The Swiss cheese plant (also known by the scientific name Monstera adansonii) is in great demand among tropical plant lovers. It has been scientifically proven that indoor monstera is capable of ionizing the air, which is a great advantage when growing such a plant. Let’s find out more about this tropical plant.
Monstera is a tropical ornamental plant with aerial roots that grow downward from the stem. The roots rest on the ground or whatever support is available, which gives the Monstera a tendency to climb like a vine if they have proper support. In the wild, it uses its aerial roots to push itself up towards a nearby tree or woody vine; when grown as a houseplant, you can simulate this by inserting a stick into the center of the pot. Monstera adansonii has ovoid leaves with many round holes – hence the name “Swiss cheese plant”. The leaves grow to 8-16 inches long and about 5 inches wide.
Monstera Adansonii or Monstera Deliciosa
There are several different types of Monstera, which have the same name as the “Swiss-cheese plant.” Most often, you can find Monstera deliciosa, which is characterized by long lobed leaves and elongated slits, while Monstera adansonii has heart-shaped leaves with pronounced holes. No matter what you choose, all plants are insanely beautiful and have similar needs.
How Big Do Monstera Adansonii Grow?
Monstera adansonii in the wild grows rather quickly and climbs other trees to a height of up to 40 ft (ca. 12 m). Living indoors, Swiss cheese vine is not able to reach this size. Usually, it grows up to 3 ft (0.91 m) with support, and the maximum height with proper support is up to 16 ft (ca. 5 m).
Now that we have got to know this wonderful plant better, let’s find out how to care for the swiss cheese plant.
Swiss Cheese Plant Care
Monstera adansonii is fairly easy to care for at home, which is probably why they are so widespread.
How Much Light Does Monstera Adansonii Need?
In nature, the Swiss cheese plant grows under the canopy of the forest, so the plant does not need too strong light; diffused lighting is preferable near the windows of the east or west direction. If brown spots appear on the leaves of Monstera adansonii, this may indicate that the plant has been in direct sunlight for too long, as a result of which it has received burns. Therefore, if you plan to place the Monstera near the south window, make sure that the plant is protected from direct sunlight. If the Swiss cheese plant is turning yellow, it may also be due to the plant being exposed to direct sunlight. When placed next to the north window or in the back of the room, Monstera Swiss cheese practically stops growing, the trunk is exposed and twisted. Usually, a lack of lighting is manifested by shrinking leaves and the formation of thin aerial roots. In good light, the leaves grow large and heavily indented.
Compliance with the correct temperature regime is one of the main aspects of caring for a Swiss cheese plant. As we said earlier, Monstera is a tropical plant, so it grows best at warm temperatures, around 77 °F (ca. 25 °C), although the lower temperature limit for growth is 60 °F (ca. 16 °C). In winter, the optimum temperature range is 60-65 °F. Even though the plant can endure a drop in temperature to 50-53 °F for a short time, it is better not to bring it to a temperature below 59 °F (ca. 15 °C). Drafts are contraindicated for the plant.
Swiss Cheese Plant Watering
Watering for the Monstera Swiss cheese plant needs to be abundant, with the top layer of the soil drying to a depth of 1-2 inches. In bright light, you should water it more often, and in low light – less often. With the fall in temperatures, watering is gradually reduced, in winter it is watered moderately, waiting 2-3 days after the top layer of the soil has dried. Do not allow overdrying of the substrate, as well as waterlogging, which leads to decay of the roots and the appearance of brown spots on the leaves. The plant does not like a substrate that is too wet or too dry, so you should choose something in between.
If the leaves “cry” – drops of moisture appear on the tips – it is necessary to reduce watering. Although, the release of moisture from the leaves can occur just before the rain.
It is desirable to maintain humidity over 60%. To do this, you can regularly spray the leaves or wipe them with a damp cloth. For spraying, as well as for watering, use soft, settled water at room temperature. Monstera tolerates dry room air quite well but grows best in a warm, humid atmosphere.
Best Soil for Monstera Adansonii
Give preference to a peat-based potting mix as it retains moisture well without causing waterlogging. Try to keep the soil pH in the range of 5.5 to 7.
