The Big Cheese - all you need to know about the Monstera Deliciosa
Posted on July 16 2020
I feel like I'm back in the rainforest with this beast of a plant! Just love it!
The iconic Swiss Cheese plant (monstera deliciosa) definitely has the WOW factor! Given the right conditions and room to grow it will reward you with this amazing jungly home environment. And who doesn't want to escape to the jungle after a long day? I do thats for sure! Grab a mojito, sit under your monstera, put on some jungle sounds and voila!
Those stunning slashed leaf shapes are so eye catching you really feel like you're in the tropics. Native to the Central American rainforests these plant beauties inject the wow factor into your home. In the wild these plants can grow up to 60 feet in height. I know right it's HUGE! Having seen my monstera's growth spurt this year and having just repotted it I'm definitely going to need a bigger flat if she keeps growing at this pace.
I have been asked a lot of questions and advice about these stunners so I wanted to put together a few helpful Monstera FAQ's, hints and tips to share with you. You'll be surprised to hear that these plants are actually classed as 'easy care' and can be very rewarding to care for:
When do I need to repot my Swiss Cheese plant?
The growth spurt has happened and it's taking over! Monstera's produce very thick tuberous root systems that can almost fill a pot within 6 months. Ideally repot your monstera annually in the spring/summer months. If you lift up the pot of your monstera and see that it's roots are poking out the bottom through the drainage holes it's time to repot. When repotting these plants be sure not to go up in pot size too much and use a well draining houseplant soil mix. I put pearlite in mine to increase aeration and drainage.
What are the crazy roots coming from the stem of my Monstera Deliciosa plant?
These are the monstera deliciosa's aerial roots. In it's natural habitat this plant is an excellent climber. These aerial roots shoot out in search for things to cling to and climb on in it's rainforest home. This is why I always recommend popping a moss stick in with your monstera when it's maturing. This will give it stability, something to anchor to. Without this there is a chance your plant will start growing sideways along the floor with it's aerial roots trying to find something to climb up.
Can I propagate my Swiss Cheese plant?
Yes you most definitely can. If you find it growing and growing and blocking out your room then why not create some baby plants to give to friends and family.
Choose a healthy mature vine of your monstera which is at least 12inches long and has at least two nodes. Make a clean cut making sure it's below a node using a clean knife to minimise bacteria and infection risk. Submerge the stem and one of the nodes in tepid water keeping the leaves above the waterline. This will induce root growth. Remember to refresh the water weekly. When the roots are at least 4inches long it's time to pop them into a good draining houseplant compost mix, the same as the mama plant. You can pop a cane in for support too. Then sit back relax and watch your baby monstera grow. Good luck!
Signs to watch out for:
- Do you see lots of abnormally long aerial roots and slow leaf growth compared to normal? This could mean that your plant is root bound and needs repotting.
- Bottom leaves of the plant are yellowing. Stem is wilting and might be showing brown/black at the base? This can mean there is too light light and the soil is staying waterlogged for long periods of time. This can lead root rot and plant death. Take the plant out of the pot and inspect the roots. If they are white tinged and looking sturdy and healthy then everything is fine. If they are brown and mushy then you need to act fast. With a sterile pair of scissors remove all the affected roots trying not to disturb the healthy ones. Repot in a clean pot and dry soil. Move to a brighter location and adjust your watering schedule accordingly.
- Curled leaves and brown crispy edges. This is a strong sign of lack of water and over exposure to the sun. Monstera plants prefer bright indirect light away from harsh sunlight especially during midday.
- Dust the large beautiful monstera leaves regularly when you notice a bit of a build up. This dust can block the plants pores preventing it from catching all those precious sun rays for its healthy growth. All you need is a clean damp cloth and give it a little once over every week or couple of weeks when you can see dust.
- Is your Monstera Deliciosa in a darker spot than you would like? If there is no other spot for it and you notice the soil is taking a while to dry out how about using a pair of chopsticks and poking the soil (just the top half). This mimics the role of worms and invertebrates which would usually do this in the wild which injecting some oxygen. You can do this once a month or so when you notice the soil isn't drying very quickly.
- I've found mould on the top soil of my Monstera Deliciosa plant. This normally means too much water and too little light so try moving it to a brighter location and reducing the watering schedule making sure the top couple of inches of soil are drying out between waterings.
I hope this information is helpful but any other questions you have ask away and i'd be more then happy to help. Enjoy looking after this amazing plant.
If you're after something a little smaller but with the beauty of a Monstera Deliciosa (Swiss Cheese Plant) then have a look at the Monstera Monkey Leaf plant and Monstera Minima (both seen below). They are relatives of the Swiss Cheese Plant with their iconic slashed leaves but they are much smaller and delicate than their bigger cousin.