How to Care for Monstera deliciosa (Swiss Cheese Plant) Indoors


Swiss cheese Plant, Monstera deliciosa

Botanical name: Monstera deliciosa
Family: Araceae
Common names: Swiss Cheese Plant, Split Leaf Philodendron, Monster Fruit, Mexican Breadfruit, Windowleaf Plant

Description

Monstera deliciosa commonly called Swiss Cheese Plant is a popular plant whose large deeply perforated leaves are a sight to behold and is easy to grow even for a beginner.

The leaves in a young plant are smaller and entire with no lobes or holes but soon produce lobed and fenestrate leaves as they grow.

Swiss Cheese Plant is a ideal as a stand alone plant for occupying large empty spaces. To produce an upright plant, provide a moss stick to support it and also push the aerial roots into the soil.

The name 'deliciosa' means 'delicious' referring to the edible fruit. 'Monstera' means 'monstrous' referring to the size that this plant can grow to, over 30 ft (9 m) in the wild.

The common name 'Swiss Cheese Plant' refers to the holes which develop in the leaves similar to those found in some Swiss cheeses.

Other common names for Monstera deliciosa are fruit salad plant and fruit salad tree in reference to its edible fruit which tastes like fruit salad. Monster fruit, Mexican bread fruit, windowleaf among other names.

Size

Swiss Cheese Plant is a vigorously growing plant and can grow to a height of 20 ft or more with proper care.

Invasiveness

Swiss Cheese Plant has been introduced to many tropical areas and has become mildly invasive species in Hawaii, Seychelles, Ascension Island and Society Islands.

Origin

Monstera deliciosa is native to tropical forests of Southern Mexico, South of Panama where it grows as an epiphyte on trees.

Varieties

Various varieties of Monstera deliciosa are available. The form Variegata has white and cream lines or patches on the leaves. Where space is limited the borsigiana or mini Monstera are ideal.

Where to Buy

Purchase Swiss Cheese Plant (Monstera deliciosa) online from Etsy.

Swiss cheese Plant, Monstera deliciosa

Photo Credit: Crocus

Monstera deliciosa Care Indoors

Swiss Cheese Plant (Monstera deliciosa) thrives in bright to medium, indirect light away from direct sunlight, warm and humid conditions and moderately moist, fertile, well-drained soil coupled with monthly feeding during the growing period.

Monstera deliciosa requires regular pruning to keep it neat as well as encourage a bushy growth. Repotting is done annually as it is a fast growing plant which requires adequate room for growth. Continue reading for a detailed account on these growing conditions and how to achieve them.

Light Requirements

Monstera deliciosa grows best bright to medium, indirect light away from direct sunlight. Position it next to a sunless window or near a bright window where it can receive adequate light.

It can also grow under a grow light where the natural lighting is not adequate. Swiss Cheese Plant produces small leaves and spindly leaf-stalks if there is not enough light and it stops growing in deep shade.

Watering

Water Monstera deliciosa liberally during the growing season and allow the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out between waterings to keep the soil moderately moist.

Reduce watering during the cold season to keep the soil slightly moist but do not allow the soil to dry out completely. Read more on how to water houseplants.

Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot disease.


Temperature

The best temperature for Swiss Cheese Plant is an average warmth with a minimum of 150C. Keep it away from cold draughts to avoid sudden drop in temperature which can cause leaf drop and reduced growth.

Humidity

Average room humidity is ideal for Monstera deliciosa. Where the air is too dry, set the pot on a wet pebble tray to raise humidity. Check out these techniques on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

Regularly clean the leaves by damp-wiping with a soft cloth to get rid of dust and discourage pest and disease infestations.

Fertilizer (Feeding)

Feed Monstera deliciosa with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every 4 weeks during the growing period. Withhold feeding during the cold season as growth is minimal and feeding at this time may lead to fertilizer burn.

Repotting

Repot Monstera deliciosa annually during the growing season as the roots require adequate room to grow. Use a pot 2-3 sizes larger and one that has a drainage hole.

Ensure the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot disease and eventual loss of the plant.

Soil

The best soil for Monstera deliciosa should be rich in organic matter and well-drained to prevent it from getting soggy while providing the required nutrients. Like this Monstera Potting Medium on Etsy.

Pruning

Pruning Monstera deliciosa is easy. Remove yellow and dead leaves to maintain the plant neat and tidy. When the plant becomes too large and unruly cut back the stems to the desired level to rejuvenate growth. The stems can be used to propagate new plants.

Propagation

Monstera deliciosa propagation can be done at the beginning of the growing period by use of stem cuttings or by air layering. The stem cuttings can be rooted in soil or in water.

How to propagate Monstera deliciosa from stem cuttings in soil

Take a stem cutting from a healthy Swiss Cheese Plant by cutting at a point just below an aerial root. Just one leaf node with the leaf is enough to propagate a new plant.

Insert the cutting in moist free-draining soil. Ensure the rooting container has proper drainage to avoid getting soggy soil.

Place the set up in a well-lit, warm place and maintain the soil moist until new growth emerges.

Allow the new Swiss Cheese Plant to be well established before transplanting after which routine care can begin.

How to propagate Monstera deliciosa from stem cuttings in water

Take a stem cutting from a healthy Swiss Cheese Plant by cutting at a point just below an aerial root. Just one leaf node with the leaf is enough to propagate a new plant.

Place the cutting in a jar containing plain water while ensuring that at least one leaf node is under water.

Place the set up in a well-lit spot and change the water every 5-7 days.

Once adequate roots have developed, plant the cutting in soil and place in a well-lit shaded place.

Allow the new Monstera deliciosa to be well established before transplanting after which routine care can begin.

How to propagate Monstera deliciosa by air layering

There are two methods of air layering Monstera deliciosa.

