Let us talk about planting Monstera Deliciosa (also known affectionately as ‘The Swiss Cheese Plant’). In this article, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about planting and caring for this famed ornamental indoor and garden plant.
Monstera Deliciosa are particularly loved for their cool leaves filled with interesting ridges and holes. As you might have guessed, closely resemble a slice of fresh Swiss cheese!
These exquisite plants make excellent house guests (in addition to potted or patio garden plants if you live in a suitable climate). What’s great is they are hardy and tolerant but there are a few key pointers to follow to ensure your plant thrives in your exact living environment. Read on!
Getting to Know Monstera Deliciosa
The Monstera Deliciosa is native to the tropical forests found in the southern regions of Mexico and Panama. The name directly translates to ‘Monstrous’ (in reference to its big potential full-growth size), and ‘Delicious’ (in reference to the edible fruit the plant produces. - tastes a bit like a smoothie featuring banana, mango, and guava!).
This flowering plant is also symbolic (particularly in Chinese cultures) of longevity and life-giving properties. In addition, this plant is famous to being a sign of respect and honor to wise and elderly people.
What’s more, The Monstera plant is popular in Feng Shui practices. It is encouraged as a means to cure fatigue and draw energy to a room and people it surrounds.
How to Grow Monstera Deliciosa
There are options to plant both in the garden and as a permanent indoor plant. Please note there are a few key pointers and variances to follow for each:
Planting Monstera Deliciosa in the Garden
First and foremost, Monstera plants don’t enjoy the cold. You should only consider planting outdoors if you live in a mild to warm-temperate or tropical climate.
Ensure you use a humus-rich, moist soil mix (somewhere around pH 6 to 7 is great - a chalk, clay, or sand soil bases work well) with good drainage (in a garden bed or patio, or suitable, preferably large planting pot).
Aim for a spot with some partial shade and preferably sheltered from strong wind gusts. Be warned, the Monstera is known to grow and grow so ensure you provide plenty of space around the plant for it to mature.
It’s a good idea to attach some trellis to an adjacent wall or fence so it has something to hang onto as well. In the wild, it’s accustomed to clambering up neighboring trees and reaching heights of 20m+!
Fear not, most gardens or patios won’t present this kind of exponential growth opportunity for your plant. Some well-considered pruning each spring through summer will ensure you keep matters under control.
Growing Swiss Cheese Plant Indoors
I’d strongly recommend a premium ready-to-go potting mix for indoor plants (peat moss and vermiculite base is perfect). Again, ensure you have a suitably sized pot for the plant to grow.
Make sure to have a decent drainage to avoid rot or decay in the plant’s roots. The Monstera should take pride of place in the home and is well suited to serving as an ornamental centerpiece in the living room, entry hallway, or lounge area.
Just ensure there’s partial light throughout the day but not so bright that the leaves are exposed to strong UVs for long periods (this turns them a funky yellow color).
Indoors, you’re going to need to be especially considerate of growth. Ensure there’s sufficient space for the plant to mature even if you plan to regularly prune.
You’ll find most Monstera plants are sold at a starting height up to 1m tall. With due care you can expect yours to grow 30 to 60cm every year with the plant potentially reaching 3m in height!
Also, keep in mind that the plant will want to grow wide at an equal rate.
Caring for Swiss Cheese Plant
- The Monstera is a hardy fellow but a little feed every 4 - 6 weeks can really give it a boost in spring and summer (avoid feeding in winter as the plant enjoys a rest as well).
I’d recommend an organic pre-mixed indoor or outdoor plant fertilizer.
- Given the size and structure of the leaves, they are prone to catch a fair amount of dust. A quick spritz with a water spray and damp cloth and they’ll be looking as good as new in a flash (plus they love the humid mist).
- Rotate the plant periodically indoors so every area has a chance to draw in energy from the light.
- You’ll probably need to consider re-potting every 2 to 2.5 years depending on growth. In addition, avoid drastic jumps in pot sizes, a few inches in terms of depth and diameter should be more than enough.
