|Plants that grew using hydroponics. / Photo by: Getty Images|
If you’ve ever grown plants, whether in a garden or in a small pot, you know how important soil is. There are different types of soil and certain ones can either make or break your plant. But did you know that you can also grow plants without any soil?
What is hydroponics?
|A hydroponic farm. / Photo by: Luis Ribeiro Ribeiro via 123RF|
Hydroponics is the process of growing plants without soil, instead, the roots are in water or in very moist air.
If you think about it, you don’t really need soil for plants to grow. In photosynthesis, the plants use the sunlight and chlorophyll to convert carbon dioxide and water into glucose and oxygen. Typically, plants use the water and nutrients found in the soil, but these can be provided even without the soil.
In hydroponics, planters use a nutrient-rich solution to grow the plants, mimicking the water and nutrients naturally found in the soil.
What is the Monstera deliciosa?
|Large monstera deliciosa leaves. / Photo by: Getty Images|
Monstera deliciosa is a creeping vine with tentacle-like long, aerial roots. It is also called the Swiss cheese plant, the Mexican breadfruit, or hurricane plant.
The plant’s unique perforated leaves make it a popular choice for art, design, and as houseplants. The glossy green leaves have characteristically deep splits and holes, earning it the moniker split-leaf philodendron.
If you have dogs and cats at home, the monstera deliciosa may not be the plant for you because it is toxic to these pets. In fact, all parts of the plant—save for the ripe fruit—is toxic to humans too.
Growing Monstera hydroponics at home
|A dining room with a monstera on the left. / Photo by: Getty Images|
When you think about growing plants hydroponically, you might imagine needing all these specialized equipment and materials, but that’s really not necessary.
Basically, all you’d need to start growing hydroponic plants is a waterproof pot, an inert substrate, a specialized hydroponic fertilizer, and a water gauge.
For the waterproof pot, it should be without holes and made of plastic or porcelain. You can also opt for a transparent pot or an opaque one, although an opaque pot is an ideal choice if you want to avoid algae proliferation. For the substrates, using a hydroton or a coco peat substrate should be a great choice.
Because the substrates don’t have nutrients, much unlike soil, a specialized fertilizer is necessary for the hydroponic plants to grow. This will supply all the necessary nutrients to the plant so it should be added to the pot every time you water them.
Now if you used an opaque pot, using a water gauge is necessary so that you can check the level of the water and the nutrient solution. If you used a transparent pot, however, you can easily check the level so you won’t need a water gauge.
Growing Monstera seedlings
|Another dining room with a monstera on the left. / Photo by: Getty Images|
If you plan to propagate monstera seedlings, you would need a lot of patience. The monstera seeds would germinate within a few weeks but the seedlings are extremely slow to develop. It may also be hard to come by the seeds. The small, pale green monstera seeds have a very short shelf life so they have to be used as soon as possible. The seeds can’t dry well or handle cool temperatures either.
When you’re ready to propagate monstera seedlings, plant the seeds by gently covering them with a thin layer of soil; making sure to keep them moist. They can grow even if they’re away from a light source.
How to repot Monstera plants
|Like any other plants, you can grow monstera via hydroponics. / Photo by: Suwinai Sukanant via 123RF|
If you’re growing your monstera deliciosa plant in a pot, you have to remember that it needs a well-draining soil and a pot with drainage holes to thrive. Because the monstera deliciosa is a climber, you should also provide it with support sticks or a trellis.
About every two years, the monstera deliciosa will have outgrown its current pot. This is the time to repot it to a new and larger pot. Opt for one that’s a few inches larger in diameter and depth.
Some would suggest that the young monstera deliciosa plant should be repotted every year to encourage its growth and to freshen up the soil it will thrive in. It’s recommended to go up a size until you get to the largest pot you wish to use.
Caring for the Monstera leaves
|A spacious bedroom with monsteras over the bookshelf and the table. / Photo by: Getty Images|
Whether you’ll grow monstera deliciosa hydroponically or traditionally, it’s important to take proper care of its leaves.
The glossy green leaves are beautiful, but they won’t be for long if they are full of dust and spider mites. Keep the leaves clean by washing them with a cloth dipped in a solution made with a drop of dishwashing soap diluted in a few cups of water. If you want to put in extra effort, you can also regularly mist the leaves.