Monstera deliciosa (Swiss Cheese Plant / Hurricane Plant)

Swiss Cheese Plant Care Guide

Light

Gentle sunlight is fine for the Swiss Cheese Plant, but harsh sun needs to be avoided as it will scorch and possibly yellow the leaves.

On the other side of things, dark gloomy corners need to be avoided too in order to prevent loss of the Swiss Cheese effect in the leaves and the annoying spreading effect that occurs in these conditions.

Watering

Only moderate levels of watering are required here. When you do water make sure you aim to get all of the compost evenly moist, then wait until it has almost dried out before watering again.

You’ll need to wait less time between watering’s during the warmer months of the year. Or if the plant has been positioned in a very warm and dry space because all of these things will increase the thirst of your Swiss Cheese Plant.

Humidity

It will take average to high humidity levels well, but will start to suffer if things are very dry for prolonged periods. Find ways that work for you to increase humidity if this is likely to be an issue in the spot you have chosen for it.

Feeding

Feeding is essential if you want new, lush green growth. Use any houseplant feed and use it it at normal strength no more than once a month during periods of active growth. Reduce the amount and frequency of feed if you’re finding your plant is becoming a monster and outgrowing its home too fast!

Temperature

Visible new growth will show whenever temperatures are regularly at 18°C / 65°F or above.

Although it will survive easily between 10°C / 50°F – 30°C / 86°F try to keep in the middle of this where possible to avoid temperature related problems.

Repotting

A young plant in its first pot will need to be repotted shortly after purchase. As is usual with most houseplants, find a pot which is a bit bigger than the existing one and using new compost pot it up into its new home. Don’t feed newly repotted plants for at least three months.

A small warning – think really carefully before you decide to upsize the pot of an established and mature plant. Because – Bigger Pots = A MONSTER Monstera deliciosa. You’ve been warned!

Propagation

You normally won’t want more than one of these in your home for obvious reasons, but if you really want to give it a go or want to take cuttings for friends, you can remove the growing tips from stems just below an aerial root node.

Once you’ve done this, plant the cutting (including the aerial root node) in a similar compost mix to what the parent was growing in and maintain similar conditions until established, before moving on to its new home.

You can also root the cutting in water. If you do this, then the roots should start to form after a few weeks, and after about a month or two they should be extensive enough for you to pot up into soil.

With these things, sometimes it’s better to see what we’re describing visually. So below is a great video by Crazy Plant Guy who shows you how to do it.

Speed of Growth

When the plant is in active growth (depending on temperature this is usually, during the Spring and Summer months) it puts out quite a few new shoots and leaves, especially if properly fed and watered with good light levels.

Height / Spread

With time comes a humongous beast. Up to 20m / 65ft high and the leaves can often reach between 25–90cm / 9-35 inches both in width and length.

Flowers

The Swiss Cheese Plant belongs to the arum family, so the flowers it produces is typical in appearance to the many other plants within this family i.e. pretty unremarkable as flowers go.

Unremarkable, except for two points. Firstly if fruits are produced on your Monstera (rare indoors) you can eat them once ripe! Do some research first though, because eating the fruit before it’s fully ripe isn’t good for you (at all!).

But what does it taste like you ask? Well it’s supposed to be a (delicious) cross between banana and pineapple mixed with hints of various other tropical fruits.

Secondly a large Monstera will produce a proportionally large flower which can be a fun talking point if not something overly pretty to look at.

Is the Swiss Cheese Plant Poisonous?

Monstera leaves and roots are toxic to people, cats and dogs. This is a result of the calcium oxalates found in the plants sap.

Fortunately the purpose of calcium oxalates is to make the plant taste unpleasant to stop people or animals from eating it, so most of the side effects of eating Monstera are superficial at worst, such as a sore mouth, lips or tongue.

Anything Else?

The Swiss Cheese Plant looks fantastic with shiny, polished leaves. Make sure you clean it regularly to keep this attractive look.

How to Care for a Monstera Plant Summary

  1. Average Light Levels An adaptable houseplant that will do well in moderately lit spaces.

  2. Moderate Watering Water well and then wait until the soil is almost dry before watering again.

  3. Temperature Average room temperatures are fine.

  4. Feeding Feed once a month.

Swiss Cheese Plant Problems

Leaves and stems growing into dark places

This is often a confusing thing to see, as almost all plants will grow towards the light, not away from it. However if light levels are quite low the young leaves and shoots on Swiss Cheese Plant’s will often grow towards even darker areas, which is known as negative phototropism.