- If you need to control the overall size of the plant try to prune new growth. It is best to do it during spring through summer when the plant is at its most virile.
Make sure you’re using sharp shears and look to make the cut as close to the stem as possible.
- You can easily steer the plant in the direction you want it to grow as well with some simple bamboo stakes inserted into the soil and some string or plant clips.
This will stop your Monstera drifting off into the middle of the room or hiding in a corner.
- Remove dried or dead leaves when they appear throughout the year. If you notice they appear a yellow or brown color it’s most likely an over-watering or lack of light issue.
A soil probe is your best friend here - if it’s very damp let the soil dry completely before re-watering and see if the leaves have any renewed vigor.
Leaves that appear to curl up is a tell-tale sign of under-watering. Again, go in with your soil probe and assess the moisture content before giving the plant a good drink.
- Whilst the plant is unlikely to flower indoors, the outdoor environment under the right climatic conditions may yield edible fruit.
You can pick the fruit when you start to see the scales turn up and you can smell a sweet pungent fragrance indicating the fruit is ripe.
(note: unripe Monstera fruit can be particularly unpleasant and cause a burning sensation in your throat and digestive system!).
How Often Should I Water a Monstera Deliciosa?
The relative humidity of your living environment will play a factor but as a general rule, you should look to water the plant both indoors and outdoors (particularly in summer) at least once per week.
What’s more, try to keep water cycles consistent and let the topsoil drain at least 60 - 70% before re-watering.
Monstera Deliciosa Pests & Diseases To Avoid
Good news, the Monstera Deliciosa is renowned for being particularly resilient to disease. Issues that may arise are generally related to over or underwatering.
Just aim to follow a consistent watering pattern and keep an eye on the soil moisture to avoid root rot in particular.
Is known to occur when fungal spores have managed to make camp on your plant’s leaves. This is rare though and very unlikely on a plant that’s kept indoors.
Should you need to address the issue simply apply a regular fungicide to the affected areas.
Indoor plants have been known to attract little insects and mites particularly during winter times. You may notice a sticky residue or a white spider-like web appearing across the leaves which the plant isn’t going to particularly enjoy.
I’d recommend a monthly spray of horticultural oil which will absorb into the plant and fight the little terrors from the inside out (and give the leaves a nice sheen).
Caution: Monstera Deliciosa is a Toxic Plant to Humans and Pets!
Chances are your furry friends aren’t going to start licking or chewing on your Cheese Plant. However, be aware the plant is mildly toxic to both pets and humans.
Symptoms can include irritation in the digestive system and lead to vomiting! As a general rule of thumb, I’d recommend keeping it out of the reach of young children and pets wherever possible and also wear gloves when handling the plant.
Looking for more Monstera variety to grow? Don't miss our Monstera Thai Constellation growing guide.
Essential Tools to Master the Monstera
- Watering Can - always better than a random coffee cup to avoid spilling water all over your home.
- Water Spray - nice for you when it’s hot and your plants!
- Organic Pesticides - such as Neem Oil will absorb into your plant’s circulatory system and fight evil pests from the inside out!
- Soil Probe - these beat sticking your hand into a pot and getting all messy plus they help aerate the soil as well.
- Pruning shears - a good pair of pruners get through all manner of jobs both indoors and outdoors and should be a part of any plant owners’ toolkit.
Author Bio: Andrew Gaumond
I’ve long been fascinated with the world of flowers and floral design. Today, I’m a lead writer for Petal Republic - a site dedicated to uncovering exceptional floristry around the world and showcasing the best flowers and plants for every occasion and living environment.
Wrapping Up Our Monstera Deliciosa Growing and Care Guide
The venerable Cheese Plant is an excellent choice for many living environments and has remained a favorite for decades now. By following a few simple steps each month you’ll be rewarded with a stunning addition to your home or garden.
What’s more, planting Monstera Deliciosa is a great pick for those new to plant life as well as for the more experienced plant aficionados looking to grow their plant collection. Best of luck and have fun growing your Monstera Deliciosa!