Monstera adansonii, commonly known as Swiss cheese vine, five holes plant, Swiss cheese plant, monkey mask, or Adanson’s monstera, is a lovely species of ornamental plant. It is a tropical perennial that originates mainly from South America and Central America, but the plant may also occur in the West Indies on various islands. Swiss cheese vines appear near river valleys at lower elevations.
Swiss cheese vines are very popular ornamental houseplants, especially among those growers who prefer specimens that are more on the unique side. The looks of this beauty will surely make you think about its well-known cousin Monstera deliciosa. However, Monstera adansonii brings into the spotlight some other particular features, such as its vining habit and the specific, attractive holes in its foliage.
About Swiss Cheese Vines
- People also use the common name “Swiss cheese plant” for its closely related friend Monstera deliciosa. Both species belong to the Monstera genus which consists of exactly 49 species of marvellous plants.
- These fabulous plants are somewhat easy-going, thriving with lots of bright, indirect light, warm temperatures, high humidity, and well-draining soils. They need constant moisture and regular fertilizing to perform nicely.
- The best way to propagate Swiss cheese vines is through stem cuttings, but you can also start your own plants from seed. This is a method that requires lots of patience and also a mother specimen that has produced flowers.
- Swiss cheese vines are generally climbing or hanging ornamentals. Over time, they will need a taller trellis as support. Monstera adansonii is a great ‘spiller’ ornamental that looks best in hanging baskets or on tall shelves.
- You can plant Monstera adansonii near other ornamental plants with similar environmental demands such as Schefflera, Croton, and Philodendron.
- A great thing about the Swiss cheese vine is the fact that it doesn’t require as much light as other tropical ornamentals. In addition to that, you can easily train this vine to climb on anything. This is a great advantage if you don’t have a lot of available floor space.
- Swiss cheese vines can be pretty toxic to animals if touched or ingested. For safety purposes, place these plants in a room where your curious furry companions cannot reach them.
- Have you ever wondered why some Monstera plants have holes in their leaves? Scientists believe that this might have something to do with achieving more with less. Surviving can be quite tough in the jungle, plants are in permanent competition, so the holes might be a survival mechanism that allows the plants to grow larger foliage and spread more without requiring a lot of energy.
Swiss Cheese Vines Features: An Overview
- Swiss cheese vines belong to the Araceae family of plants. They share this family with species like peace lily, snake lily, calla lily, anthurium, or Epipremnum.
- Swiss cheese vines are evergreen perennials that typically tend to grow very fast up to 3 feet (0.9 m) in width. While they can spread like crazy in their natural habitat, you can control their growth habit nicely in containers.
- In outdoor settings, Swiss cheese vines can reach from 10 to 13 feet (3-4 m) in length. Indoors, these plants will grow as long as 3 to 8 feet (0.9-2.4 cm).
- Their foliage contains pretty large, heart-shaped, green leaves that show up on long, spreading stems. The leaves have several showy, oval-shaped holes in them and some cultivars may feature variegated foliage.
- Swiss cheese vines come along with other varieties for us to enjoy them. If you are a fan of unique-looking ornamentals, you can opt for Monstera adansonii variegata. You should definitely check out Monstera ‘Archipelago’, which is probably the most spectacular variegated Monstera vine.
- You can also find Monstera adansonii varieties that feature narrow leaves or round leaves. These varieties are usually labelled ‘Monstera adansonii round form’ and ‘Monstera adansonii narrow form’.
- The most interesting features of these ornamental plants are the leaf holes, which are larger and more dramatic in Monstera obliqua varieties. Monstera obliqua is a pretty rare plant that is fussier than other Monstera adansoniis.
- The leaves of Swiss cheese vines are quite delicate and they can be a bit fussy when it comes to watering, but the effort is definitely worth it.
- In general, Swiss cheese vines rarely bloom indoors. When they bloom, their flowers appear during the spring months and look very much like the ones exhibited by peace lilies.
Growing Swiss Cheese Vines
Swiss cheese vines do not really have a reputation as an easy-to-grow houseplant, but this does not make them particularly difficult to have around. As you will see, they are relatively low-demanding plants that will thrive if you pay attention to some of their basic needs. Once you become more familiar with their environmental requirements, the process of growing and caring for your Swiss cheese vines will be piece of cake.
Since Swiss cheese vines have tropical origins, they usually grow under the cover of other large species of trees in the jungle. In other words, the best lighting condition is none other than lots of bright and indirect light. In case you cannot provide your plants only with indirect light, you can keep them in an area where they can receive only two to three hours of direct sun in the morning. Nothing more! Too much direct sunlight will affect the overall health of your vines, burning their leaves easily in a few days of exposure.
- The Monstera adansonii is quite the shy (and rare) one. It's a cousin to the popular Monstera deliciosa and has long vines with perforated leaves resembling Swiss cheese. It loves to climb and can be harder to find than your average plants.
- Sunlight: Medium light.
- Water: Once every week. Allow soil to dry 2" down.
- Not pet friendly.
- Care: Recommended for beginners.
- Swiss cheese vine makes a perfect evergreen houseplant for both beginners and experts, since it's easy to care for and exotic in appearance.
- This plant makes an unusual hanging basket or trailing over a mixed pot. It is easy to grow and tolerates low light.
- You can see why they call this “Swiss cheese plant”. The narrow leaves have large oval shaped holes in them.
- Since it doesn’t grow as fast and as big as the monstera deliciosa, it is perfect for smaller spaces. Smaller size, but still a big impact.
Although Monstera adansonii is sensitive to direct sunlight, it still is a big lover of natural light. If winters aren’t sunny in your area, you might want to consider supplementing the lighting with grow lights. This will not only keep your plant healthy and happy, but it will also accelerate its growth.
