Originating from the tropical rainforests of South America, Monstera plants are a great element to add to your home. Although nicknamed the Swiss cheese plant, it’s not what you think. It doesn’t grow cheese but has hole shapes in the leaves, thus, the nickname.
Monstera plants are epiphytic. Meaning that they require a host tree to attach to in the wild in order to grow. This enables them to grow up to incredible heights in order to reach sunlight in the jungle.
If you own cats or other pets, you may want to reconsider having Swiss cheese plants. They can be highly toxic to animals and cause discomfort or illness if consumed.
This article will give an overall view of the different varieties of Monstera plants. As well as advice on growing and maintaining your plants, how to propagate and where to buy them.
- Monstera Plant Varieties
- Growing Your Monstera plant
- Monstera Plant Care
- How to Propagate Monstera
- Monstera Plants for Sale
- Enjoying your Monstera plant
- Frequently asked questions
Monstera Plant Varieties
These magnificent Monstera plants have become extremely popular as indoor vegetation, and are perfect to incorporate into your home. Monstera plants are also great aesthetic additions for landscaping. There are many varieties of Monstera to choose from, and here are a few to help you decide.
This is the most popular Monstera type, known for its large holey leaves that resemble slits, that stand out in a room! Its Latin name deliciosa refers to the Mexican breadfruit that it bears. Swiss cheese plants will flower if grown outdoors, and eventually, these flowers will grow into fruits.
This rare variety of Monstera plant is a beautiful addition to your home and backyard. Also known as the swiss cheese vine, this plant is easy to grow with its stunning large leaves and oval-shaped holes. If grown outdoors, these vines and leaves can become huge!
Other names for this species include Monstera obliqua and Monstera expilata. This is a perfect plant for indoors and out.
Its climbing properties make it perfect to grow on a garden trellis or gate. Also great as a hanging plant, as without any support, the vines will droop and grow towards the ground.
This variety also known as Thai constellation derives from a genetic mutation. Variegation is when certain tissues of the plant are not able to produce chlorophyll, thus, causing discoloration.
This beautiful mutation can affect different species of Monstera, making for a stunning tropical plant choice.
They can be rare to find and some more expensive than others. But the white paint effect makes these plants a piece of art and a stunning addition to your home.
Similar in appearance to Monstera deliciosa, however, Monstera borsigiana is smaller in size. It also grows fasters depending on your growing conditions.
To distinguish between the two variations, you can check for stem ruffles and the presence of full circular holes closer to the stem.
This is the borsigiana species. There are also many color variations of this plant, such as white and yellow.
Nicknamed the Mini Monstera, is another common variety mistaken for Monstera deliciosa. Native to Thailand and Malaysia, this plant is not in fact a Monstera species, however, it largely resembles one.
This plant largely resembles a usual Monstera, but the holes extend to the edges of the leaves. Its color is a beautiful deep shade of green, and it’s an easier plant to find in your local garden center.
Growing Your Monstera plant
Growing your Monstera plants require a few important steps. This depends on whether you are growing them outdoors or inside your home. Below you will find some factors to consider when choosing and growing your Monstera plant.
The height of your Monstera plant is a very important factor. Indoors they only grow up to 3 meters tall, but in their natural environment they can grow up to 20 meters.
Therefore if you only want a small plant and don’t want your Monstera overgrowing then you may want to consider choosing a smaller species.
Adding support to your plant will help it grow to its maximum size. You can also turn it into a hanging plant by letting the vines droop from up high.
You can use a wooden stick or stake to support indoor plants. For your outdoor plants, you can buy a trellis that they will grow around.
Depending on the species of plant you buy, the height will differ. Certain Monstera types such as the Monstera borsigiana will still grow to a respectable size. However, they will grow smaller leaves than its more popular cousin Monstera deliciosa.
Borsigiana leaves may only grow up to 50cm long if grown indoors. The vine may also only reach a couple of meters tall.
Swiss Cheese Plant Light requirements
In their natural habitat, Monstera plants will use trees as a host to climb. This way they reach the sunlight through the canopy of surrounding plants. Giving your plant enough sunlight is crucial for quick growth and keeping your plant healthy.
