10 Brilliant Hacks to Improve Monstera Drainage (And Prevent Root Rot)

The Monstera, with its captivating, fenestrated leaves, is a natural showstopper, elevating any space it graces.

But alas, owning a Monstera isn’t all towering leaves and tropical dreams. Like any diva, this beauty comes with its fair share of demands.

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Tall Monstera plant full grown

One of the most common problems Monstera owners face is the dreaded root rot, often a result of poor drainage.

Overwatering or inadequate drainage can lead to waterlogged soil, causing the roots to suffocate and eventually decay.

The symptoms often manifest in the form of yellowing leaves, slowed growth, or in severe cases, a wilting plant.

And let’s face it, there’s nothing quite as heartbreaking as watching your once-thriving Monstera suffer.

The good news? You’re not alone in your Monstera woes, and better yet, we’ve got solutions

This article is your golden ticket to navigating the tricky terrain of Monstera care, specifically addressing the drainage dilemma.

Packed with ingenious hacks, some familiar and others delightfully unexpected, this guide aims to help you improve your Monstera’s drainage and combat a host of problems.

So prepare to step up your Monstera game and unleash the full potential of these magnificent plants.

Why Monstera Drainage Matters

Proper drainage is essential for your Monstera plant’s health, as it helps prevent root rot.

Root rot occurs when the plant’s roots are sitting in waterlogged soil for an extended period, leading to decay and damage.

By ensuring your Monstera has sufficient drainage, you can prevent this common issue.

A useful method for improving drainage is to incorporate organic matter like compost or well-rotted manure into the potting soil.

Organic matter helps increase soil aggregation, allowing for better water circulation and preventing overwatering.

10 Clever Drainage Hacks

With these hacks, you’ll be well on your way to improving the drainage for your Monstera plant and preventing potential root rot, all while promoting healthy, vigorous growth. Let’s get started!

1. Elevate Your Pot

Giving your pot a lift can do wonders for drainage.

Elevated monstera pot

By elevating the pot with the help of pot feet, bricks, or even pieces of wood, you ensure excess water drains out more swiftly.

This process improves airflow around the base of the pot, effectively reducing the chances of waterlogging and root rot.

Moreover, the added airflow promotes healthier root growth.

Roots can breathe easier when not waterlogged, which, in turn, contributes to the overall health and vitality of your Monstera.

Try these terra cotta plant pot risers on Amazon.

2. Use a Tray with Pebbles

Here’s a simple yet effective hack: create an enhanced drainage system using a tray filled with pebbles.

River pebbles in a ceramic tray

Place your Monstera pot on this pebble tray. When you water the plant, excess water will drain out onto the tray.

But instead of the plant sitting in a puddle, it will sit atop the pebbles.

The water will evaporate around your plant, providing it with a humid environment that Monsteras love, while keeping the roots safe from rot.

You can get your polished pebbles on Amazon.

3. Improving Soil Composition

Your Monstera’s soil composition plays a significant role in drainage and, subsequently, plant health.

Soil and fertilizer

Adding organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, can improve soil structure and promote healthy plant growth.

A well-balanced soil mix should include well-draining potting soil, perlite for increased aeration, and peat moss to retain just the right amount of moisture.

Perlite is a lightweight, porous volcanic rock that improves soil aeration and drainage.

Mix perlite into your regular potting soil in a 1:1 ratio to create a well-draining medium for your Monstera.

Remember, the goal is to create a soil environment that holds moisture but drains well to avoid waterlogging.

Try this MiracleGro Perlite on Amazon.

4. Double Potting Method

One of the most straightforward methods to enhance Monstera drainage is double potting.

woman holding two pots for double potting method

The double potting method is a brilliant way to marry aesthetics with functionality.

The idea is to place the Monstera’s nursery pot, which typically has drainage holes, into a larger, more decorative pot without drainage holes.

The smaller pot will allow excess water to escape, while the larger pot will catch it, preventing any mess.

This outer pot catches excess water, preventing any mess, while ensuring the plant’s roots aren’t sitting in water.

Keep in mind, though, to remove any excess water from the outer pot periodically, as failure to do so could lead to root rot.

5. Self Watering Pots

Switch to self-watering pots that have a built-in reservoir at the bottom.

This will help prevent overwatering while maintaining sufficient moisture levels for your Monstera.

Monstera in a self watering terra cotta pot

Contrary to what their name might suggest, self-watering pots can be a boon for plants prone to root rot due to overwatering.

These pots feature a built-in reservoir at the bottom that holds water.

The soil wicks up moisture as needed, providing a consistent water supply without the risk of waterlogging.