Basically they’re seeking the really dark spots because out in the wild of the tropical rainforest this is where the tall trees are standing. Once reached the shoots will clamber up them to get to the top of the open and much brighter canopy (clever no?).

In our homes the dark spots are obviously going to stay dark. So if the creeping and spreading is really bad, either fold them back into the main stem, remove these shoots completely or consider a brighter spot for the plant in general.

Dripping / Crying leaves (guttation)

After it has been well watered, you may find water droplets have formed and collected at the leaf tips. This is know scientifically as guttation and is typically harmless. If the plant is very large with many leaves it may get a bit messy.

It’s caused by a lot of water being available around the roots so the cure for this is to ease up a little on the watering.

Yellowing lower leaves

In 80% of cases this is caused by it either being too cold, too much watering or a combination of both. Keep above the minimum recommended temperature and reduce the amount of water you give, or wait longer before giving it some more. In the other 20% of cases, the yellowing leaves are just the natural shedding of old leaves and is nothing to worry about.

Yellowing leaves elsewhere

If the yellow appears in random patches the culprit is likely harsh sunlight. Another possibility is if the yellow is appearing with brown spots then it could be underwatering.

The final most likely cause of yellow leaves is underfeeding. Small pots with no fertiliser, while restricting the growth, will eventually cause the Swiss Cheese Plant to suffer. If you don’t want to (or can’t) repot your plant, then feed sparingly every couple of months and you should start to see an improvement.

Aerial roots

In general the only beautiful roots you find on houseplants that you actually want to see, are those of the Moth Orchid. So having brown creeping roots appearing higher up on Monstera stems might not be your cup of tea.

In the wild they function to help anchor the long weak stem to nearby structures such as trees and provide additional access to water and nutrients. Indoors, under your careful care and attention, this isn’t such a big issue so you have three choices:

  • One you can leave them as they are.
  • Two you can cut them off.
  • Three you can try to guide and tuck them into either the soil if they’re long enough, or into a moss stick.

Of the options, number three is probably the best for the plants health. However the Swiss Cheese Plant is robust and removing the aerial roots is unlikely to do long term harm.

My Monstera is too big!

Yes it does that I’m afraid! Pruning doesn’t really give a neat and tidy look, so the only real solution is to restrict it’s growth by only feeding sparingly and keeping it in a smallish pot. Keep the roots restricted and you will limit the amount of green leaf growth.

No holes in my Swiss Cheese Plant

The leaves of young plants or on very new stems are usually uncut with little or no perforation. The cut effect will come with age. If you have a mature Swiss Cheese Plant then the most common cause is too little light and possibly underfeeding. You may also not have a genuine Monstera and perhaps been sold / given a Philodendron, which looks very similar when young.

Brown leaf edges / Papery tips

Brown tips can be a sign of overwatering, but if this is indicated you’ll get yellow leaves too.

If the brown effect appears on its own then it’s almost certainly caused by very dry air, cut the dead brown bits off and increase humidity to prevent further damage. Check your choice of placement too, for example. if it’s next to a radiator think about moving it while the radiator is in use over Winter.

About the Author

Tom Knight

Over the last 20 years Tom has successfully owned hundreds of houseplants and is always happy to share knowledge and lend his horticulture skills to those in need. He is the main content writer for the Ourhouseplants Team.

Also on Ourhouseplants.com

Credit for the ripped leaved Monstera deliciosa close up – Article / Gallery – 1:1

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Monstera, Monstera Deliciosa: “Swiss Cheese Plant”

We’ve noticed a trend: From Mother-in-Law’s Tongue to Spikenard to Monstera (aka “Swiss Cheese Plant”), houseplants don’t have the most appealing names. But that hasn’t stopped a surge of popularity for this tropical plant: Chances are you’ve spotted its graphic leaves on everything from throw pillows to wallpaper. Here’s a look at the care and keeping of this statement-making plant.

Above: A bold addition to the bedside: a Monstera leaf. Photograph by Erin Boyle.

Monstera is a tropical plant from the Araceae family. Its name, as one might guess, comes from the Latin meaning “abnormal” because of its odd-looking, perforated leaves that are often punched through with holes.

Above: Monstera are climbers. It’s possible to buy monstera seeds, like these, online, though Monstera grows best outdoors in zones 10 and 11. Photograph courtesy of CenteroftheWebb.

In the wilds of the jungle, Monstera can grow to be enormous: dozens of feet tall with leaves that spread to nearly two feet wide.

