How to Grow Swiss Cheese Plant (Monstera Deliciosa)

How to Grow Swiss Cheese Plant (Monstera Deliciosa)

monstera swiss cheese plant

By Jennifer Poindexter

Do you remember a trendy houseplant from the 1980’s that looked like swiss cheese? They’re making a comeback! The monstera deliciosa plant, also known as the swiss cheese plant, is an indoor vine with large leaves. As the plant matures, the leaves develop holes which resemble those found in a slice of swiss cheese.

If you’re desiring a houseplant with style for your home, the swiss cheese plant could be exactly what you need. Here’s what you must know about growing this particular plant:

Growing Conditions for the Swiss Cheese Plant

The swiss cheese plant has a tropical origin. Though there are 40 plus varieties of the plant, they all hale from South America, Central America, and Mexico. For this reason, the swiss cheese plant prefers dappled sunlight because in its native surroundings the plant is covered by a thick forest canopy.

It’s best if the plant can be placed where it can either get full morning sun or indirect sunlight throughout the day.

This plant is commonly grown indoors in a container because it doesn’t handle frost well and only thrives outdoors in planting zones 10 and 11. Be sure to place your plant in a container with moist, well-draining soil.

Due to the plant’s natural tropical climate, it needs humidity. You can spray it frequently with water or grow it in rooms of the home with natural humidity. Rooms such as the kitchen or bathroom are good choices.

If you have a greenhouse, the swiss cheese plant would be happy growing there as well. Growing tropical plants indoors can create certain challenges, but with determination, you can provide the proper setting and find great success with the swiss cheese plant.

How to Plant Monstera Deliciosa

There are two common ways to grow a swiss cheese plant. The first method we’ll discuss is starting the plant from seed.

This isn’t the most common method because seeds of the swiss cheese plant are difficult to come by. Swiss cheese plants don’t mature enough to produce seeds until they are a year or older.

Plus, the seeds aren’t shelf stable. They can be difficult to dry out, and they don’t handle cool temperatures well either. All of this makes it difficult to harvest them yourself for later use or for companies to harvest them for mass production.

In fact, if you have these seeds on hand, you should use them as quickly as possible to increase your chances of germination. When starting the swiss cheese plant from seed, place the seeds in a grow tray. Be sure to put two seeds in each cell of the tray incase one doesn’t germinate.

Use moist, quality soil to start the seeds. The only difference between starting seeds of the swiss cheese plant and other seed varieties is necessary light.

Some seeds require light to grow. The swiss cheese plant does not have a light requirement. In nature, the plant tends to lean towards the dark areas of the forest and latch on to firm structures which also provide shade throughout the day.

The seeds of the swiss cheese plant will do the same when started indoors. To avoid their leaning towards the darkness, don’t place any light over the seeds.

They should germinate in approximately three weeks but don’t get in a hurry. Swiss cheese plant seedlings can take months to grow large enough to transplant.

The second method to growing swiss cheese plants is taking cuttings from one plant and rooting it to make a new plant.

In this process, you’ll cut a piece of the plant from the stem. You should notice small nodules on the stem. These are called nodes.

Cut right after a node to get a proper cutting. Swiss cheese plants root easily and shouldn’t require rooting hormone.

However, if you feel more comfortable using rooting hormone, you can without causing damage.

Once the cutting has been removed, you can place it directly into soil or soak it in water for three weeks.

If you choose to soak the cutting, be sure to change the water daily. This is to discourage mold from forming.

You should begin to see roots develop while in the water and new leaves should begin producing on the cutting as well.

Once the roots of the cutting are formed, transplant it into quality soil. Allow the cutting to grow into a gorgeous swiss cheese plant and provide all necessary care.

Caring for a Swiss Cheese Plant

Whether you’re caring for a swiss cheese plant you started from seed, rooted from a cutting, or purchased, it’s important to understand how to keep these plants healthy and vibrant. The good news is they’re easy to care for.

As mentioned above, the swiss cheese plant needs moist soil to grow well but be careful not to overwater.