It’s a convenient and efficient solution, especially for busy plant parents.

6. The Chopsticks Method

Tap into your inner sushi connoisseur and employ a chopstick as a moisture gauge.

Chopstick fertilizer in soil

After watering your Monstera, insert a clean, dry chopstick into the soil.

If it comes out wet, it’s a clear sign that your drainage needs improvement. If it emerges dry or just slightly damp, your drainage system is on point.

Regularly checking soil moisture in this way can help you avoid overwatering and the dreaded root rot.

7. Hydroculture Conversion

For those willing to venture beyond traditional soil-based plant care, consider converting your Monstera to hydroculture.

Monstera plants in a clear glass vase arranged by someone

This method involves growing plants in a soilless medium, such as water, clay pebbles, or perlite.

Hydroculture offers better control over watering and effectively eliminates the risk of soil-borne diseases and root rot.

However, it’s important to note that converting a plant to hydroculture can be a bit challenging and requires some research and preparation.

Does this method really work? Know the answers here: Can Monstera Live in Water Forever? Debunking the Myth

8. Bottom Watering

Bottom watering is another innovative method that not only improves drainage but also encourages robust root growth.

Mosntera being watered with yellow watering can

To practice this, fill a basin with water and place your Monstera pot in it.

The plant will draw up water through the drainage hole, ensuring it gets just the right amount of water.

This method encourages strong root growth and ensures your plant gets enough water while preventing overwatering.

9. Use Non-traditional Materials

Dare to be different and consider incorporating non-traditional materials, like coconut coir, into your Monstera’s soil.

hands holding coconut coir

Coconut coir is made from the husk of coconuts and has several benefits that make it an excellent choice for your Monstera.

Coconut coir is fantastic for providing drainage.

While it retains water, it also allows for proper drainage and prevents water logging of plant roots, thus reducing the chance for root rot​.

Because of its excellent drainage, it’s tough to overwater plants grown in coconut coir.

Overwatering is a common mistake made by plant lovers, but with coconut coir, it’s more difficult to drown roots and suffocate plants​​.

Coconut coir also aerates the soil. Like peat moss, it’s fluffy and provides exceptional aeration for plant roots.

However, unlike peat moss, coconut coir is eco-friendly and renewable, making it a more sustainable choice​​.

Check out these coconut coir bricks on Amazon.

Finally, coconut coir promotes root growth. It’s nutrient-dense and moisture-friendly, providing a healthy environment for your Monstera’s roots to thrive.

It also contains useful micronutrients like magnesium and calcium, which directly benefit your plant​.

When using coconut coir, keep in mind that it might affect nutrient uptake and availability for your plants.

Coir fibers tend to attract certain nutrients, so you may need to use special coir-specific fertilizers and amendments to ensure your Monstera is getting all the nutrients it needs​.

10. Custom-built Vertical Planters

If you’re up for a little DIY project, consider creating a custom-built vertical planter for your Monstera.

Monsteras on wall vertical growing

This clever hack allows your Monstera’s roots to grow downward, which is their natural inclination.

A vertical planter can help prevent rogue roots from growing sideways and blocking drainage holes, which can lead to poor drainage and root rot.

Vertical planters can also be a fun and aesthetically pleasing way to display your Monstera.

You can design your planter to fit your home’s decor and add a personal touch to your indoor gardening.

Plus, a well-constructed vertical planter can last for years and be used for other plants as well.

To build a vertical planter, you’ll need a sturdy frame that can support the weight of your Monstera, a pot with good drainage, and a way to secure your plant to the frame.

You can use materials like wood, metal, or even PVC for the frame, and you can secure your plant with plant ties, twine, or even old pantyhose.

Just be sure to check regularly that the ties aren’t cutting into your Monstera’s stems as it grows.

Here’s a great article on helping to grow Monsteras vertically: 5 Creative Ways To Support Your Climbing Monstera At Home

Remember to keep an eye on your Monstera’s growth and adjust its position on the frame as needed.

Vertical planters encourage upward growth, which can result in a taller, healthier Monstera with improved drainage.

Drainage Hacks For a Happier Monstera

And there you have it, a collection of innovative and effective hacks to improve the drainage for your Monstera and prevent root rot.

Remember, gardening is an ongoing process of learning and discovery. Each plant is unique and may respond differently to these methods.

Your Monstera is more than just a plant; it’s a testament to your nurturing spirit.

Treat it well, and it will reward you with stunning, lush foliage that will bring a touch of the tropics into your home.

Happy planting!

To follow through with this knowledge, you might want to learn more about finding the right pot for your Monstera.

Read more about it here: Choosing the Right Pot For Your Monstera: Cracking The Code

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