Native to the rainforests of Central America, the big, bold Monsteradeliciosa plant is also known as the "split-leaf philodendron." This easy-to-grow climbing evergreen can be found in many designer spaces for its "wow" factor.
Indoors, the plant has a moderate growth rate and can grow in height about 1 to 2 feet a year. Its naturally glossy large heart-shaped leaves have a characteristic split. You'll also spot intricate aerial roots growing out of the soil which benefit the plant by supporting the stems that hold leaves that can grow to 3 feet long.
Plant outdoors in the right zone at any time during the year and it will also produce tannish-cream flowers pollinated by bees and edible juicy fruit with the combined flavor of pineapple and banana. However, fruiting is not common in houseplants. This beautiful plant can be toxic to pets.
|Common Names||Split-leaf philodendron, Swiss cheese plant, windowleaf,ceriman|
|Botanical Name||Monstera deliciosa|
|Plant Type||Climbing evergreen|
|Mature Size||3 ft. tall, 2-3 ft. spread|
|Sun Exposure||Bright indirect sunlight, partial shade|
|Soil Type||Peat-based potting soil, well-drained|
|Soil pH||Acid or neutral|
|Hardiness Zones||10-12 (USDA)|
|Native Area||Central America|
|Toxicity||Toxic to cats and dogs|
Watch Now: How to Grow and Care for a Monstera Deliciosa
Monstera Deliciosa Care
Hardy in USDA Zones 10 through 12, Monstera deliciosa thrives year-round in warm, humid weather. When planting outdoors, establish it in part-shade in well-draining soil. If the soil is naturally salty in your region, move it to the patio or indoors. Apply a balanced fertilizer three or four times a year and the plant may grow 10 feet tall or more. If it's intended as a houseplant, choose a deep pot with many drainage holes.
This evergreen prefers bright, indirect sunlight in temperatures that remain consistently between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Too much direct light in warmer months may burn the foliage. Still, set indoor plants outside at least once a year in direct sunlight to encourage lush growth.
Outdoors, the Swiss cheese plant can grow in the full shade of deep woodlands and semi-shade of light woodlands.
When established in a container, it requires peat-based potting media. Outdoors, it is suitable for light sandy, medium loamy, and heavy clay soils with acid or neutral pH. Even so, it thrives most in well-drained, moderately moist soil.
Give the plant regular waterings during the growing season every one to two weeks. Water until excess drains through drainage holes. Do not put the excess water back into the plant's container because the plant has taken all the water it needs. The soil will need to dry out slightly in between waterings. Water only occasionally in fall and winter. To increase humidity indoors, mist the foliage using a spray bottle of demineralized water or rainwater.
Choose a balanced liquid 20-20-20 fertilizer to feed the plant every few weeks during the growing season. Dilute 1/2 teaspoon of the fertilizer in a gallon of water. Use the diluted fertilizer in place of a regular watering. Pour the mixture into the soil until it begins to flow out of the drainage holes. Throw out the excess diluted fertilizer because the plant has taken what it needs and cannot use the extra that it drains off.
Trim aerial roots if they get too unruly for the space, though tucking them back into the pot is preferred. Unlike some other houseplants, their roots do not damage surfaces. Stems and leaves respond well to trimming, and they can be used for propagation.
Propagating Monstera Deliciosa
Monstera deliciosa can be easily propagated by stem cuttings from pruning. However, the most popular method of propagating Monstera deliciosa is air layering. Here are the steps for both methods:
To propagate with stem cuttings:
- Using a clean, sharp pruning shear, cut off a stem that includes a node (a little bump, which is where the roots will emerge), an aerial root, and at least two leaves.
- Put a dash of ground cinnamon (the usual spice you can get at the grocery store) on the mother plant where you made the cut. This will prevent any disease from entering the cut and will help the wound heal.
- Put the cutting in a glass of water. Change the water every three to five days, and if possible, use filtered water or rainwater over tap water.
- You will see a clump of roots growing in a couple of months. At that point, you can put your new plant in a pot with fresh soil and keep it moist as it establishes itself in its new home.
