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How to Grow and Care for Monstera deliciosa Swiss Cheese

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How to Grow and Care for Monstera deliciosa Swiss Cheese


Monstera deliciosa, known as the Swiss Cheese plant, has emerged as a highly popular and fashionable member of the Monstera family. Its photogenic leaves have been gracing the pages of magazines and capturing attention on various social media platforms, showing its status as a beloved and trendy houseplant. 

Originating from the tropical rainforests of southern Mexico, Monstera Deliciosa is an evergreen tropical climbing shrub plant. It has a moderate growth rate and requires support in the form of a pole for its aerial roots to climb. This is a real monster plant with huge leaves that can reach over 30 inches in length if given enough light and humidity. 

This plant can grow well indoors but it is a bit more tricky to care for as its leaves are sensitive to both low light conditions and harsh direct sunlight, as well as over and under-watering. Monstera Deliciosa is not the easiest houseplant, but many beginners and novice gardeners have successfully grown this fantastic tropical beauty indoors by following its specific care requirements. 

Can Monstera Deliciosa purify the air?

Aside from its striking appearance, Monstera Deliciosa is an excellent air-purifying houseplant. Its large, lush leaves are highly effective at removing common airborne toxins such as formaldehyde and benzene from the indoor environment. As it photosynthesizes and exchanges gases with its surroundings, it helps improve air quality by filtering out these pollutants. This makes the Monstera Deliciosa a fantastic choice for enhancing the air quality in homes and offices, in addition to its aesthetic appeal.

What are the differences between Monstera Deliciosa and Adansonii?

When it comes to the name Swiss Cheese plant, Monstera Deliciosa is sometimes mistaken for Monstera Adansonii. In fact, Adansonii has longer, tapering, and enclosed leaf holes, while Deliciosa has much larger, splitting leaves. When young, Deliciosa typically sports intact leaves, and the iconic fenestrations, or leaf holes, only emerge as the plant reaches 1-2 years old. 

Does Monstera Deliciosa contain toxicity?

Monstera deliciosa contains calcium oxalate crystals that can be mildly toxic to humans and pets if ingested. The most common symptoms of ingestion include mouth and throat irritation, as well as digestive discomfort such as vomiting and diarrhea. While the plant is generally considered low in toxicity, it's important to exercise caution, especially if you have curious pets or small children. It's a good practice to keep Monstera Deliciosa out of their reach and educate household members about the potential risks of consuming any part of the plant.

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Monstera deliciosa has an excellent ability to purify the indoor air.

General Care for Monstera Deliciosa

Where can you place Monstera Deliciosa indoor?

Monstera Deliciosa needs a lot of bright, indirect light. It's best placed near a window with filtered sunlight or in a spot where it receives dappled light. Avoid direct sunlight, especially harsh afternoon sun, as it can scorch the leaves. Lack of light can result in leggy growth and the fenestrations (leaf holes) may not develop as prominently. If natural light is insufficient, you can supplement it with a grow light, particularly during the darker months of the year. Place the lights a few feet above the plant to simulate the intensity of bright, indirect sunlight. To ensure even growth and prevent the plant from leaning towards the light source, rotate it every few weeks. It can be tricky to find the balance between too little and too much/too harsh lighting for Deliciosa, so make sure you monitor your plant’s reaction to its lighting condition and adjust promptly. 

How do you know if Monstera Deliciosa needs water?

Monstera Deliciosa has a medium watering need. It prefers slightly moist soil but does not like to sit in waterlogged or consistently wet conditions. It's crucial to let the top inch of soil dry out before watering. Always check the soil moisture by sticking your finger into the soil about an inch deep. If it's dry at this depth, it's time to water. When you water, make sure to thoroughly saturate the soil, allowing water to reach the root zone. Ensure your pot has drainage holes to prevent water from pooling at the bottom. During the growing season (spring and summer), the plant may require more frequent watering due to increased activity. In the dormant season (fall and winter), reduce the frequency of watering, as the plant's water requirements decrease. The watering frequency also depends on the size of the pot, temperatures, and humidity of your specific indoor environment. 

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Splits make the Monstera deliciosa more special.

What is the best soil for Monstera Deliciosa?

Use a rich, well-draining potting mix with good aeration. A mix designed for aroids or tropical plants works well. You can also make your own by combining potting soil, perlite, and orchid bark to enhance drainage. Monstera Deliciosa doesn't require extremely rich or heavily organic soil like some other plants. Instead, it benefits from a well-draining, aerated potting mix that provides good moisture retention without becoming waterlogged. While it doesn't need an extremely organic mix, some organic matter in the soil can be beneficial. The goal is to provide a balanced environment that retains some moisture while allowing excess water to drain away effectively.

Does Monstera Deliciosa need fertilizer?

Fertilizing is very important for the healthy growth of Deliciosa’s foliage. During the growing season in spring and summer, feed your Swiss Cheese plant with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer specifically formulated for houseplants. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for dilution and application, which is typically every 4-6 weeks. However, avoid over-fertilizing, as this can lead to nutrient imbalances or damage to the plant. In the dormant season (fall and winter), withhold fertilization, as fertilizing during the cold months when your plant’s growth slows down can lead to weak growth and root burn. 

