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Monstera Deliciosa Care Guide: How to Keep This Tropical Houseplant Happy

Published on May 25th 2020
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So you landed your first Monstera Deliciosa? Once you've stopped admiring its statement leaves, watch the video below for some quick Monstera deliciosa care tips and fun facts.
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If there's one plant we rely on to bring all the tropical vibes to our urban jungles, it's the Monstera deliciosa commonly known as the Swiss Cheese Plant. Even if you don’t own this popular houseplant, you’re bound to recognise those distinctive Matisse-like cut-out leaves, which adorn everything from lampshades to cushion covers.
Monstera deliciosa is a tropical houseplant belonging to the Araceae family, which stems from the Latin word for 'abnormal'. The name 'Monstera' was first recorded sometime in the 1700s and it seems our appetite for increasingly unusual Monsteras has only grown since then. The latest IT plant is the Monstera Albo Variegata Borsigiana, its albino-like leaves being particularly sought after. Eagle eyes might spot one of these highly coveted variegated specimens on the Candide Marketplace.
Here's what you need to know to grow and care for Monstera deliciosa

Monstera deliciosa growth rate

The Monstera deliciosa hails from the rainforests of Central America, where it thrives in lowland rainforests and mountainous regions. Scientists think the distinctive leaves of the Swiss Cheese Plant evolved to protect the plant from tearing in any tropical rainstorm-induced weather. In the wild, Monstera deliciosa can grow up to 20 meters and can reach around 3 meters as an indoor potted plant. While this might sound daunting for some, the Monstera deliciosa is actually a relatively easy care houseplant. But there are a few things you can do to keep your Monstera happy and healthy.

Monstera deliciosa care tips

Monstera deliciosa light requirements

As a tropical plant, Monstera deliciosa is used to competing for light with a rainforest canopy, and while we can't replicate those exact conditions in our living rooms we can do our best. Direct sunlight will scorch the leaves, but too much shade will stunt growth. Instead find a position in bright, indirect light.

Monstera deliciosa pruning

The best time to prune Monstera deliciosa is in spring when it will happily put out new shoots. Always use a clean, sharp tool and start by clearing away dead and diseased leaves. Think about the shape you're creating before you cut or you could end up with a lopsided plant! Is your Monstera deliciosa outgrowing its space? Pinch out new shoots and consider pruning the tip of the plant (which you can save for propagation later).

Monstera deliciosa propagation

Instead of composting your precious Monstera cuttings, use pruning as an excuse to propagate your Monstera deliciosa. When cutting off a stem, make the cut just below an aerial root, this is known as node propagation. Plant the cutting in soil or consider propagate by air layering. To do this just cover one of the nodes in compost and wrap it in clingfilm or a plastic wallet. Within weeks, it'll sprout roots and you can cut the stem off to repot it. Find out more about these propagation methods in the articles below.
When pruning, don't forget to give the remaining leaves a wipe with a damp cloth to remove dust build-up.

Repotting Monstera deliciosa

The best time to repot Monstera is in spring and a general rule of thumb is around once every two years. Monstera deliciosa can live outside once acclimated (it is a tropical plant after all!), so long as you bring it inside at the first sign of frost.

Watering Monstera deliciosa

Allow the soil to dry out a little before watering thoroughly in the warmer months. A thorough soaking every now and then is better than little and often in this case. In the winter months, water Monstera deliciosa once every couple of weeks but don’t let the soil get water-logged. Naturally, this plant prefers a humid environment. Mist the leaves, particularly in the months where you wack the central heating on.

Up the stakes

As we explain in the video above, Monsteras are prone to something called negative phototropism. In the wild, the seeds fall to the ground and sprout shoots that grow toward the shade searching for the trunk of a tree that they can grow up. Therefore, it's important to provide this architectural plant with something sturdy to clamber up. A moist moss pole will support the plant as it grows and provide anchorage for the aerial roots.
Be wary of keeping other plants nearby your Monstera as those dangling aerial roots have a habit of burying themselves wherever they think they'll find nutrients. This is not a plant that respects personal space!

Does Monstera deliciosa fruit?

Monstera deliciosa isn't just popular because of its looks, it's also cultivated for its fruit, which is where the name Mexican Breadfruit stems from. It also explains why the scientific name literally translates as ‘delicious monster’. If the conditions are right, the delicate white flowers become a green fruit covered in segments resembling an ear of corn.
According to Atlas Obscura, the fruit “either burns your throat or tastes like a tropical medley.” We'd suggest getting the timing right to avoid any nasty and potentially dangerous surprises. A good tip for personal consumption is to wait until the bright green scales that cover the fruit are loose or fall off before tucking in. When fully ripe, it has a fruity flavour, which has been compared to a blend of pineapple and banana. However, the unripe fruit contains oxalate acid, which can irritate the throat.
The leaves, vines and sap of the plant can also be an irritant. Unfortunately, this means the plant is highly toxic to cats and dogs, so we'd keep furry friends away from this one.

Why is my Monstera deliciosa dying?

  • Yellowing leaves combined with wilting and rotting mean it's likely you've been too free with the watering can. Read our post on how to save an overwatered houseplant.
  • Brown spots lurking on the underside of your Monstera deliciosa could be a sign of red spider mite.
  • Brown tips and edges that have a papery feel could be caused by dry air. Mist your plant and your moss pole to ramp up the humidity. It's also worth checking if your plant is potbound and scheduling in a repotting session if so.
  • Is your Monstera deliciosa looking leggy? Too little light can produce a plant that's all stem and no leaf. If you notice this happening, it's worth moving your plant to a sunnier position.
  • Leaf loss is more common in winter when we blast our heating. Move your Monstera deliciosaaway from a radiator if the leaves are turning brown and falling off.
  • Whole leaves with no holes. Monstera Deliciosa plants don't start off holey, the pattern occurs as the plant matures, (usually at around three feet). However, underfeeding or lack of light can affect fenestration.

What to watch out for when buying Monstera deliciosa

  • Sometimes young plants are mistakenly sold as Philodendron pertusum.
  • As this Medium post suggests, not all variegated Monstera deliciosa cuttings are worth shelling out for. Watch out for sellers who send out cuttings without nodes (which won't root), unhealthy cuttings or Monstera variegated seeds, which isn't a thing.

Learn more about different Monsteras:

Where to buy Monstera deliciosa

Not got a Monstera in your collection yet? What are you waiting for? Find Monstera deliciosa for sale on the Candide Marketplace today. At the time of writing, you can browse a huge range of Monsteras from verified independent sellers.

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