It’s no secret that my big Monstera is my favourite houseplant here at houseplanthouse. I think I’m most drawn to the large green leaves + human scale of the plant which instantly brightens up a room + brings it to life. Even if you only have a few plants, a Monstera can become a stand-out plant in your home within a few years. Compared to other more fussy indoor plants, my Monstera is a relatively easy-going, yet high impact plant, especially as it’s matured — the main comment I get when people see my monstera in my living room is ‘…wow, I love those leaves!‘.
The main question I get asked when I share my plant on social media is ‘how long have you had that plant?’ Which is understandable, because it has got quite large now! So for today’s post, I’ve trawled through my photo archive to put together a plant progress timeline of my beloved Monstera. I thought you’d enjoy seeing an annotated visual record of how my plant has grown with me over the last 5 years, alongside my growing notes + observations…
Since growing this one Monstera, I’ve inadvertently accumulated two more plants over the years which brings my Monstera count up to 3, for today’s post, we are just going to focus on my oldest plant to avoid any confusion.
This was the first photo I could find of my plant, which I bought when doing my weekly shop for £5 one rainy October evening. As the date shows, it took over 2 months before I felt inclined to pick up my camera + snap a picture. Which now seems like an awfully long time compared to my current habits — it was long before I was photographing my plants + sharing them online! As you’ll see, there is no stake in this first photo from December 2016 + it was looking quite good in its pot + settling in nicely. It unfurled two new leaves soon after bringing it home + after a few weeks I think I gave it a newer pot because the plant was very root-bound + I didn’t want to wait until Spring. By the following May, I’d decided to put a thin rod support into the centre + used some twine to hold some of the larger leaves in place as they has started to splay out a bit…
1. 20 December 2016 / 2. 2 May 2017
By the Summer of 2017, my plant seemed to be enjoying life in the apartment + there were a couple of new leaves appearing, the stake was getting more camouflaged by the new growth too. In photo 5 below, notice the size of it compared to later photos — the distance shots really show growth progress well I think. Here, the plant still had lots of visible wall around it + it didn’t dominate the space.
3. 2 July 2017 / 4. 17 July 2017 / 5. 15 August 2017
After a period of growth, by Autumn 2017, my plant was filling out this corner of the living room nicely + the growth of new leaves was quite consistent, even in colder temperatures. I’d started my blog by this point + you can start to notice the additions of more houseplants creeping into the photos. Up until this point, most of them lived in my ‘writing room’ — I find it so calming to work surrounded by plants, though sometimes it can be a little distracting!
6. 14 September 2017 / 7. 21 September 2017 / 8. 1 November 2017
The most obvious difference during Summer 2018 was that I’d repotted my Monstera again by this point + WOW, it really had a growth spurt! I had swapped out the rod for a coir pole which gave the plant more stability + helped it stand up tall. The good thing about coco coir poles or moss poles is that the aerial roots have something to grip onto, if the pole is sprayed + holds some moisture, this can really help the plant grow larger leaves too. There’s a whole post on using supports with monstera plants here if you want to see what I use + read more about this process. By September, the plant had flourished into a scale that I was so happy with + it started to be a source of conversation when people came over. In terms of orientation, this was a west-facing apartment so it was quite dark in the morning, but got a good dose of afternoon sunshine later in the day. Being on the second floor, it was a soft light as there was a huge tree outside which filtered the light further.
9. 9 August 2018 / 10. 5 September 2018
11. 23 December 2018
This photo from February 2019 shows that the plant was still actively growing during the coldest part of the year, most likely spurred on my it’s slightly larger planter upgrade. Plus, more houseplants were creeping into the photos!
12. 10 February 2019 / 13. 8 April 2019
After a busy winter of growth, I decided to check on the roots come Spring 2019 + it was no surprise that they were growing out of the drainage hole! I’d top-dressed this plant a couple of times over the preceding months because roots were starting to show around soil level too. This can be a signal that a re-pot might be needed before too long. It’s less messy than a re-pot but top-dressing is an easy way to pep your houseplants up a bit before taking on a larger repotting task, especially for more mature plants. To do this, you’ll want to remove the top inch or two of compost around the plant + replace with fresh potting mix. When Monstera plants get to this sort of size, be prepared to monitor your plant more closely as it can really help to keep them looking their best. I’ll link the step by step blogpost here from this re-pot if you want to see the process in more detail.
