From wall art to pillowcases, you have most likely seen the gorgeous dark green leaves of Monstera deliciosa plastered on a variety of home décor items. So it won’t be wrong to say that this evergreen climber is a favorite among interior designers and homeowners alike. The large heart-shaped leaves of this tropical plant develop holes and split as they grow, setting it apart from other similar varieties and bestowing it with its common name: the Swiss Cheese plant.
Monstera deliciosa can be a wonderful addition to any residential and commercial space. It is a generally low-maintenance plant with an easy-going nature. It is also virtually pest-free and can play a vital role in improving indoor air quality by neutralizing pollutants like formaldehyde. Meanwhile, the aerial roots of the plant can be used to make ropes and baskets.
The best thing about growing a Monstera deliciosa plant is that you don’t have to tend to it all the time. So, if you are new to gardening or lead a busy lifestyle, this trendy houseplant can be your perfect companion. It can not only help you bring a bit of nature indoors but also serve as the focal point of any room you place it in.
Introduction: Monstera Deliciosa
The Monstera deliciosa plant is a member of the Araceae family and is commonly found in the rainforests of southern Mexico and lower South American regions. The statement-making plant gets the “Monstera” part of its name from its distinct, perforated leaves. The word translates to “abnormal” in Latin, which seems like a perfect fit for this oddly delightful plant.
Interestingly, the second part of its name refers to its juicy corncob-shaped fruit, which tastes like a combination of pineapple and banana. Thus, the Monstera deliciosa fruit has also earned it the nickname of Mexican Breadfruit.
Monstera deliciosa can grow as tall as 70 feet in its natural habitat, with its glossy leaves growing over 3 feet long. However, in an ideal home environment, this plant only grows up to 10 feet, with leaves as big as 18 inches at most. In addition, when grown indoors, the Swiss Cheese plant does not bear fruits.
The young leaves of the Monstera deliciosa plant usually do not have their characteristic holes, which is why people usually confuse this plant with other Monstera varieties. However, as it grows, the leaves begin to split and become perforated. Scientists have theorized that these distinct holes enhance the plant’s ability to capture sunlight in the rainforest while also allowing its large leaves to survive tropical downpours. Due to this reasoning, Monstera deliciosa is also referred to as the Hurricane Plant.
Being a tropical climber, this plant prefers warm and humid environments. Nonetheless, it can also thrive in less-than-perfect conditions if you show it some love and affection.
How to Grow Monstera Deliciosa
You may not be able to enjoy the unique Monstera deliciosa fruit while growing an indoor specimen, but you will certainly get to revel in the beauty of its glossy foliage.
Here are some tips on how to grow Monstera deliciosa that you may find useful.
Finding the Best Spot
Monstera houseplants need a lot of space to grow, so setting them up on a window sill or a tight corner won’t be a good long-term plan. Instead, consider putting these plants in an open spot in your bedroom, living room, or dining room. Since these tropical plants require bright but indirect light, placing them near a window can work wonders for their foliage.
Those living in US zones 10, 11 or 12, can even move their houseplants to a shaded spot outdoors in the summer months. However, please make sure to bring them back in as soon as the temperatures begin to drop, as Monstera deliciosa is sensitive to cold drafts.
Position and Support
In the wild, the woody vines of Monstera deliciosa climb tall trees for support. If you want your plant to grow upright, you can stake them up with a moss-covered pole. Alternatively, you can add a small trellis to provide support to this houseplant.
You can also leave the plant to grow on its own if you prefer a sprawled appearance.
This chic houseplant thrives in warm climates. The ideal temperature for growing Monstera deliciosa is between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the temperature drops below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, make sure to move the plant to a warmer location.
Owing to their tropical nature, the Swiss cheese plants flourish in high humidity. However, they also adapt well to dry conditions. Therefore, occasionally spritzing your plant with distilled water may be a good idea if you live in a low-humidity climate.
Exposure to Sunlight
Direct sunlight can scorch the vibrant foliage of your Monstera plant. Therefore, please make sure to place it in a bright spot of your home that doesn’t receive direct sunlight. You can occasionally move it outdoors to receive bright sunlight, but doing it often may affect the foliage.
On the other hand, placing the houseplant in a dark corner of your home is also not a good idea. Under low light, the leaves of Monstera deliciosa may not develop their signature holes and may even start growing towards the dark instead of the light. This phenomenon is called negative phototropism. In their natural habitat, tropical climbers start growing towards the darker part of the forest to find the largest tree and then climb it up to reach sunlight.
Swiss cheese plants prefer slightly dry soil, though they require regular watering during the summer months. You can water these plants once a week. However, make sure the soil is moderately dry before adding more water to it.
Ideally, you should water a Monstera deliciosa plant enough to flush the soil of any salt or mineral buildup. For this purpose, make sure the pot has adequate drainage holes.
When choosing the soil for your houseplant, make sure it has a neutral or slightly acidic pH. In addition, Monstera plants prefer a peat-based potting mix. Whether you are planning to grow Monstera deliciosa indoors or outdoors, always select well-drained soil.
Monstera deliciosa propagation is fairly simple. All you need to do is trim two to three leaves and place their stalks in a clear glass container. Then fill the container with water and wait for the roots to sprout. Once the roots begin to grow longer, you can move the cuttings to a small pot.
Air-layering is another popular Monstera deliciosa propagation method. You can start by finding a leaf with a short aerial root and then cut a small notch just below it. Next, wrap the area with moist moss and cover it with plastic. You can also use ties to secure the plastic in place. When the roots begin to develop, cut the stem and plant the cutting into the soil.