One method consists of notching the stem of a healthy Swiss Cheese Plant and coating the notch with a rooting hormone.

Surround the notched area with damp moss and then cover it with a polythene film or clear plastic wrap.

After the roots have formed sever the stem just below the covered part.

Remove the polythene and carefully pot the rooted cutting in moist free-draining soil.

Place in a shaded well-lit place and maintain the soil moist until the new Swiss Cheese Plant is well established.

The second way involves coating the stem at a node with a rooting hormone. Surround the node with damp moss and then cover it with a polythene film or clear plastic wrap.

After the roots have formed sever the stem just below the covered part.

Remove the polythene and carefully pot the rooted cutting in moist free-draining soil.

Place in a shaded well-lit place and maintain the soil moist until the new Monstera deliciosa is well established after which routine care can begin.

Swiss cheese Plant, Monstera deliciosa

Photo Credit: Crocus

Monstera deliciosa Problems Indoors

Swiss cheese Plant (Monstera deliciosa) problems indoors are caused by improper care. The problems include lack of perforation, yellow leaves, leggy growth, brown leaf tips, leaf drop, pests and diseases among others. Continue reading for more on these problems and how to fix them.

Lack of perforation

Lack of perforation in Monstera deliciosa is due to four possible reasons. However, the young leaves may not be perforated.

One possible reason for lack of perforation in Swiss Cheese Plant is inadequate light. Move the plant to a brighter spot and ensure that it is receiving medium to bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight or instal a grow light where natural lighting is not adequate.

The second possible reason for Swiss Cheese Plant lacking perforation is cold air due to cold draughts. Protect it from cold draughts and maintain an average warmth with a minimum of 150C.

The third possible reason for Windowleaf Plant lack of perforation is underwatering. Water the plant liberally during the growing season and allow the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out between waterings but never allow the soil ball to dry out completely.

The fourth possible reason for lack of perforation in Split Leaf Philodendron is underfeeding.

Feed the Monstera deliciosa with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every 4 weeks during the growing period.

In tall plants, the possible cause of lack of perforation is likely to be failure of water reaching the uppermost leaves.

Ensure the aerial roots are pushed into the compost or allowed to grow into a moist support inorder to supply water and nutrients to the upper leaves.

Yellowing leaves

Monstera deliciosa yellowing leaves are due to four possible causes. One possible cause of yellowing leaves is overwatering if many leaves are affected and there are signs of wilting and rotting.

Water the plant liberally during the growing season and allow the top 2 in. of soil to dry out between waterings. Also, ensure that the pot has a drainage hole and the soil is free-draining to prevent the soil from getting soggy.

The second possible cause of Monstera deliciosa yellowing leaves is underfeeding if there is no wilting and rotting. Feed it with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every 4 weeks during the growing period but withhold feeding during the cold season.

The third possible cause of Monstera deliciosa yellowing leaves is underwatering if only lower leaves are affected and have dark spots and new leaves are dark and small.

Water it liberally during the growing season and allow the top 2 in. of soil to dry out between waterings but never allow the soil ball to dry out completely.

The fourth possible reason of Monstera deliciosa yellowing leaves is exposure to direct sunlight if the leaves pale colored and have straw-colored patches.

Protect it from direct sunshine or move it to a shadier spot to prevent sunscorching.

Dropping (loss of) leaves

Monstera deliciosa losing (dropping) leaves is due to two possible reasons. One possible reason is age. As the lower leaves age, they fall as a natural process.

The second possible reason for Swiss Cheese Plant losing (dropping) leaves is sudden change of growing conditions if there is an abnormal loss of leaves.

Avoid sudden changes in the growing conditions for Monstera deliciosa. Gradually acclimatize it to the new growing conditions before moving it to a new position.

The third possible reason for Monstera deliciosa losing (dropping) leaves is high temperature if the leaves turn brown and dry before they fall.

Ensure the Swiss Cheese Plant is receiving an average warmth with a minimum of 150C and protect it from hot draughts (heat from hot air).

Rotting stems

Monstera deliciosa rotting stems is an indication of fungal stem-rot disease which is promoted by high moisture and too little warmth.< You can the plant by repotting and keeping the soil dry and warm for a period of time.

Brown papery tips and edges

Monstera deliciosa brown papery tips and edges are due to two possible reasons. One possible reason is low air humidity.

Set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier to raise humidity.

The second possible reason for Swiss Cheese Plant brown papery tips and edges is that the plant may be pot-bound.

Repot the plant into a pot 1 size larger and one that has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from becoming soggy as it can lead to root-rot disease.

Leggy growth and small pale leaves

Monstera deliciosa leggy growth and small pale leaves is due to too little light as the plant will not thrive in deep shade.

Move the plant to a more brighter spot where it is receiving medium to bright, indirect light but away from direct sunshine or instal a grow light where natural lighting is not adequate.

Weeping at the leaf edges

Monstera deliciosa weeping at the leaf edges is due to too wet soil. Stop watering the plant and allow the top 2 in. of soil to dry out between waterings.

Diseases

One common disease in Swiss Cheese Plant is leaf spot. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to other houseplants and treat it for the disease appropriately with a fungicidal solution. Ensure that there is good air circulation for the plant.

Pests

Common pests in Swiss Cheese Plant are Mealy Bugs, Scale Insects, Aphids, and Spider Mites. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to other plants and treat with Neem oil or Insecticidal soap.

Is Monstera deliciosa toxic?

All parts except the fruit of Swiss Cheese Plant (Monstera deliciosa) are mildly toxic to humans and toxic to pets as indicated by ASPCA.

If ingested, they will cause pain and swelling in the mouth, tongue and lips, vomiting, excessive drooling and difficulty in swallowing.

Monstera Varieties for growing indoors

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