How to grow and care for Monkey Plant (Ruellia makoyana) Indoors

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Houseplant, Monkey Plant

Botanical name: Ruellia makoyana
Family: Acanthaceae

Monkey Plant also called Trailing Velvet Plant bears velvety oval-shaped leaves tinged with purple and veined in silver. The flowers are 2 in. long flared trumpets. The stems, about 2ft long droop gracefully making it ideal for a hanging basket. It needs warm and moist conditions. Monkey Plant is an evergreen perennial plant whose decorative leaves qualifies it for a permanent houseplant. (Ruellia makoyana) is native to Brazil.

How to Grow Monkey Plant (Ruellia makoyana)

Light for Monkey Plant

Monkey Plant grows best in bright light away from direct sunshine. Exposure of your plant to direct sunlight will result in sunscorched leaves. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

How to water Monkey Plant

Water your Monkey Plant thoroughly during the growing season to maintain the soil moist through out. Reduce watering during the cold season to maintain the soil slightly moist.

Do not allow the soil for your Monkey Plant to dry out as it can lead to wilting and leaf drop. Avoid soggy soil as it can lead to root-rot. Read more on how to water houseplants.

Temperature for Monkey Plant

Average room temperature with a minimum of 120C is ideal for your Monkey Plant. Protect your plant from cold draughts to prevent leaf fall. Check out this guide on understanding temperature for houseplants.

Humidity for Monkey Plant

Monkey Plant grows best in humid conditions. Check out these techniques on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

Regularly clean the leaves of your Monkey Plant by damp-wiping with a soft cloth to get rid of dust. Read more on how to clean houseplants.

Fertilizer (Feeding) for Monkey Plant

Feed your Monkey Plant monthly with a balanced, water-soluble potassium-rich fertilizer during the growing season. Withhold feeding during the cold season as growth is minimal. Read more on how to feed houseplants.

How to prune Monkey Plant

Prune your Monkey Plant by removing dead blooms and leaves to maintain the plant neat and tidy. Pinch off the growing tips to encourage bushy growth and to keep your plant compact.

How to repot Monkey Plant

Repot your Monkey Plant at the beginning of the growing season in a pot one size larger than the previous one only when the plant becomes pot-bound. Ensure the pot has a drainage hole and the soil is free-draining soil to avoid soggy soil for your Monkey Plant as it can lead to root-rot and eventual death of your plant.

How to Propagate Monkey Plant (Ruellia makoyana)

Monkey Plant can be propagated at the beginning of the growing season from stem cuttings.

How to propagate Monkey Plant from stem cuttings

Take stem cuttings of about 4-6 in. from a healthy Monkey Plant. Ensure each cutting has at 2-3 leaf nodes. Dip the lower cut end in a rooting hormone to hasten rooting. Insert the cutting in moist free-draining soil.

Cover the set up with clear polythene to create a greenhouse effect in order to promote rooting. Place the set up in a warm brightly lit spot. Rooting should occur in about 4-6 weeks. Allow the new plants to be well established before transplanting to individual containers.

Common Problems in Growing Monkey Plant (Ruellia makoyana)

  • Why are the flower buds of my Monkey Plant dropping?
  • Underwatering is the cause of flower bud drop in your Monkey Plant; water the plant moderately and maintain the soil moderately moist during the growing season.

  • Why are the leaves of my Monkey Plant wilted and droopy?
  • Underwatering is the cause of wilted and droopy leaves in Monkey Plant; water the plant thoroughly and maintain the soil consistently moist during the growing season.

  • Why do the leaves of my Monkey Plant have brown soft spots?
  • Overwatering your Monkey Plant will cause brown soft spots on the leaves. Reduce watering in the cold months to maintain the soil slightly moist.

  • Why does my Monkey Plant have brown leaf spots?
  • Exposing your Monkey Plant to direct sunlight will cause brown leaf spots (sun scorch). Protect your plant or keep it away from direct sunlight.

  • Why does my Mokey Plant have brown leaf tips and or brown leaf edges?
  • Too low humidity will cause brown leaf tips and edges in your Monkey Plant. Employ these techniques on how to raise humidity for houseplants to raise humidity for your plant.

  • Why are the leaves of my Monkey Plant curled and falling (dropping)?
  • The cause of leaf curl and leaf fall in your Monkey Plant is too cold temperatures. Protect the plant from cold draughts and maintain warm temperature above 120C.

  • Why is my Monkey Plant not blooming (flowering)?
  • Three reasons can cause your Monkey Plant not to bloom or flower. One reason is too little light; Monkey Plant grows best in bright light away from direct sunshine. Exposure of your plant to direct sunlight will result in sunscorched leaves. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

    The second reason that can cause your Monkey Plant not to flower is feeding it with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer which promotes leaf growth at the expense of blooms; feed your Monkey Plant monthly with a balanced, water-soluble potassium-rich fertilizer during the growing season. Read more on how to feed houseplants.

    The third reason for no blooms in your Monkey Plant is underwatering; water the plant thoroughly and maintain the soil consistently moist during the growing season.

  • Which plant pests attack Monkey Plant?
  • Common plant pests in Monkey Plant are Spider Mite, Scale Insects and Aphids.

Is Monkey Plant toxic?

Monkey Plant (Ruellia makoyana) is non-toxic to both humans and pets. It is safe to grow in the home. However, Monkey Plant can be invasive if not properly controlled.

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