The Plant: The Monstera is a tough, rubbery climbing plant with large, heart-shaped but deeply incised leaves. The leaves may reach 60 cm across. Given sufficient time and space the Swiss Cheese Plant may grow very tall, climbing easily to the ceiling of a conservatory, and using its aerial roots to attach to any available supports.
It may produce white flowers, resembling lilies, and occasionally green, scaly fruit shaped like cucumbers. The flesh of this fruit is creamy and pulpy, and tastes of Swiss cheese.
Its Needs: Good light but not direct sun for this sub-tropical climber. The Monstera requires a winter temperature above 10C with additional humidity in dry conditions. Plant the Swiss Cheese Plant in enriched organic compost which allows good drainage.
Care: Feed monthly with a liquid fertiliser through the growing season. Water sparingly in winter. Mist spray foliage regularly, and sponge leaves if they become dusty. The larger the pot used for the Monstera deliciosa the larger the plant will grow.
Monstera deliciosa - Swiss Cheese Plant
The main stem of the plant can be cut back to prevent excessive height but this will encourage side growth. If the aerial roots become long and straggly they can be tied into the main stem support, or trailed down into saucers of water to hydrate the plant. Suitable support should be provided for the Swiss Cheese Plant to prevent it becoming top-heavy and tipping the container over. A strong moss-pole is normally used. This can be kept moist to help with humidity. Watch for Scale pest, mealy bug and red spider mite. The Monstera can be propagated by air-layering or by taking cuttings.
Good for: Superb dark green rubbery foliage, (there is also a variegated form), a vibrant sturdy plant, suitable for a large empty space with room for climbing. An excellent plant for growing in a large heated conservatory, with the possibility of producing the novelty fruit.