Monstera is one of the most popular indoor plants. But despite being low-maintenance, there’s one care detail that can make the difference between a thriving and a struggling houseplant: the type of pot you choose.
In this complete guide, we’ll explain how the kind of pot you use for your Monstera can affect its health and development and how it can make caring for this plant easier.
Plus, we’ll provide essential tips on choosing the best pot for Monstera plants, and which ones to avoid. Ready to find out more? Then let’s start with the basics.
5 Features To Look For in a Monstera Pot
The ideal plant container should be both functional and aesthetically pleasing. In addition, it should provide your plant with the right growing conditions by facilitating drainage, providing stability, holding enough soil, and giving the roots room to grow.
Here are the five features to keep in mind when choosing the right pot for your Monstera.
Drainage is the most important feature of any Monstera pot. This plant does not like having ‘wet feet’ or sitting in constantly damp soil. Without drainage holes, all the water will build up at the bottom of the pot, keeping the roots wet and leading to problems such as root rot.
The pot material, size, and looks are all negotiable, depending on your environment and preference. However, giving your Monstera a pot with drainage holes is a must.
The size of the pot depends on how old and big your Monstera plant is. A correct-size pot will help support this plant’s rapid growth rate. However, a container that’s too small or too large can cause several problems.
For example, If the pot is too small, your Monstera will become pot-bound, and the roots will come out through the drainage holes. A small pot can also cause issues such as stunted growth and underwatering. A larger pot for your Monstera plant is recommended.
But if your Monstera pot is too big, the soil won’t have enough time to dry out between waterings. As a result, the soil at the top may feel dry to the touch, but it can be soaking wet at the bottom. This makes it difficult to determine whether you need to water your Monstera and can lead to accidental overwatering.
Here’s a simple rule you can use to find the right container size for your Monstera. Pick a pot that leaves one inch of space on either side of the root ball and two inches of space between the roots and the bottom of the pot.
As the name suggests, Monstera plants can grow long, thick stems and monster-sized leaves. A mature Monstera deliciosa or borsigiana can reach a height of over 7 feet (2.1) meters indoors, with leaves almost 2 feet (60 cm) wide.
Meanwhile, species like Monstera adansonii, M. obliqua, M. epipremnoides, and M. esqueleto will need support to climb on to maintain their iconic leaf fenestrations.
These plants can become very top-heavy once they start climbing. To prevent them from falling over, you must provide your Monstera with a pot that can provide some stability.
The material your Monstera pot is made from is almost as important as drainage. It will affect your watering schedule, the stability of the plant, root aeration, and overall plant health. Plastic, terracotta, and glazed ceramic are some of the most popular choices.
We’ll take a closer look at pot materials in a bit, but not before mentioning one last — but by no means unimportant — pot feature.
Looks are subjective, and the color and patterns on your pot won’t impact how the plant grows. But Monstera are gorgeous houseplants and need a planter that can complement their beauty.
Once you find a pot that suits your plant’s needs, feel free to shop around for a container or cachepot that matches your home decor.
What Material Is Best for a Monstera Pot?
Plastic, terracotta, and glazed ceramic are the most common materials for plant containers.
Each pot material has advantages and disadvantages that you should consider when deciding which pot to use for your plant. Here’s a breakdown to help you choose a pot.
Plastic pots are a popular container choice for Monstera. They’re cheap, versatile, and lightweight; they don’t break if you drop them and help preserve soil moisture.
However, a plastic pot will need more stability for a tall, top-heavy Monstera.
It also provides little insulation from the cold and may become brittle if kept in the sun for too long.
If you tend to overwater, the non-porous nature of plastic means that your plants will be more vulnerable to root rot.
Unglazed terracotta pots are both beautiful and affordable. They’re 100% recyclable, which makes them more eco-friendly than plastic. They also provide better insulation for the roots, help keep the soil aerated, and offer stability for large, mature plants due to their heavy weight.
Unfortunately, the porous nature of terracotta can be both a blessing and a curse for your Monstera.
