How to Grow and Care For Monstera Deliciosa
Split-leaf philodendron or Swiss cheese plant (Monstera deliciosa) is a beautiful foliage plant prized and admired as an indoor houseplant among unique plant enthusiasts. In this guide, we'll cover everything you need to know about Monstera deliciosa care.
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What You Will Learn
Introduction | What is a Monstera Deliciosa | Quick Care Guide | How to Care for Monstera Deliciosa | 💧 Water | ☀️ Sunlight | 🌡️ Temperature and Humidity | 🌱 Best Soil for Monstera Deliciosa | 🌻 Fertilizer | 😎 Pruning and Maintenance | ☢️ Toxicity | How to Propagate By Layering | How to Repot | Common Disease | Where to buy | FAQs on Monstera Deliciosa
Split-leaf philodendron or Swiss cheese plant (Monstera deliciosa) is a beautiful foliage plant prized and admired as an indoor houseplant among unique plant enthusiasts. This favorite of all plant parents is a member of the Araceae family in the Genus Monstera (famous for their large, glossy, and dark green perforated leaves).
Other most common species of the Monstera genus is Monstera adansonii and Monstera obliqua, cultivated as houseplants. Both these species are distinguished from Monstera deliciosa in their compact growth form and smaller foliage, making suitable additions to smaller spaces.
Let’s learn how to grow and care for Monstera deliciosa as an indoor houseplant.
What is a Monstera Deliciosa
Native to the tropical rainforests of Central America from southern Mexico to Panama, Monstera deliciosa is a climbing perennial. It is widely grown indoors as a houseplant for its lush, extensive, and perforated leaves.
Its glossy, dark green, rounded to heart-shaped leaves develop on thick stems, and its long tentacle-like aerial roots help the plant to grow upward by attaching to nearby trees and branches for support. While the hardy roots develop towards the ground and help to start life as a terrestrial plant.
In their native regions, these aroids climb impressively to 70 feet-tall trunks and rarely branches, decorating these trees with 1 to 3 feet long leaves. As indoor plants, Swiss cheese plant only grows to 6-8 feet tall but has the potential to climb to majestic heights when provided with stationary support like a moss pole. The popular cultivar ‘Variegata’ and ‘Albovariegata’of Monstera deliciosa has variegated foliage (like Monstera Thai Consettelation) and offers smaller foliage and growth size for indoor designs. These cultivars have bright green foliage with creamy white variegation.
The young Monstera deliciosa plant appears utterly different from the fully grown plant due to its leaves. Their young leaves are small to round shaped with no holes or lobes. As the plant grows older, the leaves develop their signature fenestrations (these are holes and splits to allow the passing of high winds that is common in their natural habitat).
Mature Swiss cheese plants bloom in mid to late summer and produce arum-like flowers consisting of 8 to 12 inches long spadix (spikes) surrounded by a boat-shaped spathe. These large flowers give way to edible fruits that are a rich source of potassium and vitamin C. They are used to add flavor to fresh food items like ice cream or eaten as fresh (hence the name Mexican breadfruit).
Genus name Monstera is named after snakes, dragons, and monsters—a reference to their large leaves, while the deliciosa means delicious for its edible fruit. In addition, the common name Split leaf philodendron also refers to its foliage fenestrations.
Monstera produces fruit!
Monstera deliciosa is the only ornamental plant in this genus to give edible fruits that taste like a combination of mango, banana, and pineapple.
Monstera Deliciosa Care Guide
USDA hardiness zone
Where to buy Monstera Deliciosa
How to Care for Monstera Deliciosa
Swiss cheese plant (Monstera deliciosa) make an excellent tropical accent specimen for indoors and outdoors with its large and uniquely fenestrated leaves. It brightens indoor designs and any spots and brings attractive appeal. It can be trained to climb a trellis to add texture and colors, enhancing indoor decor and settings.
Monstera deliciosa is easy to care for and maintain as houseplants. With lots of light, high humidity, regular watering, and warm temperatures, this plant is easier to keep happy and flourishing. This good plant care plan also assists in healthy root and foliage growth.
Monstera deliciosa requires thorough watering throughout the growing season to grow best. Allow the soil to dry out slightly between water applications to prevent too-wet soil conditions for roots. Otherwise, improper soil moisture levels will result in yellowing leaves and root rot, while underwatered plant foliage turns dry with brown spots. Also, Use room temperature filtered water for this foliage plant to avoid nutrient toxicity and root damage. Ensure to lightly water the spaghnum moss-covered support for aerial roots to absorb nutrients and moisture.
How often should I water Monstera deliciosa?
Water your Monstera deliciosa every 1 to 2 weeks for optimum moisture level for roots. Before each watering session, check the soil's moist level; when the top 2 to 3 inches of potting mix feel dry to the touch, then water your plant. Water less frequently during fall and winter because your plant is not receiving the bright light levels (that’s why not actively growing).
