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A Complete Guide to the Monstera Deliciosa aka Swiss Cheese Plant
Monstera Deliciosa, as you have no doubt surmised, is the Latin name for this striking plant but he goes by many other nicknames, including the Cheese Plant, the Swiss Cheese Plant, the Fruit Salad Plant, Mexican Breadfruit, Ceriman, Custard Plant and the Split-Leaf Philodendron. As you probably know, the Cheese Plant and Swiss Cheese Plant are his most common nicknames because of the similarity in appearance between Swiss cheese and the distinctive holey leaves of the Monstera.
We absolutely love this beautiful Swiss Cheese Plant. This guy is so popular we decided we needed to dedicate a whole blog post to our much-loved Monstera Deliciosa. So, by the time you’ve finished reading this helpful guide you’ll be a fountain of knowledge about this green beauty; from our most common FAQs and specific monstera plant care as well as which stunning varieties you can buy here at TLB.
Originating from Central and South America, the Swiss Cheese Plant is rich in history. There are mentions of this leafy beauty as far back as 1693 and over the coming centuries, it spread around the world with recorded mentions in Mexico and Guatemala. By the mid-19th century, it had become a big hit in Europe where our plant-loving, trendsetting predecessors had spotted its wonderful potential and sparked a rapid uptake in its cultivation as it grew in popularity. For that we thank them!
Fun Facts about the Swiss Cheese Plant
Monstera Deliciosa – it’s such a fab name, isn’t it? It sounds like a Harry Potter spell or a cool, new superhero. When translated, the name makes perfect sense. Monstera comes from the Latin word ‘monstrum’; you don’t need to be a classical linguist to guess that this means monster and is most likely referring to the monstrous size of the leaves. Deliciosa translates to delicious and more than likely refers to the tasty fruit that the plant can produce; said to taste like a cross between a banana and a pineapple (a fruit salad perhaps… that explains one of the other nicknames!).
However, don’t get your hopes up about filing your fruit bowl with offerings from your Cheese Plant. It is very difficult to grow fruit from your Monstera Deliciosa when it is grown indoors. Your plant needs its native, tropical weather conditions to produce fruit and sadly our domestic abodes do not provide this. This could be a blessing in disguise though because the fruit must be perfectly ripe before it can be eaten. If it is eaten unripe, brace yourselves, the fruit contains needle-like structures that would not be kind to your throat. Perhaps there’s more than one reason this plant has monster in its name.
The gorgeous Swiss Cheese Plant can potentially grow up to 20m tall, given the right care, over many many years. And as well as being fabulous to look at, he also has incredible tendril-like roots that are so strong they have been used in Mexico and Peru to make ropes and baskets.
Adapted to life in the rainforest
The holey leaves of these so-called Swiss Cheese Plants are in fact, incredibly useful. We often get asked why this plant has holes in its leaves – early botanists believed the holes were a weakness or lack of development in the plant. However, it turns out they’re actually the key to its ability to survive and thrive in its natural rainforest habitat.
In an area of rainforest where the canopy is thick, it is really important for plants to optimise the sun flecks that come through for photosynthesis. As it turns out, the holes in the leaves allow the plant to be more efficient and reliable when using these sun flecks for photosynthesis when compared to leaves with no holes.
And that’s not the only amazing benefit of the Cheese Plant’s amazing holes; when there is extreme weather, heavy rain and powerful breezes can pass straight through the holes. This allows the plant to survive in the harsh weather conditions of the rainforest – how amazing is that?
It’s not just the holes that make this plant miraculous, the leaves themselves are super clever. They fan out rather than uncurling directly above each other which helps to avoid the lower leaves being shaded by the higher ones. The more we learn about this incredible plant the more we love it.
A Complete Guide on How to Care for a Swiss Cheese Plant
This epic plant is fabulously easy to look after, a perfect statement plant for newbie plant parents or those plant lovers among us who just don’t have the time for a high-maintenance green buddy. Discover our top tips for caring for your Monstera below and your swiss cheese plant will be thriving in no time.
Monstera Care – Growth Rate
To get straight to the point, the growth rate is quick! However, like all plants, you can restrict this if you limit the space it has to grow.
