Monstera Deliciosa, often called the Mexican breadfruit, Swiss cheese plant, or hurricane plant is easy to spot with its glossy, lavishly large leaves, and the variety of holes and splits.
For most of us, the Monstera plant is a home-grown one, but this beautiful verdure originates from Southern Mexico’s tropical rainforests where it flowers, and develops a perfectly edible fruit you can add to any salad.
When you grow Mostera Delicions indoors, however, it will be very difficult for it to develop a flower. Monstera Deliciosa plants are most of time completely green, but there is a special variegate speckled with white that looks even more beautiful.
All parts of this plant are poisonous for human consumption (excluding the plant). ASPCA also claims that Monstera plants are dangerously toxic for cats and dogs
The creative affection for Monstera Deliciosa is certainly not a new trend – despite of the plant being present everywhere around us, we can trace its household friendships back to the early 50s, when fan Henri Matisse first came to the idea to grow it indoors.
Monstera plants looked just perfect for flower fans – its tropical and sturdy leaves make every room look glorious, and all it takes a big and well-lit corner to fit it inside.
Monstera Deliciosa care: Tips for future owners
The ideal temperature for Monstera Deliciosa plants is the standard, indoor one (68-86 degrees Fahrenheit). They also prefer indirect exposure to sunlight, regularly filtered air, and high-humidity environments. Nature is, of course, Monstera’s original habitat, which means you can also grow this plant outside.
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In such case, consider well-shaded locations such as evergreen perennials and zones 10 and 11 in the US Department of Agriculture. Wherever you decide to settle your Monstera Deliciosa plant, make sure it won’t have access to harsh sunlight, as it can cause scorching and delays in its development.
In its original habitat, Monstera Deliciosa develops as a climber, and uses the aerial roots to attach to larger trees and to preserve its stability. If you want to replicate this scenario, plant it in well-drained and peaty soil, and add a support trellis covered with moss.
The aerial roots will grow extensively and become a bit unruly, in which case you can trim them, or simply push them back to the pot. They won’t damage the pot or the walls, so don’t worry about that.
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As for watering, ensure that the top quarter/third is always moist, and use a liquid fertilizer each month during spring and summer seasons. Don’t forget to wipe dust off the leaves with just a bit of dishwashing detergent, dissolved in few cups of water. (Those of you that would really like to preserve their plant in the perfect condition can also consider misting).
Note that every two years, Monstera Deliciosa will have outgrown its pot, and you will need to transplant it to a larger and deeper one.
Give it the right conditions
In order to understand what your Monstera Deliciosa plants need, think of their natural habitat – they will eventually flower and develop an edible fruit, and likely be a lifelong companion of those who decided to grow them indoors.
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Translated, the name Monstera Deliciosa is a symbol for a large and tasty plant, but loses both of these properties when maintained indoors.
Tips on proper potting
Monstera Deliciosa should be potted in peaty and loose soil for proper aeration and drainage. In case the soil is not like appropriate, you should get a pot with drainage holes in the bottom, and prevent the roots from rotting.
In the best scenario, the plant should be watered twice per week, and you should always keep an eye to ensure that the top layer is not completely dry.
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If you want your maturing Monstera plant to stand upright, you need to train it to do so, and help it attach to supportive plants. Despite of being large, Monstera’s stem is very weak, and cannot support the weight of its leaves without additional trellises to lean on. You can also consider wooden stacks or mass poles.
Tips for proper maintenance
As discussed before, Monstera Deliciosa plants are usually considerably large. In order to keep their size suitable for an indoor space, you should prune it regularly, and remove dying leaves as soon as you spot them. Here is how you can maintain your Monstera Deliciosa plant
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– Before you begin pruning, get a pair of gloves. The chemicals used in the process are highly toxic, and may cause severe irritation on the skin.
– The first step should always be to remove dying leaves, and that’s best done by hand.
– Prepare the pruning shears, and prune in all desired areas to give your plant the desired shape and size. The shears will help you make cuts on the vine in all necessary places, so that you can incite new growth. You should also prune the base (as close to the soil as possible), to let it grow from the bottom rather than expanding outside the vine stem.
– Once ready, collect our trimmings in a garbage bag and throw them out. Don’t spread them in the yard, as you may end up growing few new Monstera plants in front of the house.
Don’t bother with the gaps
With proper maintenance, you will notice that the new leaves sprouting from your Monstera plant are full, and have no slits and holes. It is because holes and new patterns take time to form, and you shouldn’t be alarmed about it while your plant is still young.
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In fact, developing holes and splits is what makes Monstera plants so interesting – they develop such in their natural habitat to withstand torrential downpours without breaking, so it s absolutely normal for the process to be delayed when they are developing indoors.
Nevertheless, distinctive patterns will appear when the leaves mature, which is exactly why many like to call these plants the Swiss cheese plants.
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As we mentioned before, Monstera also has a number of other names, among which fruit salad plant, Leaf Philodendron, Monstereo, Monster fruit, Ceriman, Mexican Breadfruit, Wild honey, Penglai Banana, Windowleaf, Balazo, and many more.