This sunlight must be indirect as direct sunlight can damage the plant by burning the leaves and drying it out. If exposed to little sunlight this will not majorly damage your plant but may make the growing process a lot slower.
If you are growing your plants indoors then choose a spot with enough indirect sunlight to make your plant flourish.
It is better to keep them in a room with a constant regular temperature of around 25-30 degrees Celcius. This is the prime temperature for growing your swiss cheese plant.
Watering your Monstera plant
Like all other plants, Monstera plants need water. Especially as they are known for growing in humid environments in the wild. Spraying the leaves a couple of times a week will create that humid environment.
This will achieve your plant’s needs without having to turn your house into one giant steam room. This will also keep your plant nice and clean!
It is important to keep it hydrated, so watering it once or twice a week will suffice. If you can’t remember the last time you watered your plant, then feel the dryness of the soil. If it is dry between 2-5cm deep then this is the best time to water your plant.
Soil for your Swiss cheese plant
For indoor Monstera plants, it is important to use a good quality potting soil. The soil should always be kept moist as Monstera plants prefer humid habitats.
Monitoring the soil’s pH value can be beneficial to your plant, as an ideal pH would be acidic between 5-6.
Adding soil nutrients will instigate a quicker and healthier growth cycle. Choosing a well-draining peaty soil that is rich in nutrients is preferable.
This will retain moisture but not remain too wet. If the roots of the plant get too wet and don’t drain, the plant can start to rot due to bacteria growth.
Some people have even chosen not to use any soil at all. Instead, they just place the plant in a jar or a glass vase, with the roots at the bottom. The plant will not rot due to the absence of bacteria in freshwater.
However, you must replace the water more frequently and it can be more difficult for the plant to get all the nutrients it needs. If planting outdoors, you must find a spot that is well-draining or elevated as not to drown your plant.
The conditions must still be warm and if there is no humidity then just spray your plant regularly with water. Also, continue to use a good fertilizer such as with your indoor plants.
Potting your Monstera Plant
For a healthy growing plant, it needs the space to grow. As Monstera plants grow fairly quick it is important to re-pot your plant every year. Buy a new pot of around 5cm larger than the previous one.
Choose a pot that is deep enough to give the roots room to spread and to insert a stake up which the plant can climb. It is important to give your plant support unless you choose to create a hanging plant.
Before putting your Monstera in the pot, fill a third with fresh soil then add the plant roots down. Then gradually fill up the rest of the pot by placing soil around the roots and stem.
When planting outdoors, you must dig a hole that is twice the size of your root ball. Then cover with soil until even the aerial roots are covered.
For indoor aerial roots, you can place a fresh layer of earth on top of the soil. Then bury the tips of the aerial roots into it.
As these plants are known to grow to up to 20 meters tall in their natural environment it is important to limit its growth if you are growing it indoors.
If you keep the pot the same size when it reaches the height you want, it will not grow any taller.
However, replacing the soil yearly is still necessary to keep your plant alive. If your Swiss Cheese plant responds differently and continues to grow, you can just trim it back to the size you want. Monstera plants are tolerant of trimming and this will not damage your plant.
Monstera Plant Care
Watering, fertilizing, repotting and cleaning your Monstera plants are essential to keeping your Monstera healthy. Below and other factors you must consider when caring for your Monstera plant.
Choosing the right fertilizer for you Monstera plants is important, as this improves the quality of nutrients in the soil. The liquid solution is a mix of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium with an equal ratio of 20-20-20.
A fertilizer with a liquid ratio of 15-30-15 is also suitable for your Swiss-cheese plant. This is very important for rapid root development and fast growth including budding. In the summer it is better to fertilize your plant every 2 weeks and in the winter every 4-6 weeks will suffice.
If your plant does not receive the correct nutrients, is underwatered, the soil is not changed correctly, or does not receive the sunlight it needs then your plant will not only stop growing but may die.
Spider-mites are the most common pest and are known to create yellow spots on the leaves. These are recognizable because they tend to aggregate and form white webs around your Monstera plants.
To get rid of these pests, you must spray your plant with water and clean them. Or if they have totally covered your plant, then you can cover it in an anti-insect agent or just warm water and place it in a clear bag. Shut the bag and leave it for 2-3 days, then all the mites should be dead.
