Monstera deliciosa is a tropical vine, native to Mexico and Guatemala. Its broad, glossy, deeply lobed leaves also develop interesting, large holes as they grow, leading to its nickname, "Swiss cheese plant." Monstera deliciosa can be grown outdoors in subtropical and tropical landscapes, and indoors almost anywhere else. Give it the proper levels of light, moisture, warmth and nutrients, and it will be a thriving, ornamental addition, climbing a tree or trellis, or up a stake in a large container.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Sharp knife
- Monstera deliciosa
- Large container
- Potting soil
- Plant stake
- Plant ties
- Shovel or spade
- Pruning shears
Buy a monstera deliciosa at your garden centre, or obtain a stem cutting by trimming off a leaf and stem from a mature plant. Root the cutting in a glass of water, changing the water every few days to prevent bacterial growth and rot.
Plant monstera deliciosa in two weeks or so, when the stem develops roots an inch or more long, in a mix of equal parts potting soil, peat or sand in a large container. Water thoroughly after planting.
Place the container in bright, dappled light, and don't allow temperatures to dip below 10 degrees C. A south-facing window with a sheer curtain is ideal. Keep the soil moist, well-drained but not waterlogged. Monstera deliciosa is fast-growing, but you can add a pinch of all-purpose plant fertiliser to your watering every month or so to keep the nutrient levels in container soil high. Watch for yellowing leaves-- a sign of over-watering.
Place a tall plant stake in the container, and tie the stems of monstera deliciosa to the stake with plant ties. Gradually train it to twine around the stake as it grows. Plan to repot this plant in a larger container every two to three years, and cut back with pruning shears as needed to control height.
Plant monstera deliciosa outdoors in containers that can be brought in when temperatures slide toward 10 degrees C. Frost will kill monstera deliciosa.
Plant monstera deliciosa in partial shade in subtropical and tropical climates. The dappled light under shade trees is ideal. Dig a hole with a spade, deep enough to accommodate the roots of your monstera deliciosa, and twice as wide as the container it came in. If your garden soil is not naturally sandy and well-drained, add generous handfuls of peat and garden sand and mix it in.
Tuck the roots of the monstera deliciosa into the soil, tamp it down, and water thoroughly. Continue watering throughout the growing season, allowing the soil to dry out slightly between waterings. Add all-purpose fertiliser to waterings every eight weeks during the growing season if you are not satisfied with its rate of growth.
Maintain a weed-free, cultivated area at least 2 feet in diameter around the stem of the plant to reduce competition for nutrients in the soil.
Train monstera deliciosa to climb a trellis with plant ties as the stems grow. If you allow it, this vine will creep through the landscape, looking for a tree to twine around.
Cut monstera deliciosa back with pruning shears to control spread. It can reach a length of 50 feet or more, and may overrun trees or other plantings.
Tips and warnings
- If the leaves of monstera deliciosa do not form their deep lobes and holes, it's a sign that the plant is getting insufficient light. Move it to a brighter spot.
- Do not eat the ripening fruit of monstera deliciosa. It contains oxalic acid, which will severely irritate your mouth and throat.
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