Tips on proper propagation
The best way to propagate a Monstera Deliciosa plant is with air-layering. The process is common with other plants too, and makes absolute sense for passionate home gardeners. In order to do that, you will need sphagnum or floral moss, some clean and sharp pruning shears, twist ties, and a plastic bag.
As soon as you see a leaf growing out of the stem, pick a small notch (1/3 of the stem’s diameter), and cut it. Then, wrap the aerial root and the node with a 2-inch layer of sphagnum moss, right where the leaf and the stem are connected.
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Moisten it, and wrap it with a plastic bag, but make sure the bag is easy to open so that you can observe how the root is developing. A good approach would be to secure the moss with twist ties, and preserve the same moisture level until the root has developed. Once that happens, cut the stem, and pot the brand new plant into some quality soil.
How to position a Monstera Deliciosa plant? Ideally, it should stand in a bright location, in a room where light and ventilation is very balanced.
It is OK to expose it to direct sunlight during winter, but in summer, you should protect its glossy leaves from the sun. If possible, wipe dust off its beautiful leaves every day, and remove eventual stains with luke warm water.
Instructions on how to grow Monstera Deliciosa indoors
Explained in botanical terms, Monstera Deliciosa is a split-leaf tropical philodendron whose leaves are recognizably oblong and heart-shaped, and have a number of unique splits and holes that made them popular over the decades.
Monstera originates from Central America’s rainforests, but it is commonly planted in agriculture zones 10/11, and in special indoor containers. That’s exactly the secret of Monstera Deliciosa’s elegance – it brings the freshness and unique looks of a tropical rainforest right inside your home.
Still, Monstera Deliciosa is a serious assignment for the person in charge of it, and requires devotion and day-to-day maintenance. This is how it is done:
The split-leaf philodendron will develop the best with a constant in-house temperature (75 degrees Fahrenheit) during the day, and a constant night time temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit during the night. It should be placed as far as possible from cooling and heating vents, so that its growth patterns are not disrupted.
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The plant should be place 4-10 feet away from west-, east-, and south-facing windows, and have enough sunlight despite of not being directly exposed to it. You can also move it after 10-15 days (turning a quarter to the left) to ensure all leaves are growing evenly, and have enough sunlight access to develop properly.
During active growth seasons, Monstera Deliciosa should be watered once to twice per week, or each time the owner notices the top soil layer has dried out (1-2 inches from the surface). When pouring the water, make sure you’re not moistening the foliage, and let the moisture drain out from the bottom of the pot.
If possible, remove all withstanding water from the tray yourself.
The best time of the day to water a plant is during the morning, so that excess moisture or accidentally watered foliage has enough time to dry out before nightfall. The growth of your plant will slow down during winter months, and you should also reduce watering to as many sessions as needed to keep the soil loose.
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The leaves should be misted at least once per week, using a spray bottle of water that can raise humidity levels in and around the plant. Misting has the best effects in the early morning, as the water will have just enough time to evaporate.
Prepare a water-soluble 20-20-20 fertilizer, adding a half of a teaspoon for each gallon of water. The fertilizer should be poured straight in the pot, and filled to the brim.
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Once it drains out, you should repeat the process twice or three times, and do so each 14th day instead of watering. If there is some fertilizer left in the drainage tray, remove it.
Get a standard bowl, fill it with lukewarm water, and pour in few drops of your regular dishwasher. Stir and mix the two liquids, and moisten a cloth with the soapy mixture. Use the cloth to wipe dust and grime off the leaves’ surface until they become rinse clean.
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To remove soap residue, wipe them over with nothing but water, and go over them with a dry cloth in the very end. In the best case, you should be doing this twice to three times per month.
The surface of the Monstera’s leaves should be checked and cleaned regularly, at least each time you’re watering the plant. This way, you can prevent and remove scale, spider mite webs, bug attacks, whiteflies, and aphids, and keep the leaves in an impeccable condition.
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To wash out pest, spray a bit of water and heavily infested foliage on the leaves, or get a dedicated insecticidal soap to defeat them.
Take a pair of pruning shears and remove the dead leaves off the plant as soon as you see them. The cut should be made ¼ inches over the base of the leaves’ stems.
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You should move your Monstera Deliciosa to a 2-inches larger container (both in diameter and depth) at least 2 times each year, or any time you notice there is a risk it will outgrow its current pot. The new container should also have drainage holes at the bottom, and you should fill a half of it with fast-draining soil before you bring your plant in.
We recommend you to be extra careful when moving the plant from one pot to the other, and use pruning shears to cut through any circling roots. If there is a damaged, mushy, broken, or even rotten root, don’t move it to the new container.
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Before you transfer Your Monstera plant to its new home, you should massage the roots’ bottom gently, and spread the roots outwards. The plant should be carefully positioned in the centre of the container, with the top of the root ball placed right below the surface layer (1-2 inches below it).
Once you put the rest of the potting soil inside, tamp it carefully until it reaches the desired level. Yet, don’t bury the Monstera too deep, as it needs space to grow and develop. Water it immediately.
With all facts and details noted down, you’re ready to grow a beautiful Monstera Deliciosa for your place (such will be available in any home improvement centre or big box store). If you treat it right and within the proper environment, your Monstera plant will look amazing for many years ahead.