Skip to Content

Monstera Deliciosa Plant – Best Care and Propagation Guide 101

Monstera Deliciosa Plant – Best Care and Propagation Guide 101

Monstera Deliciosa, also known as the Swiss Cheese Plant or split-leaf philodendron is a houseplant with big leafy foliage belonging to the Araceae family according to Britannica.

It is also referred to as the Swiss Cheese Plant because of the holes in the leaves which people often refer to as fenestrations or slits.

Monstera Deliciosa Care

Use a chunky soil mix for your Monstera Deliciosa by adding perlite, peat moss, coconut husk, and orchid bark to have an airy substrate that retains water well. It grows best in bright indirect light in an east or west-facing window at home. Water once the soil is almost dry to the touch about once a week as a general rule of thumb. The optimal temperature lies between 65-80ºF (18-27ºC). Keep humidity above 50%. 60% or more is perfect for fast growth. Fertilize in the main growing season in spring and summer about every 4 weeks using a fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 5-2-3. Do not fertilize in autumn and winter.

 

Monstera Deliciosa is an Interior Design favourite

Monstera Deliciosa is an Interior Design favourite

 

There are other Monstera such as the Monstera Adansonii, the rare Monstera Obliqua, and Monstera Epipremnoides that we each dedicated plant care articles to.

They are said to resemble a Swiss cheese called Emmentaler that is famous for its holes (being Swiss is have to disagree as I cannot see any similarity between a leaf and a milk product. Then again, maybe it is because I am Swiss).

 

Mature Monstera Deliciosa leaves

Mature Monstera Deliciosa leaves

 

How does the Split Leaf Philodendron aka the Monstera Deliciosa look like?

The Monstera has slits and they only emerge in more mature plants. The first few leaves are solid and almost heart-shaped and the Monstera Deliciosa starts to produced leaves with slits only after a while.

A highlight for all Monstera lovers is when a new leave unfurls, which takes a couple of days. The leaves are light green and change into a darker color once they are unfurled.

 

Fun Fact

“Monstera leaves are generally growing toward the light. However, some of the leaves will intentionally be growing away from light sources. This is believed to come in handy in their natural habitat, as it is seen as a way to reach out to other plants and trees that can be climbed.”

 

Monstera Deliciosa Care Sheet

 

Monstera Deliciosa Care Sheet

Monstera Deliciosa Care Sheet

 

Monstera Deliciosa Care Guide

Soil

As with most indoor plants, the Monstera Deliciosa thrives in a well-draining potting soil mix.

Add ingredients such as perlite, peat moss, coconut husk, and orchid bark to make sure it is both airy and retains water well.

The right soil is really important for your Monstera Deliciosa as a soil too dense can lead to root rot.

When soil becomes soggy and stays wet for too long, roots can become mushy and fall off.

Once root rot starts it quickly spreads to the rest of the roots.

Therefore a great chunky potting mix is a must in terms of Monstera Deliciosa care.

 

Light

Thriving in bright indirect light. Avoid too much sun as the leaves of your Monstera Deliciosa can get sunburned.

You can spot this by watching out for brown spots on leaves and brown leaf tips.

A good location for your Monstera Deliciosa is an east-facing window. A west-facing window is also a good alternative, although 2- 3 hours of direct sunlight in an east-facing window in the morning is fine or even beneficial for fast growth.

Place your plant at least 4 feet away as the window can act as a magnifying glass and cause burns.

Read our extensive article so you choose the right window direction for your houseplants.

 

Watering

Let the Monstera Deliciosa almost dry out between waterings. Stick your finger about two inches into the dirt to measure if the soil is still humid.

Once the soil is almost dry and won’t stick on your finger, it is time to water.

If it is still wet, do not water! 

You can also make use of a soil humidity sensor if you fancy.

From our experience watering once a week is a great rule of thumb. If needed, you can always water in-between. 

 Monstera Deliciosa will tolerate the occasional watering mistake (mostly overwatering), but make sure that roots do not stay in the water or wet soil for an extended period of time. This will lead to root rot.

The best water for your Monstera Deliciosa is rainwater. However, not everyone has the possibility to collect it.

Tap water, as well as distilled water, are fine as well.

You can have a look at our in-depth article on the best water for indoor plants.

 

Temperature

The optimal temperature lies between 65-80ºF (18-27ºC). As you can see, these plants tolerate a range of temperatures but will grow slower at low temperatures.

Avoid temperatures below 65ºF (18ºC) as this will stunt the growth of your Monstera Deliciosa.

If temperatures stay below 65ºF (18ºC) for too long, your Monstera Deliciosa will wilt and eventually die.

 

Humidity

Monstera Deliciosa loves high humidity. In an ideal case, the humidity lies above the average room humidity.

A humidity of >50% or more is ok. Anything above 60% in combination with good airflow will really help your Monstera Deliciosa thrive.

You can either make use of an electronic mister, lay pebble stones into a bowl below the plant, and fill it with water. Another alternative is to manually spritz the leaves of your Monstera Deliciosa from time to time.

However, I want to make one thing clear. Unless you are living in the desert, additionally misting your Monstera Deliciosa or using a humidifier is most likely not necessary. 

