Swiss Cheese Plant (Monstera deliciosa) is an epiphytic tropical vine with large, distinctive leaves. The leaves are green and heart-shaped, with deep furrows running along their length. The plant produces edible fruits that smell like a combination of pineapples and bananas. Although the vines can climb as high as 20 feet, 8 to 12 feet is their limit when grown indoors. It is native to regions of Mexico and Panama.
Swiss Cheese Plant has long been valued for its large leaves with dramatic texture rather than its fruit. It was initially classified in the Philodendron genus, but it was later reclassified into the Monstera genus. It is an incredibly popular houseplant and can still be found sold in traditional plant stores such as florists or upscale department stores.
- Monstera deliciosa Main Characteristics
- Swiss Cheese Plant Care
- Cultivars of Monstera deliciosa
- Propagating Monstera deliciosa
- Potting and Repotting Monstera deliciosa
- Common Pests
- Common Problems
- Swiss Cheese Plant (Monstera Deliciosa) Step By Step Care Guide (Video)
Monstera deliciosa Main Characteristics
|Common Name||Swiss Cheese Plant, Ceriman, Hurricane Plant, Mexican Breadfruit, Mother-in-Law|
|Botanical Name||Monstera deliciosa|
|Synonyms||Monstera borsigiana, Monstera deliciosa, Monstera deliciosa, Monstera tacanaensis, Philodendron anatomicum, Philodendron pertusum, Tornelia fragrans|
|Native Range||Mexico, Central America|
|Common Cultivars||Variegata, Albovariegata|
|USDA Hardiness Zones||10 to 12|
|Mature Size||Height: 8-12 feet; Spread: 5-8 feet|
|Bloom Time||Spring, Summer|
|Propagation methods||by seed, by cuttings, by layering|
Swiss Cheese Plant Care
Swiss cheese plants are popular with gardeners because of their beautiful foliage that serves as a great centerpiece to accentuate other, more colorful houseplants. In addition, these plants are easy to grow and require little maintenance. Here’s what you need to know to get started.
Light and Location
Swiss Cheese plant grows best in bright, indirect light. It does not tolerate direct sunlight except in the winter when the sunlight intensity is low.
It can be grown both as an indoor houseplant and a garden feature. If planting outside, plan where you want it to grow before planting. It is an epiphytic vine in nature, meaning it needs a support like a fully grown tree or a trellis.
It is quite suited for offices and homes to liven up the space when grown as a houseplant. Pick an appropriate location and set up a support structure for the vine to grow on. It’s better to plan ahead than fumble around as the plant grows.
Swiss Cheese Plants require frequent watering to thrive. The vines are aggressive growers and need all the nutrients they can get. If the vine has already begun climbing, water the supports, and the aerial roots can take up nutrients quite readily. Let the soil dry out between watering to prevent root rot.
Swiss cheese plants prefer warm temperatures and will not survive cold weather. Therefore, they can be grown outdoors in climates with a warm summer season but bring them inside if temperatures drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Indoors, maintain average 60-85 degrees Fahrenheit temperatures for the best results.
These vines require plenty of humidity to grow properly. Moderate to high humidity levels between 50 and 75 percent are more than enough. If grown in dry areas, use a humidifier and mist regularly to keep moisture levels up to par.
Fertilize your Swiss Cheese Plant with a balanced fertilizer every month during the growing season. The season begins in spring and ends in fall. Follow the instructions on the packaging and don’t overfeed.
Cultivars of Monstera deliciosa
This plant’s commonly grown cultivars include ‘Variegata’ and ‘Albo Variegata.’ Monstera deliciosa and the cultivar ‘Variegata’ have received the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.
Propagating Monstera deliciosa
Swiss cheese plants can be propagated by cuttings or air layering. To propagate by cuttings:
- Take a stem cutting from the plant with at least one node and two to three leaves.
- Cut the stem just above where the aerial roots are growing.
- Dip the cut end of the stem in rooting hormone powder and place it in a moist soil mix.
- Use plastic to retain the humidity and keep it in a warm place.
- The new plant will begin rooting.
To Propagate by air-layering:
- Choose a healthy stem with a couple of nodes and make a small incision along the width of the stem. Don’t cut it off completely; you want to expose the fleshy interior of the stem to the elements by cutting a third of the way through.
- Wrap the cut with moist sphagnum moss.
