Known for its unique appearance, Monstera adansonii or sometimes called Monstera friedrichsthalii is a well-loved houseplant belonging to the family Araceae as is the Monstera siltepecana.
Aroids are flowering plants that produce a spathe and a spadix called an inflorescence.
Many homeowners love adding a touch of South America through this potted indoor plant and the Monstera vine leaves look almost unreal with their fenestrations whilst the leaf surface has a leathery texture and feel.
Luckily, this species is relatively simple when it comes to its care.
How to care for Monstera Adansonii
The Monstera Adansonii grows best in a well-draining Aroid mix using bark, perlite, peat moss, and charcoal. Keep your plant in bright indirect light and humidity above 60%. When watering, make sure that the potting mix of your Adansonii remains slightly moist and water about once a week. The ideal temperature range is between 64 – 81 °F (18 to 27 °C). Use well-balanced fertilizer at half-strength with an NPK ratio of 20-20-20.
Find a free Monstera Adansonii care sheet to download at the end of this article.
I grow my Monstera Adansonii in an Aroid mix consisting of orchid bark, perlite, peat moss, and charcoal. As Monstera Adansonii is an epiphyte, it needs extremely well-draining soil or it might develop root rot.
The ideal pH for your Swiss Cheese Vine plant is around 5.5 to 7.0 pH for a healthy growth rate.
One of the most important aspects is drainage. This type of plant thrives in a pot that has large draining holes located on the bottom.
Considering the natural habitat of a Monstera adansonii, it grows in the sparsely lit jungles of South and Central America. Keeping this in mind, this plant prefers to be near sunlight, but not directly in it.
Bright indirect light is the best for a good growing Monstera Adansonii.
To give your Swiss Cheese Vine species the best chance, place it a few feet away from a well-lit window. East or west-facing windows are a great choice.
The light plants receive indoors is much weaker than natural sunlight. Natural sunlight is measured at approx. 10k foot-candles or 100k lux.
Bright indirect light is between 10k – 20k lux or 2k – 5k foot candles.
In winter I supplement my Monstera Adansonii with a grow light. Actually, I use it for all seasons to accelerate the growth of my Adansonii.
If you are interested in a grow light, you can have a look at Amazon. The one I use is the Roleadro and has 75w. What I like about it is that it is very affordable and yet powerful and it has a natural light variant.
I do not like to have this typical pinkish grow light aura in my living room. If you are interested, can find it by clicking on the image below that leads you to Amazon.
Taking care of Monstera adansonii is quite easy, except when it comes to their water requirements. They can be somewhat picky in this area.
Strive to regularly water your plant, making sure that the soil is moist, yet not drowning. Generally water about once a week in indoor houseplant conditions.
Make sure that the soil never completely dries out and keep it slightly moist.
When you water, water thoroughly to mimic conditions in the jungle. A thorough watering will also flush away the salt that is building up.
Overwatering can be a common issue, so make sure to provide apt drainage through holes on the bottom of your pot.
Keeping this plant’s environment at the correct temperature is not the most important aspect to consider. They tend to prefer rooms kept at a temperature between 64 – 81 °F (18 to 27 °C).
Anything less than 64°F or 18°C will tremendously slow down any plant growth. Below this temperature, you risk that your Adansonii is wilting and dying from cold.
It can take short periods of cold temperatures but longer exposures will not just be tolerated by a little dieback but may result in the death of your leafy friend.
The humidity requirement of your Monstera adansonii will be somewhat higher than other commonly used houseplants. They are found in Central and South America, where moisture is constantly abundant.
Keep the room anywhere between an average or high humidity for the happiest plant. You can always mist the leaves to ensure that these needs are met.
In general, the Monkey Mask loves humidity and will thank it with bigger and stronger leaves and growth.
A humidity level above 90% generally worked best from our experience but make sure it stays above 60% for healthy growth. This can only be achieved in greenhouses or terrariums.
But even increased humidity from using a humidifier, spraying the plant regularly, or using a pot below the plant with pebbles or stones filled with water can increase humidity.
This is not necessary to keep your Monstera Adansonii plant alive but can increase its health and growth.
I use a Levoit humidifier and my Adansonii just loves it. It’s great to see how the air roots are starting to attach to the moss pole much better and how the leaves get bigger and bigger on my Monstera Adansonii.
What can I say? They can certainly do without a humidifier, but only the best is good enough for my plants. And this humidifier rocks with its different modes and the 6l tank (who wants to refill every day anyways). It looks quite appealing, too.
Those who choose to grow this plant indoors must use a fair amount of fertilizer. A well-balanced fertilizer at half-strength using an NPK ratio of 20-20-20 is best. Either a liquid fertilizer or a slow-release fertilizer can be used.
