Plant Profile: Monstera deliciosa

by John Russell

 

A newly formed leaf on M. deliciosa

Monstera deliciosa is known most commonly as the ceriman, split leaf philodendron, or swiss cheese plant. It’s a flowering tropical native to southern Mexico, though can be found growing in the wild across parts of Asia, Australia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and even Florida. A popular indoor plant nearly everywhere else, its iconic leaves are printed on everything from clothing to dishes, jewelry, greeting cards, and all sorts of home décor. Watching new leaves of varying shapes, patterns, and sizes form is a lot of fun and makes Monstera deliciosa a particularly rewarding plant to grow. Below I’ve highlighted the four basics with some tips to keeping them happy.

1. Light

I’ve found most success with Monstera deliciosa in bright but indirect light. Too much direct light can wilt or even burn the leaves. They respond very well to being moved outside during the warmer months. Just be sure to avoid any direct sun, particularly with younger plants.

This Monstera is doing well in a east-facing bay window

2. Potting Medium

 Monstera will grow in a lot of different soil types, but I’ve found a chunky/loose combination of half well-draining potting mix and half orchid mix (bark, perlite, charcoal) works best. This allows me to water more often, keeping the medium damp but never soggy. Planting in regular potting mix, like Miracle Gro, is fine too although may make watering a bit trickier.

A well-draining potting medium (50% potting mix, 50% orchid mix)

3. Water

This is going to vary greatly depending on your indoor conditions and potting medium used. As stated above, Monstera likes to stay moist but not soggy. You want the plant to use the water you are giving it in between watering. Absolutely never try to use a pot with no drainage. In a loose potting medium like I described above, you may find you need to water as much as twice a week to maintain ideal moisture. If yours is in just plain potting mix they will need much less. If you’re unsure whether your plant needs water, it’s always better to let the soil dry out before adding more. Monstera will definitely show you signs that it’s thirsty-but don’t let it stay dry for too long.

Monsteras are easily propagated by pulling out the offshoots and re-potting

4. Feeding and Maintenance

During the spring and summer you can feed regularly. A liquid fertilizer will be absorbed best due to their epiphytic roots. Other than that, they don’t seem too picky. Any kind of all-purpose plant food or anything marketed for indoor plants should do.

A young plant supported by a single bamboo stake

Monstera need little maintenance other then regular watering and feeding. They grow naturally as woody vines, attaching themselves to trees and other plants to support themselves, so more mature plants inside will become top heavy and require staking. Consider trimming out small suckers and any leggy growth with small leaves to help increase airflow and conserve nutrients and energy for the rest of the plant.

 


 

 

As with any plant, experience is incredibly valuable. We love to hear how our customers are doing with their own plants and what has worked, or not worked, for you. Always feel free to email us or stop by the nursery for a chat.  We are also glad to help diagnose any problems you are having or offer any advice you may need to keep your plants happy and healthy. Thanks for reading and we look forward to seeing you at the nursery.