To propagate with air layering:
Air layering is a preferred low-risk method because you're not making a cut in the mother plant until the baby is ready to be put in a pot with its new roots. The mother plant may not look attractive for a while, but it's worth it to get a healthy new plant. For this method, you'll need floral or sphagnum moss, a plastic bag or plastic wrap, and twist ties.
- Find a stem with a couple of nodes (where the roots will grow). Or, find a leaf that is growing out of a stem and has a short aerial root below it.
- Cut a small notch about 1/3 of the stem's width, just below that root.
- Wrap a 1-inch layer of sphagnum moss around the point where the leaf joins the stem.
- Spray the moss with water to increase moisture and wrap it in plastic. Use twist ties to secure it (it may look a little messy, which is okay).
- Ensure the moss can remain moist until the roots develop.
- When roots develop in a few months, you can cut (with a clean, sharp tool) the stem below the roots and establish the young plant, with its roots, in a fresh pot of soil.
- Don't forget to pat ground cinnamon on the wound created on the mother plant. This will stop any disease from entering the cut and help the wound heal.
Potting and Repotting Monstera Deliciosa
Every two years or so, the Swiss cheese plant will likely outgrow its pot. Transplant into a pot a few inches wider and deeper to accommodate growth. This plant prefers well-draining porous pots, such as terracotta or clay, because they like airflow and drainage, however, any material pot with drainage holes will do. Pot the plant using these simple steps:
- Fill the bottom third of a pot with peaty potting soil.
- Establish a stake gently for the stem to climb on.
- Set the roots into the container. Fill with soil around the roots.
- Firmly surround the stake with soil and use plant ties to attach the stem to the stake.
Wiping dust or debris off leaves with a damp sponge or paper towel will keep the plant clean and avoidant of pests. However, common pests that can invade the plant include mealybugs, aphids, thrips, scale, and spider mites. If any are found on the foliage, spray the plant with a direct water stream. Leaves can also be washed with insecticidal soap.
Common Problems of Monstera Deliciosa
Though it's a somewhat easy-going houseplant, the Swiss cheese plant can cause a few headaches. But once you figure out the cause of why your plant looks a little sickly, it can recover well.
If the tips of the leaves are turning brown, that usually means the soil could be dry or you need to consistently water the plant on a schedule to keep it moist. Remove the affected leaves.
If there's a yellow halo around the brown spots or tips, that means your plant has contracted a fungus. The fungus likely got there because of overwatering or keeping the plant in overly wet soil for too long. Remove the affected leaves and let the plant dry out a bit before watering.
Yellowing leaves is an indication of dry soil. The oldest leaves on the plant will turn yellow first. Remove the affected leaves. Check the soil and if it's bone dry, give it a good watering.
If you see wilting leaves, there's a watering issue, as well. The plant is either overwatered or underwatered. If it's overwatered, the plant could be suffering from root rot. Try taking the plant out of the pot to evaluate the roots. Clean the roots up, prune off mushy parts, and repot in new soil.
Is Monstera deliciosa easy to care for?
As a houseplant, this plant is easy to grow and maintain. Outdoors, however, you need to live in the right warm and humid environment for it to thrive.
Why do the leaves on some Monstera deliciosa plants split more than on others?
Fenestrated leaves require a lot of energy to split. The more light the plant receives, the more it will split. Less light produces smaller, less showy leaves.(Video) How to Grow and Care for Monstera (Swiss Cheese) Indoors
What is the difference between Monstera deliciosa and Monstera adansonii?
Both monstera plants are known as Swiss cheese plants but what differs is the size of their leaves. Monstera deliciosa's leaves are significantly larger than the petite leaves of Monstera adansonii.