A good method to ensure you don’t overwater is to press your finger into the soil to the depth of your first knuckle. If you can still feel moisture at this depth, the plant doesn’t need water. If the soil is dry, it’s time to water.

Be sure to use a deep watering method when caring for the swiss cheese plant. Don’t water a little every day. Instead, put the plant over the sink and pour water into the container until it runs out of the bottom of the planter.

The biggest hurtle to overcome when raising a swiss cheese plant is its ability to climb or sprawl out. In its natural setting, it will attach to tree trunks and grow up the side for support.

The plant will try to do the same thing in your home, which is why it’s important to train and prune it as necessary.

If you want your swiss cheese plant to grow upward, consider installing a moss stick in the planter. The plant will attach its roots to the moss stick and begin to grow up instead of out.

If you don’t want a tall plant inside your home, you can allow the swiss cheese plant to grow outward as any other vine would do.

Pruning will be especially important if you allow the plant to vine out because it can become unruly and feel as though it’s taking over. If this begins to happen, cut it back to a manageable size.

Otherwise, you won’t need to prune outside of spring and fall. During these seasons you should remove the top layer of growth from the plant. Remove any parts which are dead or sickly in appearance too.

The fertilizing and pruning schedule are similar. The swiss cheese plant should be fertilized once every two months during the spring and summer seasons. It doesn’t need to be fertilized over the winter months.

Be mindful not to fertilize for the first six months after planting a seedling or transplanting a larger plant into a different container. The plants need time to establish their root systems.

The final step in caring for a swiss cheese plant is to transplant and freshen the soil. A swiss cheese plant should be transplanted every two years. This is to ensure it has enough room.

Even on the years the plant isn’t being moved to a new container, it still requires the soil to be freshened to ensure it has renewed nutrients.

By performing a few basic tasks, your swiss cheese plant should remain happy, healthy, and vibrant for years to come.

Garden Pests and Diseases that Impact Monstera Deliciosa

One of the best things about growing a swiss cheese plant indoors is that they’re durable. They don’t normally struggle with disease or many specific pests.

It’s a good idea to still be mindful of other common indoor pests which frequently visit houseplants. Aphids are a common threat and come in a variety of colors. You can spray the plant with soapy water to dislodge the pests.

Scales are another common pest for houseplants. They look like the plant has developed scales on its stem or the underside of its leaves. To get rid of scales, rub the infected areas with canola oil. This will suffocate the pests.

Spider mites are common pests both indoors and outdoors. They’re hard to see, and you’ll most likely see their webs before you see them.

If you suspect spider mites, place the swiss cheese plant in your kitchen sink. Spray it with soapy water to dislodge the pests and webs. Repeat this process as needed.

Mealy bugs could visit your swiss cheese plant as well. They drink the sap from your plant and will cause it to become discolored, disfigured, and potentially die.

When you suspect mealy bugs, use a cotton ball to apply rubbing alcohol to the leaves of your plant. You can also spray it with insecticidal soap or plain soapy water.

The final pest you should be aware of around your swiss cheese plant is the thrip. They feed in large groups and will cause your plant to have a silver tint to it.

You can treat thrips by spraying the plant with insecticidal soap and pruning any infected areas.

Another fun way to deter thrips is to place the color blue around the swiss cheese plant. They like this color and the hope is to attract the pests to the color instead of your plant.

Though the swiss cheese plant doesn’t have any well-known enemies, being on the lookout for these common pests is a good idea to ensure your plant’s safety.

Growing a swiss cheese plant can be a fun experience. It’s always intriguing when trying to create mock-conditions for a tropical plant in a non-tropical climate.

Hopefully these tips will help you to raise gorgeous plants and give your houseguests something to talk about when they see the unique swiss cheese plant growing in your home.

Learn More About the Swiss Cheese Plant

https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/monstera-epipremnoides/common-name/swiss-cheese-plant/

http://www.ladybug.uconn.edu/FactSheets/monstera-deliciosa.php

swiss cheese plant with text overlay houseplants how to grow swiss cheese plants Monstera Deliciosa

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