|Propagation:||From From seeds, cutting, layering|
|Adult size:||over 30 m (90 ft); ~ 2 m indoors|
|Watering:||Let the soil dry slightly before watering|
|Fertilization:||Monthly during active growth|
|Humidity:||High humidity preferred, low humidity tolerated|
|Toxicity:||Toxic sap; edible fruit (when ripe only)|
|See more Monstera|
Cheeseplant, Ceriman, Swiss Cheese Plant, Monstera, Mexican Breadfruit, Windowleaf, (incorrectly) Split-leaf philodendron
Monstera deliciosa is a large epiphytic plant of the Araceae family. Native to the tropical forests of southern Mexico, it makes an excellent houseplant and will tolerate a wide range of growing conditions.
Monstera from "monstrous", in reference to the large leaves mature plants of this genus will develop, and in nature they can reach over 30m tall.
Deliciosa from "delicious" refers to the edible fruit that the plant can develop, however the plant rarely flowers and fruits indoors.
M. deliciosa has large, glossy green leaves with characteristic holes and splits. The technical term for these holes or clear parts in their leaves is “fenestration”. M. deliciosa grow from the forest floor vining up trees and to acquire more light. The only way that understory plants can survive is by capturing the small beams of sunlight that make it through the forest canopy. By modifying the leaf structure to have holes, the same amount of leaf tissue can cover a greater area. So, even though a few sun flecks may go through the holes and be missed, the chance of catching spots of sun increases because there is more area covered. A M. deliciosa will develop fenestrations from the 5th leaf onwards. As the plant continues to mature the new leaves will become larger, with more holes and splits.
Variegation in M. deliciosa is determined by genetics and is stable within the plant. There are several commonly cultivated forms of the plant. Variegated plants will grow more slowly than the un-variegated form because each leaf contains fewer photosynthetic cells.
The M. deliciosa 'Thai Constellation' is a cultivar with smaller, irregular flecks of white variegation throughout the leaves. This cultivar is less prone to developing entirely white leaves compared with the 'Albovariegata' cultivar.
The M. deliciosa 'Albovariegata' is a cultivar with large, irregular splashes of white variegation, occasionally developing leaves that are entirely white.
The M. deliciosa inflorescence consists of an erect spadix enclosed in a cream coloured, boat-shaped spathe. The corn-like spadix is covered in small flowers.
Unripe M. deliciosa fruit contains calcium oxalate crystals which can cause mouth irritation.
Fruits take more than a year to ripen. As the fruit ripens the fruit produces a strong and sweet scent and the scales begin to yellow. Once the odour then fades the fruit is ripe.
M. deliciosa wants bright, indirect light. It can tolerate some direct light but avoid hot midday sun or the leaves will scorch.
Use a well draining soil mix (see aroid soil) and water thoroughly, allowing excess to drain. A waterlogged soil will lead to yellow leaves.
M. deliciosa is not hardy and foliage will burn and die if exposed to frost. However even as a true tropical plant M. deliciosa will tolerate low temperatures and can survive brief and mild frosts. M. deliciosa will continue to grow down to 10C (50F) and so can be moved outdoors in temperate climates after any risk of frost has passed.
Yellowing leaves are a sign of too much water. Ensure the pot has good drainage and allow the surface of the soil to dry between watering. Older leaves will naturally yellow and die over time.
M. deliciosa can take some direct sun without damage but requires acclimatisation first or leaves will become bleached, will turn brown and eventually die. When moving your plant into an area which gets direct sunlight build up the plant's tolerance first. Limit the amount of direct sun to an hour a day for a few days, then two hours, then three and continue to slowly increase the plant's light exposure until it is fully acclimated.
When moving the plant outdoors, choose a spot in shade or that gets dappled or screened sunlight. Let the plant slowly acclimate to being outdoors and never move the plant into direct sun without slowly building up a tolerance first. Some direct morning or evening sun is fine but hot midday light will scorch the leaves.
Rooting leaf cuttings
Plants require meristematic cells to be able to product roots. Some species contain these cells all throughout the plant and can root from a single leaf cutting, such as a Peperomia or Begonia. M. deliciosa only contains these cells within the main stem, lying dormant at each node. Unless the leaf is connected to a part of the stem, it hasn't got the meristematic cells which can differentiate into root cells and cannot form roots.
If your cutting has a portion of stem then propagation is possible.
M. deliciosa is relatively resistant to pests, however it can be affected by spider mites, mealybugs, scale, thrips.