The best-known variety is Monstera Deliciosa, or Mexican Breadfruit, in reference to its corncob-shaped fruit (which is said to taste like a combination of pineapple, banana, and mango). It’s not all delicious, however: The rest of the plant is poisonous and eating the fruit before it’s ripe can cause mouth irritation.

“It’s extremely common for monsteras to be confused with split-leaf philodendron, particularly in less mature plants,” writes Annie. ” Though the two are related (they’re part of the same plant family), an easy way to tell these plants apart is to look at the leaves: split-leaf philodendrons have perforated leaves but lack holes.”

Cheat Sheet

Above: Netherlands-based online shop Baby Plants sells the cutest itty bitty seedlings, including this tropical climbing Monstera Adansonii; €4.49. For more cute baby picture, see Irresistible Baby Houseplants That Will Change Your Life.

  • Monstera needs lots of space: Put it in a statement-making spot in the living room, rather than in a tight corner or on a windowsill.
  • Monstera can grow up trees and other plants in the rainforest, and would benefit from some support indoors, too. Consider adding a small trellis or pole nearby.
  • If you can’t commit to a whole Monstera plant—or if yours is running rampant—trim a leaf or two and stand them upright in a clear glass vase.

Above: Part of Monstera’s appeal is its dark green, shiny leaves. Keep it vibrant by cleaning the leaves gently with a damp cloth. Photograph by Erin Boyle.

Keep It Alive

  • Find a balance between sun and shade. If Monstera is given too much sun, the leaves will yellow. If it’s left in the dark, the plant will exhibit something called negative phototropism, where new leaves grow towards the dark, rather than the light. (It’s a pretty clever trick: In the jungle, darkness signals the presence of a larger tree that Monstera can climb up to reach sunlight.) Since this isn’t possible in a living room, indirect sun is best.
  • Water Monstera moderately and evenly, about once a week. Wait until the soil is fairly dry before watering again. Keep in a fairly humid environment.
  • To curb excessive growth, avoid re-potting too often and prune regularly by pinching off new growth.

Scientists have speculated about the reason for the holes in Monstera leaves: One theory is that this perforation maximizes the leaf’s surface area, and therefore its ability to capturing sunlight on the rainforest floor; the other is that it allows tropical downpours to pass through the leaves, thereby limiting damage to the plant. This explains Monstera’s other name: Hurricane Plant.

Above: Another way to incorporate Monstera into your home decor without sacrificing space? This (330 KR, or $35.61 USD). Above: And, for the extremely space-limited, there’s even a Monstera temporary tattoo, available for $5 from Tattly. N.B. Some of our favorite houseplants hail from the tropics. See more in Tropical Plants 101: A Guide to Planting, Care & Design. For more houseplant inspiration, see:

  • Jamie’s Jungle: At Home with Houseplants in London.
  • Vines & Climbers 101: A Guide to Planting, Care & Design.
  • Best Houseplants: 9 Indoor Plants for Low Light.

Finally, get more ideas on how to successfully plant, grow, and care for monstera with our Monstera: A Field Guide. And for more ideas on how to plant, grow, and care for various houseplants with our Houseplants: A Field Guide.

Interested in other tropical plants for your garden or indoor space? Get more ideas on how to plant, grow, and care for various tropical plants with our Tropical Plants: A Field Guide.

“Possessing all the qualities that are required of a good houseplant, this one is making a comeback.”

How often should I water my monstera plant?

Monstera plants prefer a warm climate away from direct sunlight. When it comes to watering, Gisele says. “Let the top 4cm of soil dry out between watering as over watering may lead to root rot, signs of this are yellowing or wilting leaves. For best results Monsteras should enjoy conditions that are fairly moist so avoid artificial heating and cooling, they will require monthly feeding in spring and summer when planted in containers.”

If your Monstera produces aerial roots, manoeuvre them towards some water.

“Plants will do better if the aerial roots that grow from the main stem can be directed into a container of water from which supplies will be drawn for the plant, thus reducing the need for too frequent watering of the mixture in the pot, these roots can be also directed into the potting mixture when re-potting,” Gisele explains.

How to keep a monstera plant pest-free

Despite being easy to grow, Monstera’s are prone to mealybugs.

“Cleaning the leaves will also help keep pests under control as they are prone to mealybugs on the undersides of the leaves. It’s also ideal to give them the occasional misting to help increase humidity,” says Gisele

How to re-pot a monstera plant

When it comes to time to move your plant to a larger pot, “a mix comprised of equal parts potting mixture and sphagnum moss will do the job.”