Monstera Care – Light and Warmth
If you do want your Monstera to literally be a monster, let him grow for 6-9 months in his first pot and then repot him in a bigger pot and keep doing this every year. Monsteras give you great joy as they regularly produce new leaves. When a new leaf arrives, it will start all curled up. In due course, it will unfurl to reveal a stunning heart-shaped green leaf. Give the right light and nutrition these leaves will develop with their unique holey, Swiss cheese look.
Given that his natural habitat is the rainforests of Central and South America, where he will get dappled light, this tropical beauty does not like to be placed in direct sunlight as he doesn’t like to be too hot. Pop him in a well-lit, bright corner where it can see the light as these beauties will grow towards the light. Your Monstera Deliciosa will tolerate most temperatures but bear in mind that lower temperatures can reduce its speedy growth.
Monstera Care – Water and Plant Food
Your Monstera is super low maintenance. During the Summer, he’ll need to be watered once a week to thrive and he is best watered from the base. The easiest way to do this is to pop him in a sink of water and let him soak for about half an hour. If the soil still looks a little damp before watering, let it dry out a little more before giving him more water. In addition to a weekly drink, we recommend feeding him with plant food every couple of months to keep those gorgeous leaves lovely and green in the summer months. In winter, reduce the watering to once every 7-10 days, ensuring there is no water left in the bottom of the ceramic or basket.
Monstera Care – Leaf Maintenance
The heart-shaped leaves of your Swiss Cheese Plant are a beautiful, glossy dark green. It doesn’t take much to keep them in gorgeously tip-top condition; simply wipe them down with a damp cloth once a month. New leaves will appear very light green and as they mature, they will develop a deep emerald green colour.
Sadly, the leaves of the Swiss Cheese Plant are toxic to cats and dogs when ingested. So it’s best to put them in a place where furry paws can’t reach. If you are interested in which plants are pet-friendly, take a look at our range of pet-friendly plants.
Shop the Cheese Plant at The Little Botanical
We have a stunning range of Monsteras here at TLB. This super stylish plant is available in a choice of sizes and as ever they all come styled in a choice of our trademark, on-trend ceramics, metallics or belly baskets. Take a look at our top choices below, we think you’ll be spoilt for choice. All of our Swiss Cheese Plants are grown in our recycled plastic pots. Each plant arrives with a ceramic, plant stand or belly basket, making the watering process easy to follow. Simply pop the Monstera in its growing pot straight into the ceramic or basket and voila, you have effortless, ready-to-go, green style.
The Cheese Plant in Grey Ceramic
A classic option, this medium-sized (to begin with!) Monstera in 15cm growing pot arrives with our gorgeously understated, concrete grey pot with a varnished base for added style and texture. A must-have addition to any trendy urban jungle.
The Big Cheese (Plant)
What a showstopper this Big Monstera is. This Monstera in 17cm growing pot arrives with your pick of our signature belly basket or our gorgeous hand-finished grey concrete ceramic pot and see your space transform. The baskets and pots are sized perfectly to allow your green beauty to grow.
The Green Monstera Plant Gang
For the ultimate in green plant style, check out this oh-so-beautiful Green gang, which bundles the Swiss Cheese Plant with the equally leafy Calathea and a striking Miranda succulent. All are housed in our gorgeous grey ceramics for an injection of green style and texture.
The Urban Jungle Bundle
If an urban jungle is on your wish list, let this super trendy bundle, combining the much sought-after Cheese Plant with two striking succulents, get the jungle vibes going in your home. All arrive in matching ceramics making this a true favourite in our team.
Monstera in Copper Bullet Plant Stand
This beautiful Swiss Cheese Plant styled in the copper bullet and black metal stand is a stylish addition to any space. The Monstera’s green heart-shaped leaves complement the copper perfectly making this a true interior-lovers piece. The chic copper bullet pot and metal stand will add fresh addition to your interiors. Stylish and unique – just perfect if you’re looking to add some colour to your desk or coffee table. With the metal stand, this guy will add some height to your plant gang too.
Jungle Greenery in Belly Baskets
Last, but by no means least of our Cheese Plant picks is this simply fabulous duo of Jungle inspired greenery. The Monstera is paired with the best-selling Calathea, another leafy beauty with stunning stripy leaves. This pair is simply beautiful to behold. In our signature cotton and seagrass-lined belly baskets, they will add an instant pop of style to your home.
