Plants

Guide to Monstera Deliciosa: How to Grow & Care for “Swiss Cheese Plant”

Read our complete guide to Monstera Deliciosa for everything you will ever need to know! Tips for planting & caring for “Swiss Cheese” plants
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Monstera Deliciosa, commonly known as the Swiss Cheese Plant, Hurricane Plant, or just Monstera Plant, is a tropical species of flowering plants in the family Araceae. This beautiful plant can be found in the tropical forests of southern Mexico and lower South America regions.

In the tropical and subtropical places, Monstera plants are grown outdoors, as they require rich soil and a lot of space to unfold. If they are grown in outdoor gardens, people prefer to plant them near a tree to give them the chance to show off their climbing skills. They are also very popular indoor plants if proper environmental conditions are provided.

The species’ scientific name has the following meaning: firstly, the epithet “Deliciosa”, which refers to the fruit that it occasionally produces, and secondly, the “Monstera” which references to the large dimensions that it can reach.

Monstera Deliciosa aka "Swiss Cheese Plant"
Monstera Deliciosa aka “Swiss Cheese Plant”

About Monstera Deliciosa

  • Monstera Deliciosa thrives in bright and indirect sunlight. The ideal place for them to grow healthy and happy would be one that provides them with partial, even full shade. They are very sensitive to direct light, which can cause their leaves to get sunburnt quite quickly.
  • They need moderate watering and a rather humid environment. You can water your Monstera plant once a week, but it is recommended to check the soil before watering to avoid rot issues.
  • Monstera Deliciosa plants need a lot of space to grow, so you should consider to place yours in a large and open room as it will feel crammed when placed in a tight corner or on a sill.
  • These plants prefer well-draining soil, but they can also live in slightly-sandy ones. Make sure you choose a potting mix that holds moisture and is rich in nutrients.
  • You can feed a Monstera Deliciosa plant with liquid or slow-release granular fertilizers. If you have planted your Monstera in sandy soil, you need to give it a soil drench every year.
  • For general indoor care, Monstera plants enjoy a good cleaning of their leaves. Once a month, you can use a dish soap combined with water to reduce the dust and keep the pests at distance.
  • Swiss Cheese plants contain calcium oxalates that can affect the health of pets and humans, so it is better to keep them in locations that are out of their reach.
Monstera Deliciosa leaves
Monstera Deliciosa leaves

Monstera Deliciosa Features: An Overview

  • Monstera Deliciosa plants are frequently mistaken for Philodendron Bipinnatifidum, as both have similar characteristics when it comes to foliage and growing habits.
  • Monstera Deliciosa is an epiphyte with aerial roots that climb onto tree barks. This plant has its roots in the soil, but it also contains some along the stem.
  • Their natural habitat is the wild rainforests, and they are known to grow very tall when the perfect growth conditions are provided.
  • They can reach up to 66 feet (20 m) in height. However, when it comes to growing them indoors, Monstera Deliciosa plants will be between 6.6 and 9.8 feet (2-3 m) tall.
  • They are called the Swiss Cheese plant due to their leaves’ appearance, which are large and filled with many naturally formed holes. Usually, their glossy, heart-shaped leaves are 10 to 35.5 inches (25-90 cm) long and 10 to 29.5 inches (25-75 cm) broad.
  • When the ideal outdoor conditions are met, Monstera Deliciosa plants produce cream-white flowers 3 years later after planting them.
  • Monstera Deliciosa plants may produce fruits that are considered to be an exotic delicacy. Their fruits can be eaten only when ripe, as otherwise, they would be very toxic to humans, so be extra cautious.
Monstera Deliciosa makes a great house plant
Monstera Deliciosa makes a great house plant

Growing Monstera Deliciosa

Monstera Deliciosa plants are used to the tropical conditions of their native habitat. To simulate those environmental conditions, you firstly need to choose the best spot in your home that meets their living requirements.

Proper light is one of the most important factors in a Monstera plant’s growth, as they will not be happy in direct and intense sunlight. These plants naturally grow in the partial shade of other trees, so you should plant or put your Monstera Deliciosa in a shady place that provides it with plenty of ambient lighting.

 

Like all tropical plants, Monstera Deliciosa plants love warm temperatures between 68 and 86 °F (20-30 °C). Make sure you protect them from cold weather because they will stop growing when the temperatures drop below 50 °F (10 °C). Also, they will die in very low temperatures.

