If you have a small space but you’re a big Monstera-lover, the Monstera minima might win your heart. It’s a scaled-down, fun-sized version of the Monstera deliciosa, but it isn’t actually a Monstera at all. It looks very much like one, but it’s a Rhaphidophora tetrasperma.
The Monstera minima needs plenty of water and humidity, good lighting, and loose, rich soil. It won’t get as big as a Monstera, but it is a climbing plant, so make sure you give it a stake so that it doesn’t end up in a messy heap on the floor.
Monstera Minima Light Needs
A Monstera minima, like its namesake, prefers to be given bright but indirect sunlight, and it will not thrive if it is left in the dark. It is best to place the plant in a sunny room but to shield it if the sun falls on the leaves.
You can check whether this is happening by putting your hand between the window and the plant when the sun is strong. If you can clearly see the shadow of your hand on the leaves, your plant is getting too much sun and you need to either move it or put up a thin curtain to filter out some of the light.
You may also be able to tell your Monstera minima is getting too much light if it is burning. Dark spots appearing on the surface of the leaves and around the edges show that the sun is too strong for it, especially if they are on the leaves that are closest to the window.
However, your Monstera minima will not like being in the dark either. If it is putting out long, thin, leggy tendrils that stretch toward the window, it isn’t getting enough light. Relocate it, because lack of light will massively slow its growth and make the plant stressed.
It needs the sun to photosynthesize and produce energy, and without it, growth will almost stop. If you cannot provide more natural light, consider purchasing a grow lamp to put by your plant. If you do use a grow lamp, turn it off at night; your plant needs a natural period of darkness too.
How To Water A Monstera Minima
Monstera minimas like to be damp, but not sodden. For most people, watering about once a week in the summer and once every two weeks in the winter should work, but this will depend on the soil that you have used, the kind of pot, the size of the plant, and the local environment.
Always check whether your plant needs a drink before giving it one. The top inch or two inches of the soil should be fairly dry. You can check this by pushing the tip of your finger into the soil. If it feels dry, give the plant a thorough soak, until you see water running out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot.
A few hours later, tip any excess water out of the plant’s drainage saucer so that it doesn’t end up with “wet feet.” Being waterlogged isn’t good for a Monstera minima, so don’t leave it standing in water.
This is known as the soak and dry method, and it works well for many tropical plants, including true Monsteras. Use it for your minima, and it should never end up drowning.
If you have accidentally over-watered your plant, let it dry out before you next give it a drink, or its roots may start to rot. Root rot will kill a plant very quickly, so do try to avoid over-watering at all times.
How To Fertilize A Minima
If you want your Monstera minima to grow strong, fertilizer will be needed. The plant will quickly use up the nutrients contained in its potting soil, and if you don’t add more, its growth rate will plummet. It needs key nutrients to build new leaves and stems, and if it doesn’t have these, it will struggle.
You may see its leaves turning yellow and or pale if it isn’t getting enough nutrients. It’s, therefore, a good idea to fertilize your plant once a month, using a diluted liquid fertilizer. Pour this into the soil around the plant’s base, and don’t get it on the leaves or stems.
Don’t be tempted to over-fertilize your plant, however. This won’t speed up its growth and can be harmful. If you put too much fertilizer in the container, your minima’s leaves will start to turn brown and may curl, because its roots will burn.
If this has happened, put your plant in the base of your shower or bath, and rinse the growing medium thoroughly with clean, fresh water. This will wash away the excess salts and minerals. Some people do this regularly to reduce the risk of them building up to harmful levels.
Let your plant dry out, and then put it back in its normal place and see if it recovers.
If you never fertilize your minima, it will probably continue to grow, but much more slowly. It may also be more vulnerable to pests and diseases because it will be weaker.
What Kind Of Pot Does A Minima Prefer?
You can put your minima in any kind of pot, but many aroids, including the minima, prefer to be in pots that allow for plenty of airflow. Terracotta pots or orchid baskets are therefore good options because they are breathable. Plastic pots will work, but will not permit as much air to reach the plant’s roots.
Porous pots are also better because they help with drainage. A terracotta pot will allow at least some water to pass through it, reducing over-watering issues and helping to pull moisture away from the plant’s roots. Again, plastic won’t do this, so it’s easier to drown a minima that is grown in plastic.
What Kind Of Soil Should You Use?