- Secure it tightly with plastic or zip-lock bags and keep the moss moist.
- Once roots emerge from the incision, cut the stem cleanly from below the roots and plant the rest in a fresh pot.
- Treat it as a mature plant, and it will continue to grow.
You can also try propagation using seeds, but the process is long and has little chance of success. Air layering is usually the safest method with the best results.
Potting and Repotting Monstera deliciosa
When potting a Monstera deliciosa, it’s important to use a pot with a drainage hole at the bottom—these plants like rich potting soils with good drainage and some ability to retain moisture. Peaty soils work best, but they can grow just fine in standard potting soils as well.
The size of the pot depends on how mature the plant is. But in general, however large a pot you think is, get one that’s one size larger. These plants are aggressive growers and will outgrow the pot sooner than you might think.
If you keep the plant in a too-small pot for too long, its roots will become constricted, and the plant will not grow properly. So every six months, check if the roots aren’t spilling over. If they are, it’s time to repot.
If the vine has already found a support, i.e., it has attached itself and is actively climbing, this can be tricky. You don’t want to move the stems and leaves around if that’s the case. So here’s what you do:
- Lift the pot slightly and put down a couple of bricks below it to increase the height.
- Leave it like that for a couple of days to allow the plant to get acclimated.
- Repeat this every two or three days until you feel the plant is at a height where you can fit a deeper pot below.
- Once you’ve reached that height, remove the plant from the pot as you usually would and repot it into the new, larger pot.
If the vine doesn’t yet have a support or the support is a stake that’s buried in the pot itself, then the repotting process is quite straightforward.
Monstera deliciosa plants are moderately toxic and should not be ingested. All plant parts contain calcium oxalate crystals that cause intense burning in the oral cavity, nausea, vomiting, difficulty swallowing, drooling, and diarrhea if ingested.
Contact can also cause skin irritation. The only parts of the plant that are non-toxic are the fruits, but only after they’re ripe. Unripe fruits are still toxic!
The leaves of these plants have a large surface with lots of opportunities for pests to invade. Mealybugs, scale insects, aphids, thrips, and spider mites are all potential problems. But an easy fix is to keep the leaves clean. Dust tends to accumulate on the large leaves. Which, if regularly cleaned, can prevent pests from even becoming a problem in the first place. Try neem oil or any standard insecticide if an infestation does occur.
Overwatering is the most likely culprit. However, if the leaves are wilting as well, you might have a case of root rot on your hands. First, check the roots and remove any that have rotted. Then, fix your watering routine, giving it less water in the future.
Leaf tips and edges turning brown?
Here are the possible reasons for this.
- Air is too dry – Check the humidity level; it needs to be between 50 and 75%. If it’s below the recommended range, mist the leaves daily and use a humidifier. A water tray with pebbles can also work.
- Temperature too low – Optimal temperatures are between 60-85 degrees Fahrenheit. Move it somewhere warmer if it’s too cold.
- Rootbound – The plant needs a new pot if the roots are overflowing. Refer to the repotting section.
Is the plant “Crying”?
If water is dripping down from the leaves for seemingly no reason, this is a unique indicator inherent in these plants that signifies overwatering. The compost is too wet. Immediately, start giving the plant less water before root rot sets in.
Young plants take time before their leaves start having holes in them. But if your plant is mature and the leaves aren’t becoming perforated, it’s a sign that your care routine is not working. Check light, water, location, temperature, and humidity and adjust what needs adjusting.
Swiss Cheese Plant (Monstera Deliciosa) Step By Step Care Guide (Video)
How to propagate Monstera deliciosa?
You can propagate this plant by seeds, cuttings, or air layering. Air layering is usually the recommended method, but stem cuttings have a high degree of success as well. Propagation by seeds is generally not advised as it has negligible chances of success and takes a lot longer than other methods.
How often to water Monstera deliciosa?
In spring, summer, and autumn, water the plant moderately and regularly. It needs a lot less water in winter as it is not actively growing. Keep the soil just moist in this season. Maintain good drainage channels as the roots of this plant are prone to get root rot.
How much light does a Monstera deliciosa need?
Bright, indirect light is where the Swiss Cheese Plant thrives. But it can grow just as well in bright fluorescent light when kept indoors, making it a great addition to a home or office. Keep it away from direct sunlight if you don’t want the leaves getting sunburnt.