Giselle adds: “Also once the plant reaches heights of 80cm tall it will need the support of a moss pole or bamboo cane as its natural tendency is to grow up.”

Repotting Cheese Plants: How And When To Repot Monstera

One of the classic houseplants is the tropical philodendron. Also known as the Swiss cheese plant, this beauty is an easy to grow, large leaved plant with characteristic splits in the leaves. It should be repotted every few years to ensure adequate soil nutrition and space for the rapidly growing plant. Learn how to repot a Swiss cheese plant including suitable soil, space and staking, for a long lived, healthy specimen that graces your home or office.

Tropical Monstera plants (Monstera deliciosa) thrive in most home interiors. The plants are thick stemmed vines that support themselves on other vegetation in nature and produce long roots from the stem to supplement that support. Houseplant Monstera may require staking but they still produce the stiff roots from the trunk. This can make repotting cheese plants something of a challenge.

When to Repot Monstera

Monstera plant care is relatively low maintenance. The plant needs warm interior temperatures of at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 C.) or warmer. Swiss cheese plant also needs moderately moist soil and high humidity. The aerial roots need something to hang on to, so a wooden or moss covered stake set into the middle of the pot will provide the extra support.

Repotting cheese plants is done every year when the plant is young to encourage growth and freshen the soil. Go up in container size until you reach the largest pot you wish to use. Thereafter, the plant needs a fresh top dress of rich soil annually but will be content for several years at a time even if it is root bound.

Early spring before new leaves occur is when to repot Monstera for the best results.

How to Repot a Swiss Cheese Plant

Swiss cheese plant is a tropical jungle plant and as such requires rich, nutrient dense soil that holds moisture, yet doesn’t remain soggy. A standard good quality potting soil is fine, with the addition of some peat moss.

Choose a pot that has plenty of drainage holes and a depth deep enough to accommodate a thick stake. Fill the bottom third of the pot with the soil mixture and set the stake into the center lightly. Repotting cheese plants that are very mature and tall, will require a second pair of hands to help support the upper regions during the potting process.

Set the base of the plant into the container so the original soil line on the plant is a touch below where the new line will be. Fill in around the base roots and any aerial roots that reach into the soil. Firm up the potting mix around the stake and use plant ties to attach the stem to the stake.

Post Potting Monstera Plant Care

Water the pot deeply right after potting. Wait a week or two and then resume a monthly feeding with liquid fertilizer during watering.

Swiss cheese plant may simply get too big for its britches. The plant is known in its habitat to reach 10 feet tall or more. In the home environment, this is generally too tall, but the plant responds well to trimming and you can even keep any cuttings and start them for a new plant.

Keep the leaves wiped clean and watch for spider mite infestations. This glossy foliage plant has a long life span and will reward you with its enchanting lacy leaves for years and years with good care.

The monstera deliciosa is also known as the Swiss cheese plant, split leaf philodendron and Mexican breadfruit, among many other names. It is a huge floor plant with one of the most recognizable leaves in the design world. Its “Swiss cheese” nickname comes from the iconic splits and holes in its leaves and its “breadfruit” nickname refers to its corn-shaped fruit.

Monsteras have a longstanding history in art and interior design. You can commonly find pictures of the monstera leaf printed on pillows, framed on walls and even hanging solo in a glass vase.

The monstera grows natively in Central American rainforests from Mexico to Panama. Monsteras hail from the arum family like other popular houseplants including peace lilies and ZZ plants. You can grow a monstera deliciosa outside if you live in zones 10 or 11. Check out the USDA’s plant hardiness zone map to learn more about the different zones.

Monstera Deliciosa Overview

These climbing, evergreen perennials can reach up to 60 feet or more in height in their natural habitat. In your home, they can reach about eight feet in height. Their leaves alone can measure up to 2 feet long. Due to the impressive height of the monstera deliciosa, use a trellis or moist moss-covered sticks for support.

A monstera’s uniquely shaped leaves allow it to withstand downpours in tropical rain forests. Its structure also helps it take in the few streaks of sunlight that make it to the rain forest floor. These characteristics are how it gained another nickname: the hurricane plant.

These vibrant houseplants look best in living and dining rooms where your guests can admire them for all their beauty. Keep in mind, these plants take up a lot of space. So just be sure there’s extra room wherever you’re planning on showing your new greenery off. As an added bonus, they also purify the air!