This is imminent due to the fact that Monstera adansonii grows quickly and cannot produce a sufficient amount of chlorophyll without fertilizer.
Without the addition of fertilizers, the leaves tend to become yellow. Yellow leaves can be a sign that your Cheese vine lacks nutrients.
Fertilize in Summer and Spring about once a month but refrain from fertilizing in Winter and Autumn.
Do not fertilize when you have just repotted your Monkey mask or when your plant has a weak root system. This is the time where your roots are weak and could be burnt by fertilizer.
Producing new individuals from your existing Swiss Cheese Vine plant is quite simple. This is typically done through snipping or cutting a part of the stem off.
Propagation in Monstera adansonii occurs either through water propagation before it is transferred to a pot.
However, you can also propagate the Monstera Adansonii by using Spaghnum Moss or by putting the cutting directly into the soil. What you will need is a piece of the stem as well as at least one node.
Nodes are these brown or whiteish knobby sections just below where leaves emerge and branch off the stem.
Propagation of an Adansonii is not difficult but you may want to try the different methods described and use the propagation method that works best for you.
After being freshly propagated, these plants typically take about 2 to 3 weeks to grow before they can be placed in a pot of their own.
You can actually differentiate the new and old growth through the physical appearance of the leaves.
Newer leaves on the cuttings will have fewer holes than those that are more developed.
After taking a cutting, the new leaves will also be smaller than the older ones and it is not uncommon, that the cutting will revert to an immature growth stage with no or very few holes per leaf.
Young plants often have no holes in the leaves. The leaves will emerge as the Adansonii plant matures. When new leaves emerge, they will be fresh and bright green and will darken to dark green when maturing.
The Swiss Cheese Plant is a vining plant meaning that it is either climbing or trailing.
If you want your Monstera Adasonii to climb you can put it into a hanging basket.
When the Monstera Adansonii is climbing it will produce bigger and bigger leaves. Provide it with a moss pole that you stick into the grow pot and it will start to climb and attach its air roots to the pole.
An Aerial root is a part that is growing out of the stem of the plant and is above ground. It is meant to attach to other objects and stabilize the Monstera.
In its natural habitat, it is climbing the stems and branches of other plants. As an epiphyte, these plants are able to grow on other plants or a moss pole as houseplants.
This plant does best when it is repotted every 2 years, at the very most. To ensure that it remains healthy, botanists recommend that you place your Monstera adansonii in a larger pot every year.
But make sure that the pot to plant or soil to plant ratio is not out of balance as watering will become very difficult.
We also suggest a planter with draining holes as these plants do not like to stay in soggy soil for too long. Clay pots or any other pot does work just fine.
After learning how to care for your Monkey Mask let us now have a closer look at the origin of the plant
Forms of Monstera Adansonii
There are many different forms of the Swiss Cheese Vine plant. Depending on the locality where the plant is from, the Monstera Adansonii can differ in size and looks.
Specifically, the way the leaves and the holes in the leaves look varies from type to type. I have at least 4 different cultivars in my collection.
In addition, some grow much larger leaves than others. Some of the variants have rather roundish leaves where others are more slender.
There are two forms that are differentiated called the Monstera Adansonii Round Form and the Monstera Adansonii Narrow Form.
Monstera Adansonii Narrow Form
The leaves of the narrow form are as the name suggests narrower than the wide form. They are usually more elongated and the tips point slightly to one side.
Monstera Adansonii Round Form
The Monstera Adansonii Round Form has the same holes in the leaves as the Narrow Form but is wider and more heart-shaped.
Apart from the looks, it does not deviate from the previously described Adansonii. The Monstera Round Form is cared for in exactly the same way as the Monstera Narrow Form.
There is a Variegated form of the Monstera Adansonii plant. This is a chimeric type that is very rare and hard to find. Even cuttings of the Monstera Adansonii variegata are sold in the thousands of dollars.
Variegated Monkey Mask plants cannot be produced by seeds as these will in almost all cases not pass on the white or yellow variegation of the mother plant.
In addition, Variegated Monstera Adansonii cannot be produced by tissue culture. Therefore the only way is propagation through cuttings.
Variegated Monstera Adansonii will also grow slower than their fully green counterparts as the section with white does not contain sufficient chlorophyll to photosynthesize.
Also, purely white leaves will eventually brown and die back. If your plant only produces white leaves you will need to cut below the leaves and hope for less extreme variegation.
Only the green parts in the leaves can produce chlorophyll to keep the plants alive.
It is therefore not surprising that these plants are sold for several thousand dollars and only a few nurseries in Asia, the USA, and aroid collectors are cultivating this beautiful variant of the Monstera Adansonii.
Many scientists believe that the leaves are filled with holes due to the fact that they have to compete with other plants to gain sunlight. This adaptation allows the plant to cover more area while not wasting energy on a fully developed leaf blade.
