The Monstera adansonii is a monster of a plant!
The monstera gets its name from the large heart-shaped leaves that develop holes as the plant ages, giving them an appearance similar to swiss cheese.
It’s typically grown as a houseplant and native to Central and South America but has become popular in many other parts of the world thanks to its attractive foliage and interesting adaptation process (fenestration).
The Swiss cheese plant (Monstera deliciosa), is a familial plant that derives its popular moniker from its large, heart-shaped leaves that develop holes as the plant matures (hence the name “fenestrated”).
Monstera adansonii, which has a fast growth rate and a vining habit, is a tropical perennial native to Central and South America. It’s often grown as a houseplant in tropical regions.
Caring for the Swiss Cheese Plant
The Monstera is a hardy plant that can tolerate a variety of growing conditions, but it prefers bright light and high humidity.
When grown as a houseplant, make sure to place the pot in an area with plenty of indirect sunlight.
You can also increase the humidity around the plant by placing it on a tray filled with water and pebbles.
Water the Swiss cheese plant regularly, making sure to moisten the soil but not oversaturate it.
Overwatering will cause the roots to rot, so be careful not to overwater your monstera. Fertilize the plant every two weeks during its active growth period (spring through summer) using a balanced fertilizer diluted to half-strength.
Pruning Tips for Monstera Plant
If your Monstera becomes leggy, you can prune it back to encourage branching and bushiness. You should also pinch the tips of its leaves to promote more abundant foliage growth.
If an entire leaf is blocking light from a particular spot on the plant’s stem, remove that leaf as well so new ones have space to grow in those areas.
In some cases, older Monsteras will produce aerial roots out of their stems which you may need to clip off with sharp shears if they’re unattractive or getting in the way.
The Swiss cheese vine needs bright light, but not direct sunlight. Place it in a spot where it will receive several hours of indirect light each day.
Monstera adansonii Pests & Diseases
If your monstera has scale insects, mealybugs, whiteflies, aphids or spider mites (which typically look like tiny dots clustered together) controlling them is fairly easy using commercially available pesticides labeled for houseplants. Just make sure you read all instructions carefully before applying any treatment.
The monstera is susceptible to a few diseases, including rot and bacterial leaf spot. The leaves turn yellow or brown and fall off when the plant becomes too dry. Keep the soil moist at all times by misting it or using a humidifier near your monstera houseplant. Rot can occur if water stands in the rosette of leaves for an extended period of time after watering, so be sure to empty any drip trays immediately after watering!
The Monstera likes moist, but well-drained soil. You can either use a potting mix specifically for houseplants or make your own by combining one part peat moss with two parts rich garden soil.
The monstera should be repotted every two years into a container that is only slightly larger than the original pot. Be careful not to damage the plant’s roots when repotting.
The Swiss cheese plant can be propagated by air layering or stem cuttings.
The monstera requires moist soil at all times. It should be watered thoroughly until water runs out the bottom of the pot, then allowed to drain completely.
It may need more frequent watering in winter when growth is slower and less frequent in summer when it’s warmer.
Temperature and Humidity
The monstera prefers warm temperatures between 65 and 80 degrees F. It does not like cold drafts or extreme temperatures of either hot or cold, so make sure to keep it away from any windows where the temperature may swing drastically.
Due to its tropical origins, monsteras prefer high humidity; try placing them on trays filled with moist pebbles to raise the humidity around them.
The monstera requires fertilization every two weeks during the spring and summer growing seasons. Dilute liquid fertilizer to half strength and apply as directed on package, being careful not to allow any excess solution to drain from the pot.
There are two monsteras available in stores, including Monstera deliciosa with larger leaves that grow up to three feet long and Monstera obliqua which has smaller heart-shaped leaves with holes at the end of each lobe. Both varieties are easy houseplants when grown in the right conditions.
How to Grow Swiss Cheese Plant From Seed
The Swiss cheese plant is easy to propagate from seed, which you can buy online or at your local garden center. Or save money by growing monstera seeds yourself.
Monstera deliciosa typically germinate in one month and Monstera obliqua takes just over two months for the first sprouts to appear.
Seed Germination Method:
Soak monstera seeds overnight in water before planting them into small pots filled with moist potting mix that’s been kept indoors where it’s warm (around 70 degrees F).
Keep the soil moist but not wet until germination occurs. Once sprouted, place each seedling into a larger container as they grow bigger so their roots won’t become rootbound.
Repot them as needed until they reach the desired size for your Monstera adansonii plant.
Once a Monstera has reached its mature size, it can be transplanted into a bigger grow pot to accommodate further growth if necessary.
Use containers that are only slightly larger than the previous container and always use a high-quality potting mix with excellent drainage.
Water thoroughly after transplanting and then allow the potting soil to dry out before watering again — Monsteras don’t like wet feet or soggy soil and will drop their leaves in response.
Monsteras should be repotted every two years; most plants stop growing when they become rootbound so you’ll know it’s time for repotting once this occurs (or earlier if roots show through holes in the container).