One of the most important parts of keeping your monstera (or any plant) healthy is proper watering. This means giving it the correct amount of water, of course, but the real challenge here is knowing WHEN to water your monstera!
The last thing you want to do it wait too long and accidentally dry out your monstera’s beautiful leaves or water too soon and risk causing root rot! So I’m going to walk you through my favorite method for determining when my monstera needs to be watered.
So how do you know when to water your monstera?
While some plant owners swear by waiting until a plant starts to droop or even going by weight (because wet soil is heavier than dry), there are generally three methods for determining whether your monstera is ready for a drink.
1-The finger test, where you stick your finger in the soil to feel how dry it is. This method is simple and usually works well if your soil is well aerated, but tells you nothing about the moisture level of your root ball. Depending on the drainage and density of your soil and roots, the top few inches of soil may be dry while the root ball is still soaked!
2-The poke a stick method, where you insert a wooden stick like a chopstick into your plant’s soil and see if it comes out wet or dry. This will give you a better idea of what’s going on deeper in the pot than the finger test, but it’s still pretty imprecise.
3-Moisture meter. This is my favorite method and the one I recommend most often. I love using a moisture meter because, when used properly, a moisture meter can tell you exactly how moist your root ball is and whether your monstera is ready to be watered. (It works beautifully for your other houseplants too!)
Where to Buy a Moisture Meter
Moisture meters are easy to find. You can pick one up at your local garden store, online, or at big home improvement stores with gardening centers like Home Depot or Lowes.
Some meters also measure light and/or humidity and while some only measure one of these factors, so make sure to read the label to ensure you’re getting an actual moisture meter. Some meters will be super fancy while others are relatively simple.
I like this easy to use three-in-one meter that measures the moisture level of the soil and also light and humidity.
How to Use a Moisture Meter to Water Your Monstera
So once you’ve got a moisture meter, how do you use it?
Step 1: Determine where to take a reading.
The most important thing is to know where to take your reading. You want to take a reading close to the center of the root ball.
To do this, insert the sensor into the soil at a point that’s halfway between the edge of the pot and the base of the plant. Poke the sensor about halfway down into the pot and wait for a reading.
Step 2: Take your reading.
You’ll want to water your monstera when the moisture meter reads at 3-4. If your reading is higher than that, give it some more time. (If it’s already been a while since you last watered, you might be giving it too much water when you do water, or your monstera may need more light so it can use water more efficiently). If your reading is less than that, give the poor thing a drink!
Step 3: Remove the meter.
After you’ve used the moisture meter, remove it from the pot, clean off the sensor, and put the meter in a safe place. DO NOT leave the meter in the pot. This will ruin it and cause it to malfunction, which not only means you’ll need to buy a new meter, but it could put your plant at risk of over or underwatering if you’re getting false readings.
Step 4: Water (if it’s time)
If it’s watering time, slowly add water to the monstera’s soil until it just starts to drain out the bottom of the pot. Do this in the sink or empty the drainage tray right away.
Moisture meters are easy to use once you’ve done it a few times, and you’ll love the precision you’re able to enjoy with this method.
For our complete guide on watering a monstera, check out this post!
If it’s time to water your monstera, it’s also a good idea to use a liquid fertilizer, especially during the growing season. This provides your monstera with the nutrients it needs to grow strong roots and those big, beautiful leaves!
I love Monstera Plant Food because it’s specifically formulated for monstera (all varieties) and gentle enough to use with every water, so it takes all the guesswork out of fertilizing!