THE ORIGIN OF MONSTERA ADANSONII
We’ve mentioned a few times that this plant can be found in South and Central America, but is it anywhere else? It does in fact live outside of South American countries in the West Indies.
Islands such as Antigua, Guadeloupe, and Dominica have become common spots to see a wild Monstera plant. Some subspecies of Monstera adansonii are extinct due to deforestation.
In the wild, you will find this plant not on the ground, but along the bark of an understory tree found in the jungle. As the name suggests, these plants do act as vines when given the chance.
It helps them to thrive in sparsely lit areas where competition for light is a challenge.
THE VARIOUS NAMES BELONGING TO MONSTERA ADANSONII
When comparing different species of plants and animals, it can be quite confusing. Especially when an individual goes by a variety of names.
The Swiss Cheese Vine is known by a few other phrases, each of which is important when finding the correct plant to purchase.
Monstera adansonii also goes by the names of “Adanson’s Monster”, “Five Holes Plant” as well as “Monkey Mask”.
Fun Growing Fact
This species is capable of growing upward if given the opportunity. Those who want to have a Monstera adansonii with larger leaves and more dynamic perforations can provide a trellis or a stake for the plant to climb. Some homeowners prefer the look of a hanging vine compared to that of a potted plant since it resembles how these organisms would live in the wild.
PROPAGATION OF THE SWISS CHEESE VINE PLANT
Propagation is the act of growing new individuals from a part of an existing plant, whether that be seeds, cuttings, or other various plant parts.
When it comes to the propagation of Monstera adansonii, this plant is quite easy to create new individuals.
There are two different ways in which you can go about propagating your “holy plant”.
• Propagation in water
• Propagation in soil
PROPAGATION IN THE WATER
One of the most common ways in which plant owners propagate their Swiss Cheese Vine plants is to root them in water. To begin this process, cut a piece of the vine by taking a stem cutting from the mature plant.
Be sure that there are at least one or two nodes included. This is where the leaves begin to develop from the stem.
Once you have finished making the correct cut from the vine, fill a bowl up with water.
Place the cut vine and the filled bowl into a spot where indirect sunlight is present. Replace the water every few days until roots begin to form. This typically takes place within a few weeks.
Continue to monitor the new plant, moving them to the soil once the root is strong enough to support itself.
PROPAGATION IN THE SOIL
Although not the most widely accepted strategy, you can choose to skip the involvement of water rooting. Just as before, cut a piece off of the vine where there are at least one or more nodes present.
This is where the method begins to differ. Instead of placing the cuttings into a bowl of water, simply dip them until they are moist.
Once this is done, fill a small pot with soil that has been properly hydrating and stick the cutting in about a half-inch underneath the top layer of soil.
Set this pot into an area that gets indirect sunlight and waits for the root to grow. As with the first strategy of propagation, this will take a few weeks.
I suggest treating with a systemic right away as the earlier your get rid of plant pests the better. Especially thrips are very difficult to get rid of.
Inspect your Monstera daily and also check the underside of the leaves for potential pest infestations. Alternative ways to mitigate a pest infestation are using neem oil, rubbing alcohol, and diluted soap.
6 TIPS AND TRICKS TO KEEPING YOUR MONSTERA ADANSONII HEALTHY
1. If you must place your plant in direct sunlight, only leave it there for a total of 2 or 3 hours, usually in the morning where the rays are duller.
2. Using peat-based soil with drainage holes will keep your plant moist without becoming too overrun with water.
3. Use the color of the leaves to determine how much water to add. If the leaves are droopy, check the moisture of the soil and add accordingly.
4. Fertilizing your plant is essential but should not be continued into the winter months.
5. The Swiss Cheese Vine tends to need a fair amount of room in order to thrive. If the roots begin to circle inside the pot, you may want to consider repotting.
6. If you are worried about the humidity requirements, place your plant in a bathroom or kitchen where it is warm, moist and properly lit. Placing a humidifier nearby can also keep your Swiss Cheese Vine happy and healthy.
3 THINGS YOU SHOULD NEVER DO WITH YOUR MONSTERA PLANT
1. Overexposure to light: As you now know, these plants need light, but do poorly when placed in direct sunlight.
With such a high sensitivity, your Monstera plant can quickly become dried out. To ensure that this does not happen, put them in a spot that is near a window instead of directly in it.
2. Put off repotting: Most plants do better when they are repotted, but this is especially true for the Swiss Cheese Vine plant. Ideally, you should move it into a slightly larger pot every year.
3. Leave out for pets:Monstera adansonii is considered to be moderately toxic when it comes to your dog or cat.
If eaten, they can have a number of adverse reactions such as vomiting, swallowing problems, or oral irritation. If your pet tends to chew on leaves around the house, keep your Monstera plant out of their way.
