The Monstera Deliciosa Plant
Swiss Cheese Plant isn’t as romantic a name as Monstera Deliciosa, but this plant will bring beauty to whatever space it’s in.
Its popularity comes from its vibrant color, glossy leaves, and low maintenance. It is the Office Plant of Year for 2018 in the United Kingdom!
These beauts are great for anyone who wants to decorate their home or office with some greenery. Before you decide to purchase one, there are some important things you need to know.
Where Does It Come From?
The Split Leaf Philodendron (Monstera Deliciosa) is native to Southern Mexico. It is found in tropical rainforests stretching from Mexico down to Panama.
It is also an invasive species in some tropical climates, such as Hawaii, because of its introduction into the ecosystem there.
The Monstera is a climbing epiphyte— in their natural environment, these plants use a tree to latch onto and grow. They have aerial roots that collect its nutrients from that tree rather than the ground.
The monstera part of its name comes from its massive size. Monstera leaves can reach 90 cm in length and 75 cm in width. Indoor plants commonly reach 60-80 cm in height.
This “Swiss Cheese Plant” has to withstand heavy rainfall and winds in the rainforest. Because of this, the leaves form slits in the sides and small holes when the plant is mature.
In the right environment, this plant will produce flowers and fruit. The term deliciosa comes from the delicious taste of its ripened fruit. Many compare the taste to be a combination of a banana and pineapple.
Its flowers are white and curve inward. You will not likely see the flower or fruit grow from indoor or potted plants.
Caring for Your Monstera Deliciosa
When you bring your Monstera home, there are a few things you can do to help your plant thrive!
- Pots and Soil
The Monstera does best with larger pots with plenty of room for them to grow. You will want a pot that allows for water drainage.
Peat moss-based soil with sand is best but a quality potting soil with peat moss is a fine substitute. Tuck the roots of your Monstera into the soil and/or place a moss stick in the pot for support.
The aerial roots will latch onto the moss stick as it would in its natural habitat.
You should re-pot your Monstera every year to two years, increasing the size of the pot to allow for growth. Once you reach a size you are comfortable with you will need to refresh the topsoil every year.
- Atmosphere and Environment
Where you put your Monstera will determine how healthy it will be.
The temperature in the room should stay between 18-27 degrees Celsius with average to high humidity. Indoor heating and cooling will dry out the air, so mist the leaves once a week or more if necessary.
Do not put this plant in direct sunlight! Put your Monstera in a room that is bright but has plenty of shade from the sun.
If you want a full and robust Monstera, rotate the pot every week so it grows out evenly in all directions. You can also leave it facing a single direction so the leaves face one direction and the other side lays flat against your wall.
- Water and Fertiliser
In the Summer, from December to February, water your plant when 2-5 centimetres of the topsoil is dry. This is when your plant is at its peak growing stage.
During June through August in Winter, water when the top 7-12 centimeters is dry. Your plant’s growth has slowed during this time and will not need as much care.
When you water your plant, be sure to saturate the soil and allow for drainage. Dump the excess water from the bottom tray into the sink to avoid over-watering your plant.
Every two weeks, use a water-soluble fertilizer to keep your plant healthy and nourished.
- Trimming and Replanting
Every 3 years your plant needs a cut and trim. If not kept in check, your plant will continue to get bigger and bigger.
To cut, make a notch just above the aerial root node. Remove the stem and continue until the plant is back to the size and shape you want.
You can replant the stems to grow more Monstera plants, adding to your home or giving away to friends and family. Place the stem in 2-5 centimeters of damp soil to start with a moss stick for support.
As the plant begins to root and mature, add more soil and re-pot when necessary.
Warning Signs and Solutions
- Yellowing Leaves
Yellowing leaves are a sign of over-watering. If you notice your leaves begin to lose their green color, cut back on how much water you are using.
- Brown Edges or Tips
If the tips or edges of your leaves are turning brown the air is too dry and humidity is low. Increase how often you are misting your plant and be mindful of the temperature in the room.
- No Slits or Holes
New leaves that do not form slits or holes mean your plant is lacking in light, water, or proper nutrients.
- Not Safe for Pets
The Monstera Deliciosa is not safe for pets. The plant produces a poisonous sap that is toxic to dogs and cats. Chewing on this plant can cause digestive issues, irritation to the mouth, lips, and throat of your pet and excessive drooling.
Bring a Monstera Home
Breathe life and colour into your home with a Monstera Deliciosa. With a plant this low maintenance and beautiful, how could you not? These giant plants are a focal point in any room they are in and make a statement like no other.
If you are nervous about being able to keep a plant alive, don’t worry. This is a great starter plant!