Scale insects are another pest, however not as common but just as problematic. When feeding on the plant, their saliva contains toxins that kill the plant, and are recognizable due to the white spots they leave on the plants.
If you find these pests on your Monstera plants, then you can use an insect controlling spray or oil. Other anti-pest agents are sticks that you put in the soil, that reach the rest of the plant via the roots making the plant toxic to pests.
Although this can happen all year round, it is most likely going to occur in the winter months during the heating period. This is the best time for pests to proliferate.
The only reason your Swiss Cheese plant would catch diseases would be because you aren’t giving it the right care. This can be the lack or excess of sunlight, water or plant fertilizer, or a change in air humidity or temperature.
Common observations are:
- Leaf tips browning – related to a lack of humidity in the surrounding air, or not spraying your plant with water frequently enough
- Leaves yellowing – related to over-watering your plant, or the soil not draining enough and retaining too much moisture around the roots. This can also cause bacteria to accumulate around the roots resulting in the same issue.
- Brown spots – related to the air temperature being to low
- Funghi and plant infections – if the support you are using stays too wet or gets dirty.
Monstera Plant Flowers and fruits
Certain Monstera varieties can, in fact, grow flowers, but this only happens after 6-8 years of maturation. Monstera deliciosa and Monstera adansonii can bud and produce beautiful large white flowers.
Although this is rare and will often only happen to outdoor plants, this is possible if the plant is exposed to the right conditions. The surrounding environment must be very similar in humidity and temperature to its original habitat in the rainforest.
Monstera fruits are large, growing up to 25cm long and resembling corn or maize. These are edible to humans and have a strong scent like pineapples. Once the fruit turns a yellowish color, it is starting to ripen and is fully ripe when it releases a sweet smell.
How to Propagate Monstera
If you want to propagate your Monstera plant, it is best to cut a section of the plant below the node of an aerial root. Planting that node in soil is preferable, however, you can also place it in water. After a while roots should start to grow and will create a whole new Monstera plant to add to your collection!
Monstera Plants for Sale
Here are a few links to some Monstera varieties you can purchase online if you can’t find them in your local garden center.
- Swiss cheese vine makes a perfect evergreen houseplant for both beginners and experts, since it's easy to care for and exotic in appearance.
- Because it doesn’t grow as fast and as big as the monstera deliciosa, it is perfect for smaller spaces. Smaller size, but still a big impact.
- You can see why they call this “Swiss cheese plant”. The narrow leaves have large oval shaped holes in them.
- Instructions are available for every plant. Send us a message if you need one.
- No pot include
Due to this plant being rarer, it is more difficult to buy fully grown. Here is a link to seeds of Monstera variegata to grow your own.
- Bloom Time: Tropical Foliage Plant
- Watering: Moderately moist soil
- Environment: Monstera Deliciosa Swiss Cheese plant does best in partial sun exposure.
- Collector's Series
- Prefers bright, indirect light or artificial light
- Keep evenly moist, not wet or dry
Enjoying your Monstera plant
Now that you’ve been enlightened with all of these great tips, you should go and grow your own! Enjoy the tropical jungle vibe that your Monstera plants bring into your home or backyard and make a collection!
Frequently asked questions
Monstera plants are fairly hardy and can tolerate being in bad conditions for a while. However, it is preferable that you cut these parts of the plant off to let the healthy parts keep on growing.
It is important to place your Monstera plant in an area with sufficient indirect sunlight. Do not place your plant in a spot with low light as this will slow the growing process.
As the vine can grow up to 20 meters tall, the leaves grow with it and can get to over a meter in length. This all depends on the species of Monstera that you own and the environment it is planted in. The leaf growth will be limited if grown indoors but unlimited if grown outdoors.
At this point, because you read our article all the way to here, I only got one thing left to say to you:
If you have any additional questions we have not answered feel free to reach out to us or leave a reply in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you!
From a simple penchant for yellow flowers as a child to becoming a full-time gardener, nature advocate, and garden designer, I am extremely happy to finally have a platform for me to successfully spread knowledge and expertise in the garden. After graduation, I took many courses related to garden design to feed myself with more knowledge and expertise other than what I learned from my mom growing up while also joining as many garden design competitions locally. For any garden design inquiries, I’m your designer!