Native to the tropical forests of Central America Monstera Deliciosa is a popular houseplant. The natural leaf holes are their most unique feature, and also gives it its nickname, Swiss Cheese Plant. The ‘Deliciosa’ in its scientific name comes from the pineapple-like fruit it bears when grown in its natural habitat. Though it won’t typically fruit indoors, the eye-catching evergreen leaves and easy-going characteristics, makes it a favorite among indoor gardeners.
If you’re considering having one in your indoor settings, here’s a guide on how to take care of it.
About the Monstera Deliciosa Plant
Monstera includes several species of tropical vines and shrubs that are native to Central America. Of these, two species, Monstera Deliciosa and Monstera Adansonii are typically cultivated as houseplants. While the leaf holes of Monstera Deliciosa grow towards the edge and open up as they mature, those of Adansonii are completely enclosed.
Monstera Deliciosa is hardy to USDA zones 10 to 12 and will thrive year round if the weather is warm and humid. When grown outdoors, choose a location that’s partially shaded and has well-draining soil. With the right care, it may grow up to 10 feet or more. When grown indoors, plant it in a deep container, with multiple drainage holes at the base to manage soil moisture.
It’s not hard to keep this statement-making plant alive. Here are a few things you should know if you plan on having Monstera Deliciosa in your living room.
What kind of soil does a Monstera Deliciosa like
Well-drained peat-based potting soil is best for growing Deliciosa. When grown outdoors, medium loamy, well-drained soil with slightly acidic or neutral pH is ideal. However, it can also grow in sandy or heavy clay soils.
What’s the Best Light Environment for your Monstera
Bright, indirect light is excellent for the plant. Too much direct sunlight, especially the one in summer months, can burn the foliage. Outdoors, a location with part shade is best for the plant, while indoors, you can place the pot a few feet away from a south-, west- or east-facing window. Though it will also survive in low-light conditions, you may notice leggy growth if the plant does not receive enough light.
How To Water Your Monstera Deliciosa Properly
Allow the soil to dry out just a little between waterings, offering a drink every 1 or 2 weeks during the growing season. Water the plant deeply each time, enough that it drains from the drainage holes at the base of the pot. Reduce watering frequency during the fall and winter months. Filtered water or water that has been allowed to sit overnight before watering is excellent for the plant’s health as compared to regular tap water.
Does Your Monstera Deliciosa Like Humidity and Misting?
Monstera survives in the usual indoor humidity, but will thrive if you make the surroundings more humid. Use a fine-mist humidifier to increase the humidity of the plant’s surroundings or mist the foliage regularly with demineralized water. Rainwater is also ideal for misting and watering the plant.
Does Your Monstera Deliciosa Need Fertilization
You may use a diluted, balanced liquid fertilizer to feed the plant every few weeks during the growing season. Though it’s a slow-growing plant, regular feeding encourages new growth. However, avoid fertilizing during the winter season, since the plant is not actively growing during this time.
What Is The Right Temperature For Your Monstera
Monstera grows best when the temperature stays between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Ideally, the temperature shouldn’t fall below 60 degrees.
Why, When & How to Prune Your Monstera Deliciosa
Aerial roots are normal for the plant. If they get unruly, you can either prune them or use more soil to cover them. These roots help give the plant support and won’t pose any damage to walls or surfaces.
Over the years, Monstera can grow big. If you don’t have enough space or are looking for a compact well-kempt plant, you can always trim the stems and leaves. Besides pruning, you can use stakes and ties to train your plant to grow according to your preferences. The pruned, healthy stems can be used to propagate new plants.
Common Pests of Monstera
Pests don’t usually bother Monstera Deliciosa. Keeping the leaves dust-free by wiping it occasionally with a damp cloth keeps it free of pests. Mealybugs, thrips, aphids and spider mites may attack the plant. If you notice any infestations, weekly sprays of neem oil or wiping it down regularly with damp cloth will help get rid of the pests.
Common Problems of Monstera
Monstera Deliciosa is an easy-going houseplant, without many problems. However, here are some of the symptoms you should know about:
Brown and crisp leaf edges
It usually means that the plant is thirsty. Remove the affected leaves and maintain a regular watering schedule to maintain moist soil. It may also suggest a high salt buildup in the soil. Using salt-free water to water the plant can help leach the excess salt away from the soil.
Wilting leaves, dry soil
It may mean that the plant is under watered or rootbound. If the soil is consistently moist and there are no watering issues to rectify, it may be time to move the plant to a larger pot.
Yellowing leaves / Black Stem and wet soil
These are typically symptoms of an overwatered plant. Allow the soil to dry out before watering again.
If the foliage is consumed, it may cause irritation in cats, dogs and humans. Keep the plant out of reach from pets and children.
Monstera Deliciosa is the perfect houseplant you can grow as a beginner. Without many requirements or problems, it will keep your indoor environment bright and lush throughout the year.