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How to Grow Monstera — Swiss Cheese Plant

Swiss cheese plant

Monstera–commonly called Swiss-cheese plant–is a large vining plant with notched and perforated leaves. Monstera commonly requires support and plenty of room to roam.

Monstera is a tropical plant. It is often grown as a houseplant in temperate regions. It will grow to about 6 feet tall indoors; in the tropics outdoors, it can grow to 30 feet tall or more.

Monstra has perforated leaves with elliptic or oblong holes; the perforations give the plant its common name, Swiss-cheese plant.

Monstera is a genus of 22 species of evergreen, often epiphytic root climbers found in rainforests in tropical Central and South America. Monstera deliciosa is the only species commonly grown as a houseplant.

Get to Know Monstera

  • Plant type: Tropical evergreen vine
  • Growing Zones and range: Zones 10-11
  • Hardiness: Tender; do not grow outdoors where temperature fall below 59°F (15°C)
  • Optimal growing temperature: 85°F (29°C) during the day, 65°-75°F (18°-21°C) at night; the plant will not grow if the temperature is too cool.
  • Height and width: 6 to 10 feet (1.8-3m) tall and wide indoors, to 30 feet (9m) tall outdoors; it grows as a floppy vine
  • Foliage: Lustrous, dark green leaves are large (to 3-feet across) and divided
  • Flowers:Arum-like spathes enclose tiny star-shaped petalless flowers
  • Uses: Houseplant needing lots of space
  • Common name: Swiss Cheese Plant, hurricane plant
  • Botanical name: Monstera deliciosa
  • Family: Araceae
  • Origin: Tropical Central and South America

Where to Plant Monstera

  • Light outdoors: Grow Monstera in partial shade.
  • Light indoors: Give Monstera bright filtered light; it is tolerant of low light.
  • Leaves will be small with no splits when the light is low.
  • Soil outdoors: Grow Monstera in humus-rich, moist but well-drained soil.
  • Soil indoors: Plant Monstera in all-purpose mix; provide a wood or moss slab for support.
Swiss cheese plant, Monstera deliciosa
Swiss cheese plant, Monstera deliciosa

How to Water and Feed Monstera

  • Allow the soil to dry between waterings during active growth
  • Fertilize Monstera twice a year in early spring and mid-summer. Use a balalnced liquid fertilizer.

Monstera Care

  • Pinch back Monstera regularly to encourage side branching.
  • Direct aerial roots into the potting soil or onto a moss pole to give them vertical support.
  • Sponge leaves often to keep them clean.
  • It is natural for the bottom leaves to drop off as the plant ages.

Growing Monstera as a Houseplant

  • Give Monstera bright light in summer and direct sun in winter, or grow under fluorescent light.
  • Maintain a warm room temperature and medium to high humidity.
  • Water thoroughly and allow the soil to dry before watering again.
  • Fertilize Monstera regularly from spring to fall.

Monstera Pests and Diseases

  • Monstera is prone to attack by scale insects, spider mites, bacterial soft rot, and leaf spots.

Monstera Propagation

  • Take Monstera leaf bud cuttings by slicing the stem into sections, each with one leaf, and placing the stem pieces into the soil, or air layer stems.

Monstera Varieties to Grow

  • Monstera deliciosa, Swiss cheese plant. Strong-growing climber with thick sparingly branched stems; broad ovate to heart-shaped leaves on long stalks, glossy mid-to deep green; each leaf is perforated with elliptic to oblong holes; grows 30 to 70 feet tall in the tropics; grows to 6 feet tall as a houseplant.

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