Should you mist Monstera?
This tropical plant needs regular misting during the hot summer weather to avoid the drying of its beautiful foliage. So misting with filtered water during summertime is best every other day.
How do I know if my Monstera needs water?
Like all houseplants, Monstera plants will droop their leaves in poor watering conditions. The other common signs of underwatering are crispy brown leaves, yellowing, defoliation, and downward curling.
Monstera deliciosa needs bright light as an indoor plant in summer and direct sunlight during winter to thrive and survive. So the ideal spot for this plant is an east-facing window where it will get the morning sun for six hours and then shade through the day. This morning sunlight will promote lush green foliage growth and assist the plant in developing fenestrations. When grown in outdoor containers, place the Swiss cheese plant under the trees or spots with dappled sunlight in warmer regions. This plant can handle direct sunlight for several hours daily and thrive in colder zones because this sun exposure assists the plant in better water and nutrient absorption.
🌡️ Temperature and Humidity
This tropical plant requires warm room temperatures with high humidity for the best growth and development. Maintain the temperature range between 65-85°F for best and lush foliage growth. Do not let the temperature drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit because Monstera deliciosa will stop the growth and may the defoliation occur.
In the growing zone 10 and below, grow and maintain it as a houseplant. Keep the plant outdoors through the summer and then bring it indoors as the temperature is below 60 °F.
🌱 Best Soil for Monstera Deliciosa
Monstera deliciosa flourishes in moist, rich, and well-draining potting soil mix. As an outdoor plant in its hardiness zones 10 through 12, it grows best in sandy, loam soil with a neutral pH level. For the container, use a peat moss-based potting mix designed for aroid plants. Mix one part of the soil with two pieces of worm castings, perlite, and coco coir to provide the roots with good aeration, nutrients, and drainage.
As indoor plants, Monstera deliciosa needs regular fertilizer application throughout the growing season. Feed them a balanced houseplant fertilizer such as Miracle-Gro Water-Soluble All Purpose Plant Food every other week. This supplemental food will encourage more stem and foliage growth. Even these balanced nutrient applications combined with good watering, sunlight, and temperature will encourage the flowering of this indoor plant.
😎 Pruning and Maintenance
Monstera deliciosa is a stunning foliage plant with terrestrial to epiphytic growth habits. It grows upward by climbing the support like a trellis or moss pole, surrounding it with its 3 feet long leaves. It needs light pruning for a tidy look and neater growth. Cut the yellow and dying leaves at the main stem to divert plants' focus for new development. Also, you can trim the unruly or leggy stems to keep the size of the plant in control.
Can you cut off aerial roots?
Yes, you can cut off the air roots of your Monstera plant but be careful not to damage the nodes. Trimming these roots will give your plant a neater look, or you can tie them with a totem pole to secure the plant's growth. These roots can not be used for propagation purposes to develop new Monstera plants. However, a healthy stem below a leaf node can create a new plant when treated with a rooting hormone solution.
Monstera deliciosa is a poisonous climbing plant with mild severity characteristics. All plant parts, including leaves, stems, flowers, and fruits (unripe), are toxic due to the calcium oxalate crystals that cause skin irritation, vomiting, and diarrhea when consumed in large quantities.
Therefore, be mindful when growing this plant indoors; keep it away from curious kids and pets. Wear protective gloves when propagating and repotting the Monstera deliciosa plant.
How to Propagate Monstera Deliciosa By Layering
Monstera deliciosa plant can be multiplied by seeds, stem cuttings, and air layering. The best and most popular method for propagation is layering and stem cuttings in spring.
To propagate the Swiss cheese plant through layering, here’s the process;
- Select a healthy stem with one medium-sized leaf and 3 to 4 nodes that will grow roots.
- Cut a small notch ⅓ inch deep to the width of the stem below a growing point or bud.
- Cover the cut section with moist sphagnum moss and tie it with plastic wrap and a rubber band.
- Keep the sphagnum moss wet and examine it for root growth.
- It will take 4 to six weeks to develop new roots. Once you see young roots coming out from wrapped moss, remove the rubber band and plastic wrap.
- Also, carefully remove the moss and separate the newly rooted stem about 1 inch below the new roots from the mother plant. Transplant it into a new pot and water it immediately.
- Position the pot in a warm and bright light area to support the growth of the new plant.
- Make sure to cover the wounds of the mother plant with cinnamon powder to discourage fungal infections.
How to Repot Monstera Deliciosa
This foliage plant needs repotting every two years to accommodate roots with more space for healthy growth and a fresh potting mix. So repot the split-leaf philodendron in a sterilized terra-cotta pot (3 to six inches bigger than the current) filled with peat-based potting mix. Ensure the pot has drainage holes for the draining of excess water. To repot Monstera deliciosa;
- Remove the plant from its current container by holding it at the stem base and hitting the bottom side of the pot with another hand to release the rootball. Then gently pull out the plant from the planter. To make this process easier, water your Monstera plant 2 to 4 days before repotting.
