The Swiss cheese plant (Monstera adansonii) is a showstopper indoors and outdoors with its large, perforated, and heart-shaped leaves. It adds beauty and uniqueness to any space while growing in decorative containers with other tropical plants. Unlike other Monsteras, it is less demanding and flourishes with lush green leaves in the aroid soil mix.
This guide aims to cover all information on How to grow and care for Monstera adansonii as an indoor houseplant and in gardens.
All About Monstera adansonii (Swiss Cheese Plant)
Monstera adansonii is a tropical perennial plant with low maintenance and a rapid growth rate. It is native to Central and South America and belongs to the Araceae family. In their natural environments, this beautiful plant tends to produce exotic-looking, white-colored flowers (consisting of a petal-like spadix and a spathe). Its flower appears similar to calla lilies. Moreover, it attains a towering height of 70 feet in the wild by clinging to the trunks of other trees with its aerial roots. However, as a houseplant, it can be maintained to heights of 6 to 8 feet through regular pruning and trimming.
Quick Care Guide of Monstera adansonii
|Common name||Five holes plant, Swiss cheese plant, Swiss cheese vine, Monkey mask plant|
|Botanical name||Monstera adansonii|
|Mature plant||70 feet tall outdoors and 3 to 8 feet tall as a houseplant|
|Plant type||Perennial, woody|
|Growth habit||Climbing (can easily to trained to cling onto a trellis or moss pole)|
|Native region||Central and South America (Mexico, Panama, West Indies)|
|USDA hardiness zone||10a, 10b, 11a, 11b, 12a, 12b|
|Light||Partial shade (2-6 hours of direct sunlight per day), dappled sunlight|
|Soil||Moist, Well-drained soil|
|Water||Apply water when the top 1-inch layer of soil feels dry|
|Temperature||65-85 degrees Fahrenheit|
|Humidity||Above 60% is the ideal humidity levels|
|Bloom time||Spring(as an indoor houseplant, it does not bloom)|
|Propagation||Stem cutting, layering|
|Diseases||Root rot, Bacterial leaf spot, Anthracnose|
|Pests||Mealybugs, spider mites, aphids, whiteflies|
|Toxicity||Toxic to pets|
How to Care for Monstera adansonii
Good plant care for this tropical plant means lots of bright, indirect sunlight, well-aerated potting soil, and higher humidity levels. In these perfect growing conditions, Monstera adansonii continues to thrive for years. When growing it as a houseplant in decorative containers, insert a totem or moss pole in the potting mix to stimulate its vining growth. Keep on reading to learn about ideal growing conditions for the Swiss cheese plant.
Monstera adansonii needs regular watering during spring and summer. So water once a week to keep the soil moist, not soggy. Do not water too often in fall and winter (every two-week watering session is ideal) to prevent waterlogged conditions. Otherwise, overly wet soil will lead to root rot and kill your beautiful tropical plant.
Swiss cheese plant thrives best in bright indirect sunlight. When grown as a houseplant, place it in an east or west-facing window to provide optimum sunlight to encourage lush green growth.
Do not situate its container in a south or west-facing window because direct sunlight will scorch the leaves, impacting its aesthetics. Or place it a few feet away from the sunnier spot to prevent sun damage. For outdoors, always select a site with a dappled shade where the Swiss cheese plant will receive 3 to 4 hours of morning sunlight.
The best soil for Monstera adansonii is water-retaining and well-draining, with pH levels between 5.5-7. So, plant it in a peat-based potting soil or aroid mix containing orchid bark, charcoal, perlite, and peat moss. This growing medium will provide the plant with good aeration and prevent waterlogged conditions. In addition, choose a planter with suitable drainage holes to avoid over-wetting potting mix.
Monstera adansonii grows best in temperature ranges between 65-85 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures below 64 degrees Fahrenheit will stunt plant growth, and further below this can kill the plant.
Being native to tropical climates, Monsteras grow best in a highly humid environment. They need humidity levels of above 60 percent to produce lush green and fenestrated leaves. So to maintain the high humidity levels, add a humidifier to interior settings. Another way to increase humidity is to use water-filled pebble trays and places them near Monstera adansonii. They will increase the humidity levels around your plants.
Note: By grouping the tropical houseplants indoors, the humidity levels can also be increased without a humidifier.
Should I mist my Monstera?
Monstera plants need regular misting during the summer when days are long and warm. It leads to the rapid drying of leaves and potting soil. Therefore, frequent misting will keep the leaves moist and lush green.
Note: Monstera adansonii gets its name Swiss cheese plant for its extensive and fenestrated leaves. These fenestrations cover the entire leaf as the plant ages, making it Swiss cheese.
Potting and Repotting Monstera adansonii
The Swiss cheese plant (Monstera adansonii) is a fast grower like all Monstera plants, meaning it needs repotting every two to three years. The repotting of this evergreen broadleaf plant will provide its root more room for spread and healthy growth. It will also provide the roots with a fresh potting mix for nourishment.
Use these steps to repot Monstera adansonii ;
- Un-pot the Swiss cheese plant from its current container by holding it from the stem base. Make sure to moisten the soil before removing the plant from the container because it will make lifting easier.
- Examine the plant for root rot and prune off any damaged section, predominantly brown and mushy.
- Now choose a slightly bigger planter (2 inches) than the previous one and fill it with peat-based aroid potting soil mix. Position the rootball in the center and backfill it with potting mix to secure the plant.
- Water your newly repotted Monstera plant thoruoghly until it runs through drainage holes.
- Position the plant in a bright indirect light spot for optimum lighting and growth.