The best kind of soil will be loose but rich. Minimas prefer to have plenty of oxygen around their roots and will struggle if they are grown in dense, heavy soil, because they won’t get enough air. Traditional potting compost isn’t ideal for one of these plants.
Instead, you should buy a mix that is suitable for aroids or create your own mix at home. You can do this by combining perlite, orchid bark, coconut coir, charcoal, and rich potting compost or some worm castings.
The majority of this mix should be orchid bark and perlite because this will provide the drainage that the plant needs. The potting compost will give your plant nutrients, but it will hold onto too much water if you put a lot in.
When you are ready to repot your minima, mix all of these ingredients and then fill a pot with good drainage holes. The pot should be a couple of inches bigger than the plant’s root ball so that the plant has room to grow. You will probably need to repot your minima once every year or two.
If you are going to put the plant back in the same pot it was in before, clean the pot and dispose of the old growing medium. If you are moving it to a larger pot, also use fresh growing medium. This reduces the risk of insects taking over the soil, and increases the nutrients available to your plant.
How Humid Does The Monstera Minima Like To Be?
A Monstera minima likes a humid world. These plants come from tropical places, so they appreciate being misted regularly. They will tolerate drier environments, but ideally, they enjoy to be kept at a humidity of around 50 percent.
You can place your plant in a bathroom so it enjoys the steam from the shower, or you can humidify the area around it in a few different ways.
The lowest maintenance option involves purchasing a humidifier and plugging it in near your plant. This will emit little puffs of humidity into the area, making the air damp.
You should turn it off after the air has been humidified, as your minima will not like being dripping wet, and this may leave it vulnerable to rot and fungal infections.
If an electric humidifier doesn’t appeal to you, a plant sprayer is a simple and cheap option but does mean you will need to spend time misting your plant every few days. You should spray the soil and the leaves thoroughly in the morning, but don’t soak them.
Many people find this a relaxing and satisfying way to start the day. Take the opportunity to inspect your plant as you mist it. Turn the leaves over to look for signs of insect invaders, and check how its new growth is doing. Look out for discoloration, loss of foliage, or other issues. If you find any problems, you’ll be able to take prompt action.
If you haven’t got time for misting by hand, a humidifying tray is another cheap option. All you will need is a shallow tray with no holes and a bag of stones or marbles. Tip the marbles into the tray, and then add water. You should stop before the water laps over the marbles.
Place the tray in a suitable location and stand your plant on top of the marbles. They will stop the plant’s container from touching the water (so it won’t get waterlogged) and as the water in the tray evaporates, it will gently mist the leaves.
It’s important to let your minima dry out frequently, so whatever method you end up using, make sure you are not leaving the plant soaking wet all the time, especially when temperatures are lower.
In general, it’s best to humidify early in the day. This will keep the leaves damp when the temperatures are high, but should mean that they are dry by evening. As temperatures drop overnight, it’s better for the plant to have dry leaves. This reduces the risk of bacterial and fungal infections.
Turn off the humidifier in the afternoon, and keep any hand-misting to the mornings, and your plant should be fine.
How Warm Should You Keep Your Plant?
Monstera minimas do not like to be cold, and in temperatures below 55 degrees F, they will suffer and possibly die. You can’t grow these plants outdoors in a cold environment, and even indoors, you must protect them from chills.
In general, the minima will be happiest if it is kept in a temperature range between 68 and 80 degrees F. This will ensure fast growth. You should therefore keep your minima in a warm room, away from windows and external doors, and protect it from drafts.
Don’t place your minima on or close to either a heater or an air conditioner. It will not tolerate either drafts or major temperature fluctuations, and both of these things could kill it. Open windows may be okay in the summer, depending on the local climate, but temperature spikes or dips should be avoided.
How Do You Repot A Monstera Minima?
You will likely need to repot your minima once every one to three years, depending on its growth and current container size. If your minima is growing quickly, expect to repot it once per year.
You should aim to increase the pot size by about an inch, unless your minima has got root bound and needs more room. Don’t move it from a small pot to a very large pot; this increases the risk of you accidentally over-watering the plant.
First, check whether your plant needs repotting. If its roots are protruding from the soil or coming out of the pot’s drainage holes, or if water is pooling on the pot’s surface, the roots are likely too dense inside. Your plant’s growth might also slow because it can’t gather more nutrients and keep gaining size in a small container.