A terracotta pot can wick too much moisture from the soil, leaving your plants thirsty and underwatered.
As it absorbs salts and minerals from the water, it will develop white stains on the pot walls. In some cases, the pot can also start growing mold. And if it falls off a shelf or if you drop it, the pot is guaranteed to break.
Glazed ceramic pots combine the pros and cons of plastic and terracotta. They offer stability for tall plants and insulate the roots, and although they’re made from clay, the glazing prevents the pot from wicking too much moisture from the soil.
Plus, they come in spectacular shapes, designs, and colors.
However, a glazed ceramic pot does not provide the same level of soil aeration as terracotta.
If you don’t use a well-draining potting mix, the combination of porous clay and exterior glazing can keep the soil too soggy for a Monstera. And, although versatile, they’re also the most expensive container option.
The main problem with ceramic pots is drainage — or lack of. Most glazed ceramic pots don’t have drainage holes at the bottom, so you should never plant your Monstera directly in them.
Instead, you can put your plant in a plastic or nursery pot, and put that pot inside the ceramic one. Or, if you’re handy with a drill, you can use a diamond drill bit to create a drainage hole at the bottom of the pot.
Choosing The Best Pot For Your Monstera
Now that you know which features to look for and the difference between different pot materials, it’s time to put your knowledge to good use by picking the right pot for your Monstera.
Deciding which pot to buy will depend on your growing conditions, watering habits, and plant size. Let’s take a closer look.
Best Container For Repotting Your Monstera
On average, you will need to repot a Monstera once every two years or when you start seeing the roots come out through the drainage holes.
The new pot should be one size bigger than the current pot or have a top diameter that’s 2 inches (5 cm) wider.
Best Pot If You Tend To Overwater
If you tend to water your Monstera too often, try planting it in a terracotta pot. This material wicks out excess moisture and provides better soil aeration, which can help reduce the risk of root rot.
Best Pot If You Tend To Underwater
Use a plastic pot if you’re a busy gardener or simply forget to water your plants occasionally. Monstera prefers lightly moist soil, and this material can prevent the roots from drying out too quickly.
Pots For Cool and Low-Light Rooms
Like most tropical indoor plants, Monstera grows best in a warm environment and bright indirect light. It will grow slower in a dark room, which means that it will need less water. Also, the soil takes longer to dry out in a cool room.
To prevent any root health issues, try using a terracotta pot.
Pots For Homes With Low Humidity
Monstera plants love humidity. Try using a plastic pot if your home is a bit dry or if the humidity is below 40%. This material will preserve soil moisture for longer, which can also help increase the humidity around your plant.
Best Pot For a Large Monstera Plant
Your best choice for large Monstera plants is deep pots made of terracotta or glazed ceramic. These containers are very heavy, especially when filled with soil.
However, this will provide stability for big species such as Monstera deliciosa and all its variations, including Brazilian Common Form, Thai Constellation, Aurea, Albo-Variegata, or Mint Monstera.
Pot For Trailing Monstera
A trailing Monstera is not too picky about the type of pot you use. You can plant it in a plastic hanging pot, a basket lined with coco fiber, or a terracotta pot. However, remember that clay and ceramic pots may be too heavy to hang and can break if they fall off a tall shelf or windowsill.
Pot For Climbing Monstera
If you’re using sphagnum moss or coir poles, the planter for your Monstera needs to be heavy enough to prevent the plant from falling over.
Terracotta, ceramic, and even concrete pots are all excellent choices. If you want to use a plastic pot, try keeping it in a decorative mask or cachepot to give it more stability.
Best Pot For Outdoor Monstera Plants
Outdoor Monstera plants grow in very different conditions compared to indoor plants. They get more light, but they also need more water and may even experience problems due to strong winds and wildlife.
Terracotta is the best pot material for outdoor use. It provides stability, which means that there are fewer risks that the wind, pets, or wild animals will knock down your Monstera pot.
In humid climates, where the water in the soil takes longer to evaporate, terracotta will also wick out excess moisture and increase airflow to the roots.