When to Repot Monstera Adansonii
Young Monstera adansonii should be repotted every 1-2 years, mature plants every few years. In those years when the repotting is not carried out, the top 2 inches (ca. 5 cm) of the soil is replaced with a fresh one. The pot is selected spacious, with a margin, and the mature Swiss cheese plant is planted in a large flower pot.
Pruning the Swiss cheese houseplant is not a regular activity. If you want a voluminous, spreading plant, you can trim the stem once or twice during initial formation. But you need to remember that such a plant requires additional support, and over time it can occupy a large area and is suitable only for spacious rooms.
While the plant is young, it does not need feeding. Older plants can be fed regularly from mid-spring to late summer. For fertilization, it is recommended to use mineral fertilizers and organic substances.
Is the Swiss Cheese Plant Toxic?
Like many tropical plants, Monstera adansonii is not safe for pets. So, if you have dogs or cats or other pets that like to nibble on your plants, then make sure that Monstera is out of their reach. Otherwise, swallowing the plant is fraught with vomiting, difficulty breathing, irritation of the oral mucosa, and profuse salivation.
How to Propagate the Swiss Cheese Plant?
Monstera adansonii can be propagated by cuttings or grown from seeds. The second method is quite troublesome and takes a long time, so we recommend using the first method. Monstera adansonii can be propagated by cuttings all year round, but the optimal time is spring and summer. Upper or stem cuttings with 1-2 leaves are used, preferably with aerial roots. The stalk is cut just below the air root, the cut is dried and planted in a pot. Cuttings without aerial roots take longer to root, it is better to first root them in water or wet sphagnum, and then plant in pots. It is necessary to change the water from time to time, rinse the roots and sometimes add fertilizer.
Propagation by Air Layers
This method is especially useful for old, exposed Swiss cheese vines. Choose 1-2 aerial roots below the pair of upper leaves and tie them to the stem. Tied with a thick layer of sphagnum, which is moistened daily until new aerial roots emerge from the moss (this may take several months). Under such conditions, aerial roots form many fibrous roots. After that, the top of the plant with the roots is cut off and planted in a pot, getting a young plant. The mother plant would also give new lateral shoots and regain its decorative effect.
Growing from Seeds
If you are lucky and have a Monstera, wait for the fruit to ripen and isolate the seeds from them. Monstera seeds are also on sale, but they have a short shelf life: it is better to plant them as soon as possible.
First, soak the seeds for 12 hours in warm water, they should swell a little. Then sow them in pots and keep the soil constantly moist. Light and warmth are needed for germination but do not place the container in direct sunlight. How fast does the Swiss cheese plant grow? Seeds germinate from 10 days to 3 weeks. Initially, a small sprout appears, on which little whole leaves are later formed. A 2 years old plant would have 3-5 young and 2-4 adult leaves.
Possible Problems When Growing Monstera
- The leaves turn brown and brittle at the edges. This is a consequence of insufficient watering or accumulation of salts in the soil, dry air, or a cramped pot.
- The plant withers. The reason for this may also be insufficient watering or, on the contrary, severe waterlogging.
- The leaves turn yellow, and the stems turn black. This is a consequence of waterlogging. When waterlogged, leaves can also rot.
- Monstera adansonii has no fenestration. This is a fairly common problem. There are two main reasons here: either you made some mistakes in caring for the Monstera, or the plant is simply too young. Most likely, the plant does not have enough light or enough water. Be sure to check if all the conditions for keeping this tropical plant are met. In terms of age, Monstera adansonii would not have holes in leaves until the plant is at least two to three years old. If your plant is younger than this age, then you don’t have to worry about the lack of fenestration for now. Give your plant time and care.
- Leaves fall. Falling off the lower leaves with age is normal. However, if the leaves turn brown and dry before falling off, this indicates that the temperature is too high.
Monstera is a truly amazing plant that can grow to impressive sizes with proper care. Caring for it is quite simple, the main thing is to provide suitable conditions, and then a minimum of your participation is required. Most importantly, do not forget to water and from time to time spray or wipe the leaves with a damp sponge. And then you have every chance to create a small piece of the tropics in your home!
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