Temperature-wise, Swiss cheese vines are perfect to grow outdoors in the USDA zones 10 to 12. Outside this region, the plants are not as cold-hardy as we would want them to be. In general, Swiss cheese vines do well in environments that mimic their native habitat, when they experience warm temperatures and high humidity levels. For optimal growth, place your plants in a location with temperatures between 64 – 81°F (18 to 27°C) and humidity levels above 50%. Temperatures under 64°F (18°C) will prevent your plant from growing and increase its chances of wilting and even dying.
Monstera adansonii thrives in environments with lots of humidity. For optimal growth, this ornamental requires humidity levels higher than 60%, which is why this plant will thrive in terrariums and greenhouses. For regular homes, however, a humidifier and misting the plant regularly will also do the trick. You can also place a container filled with water near your plant to increase the humidity. While this is not necessary to keep your Monstera Adansonii plant alive, it can certainly increase its health and growth.
Planting Swiss Cheese Vines
Without a doubt, the best growing medium for Swiss cheese vines is a peat-based and well-draining potting mix. Because it is an epiphytic plant, experienced gardeners prefer growing their Monstera adansonii plants in a mix of orchid bark, perlite, peat moss, and charcoal. This substrate should help to trap enough moisture into the soil without extra soggy conditions or waterlogging. If you want your Swiss cheese vines to grow nicely, you might want to also opt for an acidic soil that comes along with a pH between 5.5 and 7.
Do you want to grow your Swiss cheese vines in pots but have no idea which type suits them best? We can help you with that! The good news is, it is not that hard to pick the ideal containers for these plants. Any container that has drainage holes at the bottom should do, including hanging baskets. Make sure you choose pots that are slightly larger than the root balls of your vines.
The perfect time for potting and repotting is usually in the spring. In terms of repotting, the frequency should be somewhere around two years or so. You must repot your Swiss cheese vines in larger pots once every two years due to their vigorous growth habit. Transplant your plants in containers that are one size larger than the current ones.
As a general rule, Monstera adansonii plants that are grown indoors will require regular feeding. Yellowing leaves might be a sign of a nutrient deficiency, which is a common issue with indoor plants. So, once you have potted or repotted your Swiss cheese vines, you will have to wait at least six months to begin fertilizing them. Once your plants have adjusted to their new container, you can feed your vines with an all-purpose liquid fertilizer diluted at half strength (NPK ratio of 20-20-20) once a month during the warm seasons. You can also use a slow-release fertilizer.
Because Swiss cheese vines grow and spread at light speed when left to their own devices, pruning will be your best partner if you want to control their growth. Try to prune these plants during the spring and use only sterile pruning shears. During this process, you should cut the stems back no more than ¼. Likewise, you can remove all the damaged or dead leaves.
Watering Swiss Cheese Vines
A very interesting thing about Swiss cheese vines is their watering preferences. These plants will grow at their best with consistently moist soil but not with their feet soaked. Moreover, your vines will not hesitate to show their discontent regarding their watering routine. For example, leaves that turn yellow are a common sign that Swiss cheese vines receive too much water than needed.
If you want to avoid issues like overwatering, things are quite simple. All you have to do is always check their soil before thinking about watering your plants again. Stick your finger into their growing medium about an inch (2.5 cm) deep. If the substrate seems nearly dry, this is the ideal moment to take action and spoil your babies with a drink. Make sure you water them slowly until a little water runs out of the drainage holes.
Propagating Swiss Cheese Vines
Swiss cheese vines are a delight to have in your plant family, so we understand the urge to make more of these spectacular ornamentals. And if your relatives or friends have visited you recently and want some baby vines for their collection, even better! You can obtain more Swiss cheese vines at home using an easy and inexpensive method – propagation.
Our advice would be to propagate your Swiss cheese vines through stem cuttings. The best time to begin the process is usually in spring. Cut about 4 to 6 inches (10-15 cm) off several stems, making sure to take the cuttings just below a leaf node. Remove any leaves you can find from the bottom third to half of each cutting.
Next, dip the cut ends of the cuttings in a rooting hormone. Plant the cuttings in a small pot (must have drainage holes) filled with moistened soilless potting mix. Place the pot in a warm area where the cuttings can receive plenty of bright, indirect light. Keep the growing medium lightly moist and you will notice a strong root system formed in a few months or so. Once this happens, you can move the cuttings in their individual pots.
You can also root Monstera adansonii in water. All you have to do is put the stem cuttings in the water and place it in a spot with plenty of indirect light. It’s best to replace the water regularly until you start noticing root development. This process will usually take a few weeks. When the roots are strong enough, you can move the plant to a new container.
Swiss Cheese Vine Pests and Diseases
Luckily, the pests that Swiss cheese vines will generally deal with are not fatal and pretty easy to handle, so it won’t be difficult to keep them healthy. Monstera adansonii plants are quite susceptible to aphids, spider mites, thrips, scale insects, whiteflies, and mealybugs.
Some of these pests can be washed off with water, others might require using neem oil, rubbing alcohol, or a non-toxic insecticide.
Too much moisture can cause fungal diseases such as powdery mildew. Blight and or rust are also pretty common diseases. In case of an infection, remove the unhealthy parts of their foliage, then apply a suitable treatment for the disease.
Monstera adansonii a.k.a. Swiss cheese vine is a must-have for every tropical plant lover out there. Although this isn’t the easiest plant to grow, it is definitely worth it, especially if you don’t have a lot of space and prefer vines and hanging plants. As long as you provide your Monstera adansonii with plenty of indirect light, moisture, and fertilizer, your plant will thrive and it will reward you with its unique-looking foliage.
Are you growing Monstera adansonii? Let us know in the comment section!