However, plastic pots are the better choice if you live in a hot, dry region or if you’re keeping your Monstera in a sunny part of the garden. They prevent the soil from drying too fast and reduce the need for frequent watering.
If you want to give your plant some stability, you can use glazed ceramic pots instead of plastic.
How To Pick The Right Pot Size for Monstera Cuttings
The easiest way to propagate all Monstera species is by rooting cuttings in water. Once the roots are at least 2 inches long, they’re ready to transplant into the soil.
The challenging part is finding the best pot size for your baby plants. Their roots are not yet big enough to absorb a lot of water, and they can easily rot in a pot that’s too big.
If you have small-leaved Monstera cuttings, use a 3 – 4 inches in diameter pot.
For large-leaved cuttings, such as Monstera deliciosa or Monstera Albo, go for a 5 – 6 inches wide pot.
Always use plastic pots or nursery pots for transplanting your rooted cuttings. This material retains moisture better and will help the cuttings transition from water to soil.
Which Pot Types Are Bad for Monstera?
Not all containers are created equal, and some can have a negative impact on the health of your Monstera plants. Here are four pot types to avoid and one you should be careful of using.
1.) Self-Watering Pots
The soil for Monstera plants needs to dry out slightly between each watering. If you use a self-watering pot, the bottom of the soil will stay wet for too long, leading to root rot.
Also, remember that the correct way to water your Monstera is from the top, not the bottom. Top watering helps flush out excess fertilizer salts and provides aeration to the roots by dislodging anaerobic soil pockets.
A self-watering pot or a container with an attached tray does not facilitate this, so your plant’s health will suffer.
2.) Shallow Pots
A Monstera plant needs lots of room for healthy root development.
Shallow pots need to provide more space for their vigorous growth. If you have a tall Monstera plant or if you’re using a sphagnum moss pole, a shallow pot will not provide enough stability, and your plant may topple over.
3.) Pots That Are Too Small
If your pot is too small, it will restrict the growth of your Monstera by strangling the roots and limiting water and nutrient availability. Also, the soil in the pot will dry out faster, which means that you’ll need to water your plant more often.
4.) Containers That Are Too Big
A pot that is too big keeps the soil wet for too long. This will make your Monstera more susceptible to root rot and other fungal diseases. Wet soil can also become a breeding ground for houseplant pests, especially fungus gnats.
Special Considerations When Using Cachepots
Cachepots or decorative masks are a great way to elevate the looks of your Monstera container. However, they can also become a moisture trap, and create future health problems for your plant.
To use them correctly, always buy a cachepot at least ½ an inch wider than the plastic or nursery pot. This ensures a gap between the two pots, especially at the top.
The difference in size will allow the excess moisture to evaporate and prevent condensation between the plastic pot and the cache pot.
After watering your Monstera, always let the plant pot drain for at least half an hour, then put it inside the cachepot. Otherwise, the water will simply build up at the bottom of the cache pot.
Does Monstera Like Being Rootbound?
No. All Monstera species have large, fast-growing root systems. If they stay in a pot that’s too small for too long, they will struggle to absorb enough water and nutrients. Their growth will become stunted, and they will slowly start dying.
Always repot your Monstera once every two years.
Can You Trim Monstera Roots if They Don’t Fit in the Pot?
You can, but it’s not recommended. Pruning your Monstera’s roots can shock it, especially if it’s a young plant.
If you’re a beginner gardener, it’s safer to simply repot it into a larger container. Or, if you have some experience with houseplants, you can use a sharp, sterilized blade and trim about a quarter of the outer roots.
Should You Put Rocks at the Bottom of a Monstera Pot?
No. Contrary to popular belief, adding small rocks or pebbles at the bottom of a pot will not improve drainage.
The excess water will simply accumulate in the bottom layer of the soil. This will create a very wet, anaerobic substrate that promotes fungi and bacteria growth, leading to root rot.
Davin is a jack-of-all-trades but has professional training and experience in various home and garden subjects. He leans on other experts when needed and edits and fact-checks all articles.