- Shake off the excess old potting soil from the roots, check the roots for rotting, and remove them.
- Fill one-third of the pot with potting mix and adjust the rootball into the center of potting mix. Ensure to keep one inch of stem below the potting soil level. Backfill the sides of the plant with potting mix to firm it.
- Water the plant thoroughly to settle the soil around the plant stem after repotting until the excess water flows freely through drainage holes. Then allow the soil to dry out entirely before the next watering.
Common Monstera Deliciosa Disease
Monstera deliciosa is sensitive to poor growing conditions, such as overly wet potting soil, improper humidity levels, and temperatures. Such conditions lead to root rot, foliage yellowing, browning, and wilting. The best way to keep this plant healthy and happy is to provide it with bright indirect light, warm temperatures, and a highly humid environment.
If this is your first time experiencing root rot, read our guide here.
Root rot is a common issue with most houseplants, including Monstera deliciosa. It’s usually caused by moist or waterlogged soil for prolonged periods. Symptoms include rapidly yellowing leaves, stunted growth, and a rotten brown base. If you see these symptoms, here’s how to treat root rot.
- Remove the plant from the pot and gently remove the soil so you can see the root system.
- If the roots are brown and mushy, you must take action immediately.
- Clean off the roots with sterile water.
- Take sterilized scissors and trim any mushy roots.
- You can use a diluted hydrogen peroxide solution to disinfect the roots.
- Once cleaned up, repot your plant in a fresh houseplant soil mix.
Why is my Monstera drooping?
Underwatering results in Monstera drooping, meaning it needs a thorough water drench to revive its growth and foliage. Give your plant a deep watering until the excess water drains through drainage holes. Monitor soil moisture levels to provide a damp base medium for growth and leaf bud development.
Why is my Monstera turning yellow?
Monstera yellow leaves are a sign of improper soil moisture, especially overwatering, which always results in root rot, leading to the slow decline of your houseplant. Prune off the yellow leaves and check the soil moisture levels before the next watering. Apply water only when 1 to 2 inches of the soil is dry, and ensure the potting mix has good drainage.
Why is my Monstera turning brown?
It is a clear sign of root rot and poor humidity levels for your Monstera plant. It is also associated with poor soil drainage. To revive your browning Monstera plant, repot it into a fresh and well-draining potting mix. Also, cut off the old rotten roots and brown foliage to give the plant a head start toward healthy growth. If your living space is dry, move your Monstera plant to the bathroom and kitchen, where high humidity levels will keep its foliage happy and green.
Monstera Deliciosa Care Tips
This beautiful foliage plant can live more than 40 years when grown in perfect conditions. To keep it for decades in your home, follow these Monstera deliciosa care tips;
- Maintain an ideal temperature range between 70 to 85°F for best growth.
- To provide ideal lighting conditions, place the planter in an east-facing window; while outdoors, grow this plant in partial shade.
- Water regularly during the growing season by soaking the soil and then letting it dry before the next watering.
- Monitor the Monstera deliciosa plant for aphids and mealybugs during spring and summer. If you notice any, apply neem oil and insecticidal soap spray to kill these pests.
- Provide this plant with a high-quality potting mix such as mix perlite or lava rocks to improve soil aeration.
Where to buy Monstera Deliciosa?
Monsteras are heirloom plants with hemiepiphyte growth habits and big, lush green and fenestrated leaves. These plants bring colors, textures, and tropical vibes to indoor spaces as houseplants with their easygoing growth and care. One such plant is Monstera deliciosa, with lush green, perforated leaves, and edible fruit. Add this plant to your collection by purchasing it from Neverland.
To learn more about its propagation and maintenance, visit our blog.
FAQs on Monstera Deliciosa
Can Monstera grow in full sun?
Monstera grows best in dappled sunlight or partial shade (while variegated cultivars can tolerate full sun with protection from the afternoon sun).
How can I make my Monstera happy and healthy?
The best way to keep your Monstera deliciosa houseplant happy and healthy is to keep it in an ideal growing condition (bright indirect sunlight, warm temperatures, high humidity, and moderate watering).
Where should I put Monstera in my house?
The best place for your Monstera houseplant is east facing window where it will get a morning sun exposure of four to six hours. While you can place it in a southern window but keep it 3 feet away from intense sunlight protection.
Should I grow my Monstera in big or small pots?
The perfect pot size for the Monstera plant is 3 to 4 inches large than the root diameter. Otherwise, the too-big pot and small planter will cause root rot or a weaker root system because of overwatering and poor space for root spread.
Do you water Monstera from the top or bottom?
Both top and bottom watering works best for this tropical plant but aim for an evenly moist potting mix for root hydration.
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