These plants will have the time of their life if they grow in a large container filled with a well-draining soil that is rich in nutrients and that allows them to absorb everything they need. The best option would be a standard potting mix with perlite in it to improve the drainage. If you want to repot your Monstera, you simply need to get it a pot that is 2 inches (5 cm) wider than the current one and keep on taking care of it as usual.

Monstera Delicioso, Live Plant from Amazon

Monstera Deliciosa is a climbing plant with aerial roots that do no damage. If you grow your plant indoors, it is best to provide it with support made from wood or other natural materials, as these can make your Monstera feel like home.

Every gardener wants to have a house full of tropical and fresh-looking plants and Monstera Deliciosa is a perfect choice. Pruning these plants is purely cosmetic and only necessary if they have lower-level leaves that turn yellow or die off. You can cut these leaves 0.25 inches (0.6 cm) above the stem joint to avoid damaging the plant’s base.

Usually, these plants are not attractive to pests, but spider mites and mealybugs can be attracted to them. So, if you start to notice any sign of pests on the leaves of your Monstera Deliciosa, make sure to treat them once every week using sprays of neem oil or insecticidal soaps.

Watering Monstera Deliciosa

Monstera Deliciosa plants are susceptible to root rot, so you need to be very careful not to over-water them. On the other hand, without enough humidity, these tropical plants might wither, so it’s all about balance. As a general rule, Monstera plants are happy with receiving water once a week, but the light and temperature conditions could change the average frequency.

A Variegated Monstera deliciosa
A Variegated Monstera deliciosa

It’s best to use the ‘soak and dry’ technique which consists of checking the dryness level of the soil before watering again. The right time to water a Monstera Deliciosa plant is when the soil is dry at about 2 inches (5 cm) deep. Make sure you fill the pot 2 or 3 times to give your plant plenty of water at the very base. Once the excess water has been drained out, you should empty the plant’s tray of any remaining liquid.

During the colder seasons, your Monstera plant will need less water, but not as little as succulents and cacti. It is best to let the soil dry out at 3-4 inches (7-10 cm) deep before the next watering.

Monstera plants prefer high levels of humidity, but they can also tolerate drought. Because these plants thrive in tropical environments, they will enjoy occasional misting one or two times per week in the morning.

Monstera Deliciosa, From Amazon

Propagating Monstera Deliciosa

In terms of propagation, Monstera Deliciosa plants are pretty easygoing. They can be propagated through any technique from seed and cuttings to air layering and division.

Since the seeds of Monstera Deliciosa plants are pretty hard to find, this propagation technique is the least popular. However, if you manage to get your hands on some seeds from Monstera Deliciosa fruits, make sure you plant them as fast as possible in a fresh soil mix. The propagation process will take longer than it would through other methods. The seeds will germinate in a few weeks as long as you keep the soil damp.

To propagate a Monstera Deliciosa plant by cuttings, you will need clean pruning shears. The cutting should have aerial roots attached and healthy leaves. It’s best to cut your plant below a leaf node and to place it into a glass of water or a potting mix.

Air layering propagation consists of wrapping some damp sphagnum moss around the joint where the aerial root and the leaf axil are placed. Secure the moss and make holes in the plastic bag that you want to cover it with. You should start to notice new roots forming within a few months.

If your Monstera Deliciosa plant is mature, the best way to propagate it is by division. The only thing you need to do is to divide the suckers into 12 inches (2.54 cm) long segments and carefully press them into the soil.

Conclusion

Monstera Deliciosa plants are tropical plants that can make for a great companion both outdoors and indoors. If they are provided with similar environmental conditions to their natural habitat, such as partial or full sunlight, constant watering, well-draining, compost-rich soil, and good support, these plants will grow healthy and happy. As soon as your Monstera plant feels loved and appreciated, it will show its gratitude by producing tasty fruits and alluring flowers.

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Miruna Secuianu

Miruna is an experienced content writer with a passion for gardening. She is the proud owner of an outdoor rose garden and an indoor collection of tiny succulents. She bought her first succulent 10 years ago - an adorable Echeveria Setosa. Now she owns more than 100 succulents and cacti of different colors, shapes, and sizes. Miruna is a versatile writer and, as you might have guessed, her favorite topic is gardening. Contact miruna@gardenbeast.com

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