Common Pests and Diseases of Monstera adansonii
The Swiss cheese plant is easy to grow houseplant that continues to flourish in ideal growing conditions. However, it gets bug infestations, such as spider mites, whiteflies, and aphids, when poorly developed and maintained.
Below is a list of the Swiss cheese plant’s most common pests and diseases.
Spider mites or tick-like bugs are common houseplant bugs that appear in spring from the overwintering eggs. Upon hatching, spider mite nymphs reside on the underside of leaves while searching for suitable feeding sites. They live off plant sap, extracting it from phloem tissues by inserting their piercing-sucking mouthparts. Their feeding damage turns the foliage of Swiss cheese plants yellow with downward curling.
Spider mites also form a delicate web covering the leaves and plants in high populations. This fine webbing negatively impacts plant photosynthetic activity, leading to growth stunting and wilting.
To treat spider mite infestations on your tropical houseplants, apply nontoxic insecticides such as neem oil and horticultural oil. Prune off the badly infested leaves from host plants and discard them. Also, keep the humidity levels above 70 percent to discourage the life cycle completion of spider mites.
Like spider mites, whiteflies are sap feeders and infest the Swiss cheese plant in spring and summer. It is because new growths are abundant during this time of the year—the food source for these pests. Their feeding damage includes premature falling of leaves, deformed leaf buds, and stunted plant growth.
On host plants, whiteflies complete their life cycle within 7-14 days and have many overlapping generations per host plant. Therefore early detection and control measures for whiteflies are crucial and can save the plants.
Apply neem oil and insecticidal soap spray once a week throughout the growing season. These regular applications of organic insecticides will keep the bugs away from houseplants.
Plant lice or aphids invade the Swiss cheese plants when poorly grown and maintained. They feed on new growths and excrete the sticky, sugary substances (honeydew) that attract secondary pests (ants and black sooty mold). This results in stunted growth and foliage falling due to poor photosynthetic activity.
To control aphids, prune off the badly infested leaves and spray plants with neem oil, horticultural oil, and insecticidal soap. Also, high-pressure water streams dislodge the aphids from leaves and other parts.
Root rot is common in houseplants due to overwatering and poor soil drainage. It damages the plant’s root system and encourages the growth of soil-borne fungal pathogens.
Root rot symptoms are yellowing of leaves, stunting growth, slow decline, and dieback. Reviving a plant with decaying and rotten roots is hard, but early identification can help restore plant health. However, the best solution to fix root rot is repotting Monstera adansonii into a new planter. Be sure to choose a terra cotta container with drainage holes.
Bacterial Leaf Spot
Small, water-soaked lesions characterize this disease that appears on older plant leaves first. The high humidity and poor aeration is the common cause of bacterial leaf spot on Monstera adansonii.
To treat this disease, apply copper-based fungicides in spring to inhibit spore germination. Maintain good aeration by properly spacing your houseplants, and do not overfertilize. Also, allow soil drying between each watering session to avoid overwatering.
Top Five Care Tips for Monstera adansonii Plant
Monstera adansonii is a perennial tropical plant that can live for more than 40 years. So to keep this plant happy and healthy as a houseplant, follow these top five care tips;
- Situate your indoor Monsteras in a location with 3 to 4 hours of morning light. Avoid placing it in direct sunlight, as it will burn its beautiful foliage.
- Avoid overwatering Monstera adansnoii to prevent the infestations of fungus gnats and root rot pathogens.
- Use peat-based potting soil mix to provide the plant’s root system with good aeration and drainage.
- Examine your plant daily for root rot, aphid, and spider mite damage.
- Do not prune and fertilize Monstera adansonii in winter because the plant is not actively absorbing nutrients from the soil.
Monstera adansonii Landscaping and Gardening Ideas
With its vining growth habit, Monstera adansnoii is an excellent plant to brighten indoor and outdoor spaces. It makes a perfect accent plant for spacious entryways and living rooms. Grow this tropical plant in a hanging basket to trail horizontally along a bookshelf or a mantle. You can also grow a small specimen in a terrarium along with other tropicals to liven up corners of the sitting room.
Plant the Monstera adansonii in a decorative container for a patio and garden and train it to cling to a moss pole or vertical support for fuller growth and aesthetics. Make sure to select a garden site with partial shade or dappled sunlight to avoid the burning of fenestrated leaves.
Note: Monstera adansonii is a highly toxic plant due to oxalic acid. Therefore, keep this plant out of the reach of children and curious pets, particularly cats and dogs.
FAQs on Monstera adansonii
Do Monstera adansonii like to climb or hang?
The Swiss cheese plant is an excellent vining plant that can climb and hang with its terrestrial and aerial roots. So plant enthusiasts can grow it as climbing vines and hanging baskets to add beauty to their spaces.
Will Monstera adansonii grow back after cutting?
Yes, it will grow back after cutting because Monsteras are relatively fast growers in ideal growing conditions.
How do I train my Monstera adansonii to climb?
To train a Monstera adansonii to climb, insert a moss pole in the center of your potted plant when repotting. The aerial roots of this perennial plant will cling to the support and produce vining growth.
What is the best plant food for Monstera adansonii?
Miracle Grow Indoor plant food is the best fertilizer for the Swiss cheese plant to assist it in its growth and development.
How do you make a Monstera adansonii bushier?
Regular pruning and pinching the back of new twigs promote new growths from the sides of the central stem.
What are the four signs and symptoms of Overwatering in Monstera plants?
Yellowing of leaves, stunted growth, lack of new development, and root decay are the first signs and symptoms of overwatering in Monstera plants.