If you’re looking for information on monstera dubia care and propagation, this is the post for you! I’m covering everything I’ve done right and wrong, including how I killed my first plant and how I’m ensuring I don’t do it a second time!
Monstera dubia care…will I kill it this time?!
Forgive me in advance, because this plant care post will be a bit more of a journal entry. I have acquired and killed this plant…and then acquired and kept it alive for a second time! It’s been a journey. One that I didn’t think I’d try for a second time…
…but I can’t resist a stunning monstera! So when I saw a monstera dubia for a heck of a price, I had to grab it for round #2. So in this post, I’ll go over the first failed attempt at caring for a monstera dubia, and then I’ll go over my second attempt. Including ideal care instructions.
Monstera dubia, what is this gorgeous shingling plant?
Alright, so what is a monstera dubia? You’ve likely heard of and might even own a monstera deliciosa—maybe even a monstera Peru or a monstera adansonii. They are the most common varieties of monstera you’ll find out and about.
A monstera dubia is a climber with small green leaves that have a silver variegation on them. They grow in a shingling pattern where the leaves lay flat on a surface (much like a raphidorphia hayi shingling vine).
As a potted houseplant, the monstera grows upright in a shingling pattern along a wooden board or other surface (like some sort of trellis or moss pole). The leaves tend to stay relatively small when it’s a potted plant.
The leaves will eventually fenestrate (split) once the plant matures—much like the split pattern of the monstera deliciosa leaves. However, it won’t do this unless it climbs. It has to climb to mature. (I’ve talked about this before with the cebu blue pothos plant—it also needs to climb to fenestrate!)
It’s from South and Central America, and as you can imagine by its climbing, shingling pattern, it grow on top of other things in nature. Branches, trees, other plants, etc. Very cool.
My first Dubia…
So I have written about my lovely friend who has gifted me several plants and cuttings—one of my hoya rope plants, some scindapsus treubii dark form cuttings, some hoya cuttings, and even a monstera dubia cutting!
When I got it in the mail, I couldn’t believe it. He had imported it from Southeast Asia, and it had had quite the journey to his house in Texas and then to mine in Maryland. It was yellowing a bit from stress—but still gorgeous!
I was hesitant to plant it too soon, so I kept it in a sphagnum moss and perlite mixture for a few weeks while it settled in. The roots looked really lovely with great growth, and they were sprouting on each side. So I decided to chop and prop one side and try to plant the other.
The propagation did quite well in soil, and I eventually passed it onto a new owner. Then I decided to finally plant the other larger cutting. And, my lovely plant friends…it did not do well.
I did everything I could to make it happy. Keep the soil dry? No, too dry…water it. Humidity too low? Up the humidity by putting it in a prop box. Too much light? Too little light? I honestly don’t think there is much I could have done to help this baby.
Second chance at a dubia…
I think it had just been too much stress after all of the time in the mail. I ended up passing the larger cutting on to someone else, hoping they could save it. And I moved on, not wanting another dubia in my life, until…
I saw this one. Oh man. I took a road trip up to Pennsylvania to visit a few nurseries some friends had recommended: Musselman Greenhouses and Five Points Nursery. They are about 20 minutes from one another, so I had to hit both.
And you guys…I saw some monstera dubia plants for $45. And they looked healthy and lovely! So I had to grab one. This is a great price for a dubia…the second nursery I went to, I saw a similarly sized plant for about $100.
How much light does a monstera dubia need?
Alright, so let’s talk about how to keep the monstera dubia happy. First up, lighting. Like its more common sister the monstera deliciosa, it likes bright but not direct sunlight. I have burned leaves on both my deliciosa and my adansonii, and the same rules go for the dubia.
In my experience, direct light is okay if it’s morning sun. That’s because morning sun is not as harsh as afternoon or early evening sun during peak summer. So it won’t burn the leaves.
Once leaves burn, you can’t reverse the damage. So try to avoid it and know that if you do burn the leaves, you can just deal with the cosmetic damage or clip the ugly leaves off. It’s up to you.
Inside, monstera plants are typically happiest next to your sunniest window. I very rarely have issues with sunburn on my plants indoors, but keep an eye on yours. I’m planning to move my dubia outdoors for the summer, and I’ll keep it on my covered back patio.