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
How do you help a Monstera plant grow? ›
If you want your monstera to grow upward, it needs something to grow on and some help staying vertical. A successful option used by many plant parents is a moss pole. The moss provides an organic form of support, and the monstera's aerial roots will attach to the pole and help guide it upward.How do you encourage growth in Monstera Deliciosa? ›
So re-potting your monstera deliciosa encourages it to grow faster and bigger.How hard is it to keep a Monstera alive? ›
As they're tropical plants, they can be tough to take care of if you live in a colder climate, but even then, you can be successful with these plants. With these tips, even beginning plant parents will be able to take care of a Monstera. They're low-maintenance plants that are great for any beginning plant owner.How do I keep my Monstera healthy? ›
- Find a balance between sun and shade. If Monstera is given too much sun, the leaves will yellow. ...
- Water Monstera moderately and evenly, about once a week. ...
- To curb excessive growth, avoid re-potting too often and prune regularly by pinching off new growth.
Plant your Monstera in a container with drainage holes and use a good quality potting soil with peat moss that drains easily. The plants thrive in dense, nutrient-rich soil, but don't do well in potting soils with bark or compost. If your container doesn't have drainage holes, make a few in the bottom.How often should I water my Monstera? ›
Water every 1-2 weeks, allowing soil to dry out between waterings. Expect to water more often in brighter light and less often in lower light. Pro tip: Monsteras can benefit from filtered water or water left out overnight before using.How do you know if your Monstera is happy? ›
4. Your Monstera's Leaves are Brown, Yellow, or Dead. Leaf discoloration on your Monstera can be cause for alarm. A healthy, happy Monstera has deep green, waxy leaves (though younger plants or new leaves may be lighter green).Should I mist my Monstera? ›
Monstera Deliciosa enjoys a humid environment, which is why we recommend frequent misting of its leaves. Alternatively, you can place your plant close to other plants, which increases the humidity of the air around them.Can you touch Monstera leaves? ›
Philodendron and Monstera Deliciosa
While these won't hurt your hands, they can irritate or sting your lips, mouth, or tongue if you touch them after touching the plant. "At its worst, it can feel like your larynx is paralyzed," says Myers. Wearing gloves or washing your hands after handling these plants can help.
Monsteras need bright light but do not tolerate direct sunlight. They can survive in low light, but their growth will be inhibited.
How do you keep Monstera leaves shiny? ›
Luckily, it's very simple to clean Monstera leaves. The best way to clean Monstera leaves is by gently wiping both sides with a damp cloth. Make sure to support whichever side of the leaf you're not wiping. Clean the leaves at least once a week.How do I train my Monstera to climb? ›
What is the best way to make Monstera deliciosa climb? By providing a support structure such as a moss pole, coco coir pole, or trellis, you can encourage your Monstera deliciosa to grow upright. This trains it to follow its natural inclination for climbing and may lead to a healthier plant with larger leaves.How do you water Monstera? ›
We find that the best way to water your monstera is to put it in the sink or use a watering can to slowly add water until it starts to run out the drainage holes. Empty the drainage tray immediately. Don't soak the soil, and continue to empty the drainage tray as excess water runs out. Try not to get the leaves wet.Why is my Monstera not growing? ›
A Monstera will stop growing for several reasons. The most common causes are inadequate lighting, too much or too little water, pests, potbound roots, and a lack of nutrients. Thankfully, these are mostly easy problems to fix, and a Monstera that has suffered from any of these issues can usually rebound quickly.How often should I water my Monstera? ›
Water every 1-2 weeks, allowing soil to dry out between waterings. Expect to water more often in brighter light and less often in lower light. Pro tip: Monsteras can benefit from filtered water or water left out overnight before using.What should I feed my Monstera? ›
Monstera plants, like other plants with leafy foliage, need a 3-1-2 N-P-K ratio. This means three parts nitrogen to one part phosphorus to two parts potassium. These three macronutrients are vital for your plant's leaves, stem, and root health. They also promote the characteristic split leaves seen on monstera plants.How do you know if your Monstera is happy? ›
4. Your Monstera's Leaves are Brown, Yellow, or Dead. Leaf discoloration on your Monstera can be cause for alarm. A healthy, happy Monstera has deep green, waxy leaves (though younger plants or new leaves may be lighter green).