Terracotta pots are a gardener’s favorite because of their rustic aesthetic and porous nature. But are these pots ideal for Monstera plants?
As a whole, Monsteras thrive in terracotta pots because their porosity keeps excess water from drowning the roots. However, this does mean the soil dries up faster, so the plant needs watering more often. It is also a weighty pot that can support the plant when the foliage grows heavy and oversized.
Below, I discuss the benefits of using terracotta pots for Monsteras, other factors to consider, and alternative pot options:
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The Good and The Bad of Terracotta Pots for Monstera Plants
When choosing a container for Monsteras, there are many different options available. But the usual standout is a terracotta pot. They are made from natural clay fired in a kiln, the iron deposits in the material giving that characteristic orange/red hue all over the pot once it sets. People love them because they are affordable, widely available, and will develop the coveted patina looks over time. But most importantly, they are porous, allowing water and air to flow easily in and out of the baked clay material. It’s a big perk to those who overwater their plants easily. Ahem, I’m certainly not above that. I’ve had my fair share of un-aliving my plants by overwatering them. I’ve gotten better, though!
In Monstera’s case, terracotta pots are heavy enough to hold the plant in place to prevent it from toppling over when the foliage becomes large and abundant. It also helps keep the soil from getting waterlogged due to overwatering.
A Monstera flourishes better in a consistently moist soil environment. So it’s better to let the potting mix dry out a bit, at least the top 1-2 inches, before the next watering. A typical watering schedule for the plant is once every 1-2 weeks. But with a terracotta pot, you’ll have to water your Monstera more frequently to keep the roots well-hydrated. Doing the knuckle test before watering each time is helpful.
But if you’d like to make things easier, you can use a moisture meter. A big part of how I got on top of my overwatering problem is using a meter. This tool gives me a quick check on the moisture level in my plant’s soil. It hardly takes a second for the needle to settle over a quick reference dial. It helps me decide quickly and without guesswork whether the plant is getting watered or not. If you are on fern #4 or rotten succulent #8, I highly recommend getting this same tool I got from Amazon to help you too. It has a solid 4.4 stars and 27,999 ratings!
However, using the container for planting Monsteras also has its downsides. As mentioned, terracotta pots are hefty, which makes it hard to move your Monstera around, especially if you place it outdoors. Additionally, they are fragile and will break easily when mishandled and left out in the cold in winter. Not to mention, the bigger pot sizes can get pricey, it’s a bummer to drop $50 and watch it break in half or worse.
Despite the good and the bad of a terracotta pot, the general pot type is not the only factor to consider in picking the suitable vessel for your Monstera. There are a few more aspects you need to look into that will contribute to encouraging the plant to grow well. We’ll discuss more on this in the next section.
Are terracotta pots beneficial for Monstera Adansonii?
As a whole, terracotta pots wick excess moisture out of the plant’s soil which is good for Monstera Adansonii. It helps prevent overwatering by drying the soil faster through its porous walls. But this will require frequent watering to keep the Monstera plant well-saturated.
Essential Factors For Picking The Right Pot for Monsteras
When it comes to Monsteras or any plants, there are three factors you’ll want to keep in mind when picking out the right pot:
- Pot size has to be adequate to fit the plant’s rootball.
Generally, the correct pot sizes are important to ensure your plants thrive. Here are the two main reasons why:
- If it is too large, you risk having a soaking wet, dead zone layer of soil at the bottom. This can become a breeding ground for pathogens and cause the roots to rot once it expands downwards. Here’s an article on root rot if you don’t believe how bad it can get for the plant.
- If it is too small, the plant will get rootbound which can stunt its growth. Although some plants like the Monstera may not mind, don’t expect them to develop any bigger. But for other plants, this can lead to more significant problems like the leaves turning brown and dropping off the plant. You can read this other article I wrote about rootbound plants with instructions on how to fix them.
Monsteras can grow quite large, so you’ll want to make sure you pick a pot that’s big enough to accommodate their expanding roots. Usually, it’s advisable to get a pot 1-2 inches larger than the previous one when you repot the plant 2 years after you’ve had it. With terracotta pots, you’ll probably need an extra pair of hands to help you do this because both container and plant will be quite heavy as time goes on.
- Potting mix has to be well-draining but sufficiently moisture-retentive to maintain the plant’s water needs.