14. 15 May 2019 / 15. 15 May 2019 / 16. 5 September 2019
One of my favourite elements of frequent plant photographing is to be able to look back + identify periods in which things were growing well, (or not – more on that later!) I’d say that mid- to late- 2019 was an optimum period of growth for my plant, which I attribute to getting into a good, consistent plant-care routine + really enjoying the process. By this point I was living + working with plants + it felt part of my everyday life to spend my spare time tending to them. Also… I was getting quite aware that my plant was nearing ceiling height!
17. 26 September 2019 / 18. 3 November 2019
These next couple of photos are probably when I loved the look of my plant the most! With regular training around the support, which I’d now extended, the growth was looking balanced + almost all the leaves were facing forwards towards the window. This helped my Monstera to stay a beautiful shape + I was quite distraught when in January 2020, I had to plan for the prospect of a big move… my first thoughts were ‘…what about my plants?!’
19. 20 November 2019 / 20. 13 December 2019 / 21. 17 January 2020 / 22. 20 February 2020
This is when things got interesting… late one night at the end of February I spent about an hour carefully bundling up my beloved Monstera in horticultural fleece + preparing for the removal company that were arriving at 5am the following morning! Despite not being able to fit a lot of my plants on the van, I am very grateful that Junior saved a space for my two monstera plants at the front, in between my furniture for stability. We drove as a convoy 300+ miles with all my belongings + around half of my plants + reached the cottage late afternoon (photo 25):
23. 24 February 2020 / 24. 24 February 2020 / 25. 29 February 2020
Over the next month or so, my plants + I adjusted to a new space which in all honesty, was somewhat stressful. The cottage was quite a lot colder + darker than I’d anticipated so it took some time before settling on the positioning of the houseplants. After observing the way the light moved around the space, I chose this position for my big plant. It’s approximately 2 metres away from a south-east facing window, sheltered by a net to filter the light. I waited a few months for the plants to adjust to a new space before carrying out any repotting, but by the end of May, my Monstera needed some fresh potting mix + a pot that was a tiny bit larger:
26. 7 April 2020 / 27. 20 May 2020
28. 27 July 2020 / 29. 2 October 2020 / 30. 23 October 2020
As you might notice by comparing these photos, my plant hasn’t grown as quickly in this position as in my old apartment + this is most definitely due to the colder temperatures we’ve endured this winter, coupled with the lack of light. I think I’ve only really had around 3 new leaves over the last year, compared with more than double that in previous years. I try not to stress myself out about this because it’s really just been more about survival in this temporary accommodation — these conditions have certainly not been ideal but I think it just goes to show how resilient plants can be!
31. 19 December 2020
Here’s how things were looking in February this year — my Monstera had officially reached the ceiling!
32. 8 Feb 2021
33. 21 March 2021 / 34. 23 April 2021
As you can see above, post-winter, my plant has one or two leaves with some crisping on the tips which was a result of the dodgy cottage heating; the radiator underneath the window (2ish metres away) basically only operated on two settings — completely off or blasting hot! Because of the darkness of the back of the room, there was no option to move this sizeable pot. Above right is the latest photo I have of my plant before I got it ready for repotting last week, but there’ll be more on that in an upcoming post!
I hope you enjoyed this slightly different post from me today. I love to celebrate the classic houseplants + for me, a Monstera is such a timeless choice. Whilst they can grow to great heights if allowed, they are adaptable + can also be pruned, propagated or trained into a shape that works in a variety of settings + spaces. One of my favourite photos of a mature Monstera is in the studio of Artist Henri Matisse which seems a good way to conclude this post… maybe mine will be like this one day… space permitting of course!
(Image source left: Tate / Image source right: Sothebys)
Here are some pins to save or share with a Monstera-loving friend!