Types of Monstera Deliciosa

Different monstera deliciosa varieties feature different leaves and sizes. You’ll notice subtle color variation and slightly different leaf structures in each plant. Take a look at a couple of the types you can have in your home:

M. deliciosa borsigiana

This variety is perfect for you if you lack floor space, but still want to have a beautiful monstera in your home. They typically grow quickly and are smaller in size compared to other varieties.

M. deliciosa variegata

This type of monstera deliciosa has yellowish-cream pattern dappled on its leaves. This variation takes a long time to grow and is not as common to find in homes.

M. deliciosa albovariegata

The distinct white variegation on its leaves differentiates it from other monstera deliciosa varieties. No two leaves are ever alike! Some leaves become completely white while others may feature speckled patterns. This is another rare monstera variety, similar to the M. deliciosa variegata.

Monstera Deliciosa Care Tips

Monsteras are simple to take care of and require the right balance between sunlight, water and temperature needs. Take a look at their care guidelines below to see how you can keep your plant strong.

Light: The right amount of sunlight is essential for a monstera’s leaf development. Place it in a spot where it can receive filtered, indirect sunlight. Too much direct sunlight can give a monstera yellow or scorched leaves. You may need to rotate your plant if you notice its leaves reaching for sunlight, so just be sure to keep an eye on it.

Water: You should water your plant when the first couple inches of soil are dry. Poke your finger in the soil to check its dryness. Monsteras prefer peaty, well-draining soil since overly-moist soil can lead to root rot. These plants also sometimes grow aerial roots over time. You can cover these roots with moist sphagnum moss or direct them to the soil so they can also get plenty of water.

Temperature: The monstera plant prefer normal room temperatures between 68–86 °F. Since it originally comes from tropical rain forests, a similar tropical and humid atmosphere will make this plant feel right at home. Misting your monstera deliciosa once a week can increase humidity around the plant if you live in a dry area.

Toxicity: All parts of this plant, excluding its ripe fruit, are poisonous to humans and pets making the larger variety not an ideal choice for pet owners. Opt for a mini variety like the M. deliciosa borsigiana that you can keep high on shelves to prevent your curious furry friends from taking a bite. The plant can cause stomach pains if ingested and skin irritation if touched because of the calcium oxalates found in its sap. It’s still safe to have in your home, as long you do not ingest any part of the plant and take extra care when handling it. Take a look at our guide to poisonous plants to learn more about what to do if part of a monstera is ingested.

Pests: Monsteras are prone to mealybugs under their leaves along with scales, aphids and spider mites. Wipe their leaves down about once a week to keep them clean and remove dust. This routine maintenance keeps their dark green leaves healthy and shiny. If you do find small critters in your plant, wipe them off with a mild soap solution or gentle insecticide to get rid of the pests.

Problems: As we mentioned earlier, the leaves may not develop properly if your plant doesn’t receive enough sunlight. If you notice that your monstera’s leaves aren’t splitting properly, move it to a better-lit area.

Monstera deliciosa leaves can turn yellow if they are overwatered or undernourished. If this happens, refrain from watering your plant until you feel its soil dry. If the problem persists, repot your monstera in fresh soil. Finally, if all of those solutions aren’t working, feed your plant a little homemade plant food or fertilizer to get its leaves back to peak health. One way to tell the difference is to see if the leaves are “sweating” — this is an additional sign of overwatering.

Brown leaf tips or edges can result from dry air and low humidity. Correct this by misting your plant once a week or by keeping a humidifier near your plant.

Repotting: Monsteras, in particular, are large pants that need repotting every couple years to support their growing root systems. Pick a pot a few inches larger in height and width than your previous one to give your monstera more room to grow. You can also keep it in the same pot, repot less frequently or routinely prune back its leaves to keep it a manageable size. Take a look at our guide to repotting a plant for more in-depth repotting tips.

Propagation: Air layering is a common propagation method for monsteras. Read on to see the steps needed to do this.

  1. Locate a leaf with a small aerial root below it.
  2. Cut a notch below that root that’s about one third of the stem’s diameter.
  3. Wrap this area (notch, root and node where leaf meets the stem) with a layer of damp floral or sphagnum moss.
  4. Wrap the moss in plastic tight enough so it stays secure, but loose enough so you can open it and check the roots. You can secure the moss and plastic with string or other ties.
  5. Once you start to see roots, cut the stem and plant it in new soil.

