to ¼ strength. If you find your Monstera plant needs a stronger solution, you can increase the strength as it matures.
Signs you have an over-fertilized Monstera
Monstera plants are sensitive to over-fertilization, but they will let you know when they are unhappy with your fertilizing techniques. Watch for these signs your Monstera plant is getting too much fertilizer.
1. Brown leaf tips
Brown tips on the leaves that appear crispy and dry are a hallmark sign that you are over-fertilizing your Monstera plants. This is called fertilizer burn and occurs because the salts from the fertilizer pull moisture from the roots of the plant. This causes a lack of water in the plant tissues and the leaf tips turn brown.
Brown leaf tips should not be confused with brown edges on the leaves. Brown edges are often a sign of underwatering your Monstera instead. Find out more here about what to do if your Monstera leaves are turning brown.
2. White crusty soil
Fertilizers contain soluble salts. These salts can build up in the soil or form a white crusty layer on top of the soil. The crusty white layer is dried salts that have built up in the soil.
Dried salts in the soil can lead to leaf tip burn and cause damage to your Monstera plant.
3. Stunted or slow growth
It may sound odd, but too much fertilizer can stunt the growth of your Monstera plant. When you give it too much fertilizer, the salts build up in the soil lowering the pH and making the soil more acidic, explains the University of California Cooperative Extension.
If the soil is too acidic your Monstera plant cannot access the nutrients in the soil that it needs to grow.
4. Yellowing leaves
Like stunted growth caused by the inability of your plant’s root to take up the nutrients the plant needs, you may notice your Monstera leaves turning yellow due to too much fertilizer.
Types of Monstera fertilizer
There are some companies that market their products as Monstera plant food, but these formulas are not significantly different from general houseplant fertilizer. The most important thing to keep in mind when buying fertilizer for your Monstera plant is to choose a balanced formula, that’s ideally a 20-20-20 fertilizer.
All fertilizers list the ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium on the label. This is called the NPK formula and lets you know how much of each nutrient the formula contains. A balanced formula has equal (or nearly equal) amounts of each nutrient.
Formulas with an NPK ratio like 10-10-10, 20-20-20, or 5-5-5 are balanced formulas and are appropriate for Monsteras.
Fertilizer for your Monstera plant can be liquid, granular, or in the form of plant spikes.
Can I use Miracle-Gro on Monstera?
Miracle-Gro makes several plant fertilizers suitable for Monsteras. Any of these formulas are great for your Monstera plant but remember to mix them at ¼ strength for your Monstera plant.
Two Miracle-Gro fertilizers suitable for Monsteras are Miracle-Gro All Purpose Water Soluble Fertilizer (20-20-20) and Miracle-Gro Indoor Plant Fertilizer (1-1-1).
Miracle-Gro also makes plant spikes for houseplants, but the formula (6-12-6) is high in phosphorus and may pose a risk of over-fertilizing your Monstera plants with phosphorus.
Is Miracle-Gro fertilizer good for Monstera?
Miracle-Gro produces a variety of fertilizers designed for specific plants. Some of them, like the all-purpose water-soluble formula (20-20-20) and the Indoor plant fertilizer (1-1-1) are an excellent choice for Monsteras as they have a balanced formula.
Miracle-Gro’s houseplant spikes should be used with caution for Monsteras as they contain a higher amount of phosphorus.
Regardless of the manufacturer, you should look for a balanced fertilizer for your Monstera plants and avoid those where the nutrients are unbalanced.
Can I fertilize my Monstera with coffee?
A few coffee grounds can be beneficial to your Monstera plants as coffee grounds contain nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, but don’t overload your plants with coffee. Specifically, a teaspoon of coffee grounds sprinkled over the soil once every 4 to 6 weeks is beneficial to houseplants.
Use caution when feeding your Monstera plants with coffee grounds as coffee grounds can increase the acidity of the soil. If the soil is too acidic, your plants will not be able to access the nutrients they need to thrive. Check out our article on the best soil for your Monstera to see just the right acidity range for your plant.
Is Baby Bio OK for Monstera?
Baby Bio may help your Monstera develop lush foliage, but possibly at the risk of your Monstera developing weak stems and roots. Because healthy stems and roots are needed to keep your Monstera healthy, it is best to avoid any formula (including Baby Bio) that is high in nitrogen and lower in the other nutrients.
