The month has finally come! Ok so it’s only the third month of our plant features but still I’m excited! This month I’m featuring my absolute favorite plant!! This tropical beauty trumps all other plants, at least for me, and I can’t wait to tell you what you need to know to care for it.
Introducing… The Swiss Cheese Plant aka Monstera Deliciosa
Winner of the Most Jungalicious Plant (awarded by us)
Plant Level: Beginner
The Monstera Deliciosa or swiss cheese plant, is one of the easiest houseplants to care for. However that doesn’t stop it from making a big statement with its giant perforated leaves. This fast growing plant will not disappoint I promise! One of my favorite parts of this plant is that with the appropriate amount of light each leaf that grows gets a little bit bigger with more splits in the leaves. Once you see your first leaf unfurl with fenestration you’ll instantly fall in love.
While this plant is often referred to as the Split Leaf Philodendron it’s not truly a philodendron at all. The swiss cheese plant’s scientific name is Monstera Deliciosa and it’s a member of the Araceae family. It originates from the tropical forests of Central America. It’s giant leaves, as big as two feet across, are so deliciously gorgeous. In its natural habitat this plant is a climbing epiphytic vine, it shoots out aerial roots and grows up trees. In the wild it can climb up to 70 feet. It also grows a corn on the cob looking green fruit, which is said to taste like bananas, mangos, and pineapples. Basically the perfect fruit smoothie hence the deliciosa.
Now that we’re on the same page about how amazing and necessary this plant is for any plant parent, let’s get into the specifics of how to take care of it.
The Swiss cheese plant can survive in a variety of light conditions, from low light to bright indirect light. In low light conditions this plant will still grow but will not develop the large leaves and perforations that make it famous. In order to get the gorgeous look we all want, make sure to move it to a spot with bright indirect light. Careful of direct light as this can sunburn the leaves. Overall a medium light source will keep this plant super happy!
Make sure to keep those large leaves clean. If you notice dirt or dust clean them with a clean wet rag. I do not recommend ever using food products or commercial leaf cleaners on your plants.
Water your monstera when the top 2 inches of the plant are dry. I use this moisture meter to test my plants before I water. Once it says dry it’s time to water. This plant is pretty forgiving so going a day or two longer than you should isn’t going to cause any real problems. With this plant it’s better to let it get a little too dry than to get it too wet.
When you water make sure to water thoroughly until water comes out the bottom of the pot. Check out our blog post that gives a simple trick to make sure you don’t overwater your houseplants. Make sure not to leave the plant in standing water as this will lead to root rot.
Use a quality indoor plant soil to plant your monstera. This plant grows rapidly so be conscious of that and routinely check to make sure the plant isn’t root bound. Once the roots start to come out the bottom of the pot or it can’t retain water as long, it might be time to repot it into a larger home.
The monstera originates from the tropics so naturally it’s going to be a humidity loving plant. It’s also a pretty laid back plant so it can acclimate to most humidities found in your typical home. Give it some extra love by misting regularly, placing it close to some planty friends, or adding a humidifier to your space.
To encourage a lot of healthy new growth feed your plant during the spring and summer months with an indoor plant food. Skip out on the fertilizer during the winter months when the growth isn’t so vigorous.
Although in the wild this plant grows a delicious fruit the rest of the plant is toxic! Ingestion will cause stomach irritation and possibly vomiting so be wary of that with pets and children.
Why don’t these leaves look right?
Have you found a plant at a plant store that is marked as a swiss cheese plant or monstera deliciosa but it’s small heart shaped leaves are leaving you wondering if it really is the same plant? No need to worry this is simply a baby plant. Aww how sweet. With the proper care as it matures the leaves will slowly get bigger and eventually you’ll have a proud parent moment when a leaf unfurls with splits in it.
In the wild this plant naturally grows up trees. It will develop aerial roots and you don’t need to worry about repotting and burying these roots. You will need to give him a little extra support as it matures though to avoid the stem from breaking off. Simply add a moss pole to your pot that your monstera can attach to and grow up. You can even support him by loosely attaching him to a piece of wood or bamboo.
When your monstera starts to get a little long and leggy you can also just chop him up and make a super bushy plant or share some of the cuttings with friends. Just make sure your cutting has a leaf or two and at least one node. Large plants will have aerial roots. You can simply place these roots into soil and you have a new baby plant.
This plant can grow very large! Before you buy make sure you have adequate space for him to grow. A small corner or windowsill will quickly be outgrown by this speedy grower. Find a large space close to a bright window and you’ll see how fast it will fill up that spot.
Our favorite home for a swiss cheese plant is a beautiful crisp white modern planter. Check out this gorgeous one here.
If you’re looking to be extra in the plant world try your luck at finding a gorgeous variegated monstera deliciosa. These pricey but gorgeous plants are sure to get you some attention from any plant lover. Be careful if you’re lucky enough to own one of these beauties, everyone you know will be asking for a cutting. Including me please send nodes.
I absolutely loved this plant with all my heart the first time I saw it and now have more than one living in my home. It’s fast growth rate and laid back care routine make it the perfect plant for any plant parent. Drop us a comment below with any questions or share with us your favorite monstera cultivar. Happy plant shopping!
Here’s your monthly dose of Monstera Deliciosa inspiration