Monstera Deliciosa Care Tips
The Swiss cheese plant is rather forgiving of neglect. However, following these Monstera deliciosa care tips will keep your plant vibrant and happy.
Pruning and Trimming
In ideal conditions, Monstera plants can grow about two feet every year. Their leaves also get large with time, which means it is important to prune and trim the plant every few weeks unless you want the vines and aerial roots to become a tangled mess.
For roots, you can tuck them back into the pot instead of cutting them off. However, you can trim the plant as you’d prefer. Regular pruning will also help curb excessive growth and keep your plant from looking unruly.
Discard Excess Water
Every time you water your houseplant, make sure to remove the saucer placed underneath its pot and discard the excess liquid. You can also wash and dry the saucer before putting it back. If you let water stand in the saucer for too long, your Monstera deliciosa may develop root rot.
Indoor plants can be fertilized every few weeks during the growing season. You can use any balanced liquid fertilizer, preferably organic, to nurture your Monstera deliciosa plant. However, do not feed the plant in the winter months.
Wiping and Cleaning
The glossy, large leaves of the Monstera plant are its biggest attraction. Therefore, consider using a damp paper towel to wipe off dust particles and other debris from their surface. This Monstera deliciosa care tip will also keep your plant healthy and pest-free.
Monstera plant doesn’t mind getting a little root-bound. However, if you plan to repot it, make sure to do so in the early spring months. Moreover, instead of choosing a very large container, buy one that is only two-inch wider in diameter.
Common Monstera Deliciosa Problems and How to Solve Them
These are some of the most common problems you may encounter while growing a Monstera deliciosa plant.
Leaves Turning Brown
If the leaves of your plant are turning brown or getting crispy at the edges, it may be a sign that your plant needs more water. In case you have been regularly watering your plant, this problem may indicate a high salt buildup in the soil. To troubleshoot this problem, flush the soil with distilled water and wait for the excess liquid to drain out the bottom.
There could be two main reasons behind wilting leaves: either your plant is thirsty or getting root-bound. If increasing the watering frequency doesn’t fix the problem, it might be time to repot the plant.
Leaves Turning Yellow
Yellowing leaves are a common sign of overwatering. If the stems are also turning black, you should consider cutting back on watering the plant and move it to a warmer spot.
Please remember that nothing can kill your Monstera plant quicker than overwatering it.
Leaves Not Getting Bigger
If the leaves of your plant are not growing bigger or aren’t developing any holes, it may be a good idea to move them to a brighter location that receives a lot of indirect sunlight.
Though Monstera deliciosa plants are mostly pest-free, they may get infested due to stress. In such cases, you can use neem oil or regular insecticidal soap to clean them.
The most common Monstera pests include thrips, mealy bugs, scale, and spider mites.
Is Monstera Deliciosa Toxic?
Much like other tropical plants, Monstera deliciosa also contains calcium oxalate crystals. In other words, this plant can be toxic to pets and small children. Therefore, if you have any cats or dogs that like to nibble on things, keep them away from the houseplant. It should also be kept out of reach of toddlers, as they may get curious and bite a leaf.
Though the Monstera deliciosa fruit is edible, it can irritate your lips and tongue if you eat it before it’s ripe.
Symptoms of Monstera Deliciosa Poisoning
If your pets or young children are exhibiting any of the following symptoms after ingesting the plant, make sure to consult a medical professional immediately.
- Oral irritation
- Skin irritation
- Trouble swallowing
Varieties of Monstera Deliciosa
The large, shiny, perforated leaves of Monstera deliciosa have made it a household favorite. There are several different varieties of these tropical plants. Though they may mostly look the same, you can differ between these plants based on their colors, size, shape, leaves, and holes.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular Monstera deliciosa varieties.
Native to the rainforests in Central America, this tropical vine often gets confused with Monstera deliciosa. Though they both appear rather similar at first glance, you easily tell them apart based on the sizes of their leaves. While Monstera deliciosa has large, stripped leaves with elongated holes, the Monstera adansonii plant has smaller, and rounder leaves filled up to 50% with holes.
When young, both Monstera borsigniana and Monstera deliciosa look rather similar. However, as they grow, their differences become apparent. Monstera borsigniana plants are slightly smaller, and their leaves only have up to two rows of holes or slits, which are arranged neatly in a line.
These plants also grow faster than Monstera deliciosa.
These Monstera plants have distinct, variegated leaves that set them apart from all the other varieties. Some Monstera Variegata plants have white or cream hues mixed with shades of green, making them look even more exotic and appealing. However, these plants a little harder (and more expensive) to find.
This type of Monstera plant produces heart-shaped leaves smaller in size than those of Monstera deliciosa. The leaves of Monstera dubia feature light and dark colors, which may appear variegated from a distance.
Monstera Deliciosa FAQs
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about Monstera deliciosa.
Does Monstera deliciosa make a good houseplant?
Monstera plants make for excellent houseplants. They are not very demanding, adapt well to different environments, and don’t require much attention. Moreover, they also purify the indoor air, which can help you relax and keep you healthy.
How do you know if your Monstera plant is healthy?
Dark green foliage with elongated holes and strips is a sure sign that your plant is happy and healthy.
Is Monstera deliciosa good for beginners?
Yes, Monstera deliciosa is a beginner-friendly plant. You only have to water it once a week and prune it every few weeks for a neat appearance.