That is, Monsteras prefer a balanced formula like 10-10-10 or 20-20-20 with equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. The formula called the NPK formula is listed on the container of all fertilizers. Baby Bio has an NPK formula of 10.6-4.4-1.7. That means Baby Bio is high in nitrogen and lower in phosphorus and potassium.
Formulas high in nitrogen promote foliage growth and help maintain the rich green color of leaves. Potassium keeps the stems strong and helps the plant grow. Phosphorus helps keep roots healthy and helps to fight diseases. All three nutrients work together to make your Monstera flourish.
A balanced formula promotes healthy foliage, strong stems, and a well-developed root system. Avoid fertilizers that are higher in one nutrient than the others.
Is Osmocote good for Monstera deliciosa?
There are several types of Osmocote fertilizers available. While some Osmocote fertilizers are ideal for your Monstera plant, others are not. For example, Osmocote Flower and Vegetable has an NPK ratio of 14-14-14 making it an excellent Monstera fertilizer ratio.
To determine which formulas are suitable for your Monstera plant, check the NPK ratio listed on the container. In particular, look for a Monstera fertilizer ratio that is balanced. The ideal Monstera fertilizer NPK will have numbers that are the same or nearly the same.
Are eggshells good for Monsteras?
Eggshells are a great source of calcium and calcium helps plants build strong cell walls. Calcium is a trace element in the soil needed for healthy growth. Your Monstera will still need a reliable source of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium found in plant fertilizers, too.
Adding eggshells to your care routine for your Monstera plants may give them a growth boost. Here’s what you need to do to prepare eggshells for your Monstera.
- Wash the eggshells with warm water to remove any traces of raw egg.
- Lay them out to dry on a paper towel or soft cloth. You can leave them overnight to make sure they are completely dry. Alternately if you are in a hurry, pop them on a baking sheet and dry them in the oven set to the lowest temperature.
- Place the dried eggshells in the blender and grind them until they are the consistency of coarse salt or coffee grounds.
- Store the powdered eggshells in an airtight container such as a canning jar.
- Sprinkle the top of the soil with ½ to 1 teaspoon (depending on the size of the plant pot) of powdered eggshells.
- Work the eggshell powder into the soil with your fingers.
- Repeat once or twice a year to give your Monstera plants some added calcium.
Do Monsteras like 20-20-20 liquid fertilizer?
Monstera plants love a balanced fertilizer like 20-20-20. Whether the fertilizer is in the liquid form or granules doesn’t really matter as long as it is dissolved into the soil. Many plant lovers prefer Monstera liquid fertilizer because it is easier to apply.
But keep in mind that Monsteras need a diluted solution of fertilizer. Mix the solution to ¼ the recommended rate on the container.
For example, Miracle-Gro’s Indoor Plant Food is a liquid fertilizer with a ratio of 20-20-20. Its application rate is 4 pumps of fertilizer to one quart of water. You should mix your solution to ¼ this amount or 1 pump per quart of water.
Can you make homemade Monstera fertilizer?
There are many varieties of Monstera fertilizer. Homemade houseplant fertilizers may do the trick and keep your Monstera healthy and happy. Try this recipe from Bob Vila.
- Fill a clean gallon container with water.
- Add ½ tablespoon of baking soda.
- Measure and add ½ tablespoon of Epsom Salt. You can buy this in the hardware store. Do not use Epsom Salt sold as foot or bath salt of it has added ingredients like dyes and fragrance.
- Pour in ½ half teaspoon of plain household ammonia. Do not use scented ammonia or ammonia that contains additives.
- Mix the solution and allow it to sit for at least 30 minutes so that everything dissolves properly.
This homemade plant food can be applied to many houseplants without further dilution; however, you will want a weaker solution for your Monstera plants. Mix one cup of the solution with one quart of water to use for your Monstera plants.
Fertilizing your Monstera plant is important to good plant care, but there are some things you need to keep in mind. Monstera plants are light feeders and only need fertilizer once a month from spring until fall and don’t need any at all in the fall and winter when the plant is dormant.
In terms of the best fertilizer for Monsteras, they like a balanced fertilizer, but don’t need it full strength. When fertilizing your Monstera plants give them Monstera fertilizer 20-20-20 or a similar formula mixed to ¼ the recommended application rate.