Get some fresh potting medium and a suitable container, and then half-fill the new container. Take a stick or spatula and run it around the edge of your plant’s current pot to loosen the soil and make it easier to tip it out. If you are growing your minima in a flexible pot, try gently squeezing and flexing the pot.
Next, tip the minima out, being careful to support its foliage to avoid any damage. Once this is done, shake off the excess soil. Inspect its roots and check they are healthy and show no signs of root rot (mushiness, dark color, etc.).
If all is well, place the minima in its new container. You want to pot it at about the same depth as previously, so add more potting medium if necessary. Settle the roots against the soil, and start filling in around the edges with more potting medium.
When the pot is full, water the minima to help spread the soil around its roots, and then place it back in its former position. It may show some signs of stress for a few weeks, but it should soon recover and resume its growth.
If possible, try to pot it at the start of its growing season so you don’t interrupt either its growth or its dormancy periods.
Can You Propagate Minimas?
You can propagate a Monstera minima very easily. First, prepare a glass with rainwater or tap water. If you’re using tap water, try to let it stand for 24 hours first, so that any chlorine can evaporate off its surface.
Once it is ready, get some sterile shears and select a suitable stem. It’s best to choose a healthy vine that has around three leaves because these will support the cutting while it develops roots. The stem must also have several growth nodes. This is where the stem swells and new leaves or stems are produced.
It’s these that will develop growth on your new plant, so make sure there are two or three on the stem you’ve chosen. Once you have identified a suitable stem, cut it and then place it in the water.
Put the cutting in bright, indirect light and keep an eye on it. You should refresh the water every few days to oxygenate it and minimize the formation of algae.
In a few weeks, roots will hopefully start to develop, and your Monstera minima cutting can be transferred to soil once these are a few inches long.
If you would rather start with the plant in soil, place the cutting directly into a loose, rich potting mix, and water it. Put a plastic bag over the entire cutting and its container to trap in the moisture and prevent the cutting from getting dry.
It will take a few weeks for roots to develop. Keep moistening the soil and covering the plant for at least three weeks, and then give the stem a very light tug. If it stays in the soil, it is starting to root. If it pulls out and has no sign of root growth, the cutting wasn’t successful and you should try again.
The advantage of this method is that you don’t need to transfer the plant to soil later, but the downside is that you cannot see if roots are developing.
What Kinds Of Pests Should You Look Out For?
Like all houseplants, the minima will occasionally suffer from pests. It can get all the common insect invaders but seems to be particularly vulnerable to spider mites. These will make thin, web-like strands on the leaves, but the insects themselves are hard to spot with the naked eye.
Inspect your minima regularly for signs of insects, and if you think it has spider mites, slide a sheet of plain paper under the pot. Give the leaves a shake or tap, and see if you get lots of tiny specks on the paper.
This is also a good way to check for thrips. Other pests, such as mealybugs, aphids, and scale insects will be visible if you look closely at the leaves. Mealybugs are white and fluffy, aphids are winged insects, and scale insects look like brown ovals pressed flat against the leaves and stems.
All of these pests will drink your plant’s sap, robbing it of the resources it needs to grow. You will need to get rid of them, as they can quickly make a healthy plant sick.
Most insect invaders can be removed by washing the plant with soapy water. You can also wipe the leaves down with diluted neem oil. Scale insects need to be dabbed with vodka in order to kill them, as they are resistant to other removal methods.
While treating your minima, keep it away from other houseplants so that the insects cannot spread. It may take several treatments to get on top of a serious invasion of insects, and you don’t want plants to constantly be infecting and reinfecting each other.
How Fast Do Minimas Grow?
This depends on the conditions that they are kept in, but in good conditions, most minimas will unfurl a new leaf once every month or month and a half. As long as they have enough light, nutrients, and water, they are considered relatively quick growers.
It may take a few months for new leaves to develop the fenestrations that make this plant so like its Monstera namesake. Newly unfurled foliage will be smooth, with no holes in it.
However, if your plant’s leaves don’t seem to be developing holes at all, the likely explanation is that your plant isn’t getting enough light. You will need to increase the amount of bright sun, without letting it fall directly on the leaves. This should encourage the fenestrations to develop and give your plant that classic look.
Monstera minimas are fantastic plants to have in the home, especially if your space is too limited to grow an actual Monstera. They are attractive, with lush, shiny foliage, and they are fairly easy to look after. Provide a moss pole and watch yours scramble upward.