Yes, your Monstera Deliciosa might be happier and grow even better but you shouldn’t worry too much if you cannot provide very high humidity.

 

Fertilizer

You can fertilize your Monstera Deliciosa every 3-4 weeks with a light fertilizer mix with an NPK ratio of 5-2-3. This means 5 parts of nitrogen, 2 parts of phosphorus, and 3 parts of potassium.

This will provide the plant with the nutrients it needs to become a real Monster as the name implies.

Fertilize once a month during Spring and Summer when your Monstera Deliciosa is in its growth phase and stop fertilizing during the Autumn and Winter months.

For additional information on nutrients and fertilization, you can read our Fertilization guide that explains everything about the right nutrients and how to fertilize your houseplants.

 

Propagation

Cheese Plants can easily be propagated by stem cuttings. To propagate successfully you need a mature stem and the cut needs to be done at the aerial root just below a node. Place the cutting in water so it can develop roots.

Additional methods to propagate your Monstera Deliciosa are to either put your cutting into the soil directly or by using a different medium such as sphagnum moss or perlite.

Our favorite methods to propagate Monstera Deliciosa are to either use sphagnum moss or water. 

After about 3-4 weeks, you should be seeing roots sprouting from the aerial root and the plant stem.

Make sure to wait until the roots are at least several inches long. The longer the roots are, the bigger the chances that your Monstera Deliciosa cutting will do well.

Warning: Do not buy or plant any cutting that does not have a node. A node is a nubby thing coming out of the stem. Without it, it is impossible to grow a new Monstera Deliciosa plant.

The web is full of people posting pictures of cuttings they bought off of eBay and other sellers online where you cannot see any node. A cutting with a leaf and a stem is just a cutting with a stem and a leaf. It will never turn into a plant.

Do not hope for a miracle, as it won’t happen. You need at least one node on your Monstera Deliciosa cutting!

With that said, let’s now look into the growth habit of your Monstera Deliciosa.

 

Growth

This is not your average plant that will sit on your windowsill. These plants have the potential to transform your apartment into a proper jungle over the course of a few years.

As Monstera Deliciosa loves to climb, you can provide it with a moss pole that you can get either from Amazon or from a garden center of your choice.

 

Juvenile Monstera Deliciosa in pot

Juvenile Monstera Deliciosa in a pot. These plants will grow quickly and fill any room.

 

You basically stick it into the soil and attach the stems onto the pole. But please make sure to not hurt the plant during this process and be wise to choose things for attaching the plant that won’t cut into the plant itself.

Check your garden center or Amazon for garden tape or velcro.

If poles are not your thing, you can also try to hinder your plant to grow in all directions by pruning it from time to time. Please refer to the steps outlined under “Propagation”.

In this case, your Monstera deliciosa will grow wider and will only gain that much in height.

After learning how to care for your Monstera, let us now dive into the origin of the Swiss Cheese Plant.

 

The origin of the Monstera Deliciosa

The Swiss Cheese Plant is a tropical plant and has its roots – pun intended – in southern Mexico as well as south to Panama. You can find it in other tropical areas where it is an invasive species.

 

One plant, many names

 

The Monstera Deliciosa fruit can be eaten and is said to taste like a mix between pineapple and banana

The Monstera Deliciosa fruit can be eaten and is said to taste like a mix between pineapple and banana

 

For fun’s sake, let’s try to list all the names this plant goes by:

  • Swiss Cheese Plant
  • Monstera Deliciosa
  • Delicious Monster (as some call it)
  • Hurricane plant
  • Mexican Breadfruit plant
  • Fruit Salad plant
  • Fruit Salad tree
  • windowleaf
  • split leaf philondendron
  • or simply the number #1 Office plant of 2018.

 

Fun Fact: “It is believed that the fenestrations or slits in the plant’s leaves help it to survive strong winds e.g. Hurricanes e.g. the name Hurricane plant. Trustful sources note that further research needs to be done to support this hypothesis.”

 

Swiss Cheese plant popularity barometer

Rating: Very popular

The Swiss Cheese plant is featured in interior design magazines and its leaves are also popular in the fashion industry. You can find the split leaves on items from pillows to jewelry pendants to evening robes.

In addition to that, the Instagram hype kicked in quite a bit. The Zeitgeist demands a Monstera Deliciosa in every proper foliage lover’s “urban jungle”.

 

What about the Variegated Monstera Deliciosa?

Whilst the Swiss Cheese plant itself is very popular, its variegated cousin’s popularity is off the Richter’s scale.

It scores record prices in eBay auctions and you find the variegated type from sellers on Etsy.

Read more about the Variegated Monstera Deliciosa in our article. In addition, we wrote an article about variegation in Monstera plants and other plants in more general terms.

 

How does buying a Variegated Monstera Deliciosa online usually work?

Some people even started to sell cuttings directly on Instagram. They sell out even before they had a chance to root.

To get a chance to buy one, you need to comment on the pictures of the cuttings. Reply within seconds to even have the slightest chance to get one of these plants, otherwise, the plant of your dreams is gone before you know it.