MONSTERA ADANSONII PLANT POPULARITY BAROMETER
Rating: Moderately Popular
The Swiss Cheese Vine plant is not among the most popular member of flowering plants. In fact its distant relative, the Monstera deliciosa, usually outshines it.
The common name for this relative is the “Swiss Cheese Plant” which makes it confusing when compared to the “Swiss Cheese Vine Plant”. These two species are quite similar, though M. deliciosa is larger, thus taking the cake.
WHERE CAN YOU BUY A MONSTERA ADANSONII PLANT?
This plant is not all that rare, making it easier for you to purchase from a variety of stores.
There are still some websites that have outsold their limited stock, so it is always best to call ahead and double-check the inventory of the selected store.
Here are a few options in terms of buying your very own Swiss Cheese Vine plant:
Amazon: Although you may not think of this website for your plant supplier, there are a lot of options on Amazon. Depending on the size you want, one can expect to pay between 10 and 30 dollars.
Etsy: Another option for your Monstera shopping needs. Expect to pay around 10 dollars for a cutting, or 10 to 45 dollars for a mature individual.
Ebay: Buying a plant from Ebay can be a bit challenging, as you oftentimes have to compete with other contenders. Do not rule it out, however, as it is possible to make a quick purchase. Most Swiss Cheese Vine plants sell for approximately 30 dollars on this website.
FINDING MONSTERA ADANSONII ON INSTAGRAM
With social media becoming all that more popular, certain plant species have been able to gain followers. The Swiss Cheese Vine plant is no exception.
When considering a new plant for your home, it is helpful to look at a few pictures. Instagram offers you that glimpse into the future.
Commonly used hashtags for Monstera adansonii include: • #swisscheesevine • #swisscheesevineplant • #monsteraadansonii • #monsteraaddict
You may also enjoy following a few people provided below: @thearchipelagoplant @monsteracoplants
Having a plant that adds not only greenery but also an element of character is essential in every household. The Swiss Cheese Vine plant does just that with unique perforations.
And best of all, you can either add it to a large pot or give it a stake to climb up.
By using this guide, you can successfully care for your new plant and possibly create new individuals through the process of propagation.
MOST COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS RELATED TO THE MONKEY MASK AKA MONSTERA ADANSONII
Is the Monstera Adansonii the same plant as the Monstera Deliciosa?
Both the Monstera Adansonii as well as the Monstera Deliciosa belong to the Araceae family. These are plants that produce an inflorescence or flower called a spadix but they are not the same plant.
The Monstera Adansonii produces smaller leaves and is a vining or trailing plant. The Monstera Deliciosa forms much bigger leaves in its adult form whereas the Monkey Mask produces holey leaves.
What plant is called the Swiss Cheese Plant?
The Monstera Deliciosa is referred to as the Swiss Cheese plant because of the slits and holes in its leaves.
The name is derived from the Emmental cheese produces in Switzerland that holes in it.
The leaves are said to resemble this look. The Monstera Adansonii is also referred to as the Swiss Cheese Vine.
Is the Monstera Monkey Mask toxic?
The Monstera Adansonii is slightly toxic and can cause burns and swellings and vomiting in pets such as cats and dogs.
Is the Monstera Adansonii easy to propagate?
The Swiss Cheese Vine is fairly easy to propagate. You can take a cutting from a section of a stem and put it either in water, Spaghnum Moss, or soil. Within a couple of 3-4 weeks, you will see roots starting to develop.
For a new plant to grow from a cutting you need to have at least one node. Nodes are the little nubby things just below where leaves are branching off the stem.
Cut below a node if you want to propagate a Monstera Adansonii. It is best to have 2-3 nodes and leaves on a cutting as this will increase your chances of successful propagation.
Where can I buy a Variegated Monstera Adansonii?
Your best chances of buying a Monstera Adansonii Variegata are NSE Tropicals if you are based in the US.
Other sources are Facebook plant groups, Instagram, and last but not least eBay. But be prepared to shell out at least a four-figure dollar sum (>1000 USD).
Monstera Adansonii is one of my favorite plants. Well, there are many, specifically in the Monstera genus and Aroids in general.
Why the Monstera Adansonii is so dear to my heart is because it can either climb or trail. When you let it climb its leaves will get bigger and bigger and the stem thicker.
The fenestrated leaves have this out of this world look and the plant is generally easy to care for.
The biggest thing to get right is to choose a proper potting mix.
A general houseplant-mix will not do this plant justice and you may end up with root rot.
If you are using an Aroid mix it will be almost impossible to overwater this plant and root rot will be no issue.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.
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This is me and my Chinese Money Plant. Taking care of houseplants is one of my greatest passions. I am constantly looking for new houseplants to gradually transform my apartment into an urban jungle.