That area gets some morning sun (depending on where on the patio I have the plant placed). It also gets some dappled sun through the upper balcony slats throughout the day. I just have to be careful to place the plants far enough back that they don’t get that scorching afternoon sun.
Want more monstera? Check out my Monstera Deliciosa Albo Care guide, my Thai Constellation Monstera Care guide, my Monstera Siltepecana Care guide, my Monstera Peru Care guide, and my Monstera Adansonii Care guide!
Water & soil
Water and soil go hand-in-hand for every houseplant. If the soil is too dense, the water won’t drain properly. If the soil is too light, the plant won’t get the moisture it needs. But it’s not as hard as it sounds.
I have all of my monstera plants in a well-draining indoor or houseplant soil that I’ve added a bit more coco coir (a great alternative to peat moss) and chunky perlite to. You can also use orchid bark to help with drainage.
Wait until the top several inches of soil have dried out before water the plant again. I am sensitive to overwatering this plant since my first dubia yellowed and started dying off…and I know that yellowing is a sign of overwatering.
Using a well-draining and well-aerated soil helps to ensure that the water flows freely through the soil, allows just the right amount of water to get to the plant’s roots. And it also helps to ensure that air can get into to soil (which is something roots need, too!).
If your soil is too dense or if you water too often, your plant will suffocate and will suffer from root rot. I’ve kept my monstera dubia happy by watering it every 2 weeks or so in the fall/winter and every week or so in the spring/summer.
I water my monstera plants much less in the fall and winter when temperatures are much lower. Lower temps mean less evaporation of water and less of a need to add more water to the soil. That’s why overwatering is such a problem in the winter!
Why are the leaves wilting or yellowing?
If your monstera dubia leaves are wilting and yellowing, you’re likely overwatering your plant. Check the water, check the soil. If your dubia’s leaves are only wilting but seem a bit wrinkly or are browning around the edges, you’re probably underwatering. Give it a drink!
Wondering what different soil terms mean? Check out my houseplant soil 101 post for more on different soil amendments!
Riding in style home from the nursery 🙂
Temperature & humidity
As with other monstera plants, this shingling variety does not tolerate the cold well. It isn’t frost tolerant, and it can’t live outdoors year-round unless you live in the tropics. Anything below 50 degrees can be really bad for monstera plants.
Monstera dubia enjoys warm temps—between 70 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit—so it does well in a variety of household temperatures. It summers well outside if you ensure it isn’t in direct sunlight.
If you have your monstera dubia outside for the spring and summer (or any of your monster plants, for that matter), you’ll want to bring them indoors once the temperatures drop consistently below 50 degrees at night. It can withstand a few cold snaps, but nothing long-term.
Humidity is an important part of the equation, too. The plant does fine in normal household humidity levels, but in order for it to climb and thrive, it needs higher levels of humidity.
While a humidifier is a good option, a glass greenhouse cabinet might also be a good choice. I’m lazy af and don’t like changing out humidifiers on the regular, so I try to come up with every excuse possible to not use them.
For now, I’m keeping my monstera dubia in my Ikea greenhouse cabinet under the lights, relying on the ambient humidity levels in the cabinet. And I occasionally mist the plant with my continuous mister.
As I said, I’ll move mine outside to my covered patio for the spring and summer so it can benefit from the super high Maryland humidity levels. I can’t wait! I know others are hesitant to move plants outside for the summer…but it’s nature!
Monstera dubia growth, repotting, & fertilizer
In ideal conditions in the wild, monstera dubia plants can grow upwards of over 10 feet tall. But remember—it has to be in ideal conditions. It will likely not grow that tall as a potted houseplant. But that’s okay! It will still be gorgeous.
It is a relatively fast-growing plant in ideal conditions, but it doesn’t need to be repotted too often. I like to repot my monstera plants when the roots either begin circling so much around the pot’s base that you can pull the whole plant out…or when the roots start to poke out of the drainage holes.
When repotting monstera plants, choose a pot that is only about an inch bigger than the current root ball. And make sure to loosen the root ball just a bit and add fresh well-draining soil to add nutrients.
I like using organic worm castings (worm poop) for fertilizer. It’s hard to overdo it and burn a plant, which is more of a possibility with commercial fertilizers. I’m not against commercial fertilizers and want to use them in the future…but for now? Worm poop.