Plant Accessories for your Monstera
As these Swiss Cheese Plants are really good growers, you might need to train it up a moss pole. If yours proves to be prolific on this front, check out our very handy moss pole which will provide excellent support for even the most unruly of Monsteras.
Meet the Family
Well, we can’t write a blog about this wonderful plant without giving a little nod to his wider family. There are actually more than 40 known varieties of Monstera in the botanical world. One of our favourites is the Monstera Monkey Leaf also known as the Monstera Adansonii, Monstera Obliqua, the Monkey Leaf Plant, Monstera Monkey Mask, Philodendron Monkey Mask, Five Holes Plant and Adanson’s Monstera – phew, lots of names seem to run in the family! The Monstera Monkey Leaf is thought of as the little brother to the Cheese Plant. This is because he is smaller, but he still has distinctive holes in his luscious green leaves. If a smaller variety of Monstera sounds right up your street, take a look at our range; he is available on his own in a choice of gorgeous stoneware or as part of a stunning bundle in this Gift of Green plant gang.
See our Monstera Monkey Leaf Options
Cheese Plant FAQs
Why does the Swiss Cheese Plant have holes and cuts in its leaves?
The holes allow for sunlight to pass through in the thick rainforest. They also allow the Swiss Cheese plant to survive strong winds and heavy downpours of rain, as the powerful breezes and heavy raindrops will pass right through the holes.
I’ve heard the Monstera Deliciosa produces flowers. Is this true?
The Monstera Deliciosa does flower in its natural habitat or in an area very similar to it. Its flowers are white in appearance and have a spadix in the centre. However, it’s very rare to see them flower indoors as the temperature and light levels of the natural habitat are unlikely to be replicated in the UK.
What are the silvery/grey things hanging out of my pot?
These are aerial roots and they are looking for moisture in the air. These are perfectly normal and nothing to worry about. Tuck them into the pot if you wish. Or if you are watering your plant regularly, it won’t need to absorb water from these roots, so you can simply trim them off. Don’t worry, this won’t harm the plant!
Why are my Monstera leaves turning yellow?
Yellow leaves on your Monstera are most commonly caused by overwatering. Ensure you are watering your plant no more than once a week. Always check that the soil has dried out before watering again. Be careful in winter, as with the reduction in light levels, it’s common to accidentally overwater your green beauties.
Why is my Swiss Cheese Plant leaning over?
If your Monstera is leaning over, it is most likely growing towards the light. Try moving it closer to the light source and rotating it regularly to encourage more even growth. As your Monstera gets bigger it may need some help staying upright, check out our moss pole which will help give him some extra support.
Does my Monstera need repotting?
As we’ve mentioned, the Monstera Deliciosa is a quick grower. If he’s been in his current pot for 6-9 months, he may well be ready for a bigger home.
There are a number of ways to check whether your plant is ready for a new pot. Firstly, gently lift your plant out of the ceramic pot; if the roots are growing out of the plastic growing pot, this is a good indication that a new pot is needed. Other signs to look out for include the growth of your plant slowing down and it looking too big for its pot.
For a full run down on what to look out for and how to rehome your plant, check out our blog all about repotting your houseplants. It’s worth noting that we highly recommend repotting in the spring/summer when your plant will enjoy most of its growth. We don’t recommend planting a Swiss Cheese Plant directly into a ceramic pot. We highly recommend repotting into a bigger plastic pot first before finding a styling ceramic or basket for it to be housed in.
If you think your Monstera is ready for a new pot, check out our fab range of pots and baskets.
Why is my Monstera crying?
This is a natural process and occurs after you have given your Monstera a big drink. This process is called guttation and your clever plant is just getting rid of some of the excess water through its leaves. These are happy tears!
We hope you’ve found this guide to caring for your Swiss Cheese Plant helpful and that it’s given you the confidence to know you’ll be able to add this fab, low-maintenance plant to your indoor jungle.
We’d love to hear from you if you’ve still got questions about your Monstera or any of your other green beauties, do drop us a line at [email protected]. Until next time lovely plant people.
Lots of love
Team TLB xx
Team TLB xx