Swiss Cheese Plant Profile: Guide to Monstera adansonii
From the Monstera genus, the Swiss cheese plant is a houseplant favorite known for natural holes throughout the leaves. This common name refers to the plant foliage resembling hole-ridden Swiss cheese— but technically speaking, the plant is named Monstera adansonii. A vining plant, it is low-maintenance and fairly easy to take care of.
Scientific Name: Monstera adansonii
Common Name: Swiss cheese plant, five holes plant
Origin: Rainforests of Brazil, Peru, & Ecuador. But broadly traceable to South and Central America (and some Caribbean Islands)
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The Swiss cheese plant is indigenous to tropical, coastal regions of the Americas. The fenestrations (in this case, holes naturally occurring on the leaves) are what set this special plant apart from others. It’s believed that the Monstera adansonii acquired the leaf holes as a survival mechanism. Specifically, the holes allow for wind to pass through the plant easily without tears during more turbulent coastal weather conditions. Whatever the reason, this plant makes a statement with each consecutive leaf being more unique than the last.
Part of the overarching Aroid family, this plant is native to rainforest regions where it’s used to warmth and humidity. The Monstera adansonii grows on the floor level in the wild and attaches its roots onto the trunks of trees to climb upwards. Likewise, when indoors, this plant will enjoy climbing up a mossy pole. It can also trail down and make a great hanging plant, if preferred.
Being a fairly simple plant, the Monstera adansonii is suitable for any level plant parent. It does have a few special requests when it comes to care though, such as higher humidity levels. Any comfortable indoor temperature for you will also be comfortable for the houseplant. Just do not let temperatures dip below 55 degrees or exceed 90.
Since this plant grows under the canopy level of trees in the wild, it will need protection from the sun. A filtered, moderate to brightly lit spot will be perfect—but just make sure it isn’t exposed to direct rays (which could burn the leaves).
Allow the Swiss cheese plant to partially dry out between waterings. So wait until the top 2-3 inches of soil becomes dry before supplying more water. When you do water, make sure that it’s thorough, so drench the plant in water and then let the water drain out of the bottom holes of the pot. Never leave any leftover water though since roots that stand in water can lead to rot. The length of time between waterings can vary greatly depending on your specific indoor climate and the location of your plant— but typically, this plant will want water about once a week during the summer and once every couple of weeks in winter.
Extra Care & Growth:
The Monstera adansonii thrives with a little extra humidity in the air. If you start to notice brown, crispy leaf tips, then that’s usually a sign that your plant needs a bit more moisture. You can add a pebble tray filled halfway with water (just ensure that no roots/soil are touching water) to increase natural humidity. Or you can lightly mist your plant every other day.
During the growing season (spring/summer), the Monstera adansonii can grow quite quickly. If you want the plant to look less leggy and more full, then you can prune and propagate the vines easily. Also during the spring and summer, this plant will benefit from once a month feeding of fertilizer. We recommend a granular houseplant fertilizer and using half of the recommended amount. Too much can cause overload and buildup, causing chemical imbalances and even foliage “burns”.
Check regularly for pests on the tops, undersides, and nooks of your plant as a preventative measure. The most common pests for the Monstera adansonii include spider mites, thrips, and mealy bugs. If you do find pests, treat immediately.
Toxicity: Considered slightly toxic when ingested by humans, cats, and dogs.