Further, the Swiss Cheese plant was voted the #1most favorite Office Plant of 2018 by Accolade. Runner ups were the Pilea peperomioides and the Maranta ‘Tricolour’. It’s is popular, very popular.

 

Propagation

There are different methods to propagate a Monstera plant. The most common method is to take cuttings and to put them into water.

As Monstera Deliciosa grows very big and can grow in all directions if you are not using a moss pole it might be necessary to trim down your plant once in a while.

As described the rooting method in water works quite well.

It may take several weeks for the stem to develop roots. This method only works if you cut the stem between an aerial root and below a node.

Sole leaf cuttings will not grow roots so don’t use them to propagate your plant.

 

Cut the Monstera Deliciosa below the node to propagate it

Cut the Monstera Deliciosa below the node to propagate it

 

To propagate you can follow these steps: 

Step 1: Make use of a clean knife or scissors and make a clean cut below an aerial node. The cutting should have at least 1 to two leaves.

I heard of others that were able to propagate it with just the stem but I would suggest remaining on the safe side.

Step 2: Fill a vase or jar with rainwater or filtered water if possible. This ensures that the water is clean. It is important that the water is neither too hot nor too cold as it could hurt the plant.

Make use of room temperature water and fill your vase or jar halfway. When water touches the leaves or you have submerged leaves this will eventually lead to plant rot.

Step 3: Place the cutting so it sits upright and put it in a spot with indirect light. 

Step 4: Change the water every couple of days and wash the plant’s stem. It is important that the water doesn’t get old as this can lead to plant rot. 

Step 5: Practice patience. In about 4 weeks you may see the first roots emerge from the stem and the aerial roots. Leave the cutting in the water until a sufficient roots system has developed.

 

Variegation in Monstera Deliciosa

A Variegated Swiss Cheese Plant in a pot

A Variegated Swiss Cheese Plant in a pot

 
Variegations in Swiss Cheese plants are as stunning as this word is difficult to spell. It often looks like the milkman spilled a can of milk on its leaves. Some leaves are even completely white whilst others are split exactly 50/50.

The more intense the variegation, the harder it is for the plant to photosynthesize. White areas are no good for this task and cannot absorb light.

So the whiter the leaves, the harder it is for the Monstera to absorb sunlight.

 

How to care for variegated plants?

Therefore Variegated Swiss Cheese plants need a tad more sunlight than the green variety and should be put in a spot with bright and mostly indirect light. Be careful however as the leaves are also more prone to sunburn.

 

Where to buy a Monstera Deliciosa

There are many places where you can buy a Swiss Cheese plant. Most of your local garden centers will have this plan in stock by now. Also, there are multiple online retailers as well as plant stores that have Monsteras available.

Here is a list of websites where you can buy one:

Amazon.com: Amazon has Swiss Cheese plants in stock and there are multiple sellers that sell them.

Ikea.com: Yes Ikea finally is also selling Monstera Deliciosa. However, you might not be able to buy the plant online as you will have to go to the shop and pick it up.

crocus.co.uk: Crocus is a UK site where you can buy this and many other plants. They deliver to the UK as well as to Ireland.

Finding a Variegated Monstera deliciosa can be tricky. These plants are currently in extremely high demand. Instagram fuels the trend using hashtags # such as #monsteradeliciosa and #variegatedmonsteradeliciosa.

 

Sources where you can buy a Variegated Monstera Deliciosa:

Etsy.com: There are multiple sellers that have Variegated Swiss Cheese Plants in stock from time to time depending on how much they are able to cut from their mother plants.

You may score a fairly reasonable price. However you have to take the shipping fee into account.

Ebay.com: This is where you may find multiple plants put up on auction. The advantage of Ebay.com is surely that the supply is larger than on other sites.

The disadvantage is that you may end up paying a price premium as the demand is currently very high and many are bidding.

They often mention these auctions on Facebook and other websites where plant enthusiasts are active.

 

Monstera Deliciosa on Instagram

There are multiple people and hashtags currently fueling the plant craze and the popularity of Swiss Cheese Plants.

Here is a list of the most important hashtags to use as well as an overview of people to follow:

Common used hashtags: #monstera #monsteramonday #monsteradeliciosa #monsteravariegata

People to follow: monsterafanclub, monsteracoplants, monsteramonstera, monstera.house

The so called monsteramonday features Monstera plants on Monday. A lot of people on Instagram post their Monstera plants on Monday and use the hashtag #monsteramonday.

 

Conclusion

I hope you like our Monstera Deliciosa plant care article. This is our all-time favorite plant. This plant is easy to grow, looks great, and is easy to propagate. 

It grows best in temperatures between 18-27ºC, needs well-draining soil, and should be fertilized every 4 weeks during Spring and Summer.

Watering about once a week is a good rule of thumb. Keep humidity above 60% if possible, although it is not a dealbreaker.

Please comment with your best practices and how you grow and propagate this beautiful plant.

What To Read Next

Read the Article: Best Potting Mix for Vegetables

Recommended Ebook from Hydroponics Simplified: Get Started in Hydroponics

Grow herbs indoors
Next
Top 5 Herbs to Grow Indoors
Comments are closed.