It’s really the lazy way. Either work it into the soil when you repot a plant, or use a fork to work fresh worm castings into the top few inches of soil in a potted plant. When you water it, it will trickle those yummy nutrients down to the roots.
How to propagate or root a monstera dubia cutting
If you’re trying to propagate a monstera dubia plant, it’s likely from a cutting. First take a stem cutting that includes at least once leaf and a node or two. A node is where the roots grow from.
Look for little brown nubs on the plant’s stem, or remove a set of lower leaves. If you don’t include a node area, no roots will grow at all.
I like to use sphagnum moss and perlite for many of my propagations. I recommend taking the cutting and sticking the growth points (nodes) down into damp sphagnum moss and perlite. If you keep the environment warm and humid, roots will sprout quickly.
You can then transfer the rooted cutting to soil. Since the roots have already sprouted, the cutting will suffer less shock after it is transplanted to soil. (You can also root the cutting in water, but the transplant shock from water to soil is a bit riskier.)
Pest issues you might encounter
The monstera dubia plant is vulnerable to most of the normal houseplant pests you need to look out for. That means things like fungus gnats, spider mites, thrips, and scale (among other things, but we’ll cover these).
1. Fungus gnats
If you have fungus gnats, don’t freak out. They won’t necessarily hurt your plant, but the reason causing the fungus gnats might! That’s because they are generally caused by soil that remains consistently damp.
The like to move into the top few inches of soil, but only when the soil is moist. So overwatering your plants can not only kill the plant by choking out the roots—it can also lead to fungus gnats. And these bad boys multiply FAST!
If you want to learn more about fungus gnats, check out my post about what causes gnats in houseplants and how to get rid of them. In a nutshell, the best thing is to let the top several inches of soil dry out before watering again, which is what this plant likes anyway.
2. Spider mites
Spider mites are bad, not because they are necessarily that hard to get rid of, but because the infestation is likely pretty bad once you notice them. That’s why checking your plants over weekly or so for signs of pests is critical.
Signs of spider mites include yellowing, dying-off leaves and very fine webbing on plants. Especially around the area where the leaf meets the stem or on the tips of the plant’s leaves. Spider mites thrive in hot, dry conditions, so indoors in the winter can be the ideal environment for them.
They can quickly destroy a plant if left unchecked, especially vulnerable plants like elephant ears. But luckily that can be controlled well using over-the-counter houseplant insecticide sprays. And keeping conditions moist with a humidifier can help a lot. Read all about spider mites and how to get rid of them for more.
There is nothing cute about thrips. I hate them with a burning passion, and it’s hard to get rid of them. You need to spray down the foliage and treat the soil with a systemic insecticide to kill off both the larvae and the adult thrips.
I have a whole (very long) post dedicated to how to get rid of thrips on houseplants since I battled them on my monstera deliciosa plant a few years ago. It’s worth a read if you’ve ever encountered them. They are super hard to see, but I have some pics of the damage they can cause.
I have only ever had scale on a jade succulent, and I’ve seen a bad infestation on my mom’s umbrella plant. Scale insects are small and brown, and they feed on the sap of a plant. A tell-tale sign of a scale infestation is sticky brown or orange-ish residue on the leaves or area around the plant.
They can quickly wipe out a plant, so you’ll want to use a houseplant insecticide spray all over the plant to kill them off. Some guide recommend picking them off or wiping them with neem oil, which you can do…but I also always use a spray.
Make sure to spray the undersides of the leaves and the areas where the leaves meet the stems, too. These are great juicy hiding spots! And then monitor how the plant is doing over the next few weeks. Re-treat if necessary.
Are monstera plants toxic?
Yes—but don’t freak out. Just because it is toxic when ingested doesn’t mean you can’t have it in your home with kids and pets. I have plenty of monstera plants in my home, and it’s fine!
Try to keep your monstera plants away from nibbling kids or pets, though. Monstera dubia, and monstera plants in general, contain calcium oxalate crystals. These are in the plant’s sap and can lead to gastrointestinal issues, pain in the mouth, swelling, and vomiting.
Watch your kids and pets closely around any plants—even pet-safe plants. Make sure they don’t get into them. And if they do, you need to keep them out of reach to avoid any issues. Read about my recommended non-toxic houseplants for more.