Monstera deliciosa plants are a gem to have in your home, with easy care guidelines too. Taking care of your monstera is sure to bring you lots of compliments and a happy plant!

Growing Monstera Deliciosa From Seed

Monstera deliciosas are a highly popular houseplant, native to parts of Mexico and Panama. It’s popular because of the highly attractive and decorative foliage that the plants develop (see image below). They’ve even become a trending thing on Instagram with #MonsteraMonday akin to #MancrushMonday. Now, of course, I wanted to join the fun, but I couldn’t do it any old way! I decided to purchase some Monstera deliciosa seeds from Amazon! (UPDATE: Since this post was written, I have started offering authentic Monstera deliciosa seeds for purchase from my website.)

I’ll be providing periodic updates as they grow from hatchlings to full grown beasts! I hear they’re quite slow to grow, but I like a challenge. When I’m given a plant that’s fully grown or at least developed, there’s always trial and error to learn what kind of environmental conditions it need.

When I grow a plant from seed, I really learn the growing conditions that a plant thrives in. I encourage my followers to try growing your favorite plants from seed.

You’ll find an enormous pride once the plant grows into adulthood from a simple seed. Of course, if you lose the plant along the way, you’ll be kicking yourself. But that’s why I like to start off with a healthy number of seeds, because I know that I will probably lose a few plants along the way!

How to Germinate

Sterilize the soil

I typically try to sterilize my soil when I’m seed starting. I get my soil damp and spread it out over a plate. I then microwave it for about 5 minutes (yeah it will smell funky as can be). I let it cool and then dispense in the containers.

Seed prep

For these seeds, I don’t pre-score, soak them, or provide any special treatment. I simply bury the seed slightly, by just barely covering the seed completely with the sterilized soil.

The waiting game

The first seeds to germinate took about 5 days. Some have taken about 3 weeks. I’d say, on average, healthy monstera seeds will germinate in about 10-14 days under good conditions. That means high humidity, and high heat. Simple enough. While it may feel tempting to put your seeds or seedlings to catch some sun, especially if you’re trying to heat the soil and activate germination, it is never a good idea to introduce direct outdoor sun to your seedlings. At this age, the plants are far too young to experience direct sun. It will burn them to hell. Typically, in nature, they’ll start off growing under the canopy of an adult plant, shielded from the sun’s harshest rays. If you’re trying to get additional heat or growing seeds in the winter, consider a grow mat and artificial lighting.

To get the humidity necessary to activate germination, I usually put cling film over the pots, which seals in the moisture needed to sprout. I remove the cling film soon after germination (for cacti, that’s another story and blog post). Just make sure they don’t dry out! They don’t have the moisture reserves that a normal plant would have. Basically treat them like helpless babies. Because they’re not far from it. Stay tuned as I continue to provide progress shots and commentary below.

Can’t wait for my first hole-y leaf…

Bae•tanical

3 Week old seedling about to unfurl.

4 Weeks old – same seedling completely unfurled.

5 Weeks old – sibling finally sprouting. It shows the variability of time for germination.

A group photo of those that have germinated.
A seedling that’s opening up. It looks as though its reaching for light so I may slowly bring it closer and closer to the light. Right now the seedlings are in a shaded part of my yard.
I planted two seeds in a few of the containers. I’m curious to know if it will help or hurt growth.

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Monstera deliciosaSwiss cheese plant

  • Position: bright but indirect light
  • Soil: good potting compost
  • Rate of growth: average
  • Hardiness: tender (indoors only)
  • Current height: approximately 120cm (including pot)
  • Pot covers: choose a 26cm pot cover to give a good fit over the pot.
    This plant has been a favorite for many years now. Once it gets going it can be truly impressive with large, glossy heart shaped leaves which as the plant matures have the distinctive perforated and deeply cut leaves. It originates from tropical rainforests where the aerial roots help it to climb up into the canopy, so as your plant grows you want to gently push the aerial roots into the moss covered pole. Please note that the pot in the photograph is not supplied with the plant (which is sent out in a black plastic pot). They do however make excellent potted plants, and if you wish to pot yours up, we do have a wide range of pots on our website to choose from.
  • Home care: Keep it out of direct sunlight, ideally it likes a bright spot, and mist the leaves, particularly if the room is warm and dry. Also the leaves will appreciate being given a wash sometimes to keep them clean and dust free. This plant likes a moist soil but not a waterlogged soil, so in the winter feel the soil before you water it. In the summer you can water more freely.
  • Harmful if eaten/skin & eye irritant

Swiss Cheese Plant (Monstera)

Product Description for Swiss Cheese Plant (Monstera)

Swiss Cheese Plant (Monstera deliciosa) is also known as Split Leaf Philodendron, Hurricane Plant, Ceriman or Mexican Breadfruit. It is a popular evergreen climber that originates from the tropical Central American regions including South Mexico, Panama and Columbia. The plant flowers in its native habitat but rarely elsewhere.

