Hailing from the upper half of South America, the Caribbean, and other areas within the tropical regions of the Americas, the Monstera family is filled with massive and unique plants. The Monstera Adansonii, also known as the “swiss cheese plant” or “five-holes plant” is one of the most unique members of the Monstera family. It also has the other names such as Monkey Mask or Swiss Cheese vine. With massive, naturally occurring holes in each leaf, this plant will stand out in any home as a lovely, decorative houseplant. This fast-growing plant can reach up to eight feet in height (given the appropriate amount of space). Although most Monstera aren’t rare, the Monstera Adansonii is more challenging for the average gardener to get their hands on. However, the Swiss Cheese plant is a gorgeous addition to any home garden, and with these tips, your Monstera will thrive:
Like most tropical plants, the Monstera Adansonii generally requires warm temperatures, lots of light, and a very specific watering schedule:
For light, it’s best to provide bright, indirect sunlight. Like succulents, this plant burns easily under direct sunlight, especially during the mid-afternoon when sunlight is the harshest. To ensure your Monstera doesn’t get burned, keep it somewhere it will receive at least six hours of bright sunlight, preferably filtered by a curtain or relatively indirect.
When you water your Monstera Adansonii, you’ll need to keep the soil consistently moist but not soaking. To see if it’s time to water your cheese, stick your finger into the soil. If the dirt is nearly dry, it’s time to water. We recommend that you water once a week at first, then observe your plant's reactions and adjust the watering schedule accordingly. If you’re having difficulty determining the right time to water your Monstera, consider using a moisture meter to monitor soil moisture.
In terms of soil, a well-draining potting mix works best. Look for peat-based potting mixes, or modify a traditional houseplant potting mix with extra peat or perlite to improve drainage. In addition, you’ll need to monitor your soil’s pH levels– this plant prefers slightly acidic soil. To increase your soil’s acidity, add some peat or compost to your soil mix.
4. Temperature and Humidity
As a tropical plant, your Monstera Adansonii requires warm temperatures and high humidity. Keep your plant in an environment around 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 21 Celsius) and a relatively humid area. The best way to control humidity for this plant is to invest in a humidifier, keep it near the plant, and turn it on during dry weather.
Unlike succulents, many houseplants require fertilizer, and the Monstera Adansonii is no different. At the beginning of the growing season, apply a controlled-release fertilizer directly to the soil for best results. Alternatively, use compost once every few weeks.
Potting and Repotting
When choosing a pot for your Monstera Adansonii, the options are nearly limitless. While this plant prefers well-draining soil, it still needs to be kept moist, making glass or metal pots a great option, as long as they feature drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. As with any plant that needs well-draining soil, a pot made from a porous material like concrete, terracotta, or ceramic is best.
When you repot your Monstera, do so during its springtime growing season to avoid transplant shock. This plant, in particular, is susceptible to sudden changes in its environment, especially regarding soil and humidity, so planting during the growing season when it has plenty of nutrients and energy to recover from the move is best. Set aside time to repot the plant once every two years or so, and be sure to use a pot that is at least 10% larger than the previous pot.
Pruning a Monstera helps keep the plant growing within the space you’ve made for it. Since these plants get massive, pruning can also help cut down excess foliage and ensure it doesn’t grow lopsided or leggy. The best time to prune is at the beginning of the growing season to encourage a speedy recovery.
When you prune your Monstera Adansonii, always use a pair of clean, sharp pruning shears or a knife. In addition, we recommend wearing gloves to avoid irritating your skin and keeping the prunings away from any pets or children. Begin by pruning away any dead or dying leaves at the base of the stem, then move on to those you wish to cut away to save space– you can use these cuttings for propagating later!
A healthy Monstera cutting will quickly become its own plant with a little love and care. To propagate, take your cutting and apply a natural rooting hormone around the base of the stem, then place the cutting in a fresh pot of soil. Keep the cuttings somewhere warm where they’ll receive bright, indirect sunlight and mist the soil every so often to keep it moist and humid. After a couple of weeks, you should start to see some root growth!
Despite their hardy nature, Monstera plants are prone to a few different kinds of pests and complications. Pest-wise, they are particularly susceptible to insects like spider mites and scale. The best way to treat these pests is by using a cotton swab dipped in a diluted hydrogen peroxide solution whenever you see a cluster of eggs or scale growth.
Yellowing leaves are another potential complication you may encounter with your Monstera. In the case of yellowing leaves, check your moisture, humidity, and light levels; your plant may be underfed! As for blackening or browning leaves, your Monstera is most likely overwatered. To manage overwatering, repot your Monstera in a fresh pot of dry, well-draining soil. If your Monstera is suffering from root rot, leave the plant’s roots out to dry for a day or so before repotting.
All members of the Monstera family are toxic to animals and humans and will cause drooling, stomach irritation, nausea, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing when ingested. If you plan on keeping this plant in a house with curious pets or children, make sure it is somewhere out of their reach!
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