The Swiss Cheese Monstera Plant

Monstera deliciosa

Monstera plant growing tips and fun facts. How the Swiss cheese plant leaf changes as it grows. How to tell when Monstera deliciosa fruit is ripe. Plants available in two sizes.


M. deliciosa Stats:

Form: A large-leaved, evergreen, tropical vine which climbs by clinging to a rough surface.

Size: to 20 feet in height with 2x3 foot mature leaves when grown in the ground.  Can reach 10 feet indoors.

Native to: Mexico, Central America

Frost Tolerance: None. Grow in frost-free locations, indoors, or train it up a post sunk into a greenhouse bed.

Propagation: Take tip cuttings to make new plants.


A Monster by Any Other Name...

Did You Know?

The swiss cheese plant has a look-a-like.  Philodendron bipinnatifidum is just as big and beautiful as M. deliciosa, but it does not produce an edible fruit.

Monstera deliciosa.  The name says it all.  Monstera denotes an abnormality in the plant's form, and deliciosa refers to the flavor of its fruit. 

I'm not sure if the botanist who hung this moniker on the Swiss Cheese plant considered the size of the leaves or just the fact that they are full of holes abnormal.  I am sure he had sampled the pineapple-flavored fruit which is sometimes used to flavor ice cream.

Here are some of its more common aliases:

  • Swiss Cheese plant because of its perforated leaves.
  • Fruit Salad plant (self-explanatory).
  • Taro vine because of its resemblance to that food producing plant.

In its natural habitat, the Monstera plant luxuriates beneath the canopy of rainforest trees, using their bark to cling to while ascending to great heights.  Once they reach the tree tops, mature plants send down rope-like aerial roots. 

These are roots on a mission.

They seek out moist pockets of composted leaf mold to sink themselves into before growing fibrous feeding roots.  In this way, the aerial roots both support and nourish the vine.

Under ideal conditions, the Swiss Cheese plant will produce fragrant, white flower spathes which are followed by edible corn-cob-looking fruits.

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Monstera Leaf Images

Young M. deliciosa Leaves

A Mature Monstera Leaf

Young leaves display oval perforations, but their edges will often be uncut.  Mature leaves may grow to three feet in length and width by which time the perforations will have extended through the leaf edge separating the leaves into "fingers" and giving the foliage the look of palm fronds.

The leaf surface is leathery with a slight sheen.  The species is plain green, but there is also variegated form: M. d. 'Variegata'.


Monstera deliciosa Fruit

Monstera Plant Flower Spathe

The flower is a large, fragrant, bisexual spadix (the corn-cob-looking part) wrapped by a cream-colored spathe.

As the fruit develops, those "corn kernels" will turn orange-red.  When they soften, the aromatic fruit is ready to eat.


Growing the Monstera Plant in a Pot

Fruit Salad Plant Growing in a Pot

Monstera houseplants are often trained up moss poles, but they do not have to be handled in this fashion.  The plants can also be grown in large hanging baskets or in pots on pedestals and allowed to trail.

However you grow it, give it constant warmth, humidity, and shade.  Wandering aerial roots may be pushed back into the pot, attached to the support (if there is one), or pruned off as removing these will not harm the plant.

If a mature plant becomes overgrown or ungainly, cut it back hard to rejuvenate it.

Discover an easy way to grow your own food!

Other Weird and Wonderful Fruit Plants:

Seagrapes

Calamondins: Juice Recipe Included!

Sweet Lemons

Lowhat?

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