What is the ideal temperatures for Monstera Deliciosa?

Monstera Deliciosa loves warm and humid environments. Ideally, maintain a room temperature between 68°F to 86°F during the day. While it can tolerate some temperature fluctuations, avoid exposing it to temperatures below 50°F as it's sensitive to cold. The plant is happiest within this temperature range, which mimics its native tropical environment. Avoid placing it in drafts or near cold windows during the winter.

How do you increase humidity for Monstera Deliciosa?

Monstera Deliciosa needs moderate to high humidity. Relative humidity levels between 50% and 60% are ideal. It can tolerate lower humidity levels, but very dry indoor conditions may cause issues such as dry leaf edges. Its iconic foliage only flourishes with enough humidity. To increase humidity, you can use a humidity tray (a shallow tray filled with water and pebbles), mist the plant occasionally, or use a room humidifier. You can also group your plants together to increase the overall humidity around them. As plants release moisture through transpiration, neighboring plants benefit from the increased humidity in the shared microenvironment. This is especially helpful for a plant like Swiss Cheese. 

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Monstera deliciosa can be perfect for any corner in your home.

Extra Care for Monstera Deliciosa

What is the best planter for Monstera Deliciosa?

Choosing the right pot for your Monstera is very important. This plant benefits from a totem pole, so select a pot that can accommodate a pole and the size of this giant plant. Consider the weight of the pot, especially if you plan to move your Swiss Cheese. Larger, heavy pots can be challenging to relocate, so keep this in mind when selecting a pot. Ensure that the pot has drainage holes at the bottom. Proper drainage is essential to prevent water from accumulating in the pot, which can lead to overwatering and root issues. Pots made from materials like terracotta, clay, cement, or ceramic are suitable choices. These materials provide good breathability and can help with moisture regulation. Don’t forget to choose a pot that complements your interior decor and suits your personal style. The visual appeal of the pot can enhance the overall look of your indoor space.

When should you repot Monstera Deliciosa?

Repot your Swiss Cheese every 1 to 2 years, depending on its growth rate and the root-bound condition. The optimal time for repotting is during the active growing season in spring. Choose a pot that is only slightly larger (about 10% bigger) than the previous one. If the plant has become root-bound, you can increase the pot size a bit more. Handle your plant with care, so you do not harm the foliage or aerial roots. 

Does Monstera Deliciosa need pruning?

Pruning is a useful practice to maintain your Swiss Cheese’s health and appearance. Regularly inspect your plant for any dead, yellowing, or damaged leaves. Prune these off at the base of the stem using clean, sharp pruning shears or scissors. If the aerial roots of your Swiss Cheese plant become unruly or overly long, you can trim them back to a more manageable length. Always use clean, sterilized pruning tools to prevent the introduction of diseases to your plant. If your plant becomes too leggy and out of shape, prune off the long stems and use them for propagation, make sure you make the cut just above a leaf node, as new growth will emerge from there.

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Totem pole or moss pole is a great way to grow Monstera deliciosa.

What is the best method to propagate Monstera Deliciosa?

Monstera Deliciosa can be propagated using two methods: water and soil. To propagate in water, select a healthy stem with a node, make a clean cut below the node, and place it in a glass of room-temperature water. Change the water regularly as roots begin to grow. Once the cutting has developed sufficient roots and new growth, transplant it into a well-draining potting mix. To propagate in soil, take a healthy stem with a node, make a clean cut, and plant it in a pot with well-draining soil. Place the cutting in an airy, bright spot away from direct sunlight. Keep the soil slightly moist. 

Rooting in water is usually faster and easier, but transferring your baby plant from water to soil can be a bit challenging. You can experiment with both methods to determine which one works best for you and your Swiss Cheese plant.

What are the common problems of Monstera Deliciosa?

  1. Yellowing Leaves: Yellowing leaves are often a sign of overwatering. Make sure the soil is well-draining, and adjust your watering routine to let the top inch of soil dry before watering again.
  2. Brown Leaf Tips: Brown leaf tips can result from low light, low humidity or salt buildup in the soil. Increase humidity around the plant by misting or using a humidifier, and periodically flush the soil with plain water to remove excess salts.
  3. Pests: Mealybugs, spider mites, and scale insects can occasionally infest Monstera deliciosa. Use neem oil or insecticidal soap to treat affected areas, and isolate the plant to prevent further infestation.
  4. Leggy Growth: If your plant is growing tall and leggy with long stems between leaves, it may not be receiving enough light. Move it to a spot with brighter, indirect light.
  5. Root Rot: Root rot can occur if the plant is consistently overwatered and the soil doesn't drain properly. Ensure the pot has drainage holes, use well-draining soil, and adjust your watering routine to avoid waterlogged soil.
  6. Yellowing Leaves with Brown Edges: This can indicate low light and underwatering. Give your plant more lighting and ensure you're watering your plant consistently, and it's not drying out too much between waterings.
  7. Stunted Growth: If your Monstera isn't growing as expected, it may need more nutrients. Consider fertilizing it with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer during the growing season.

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