Monsteras typically don’t mind growing in a mix of 70% potting soil and 30% aerating materials like perlite or vermiculite. But you may ask, what do well-draining and moisture-retentive mean exactly?
We’ll start with moisture-retentive. This is a fancy word for saying that the potting soil used has to be capable of holding on to water but not too much, just like a sponge. This allows the plant’s roots to pull up moisture when needed and dig deeper where the medium has more water stored. Fun fact: Most potting “soil” is not really soil. It’s often a blend of sphagnum moss, peat moss, or coco coir. They can hold moisture pretty well to keep a plant well-saturated. Sometimes, they can also have organic matter like worm castings or bat guano as fertilizers. Though most mix in synthetic slow-release fertilizers instead.
But to balance that out, you also need it to be well-draining. Most potting soils are loose and airy enough to let excess water drain through. But you can add aerating materials to amp that up. They create little air pockets, making water pass through the potting mix easily. Some plants like cacti and succulents benefit more from this because they prefer their soil blend to be dried out thoroughly before its next watering.
Combine the two, and you get a well-rounded potting mix for any tropical plant’s needs. In a Monstera’s case, a standard potting mix will do. The best part is you don’t have to add extra perlite or vermiculite since the container’s porosity will help it dry quicker.
- Pots need good drainage by having holes at the bottom or adding aerating material in the soil mix.
This is not usually a big concern because most terracotta pots come with drain holes at the bottom. If you’re lucky, they’ll also have saucers to go with it! But it’s always a good idea to double-check your pots for holes before you purchase them.
Even if they don’t have any, you can always use them as cache pots. This is where you keep the plant in its nursery pot with drain holes and slide the whole thing into the other pot. You can read all about double-potting and its benefits in this other article I wrote here.
As mentioned in the previous section, drainage can also be achieved by mixing in more perlite or vermiculite. But like I said, this is usually unnecessary if you’re already using a terracotta pot.
Do Monsteras prefer growing big pots?
Monsteras prefer larger pots as it develops to allow the roots to expand and encourage overall growth. However, it’s vital to ensure the containers are the right size for the plant. It’s better to scale up once the Monstera has grown considerably rather than letting it get started in a big pot immediately. Otherwise, you risk cultivating fungi and bacteria in the soggy soil layer at the bottom.
What is the best potting mix for Monstera’s to grow in?
A nutrient-rich and well-draining soil is the best potting mix for a Monstera. This can often be found in a standard soil blend widely available in most nurseries and gardening centers. You can also make your own with a ratio of 6:3:1 parts of potting soil, perlite/vermiculite, and organic matter like vermicompost or compost.
Alternative Pots For Planting Monstera Plants
Terracotta pots are not the only good containers out there for Monsteras. Here are some alternative options with their respective pros and cons:
- Plastic pots.
- They are often cheaper than terracotta.
- They come in various designs and sizes.
- They are flexible, which makes it easier to squeeze out the plant during a repotting process.
- They are durable and don’t break easily.
- They also have the added benefit of being lighter, making it easier to move around.
- They are not porous, so they’ll retain water which can lead to problems with overwatering.
- They offer no insulation protection to the plant’s roots due to their thin material. If you’re using black plastic pots, they may absorb the sun’s heat and cause damage to the plant.
- Low-quality products may not last long, become brittle, and have their color fade from repeated sunlight exposure.
- Fabric planters.
- They are porous because they are made from breathable materials like felt or canvas.
- They typically have handles for easy transport.
- They are foldable and save up space in storage when not in use.
- They can be more expensive.
- Depending on the material and how you handle them, they may not last as long. They can still get torn, which will render them useless.
- Ceramic pots.
- They come in various designs and size options.
- They are heavy, which will help keep the plant in place when it gets topside heavy.
- They have thick walls which can insulate the plant’s roots.
- They are fragile and will break when mishandled.
- They are not porous due to the glaze on their exterior, sealing in moisture from seeping out.
Other pot types include metal, fiberglass, cement, and wooden containers. Still, the three I mentioned above are usually the best for Monsteras. At the end of the day, choosing the right pot for your plant comes down to personal preference.
Regardless of the pots you choose to plant your Monstera, don’t forget to give them the best care you can provide. The right pot, be it terracotta or otherwise, is only one step of many to make sure your plant flourishes for years to come. But take it one thing at a time, and you’ll be just fine. Happy planting!