How to care for cheese plants

Written by bridget kelly | 13/05/2017
How to care for cheese plants
The cheese plant is so-called because of the holes in its leaves. (CaraMaria/iStock/Getty Images)

The "Swiss cheese plant" is a nickname for Monstera deliciosa, a commonly grown houseplant. This rainforest plant garnered the nickname because of its foliage, which is full of holes. Cheese plants are epiphytes -- plants that grow on other plants, generally for support, not nutrition. It bears long, aerial roots that you should leave on the plant. The cheese plant is a tough climber that can easily reach the ceiling in your house, but you can control it with pruning.

Grow the cheese plant in an area that receives filtered sunlight. Although it will survive a shady spot, the plant will not produce holes in its leaves.

Keep the room temperature between 26 and 29 degrees C (80F to 85F) during the day and 15.5 to 18 degrees C (60F to 65F) at night.

Irrigate the cheese plant to keep the soil slightly moist. The soil should have the moisture content of a well-wrung sponge. Allow the top 2.5 cm (1 inch) of soil to dry to the touch during the winter.

Feed the cheese plant with a houseplant fertiliser. Dilute it with water to half the strength listed on the fertiliser label and apply it to the soil every two weeks from spring to autumn. Discontinue fertilising in the winter.

Spray the foliage with distilled water to supply humidity. Clean the leaves with a soft, moist cloth.

Stake the cheese plant if it becomes top heavy. Drive a stake into the soil 7.5 cm (3 inches) from the base of the plant and use soft plant ties to attach it to the stake.

Redirect long aerial roots to the soil or to a saucer of water, or tie the roots to the stake.

Prune the cheese plant to keep it to the desired size. Cut the cane 1.25 cm (1/2 inch) below a leaf node. Don't be afraid you will hurt the plant, as it will recover.

Things you need

  • Fertiliser
  • Spray bottle
  • Distilled water
  • Stake
  • Plant ties
  • Saucer
  • Sharp knife, pruning shears or loppers

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