In Europe, the Swiss Cheese Plant is primarily grown indoors for its lush green glossy foliage and commanding presence once matured. The holes and perforations in the leaves that are characteristic of the monstera help the plant survive in the rainforest, allowing strong winds and downpours to pass through the leaves without damage.

A Swiss Cheese Plant can look imposing in large rooms, foyers, hallways and offices – any large indoor spaces that can accommodate the plant’s growing size and caring needs.

How to Care for Your Swiss Cheese Plant

While looking after a Cheese Plant is not difficult, the right conditions and care instructions should be observed for best results.

Temperature

Light

A bright room with some shade is best. Avoid positioning your Swiss Cheese Plant in full sun as this will damage the leaves, while too much shade leads to slower growth.

Water

Allow the soil to become touch dry between watering, and water once every two weeks or so.

Humidity

Average to high room humidity is required for a monstera to thrive. It’s a good idea to mist the moss pole stem and leaves to keep them moist.

Soil

A well draining soil is needed, such as a peat based potting soil mixed with sand or perlite. Repot the plant every 1-2 years in the spring.

Fertilising

For best results, apply a liquid feed in a diluted solution once a month between April and September.

Pruning

Once your Swiss Cheese Plant has been growing for 3 years, it will need pruning. Simply remove as many stems as needed during the spring.

Pests

A Swiss Cheese Plant is typically disease free, but if grown under glass it is vulnerable to attack by glasshouse red spider mites, mealybugs, thrips and scale insects.

Toxicity

Monstera leaves contain insoluble calcium oxalates which are likely to cause severe gastrointestinal discomfort if ingested. The plant is toxic to humans, cats and dogs.

Monstera Deliciosa

While this epiphyte plant – which is native to the rainforests in south America is a flowering plant, it’s primarily grown indoors for its attractive foliage and the height it grows up to. It’s a plant that becomes a focal point of a room once it matures.

The holes and cuts within the leaves are said to form so the plant survives well within it’s natural rain forest habitat when strong winds and heavy downpours (I mean very heavy) appear. Leaves without these cuts and holes would get broken easily because of their size and the force of the weather conditions.

The Swiss cheese plant is fairly easy to care for and maintain, however, if the right conditions and care instructions are not followed the plant leaves can look very unattractive (see plant problems below).

Aerial roots: This species has aerial roots which are there to support the plant growing. These roots which hang from a stem have to be pushed into the compost and they can be placed on a moss stick (plastic tube with netting filled with peat), if you wish the plant to grow very tall.

How it looks: The monstera deliciosa is primarily grown indoors for the lush green and glossy leaves. Each heart shaped leaf that appears starts of as a full leaf and then begins to form it’s slits. These leaves will grow whilst the plant is very young and only a matter of a few inches tall, although they do not produce the slits until it matures more. This species looks similar to a palm tree.

Flowering and fruit: The cheese plant does flower in it’s natural habitat or somewhere that mimics it’s natural habit very well. It’s very rare to see them flower indoors. These flowers are a whitish colored spathe type with a spadix in the center.

The fruit which looks similar to a sweetcorn cone (in shape) are produced after the the flowers have fully bloomed. There is a specific way of knowing these are ready to be eaten, and if they’re eaten before they become ripe enough it has been said they can cause mouth irritation. The name deliciosa comes from the fruit being known as tasting delicious.

Displaying and growing: These look fantastic in large rooms, hallways, within offices and anywhere else that can cater for their size and caring needs. To grow them tall they will have to be trained, which is fairly easy when using a moss stick. If you don’t have the time or materials to make a moss pole you can purchase them online or in garden stores which is probably a cheaper method. In the wild this plant grows by climbing (climbing shrub) trees (epiphyte) so it gains it’s support and moisture from them – which a moss pole is used to imitate.

Swiss Cheese Plant

Botanical Name: Monstera deliciosa

Lush and bold, Swiss Cheese Plant makes a good accent if you have the space.

Over several years it can grow several feet tall and its dramatic, perforated leaves to 12 inches (30 cm) long or more, so it needs a bit of elbow room. Keep those leaves dust-free and shiny by gently wiping them with a damp cloth.

Swiss Cheese Plant makes a big impression in a room. Give those large leaves space to sprawl out.

Monstera Deliciosa’s Tropical Beginnings

This handsome foliage plant is a climber in the wild, scrambling up large trees, anchoring itself with thick aerial roots which also take in moisture and nutrients. You can tuck aerial roots that emerge near its base into the soil and train others to climb a moss pole.

Young plants have smooth leaves. But as Monstera deliciosa matures, the leaves develop deeply cut edges and wide slits. In its native jungle habitat, the slashes, holes and cuts in the large leaves help the plant to withstand strong winds and torrential downpours.

Because of this plant’s tropical nature, it likes higher humidity than is usually found in a home. Use a cool-mist room humidifier to raise the humidity around it.

Problems and Solutions

Most problems with Monstera deliciosa will show in its leaves.

  • Yellowing lower leaves are a symptom of overwatering. Water thoroughly, then allow soil to dry out a bit before watering again. Use a pot with drainage holes and empty drainage tray.
  • Curled, crispy leaf tips could indicate low humidity or too much fertilizer. Flush soil with clean water to wash away any accumulated fertilizer. Wait a month before feeding again.
  • If they are not getting enough light, large leaves grow without holes and slits. Give the plant moderate to bright light, but not direct sun.
  • Scorched leaves (dry, brown spots) are caused by strong, direct sunlight.

Deliciosa means pleasing, referring to the white spadix flower (shown at right) that develops into edible berries on mature plants grown in tropical Central America. However, Swiss Cheese Plant rarely produces flower and fruit when grown indoors.

CAUTION: The leaves of Swiss Cheese Plant are poisonous and can cause severe burning in the mouth if eaten. They can also cause skin irritation, so I’d recommend wearing gloves when handling this plant.

Repot in spring when roots have filled the pot. Use a pot with drainage holes to prevent soggy soil.

Buying Tips

This big-leafed plant is sometimes called Split-Leaf Philodendron, but that’s a different genus. Look for Monstera deliciosa to be sure you’re getting this plant.

Swiss Cheese Plant Care Tips

Origin: Southern Mexico and Guatemala

Height: Up to 10 ft (3 m) tall.

Light: Bright light, no direct sun. If leaves on mature plants grow without holes or slits, give the plant more light.

Water: Water thoroughly and allow the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings. Keep soil barely moist in winter. Yellowing lower leaves are usually a sign of overwatering. Provide good drainage.

Humidity: Average to high (at least 40% relative humidity). See these tips for raising the humidity indoors.

Temperature: Average to warm 65-85°F/18-29°C

Soil: Mix 1 part peat moss-based mix and 1 part sand or perlite for good drainage.

Fertilizer: Feed every 2 weeks spring through fall with a balanced liquid or water-soluble fertilizer diluted by half. Feed monthly in winter.

Propagation: Take growing tip cuttings of a mature plant in spring and insert them into moist peat moss based potting mix.

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Monstera deliciosa has one of the most distinctive and enduringly popular leaves in the houseplant world. A darling of interior designers and the urban jungle movement alike, one need only check out #MonsteraMonday on Instagram to understand the massive appeal of this tropical plant. Nicknamed “Swiss Cheese Plant” for the splits and holes that characterize its leaves, this dense vine can grow to immense proportions, with leaves becoming ever more perforated as the plant matures. While it’s not known exactly why the leaves develop their holes (called fenestrations), the leading theory is that by producing splits, the leaves have greater surface area and thus capture more light as they climb up trees in the understories of their native Central American jungles.

Most 6″ plants have leaves that are just beginning to split – your plant may not yet have holes, but should develop them soon! To promote mature leaves, give your Monstera deliciosa plenty of bright, indirect light and provide a support for the plant to climb such as a moss pole or trellis. Water when the top 1-2″ of soil feel dry.

-4″ specimen has one central growth point, with overall height of 6-8″
-6″ specimen has multiple growth points, with overall height of 12-14″

Ships in a plastic nursery pot. Marbled Clay Cachepot sold separately. Some natural variation in size and appearance may occur. Includes detailed care instructions.

SHIPPING AND DELIVERY INFO

Items in our Specimen Plants collection require special pre-shipping preparation, and ship within 3-5 business days. You’ll receive a shipping notification email with tracking when your order ships. Box warmer included at no additional charge as necessary during cold months.

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