A Comprehensive Guide About Care and Management of Monstera Deliciosa, the Swiss Cheese Plant
Monstera deliciosa is also known as the Swiss cheese plant and has dark green, glossy, and huge leaves. It has a woody vine and is known to be native to the tropical areas of south and north America. It can grow to a height of 70 feet in its natural growing environment. Monstera deliciosa is an easy-to-grow houseplant in both indoor and outdoor growing conditions. This is an easy-to-grow plant both for experienced gardeners and newbies as it needs minimal care. Thus, this article is focused to discuss the growing guidelines, care, and management for the Swiss cheese plants.
Swiss cheese plant grows well in the USDA hardiness zone 10-12. Growers can also grow it in the other zones by the provision of the right growing conditions and environment.
Swiss cheese plants grow well in well-drained and slightly acidic soils. Growers can ensure the best growth of monstera deliciosa by maintaining the soil pH in the range of 5.5-6.5. Soils in the different growing regions have different pH levels and nutritional profiles. It is always possible to maintain the desired pH, soil properties, and texture by the use of different amendments and organic materials. Growers must test the properties of soil and grow media before adding amendments because the addition of the right amendment is greatly helpful to get the best yield.
Different kinds of growing media are available in the nurseries and gardening stores to support the growth of monstera deliciosa. Growers can also make their own grow media by the addition of bark pines, compost, perlite, coco coir, and peat moss. The use of organic fertilizers, well-prepared compost, animal debris, and plant debris helps to improve soil drainage, fertility, and water holding capacity. The addition of composts and organic amendments helps to improve plant growth and development by improving the physical-chemical, and biological properties of the soil.
Monstera plants grow well in the indirect and bright sunlight and ideally can be placed near the bright windows where there is no direct interaction of sunrays and leaves. Poor or extra exposure to sunlight can cause negative consequences on its growth and development. The growing Swiss cheese plant requires a minimum of about 4-6 hours of sunlight exposure.
Therefore, growers must provide light to the growing plants by the natural source of artificial means. Growers must provide light for 10-12 hours if natural sunlight is not available in a specific region or growing space. The direct contact of plant surface with the artificial lights must be avoided as it can cause foliage burning and the death of plants.
Water only the upper few inches of the soil or grow media to keep the soil and growing media moist. Enhance the watering intervals especially when good humidity is maintained around its surroundings and growing environment. These plants grow well in moist soil, but it is important to avoid soaking as it can cause root rotting and killing of plant parts.
Testing the soil moisture contents by inserting the fingers in the soil is a good approach to check watering requirements. Irrigating only the top inches of soil will not always be enough and growers must apply deep watering when the soil is completely dried. For this purpose, it is important to irrigate the plants until water starts coming out of the containers from the drainage holes.
Monstera cheese plants thrive well in the humid and hot climates and produce fruits in the subtropical regions and hot growing conditions only. Ideally, this plant grows well in the temperature range between 50–65-degree Fahrenheit.
This plant has no tolerance towards the freezing temperature and cold temperature can directly kill the stems and leaves. Typical fluctuations in the home temperatures are acceptable for the Swiss cheese plants but sudden drops and raise in the temperature must be avoided for ideal growth.
Swiss cheese plant grows well in warm and humid conditions and growers must maintain good humidity in its surrounding. Best growth can be observed when the humidity is more than 50%. It is also possible to keep this plant in the bathroom. Humidity drops below 40% can cause adverse effects on the growing plants.
The use of humidifiers and water sprays are also good options to increase humidity levels in indoor growing environments. There are different possible ways to improve humidity in the surroundings of Swiss cheese plants. Some of the effective methods for this purpose include as follows.
Water feature: It can be a small fountain or a pebble tray that can easily increase the humidity levels for the growing plants. The water evaporation can improve humidity for the growing plants, but this is not an effective approach for improving humidity in the whole room.
Enclosures: Humidity levels can be easily maintained in enclosed structures such as terrariums, cabinets, and greenhouses. This is an especially good option for extremely dry, and hot regions.
Grouping of plants: Growers can easily maintain good moisture and humidity by growing plants in the form of groups and structures. Moreover, the clusters of plants are also helpful for sharing the humidity for better growth and development.
Misting: It is also an effective method to improve humidity in indoor growing conditions. However, its beneficial effects can only stay for a few minutes after evaporation. Misting also offers calming effects on the plants and helps to remove dirt, and impurities on the surface of growing plants.
Humidifiers: The use of these devices is essentially helpful to improve humidity in the whole room and growing structure. Placing humidifiers next to the growing plants is more helpful for improving humidity.
How to Grow the Swiss Cheese Plant from Seed
Swiss cheese plants can be easily started from the seeds but the provision of the right growing conditions such as warmth, humidity, and light is a must for best germination. Germination of monstera seeds is the easiest task but caring for the plant to produce good quality seeds requires more care and management. The freshly produced seeds of the Swiss cheese plant are light brown, yellow, and green. It is greatly difficult to keep these seeds fresh but the excessive loss of moisture from seeds must be avoided.
Ideally, these seeds can be stored in the sphagnum moss in the clean fridge. Sowing these seeds within one week after receiving them is an ideal way to get healthy and vigorous production. Little drying of these seeds is also fine and dried seeds may have a wrinkled appearance with tan, brown color. Wrinkling of these seeds is an indication of delayed sowing time but the little delay is fine as it does not affect viability to a greater extent.
Presoaking is greatly recommended for fresh seeds, but it is not a must approach for all seeds. Add some warm water in a container or jar and place the seeds in it for 24-48 hours. This helps to break the outer seed coating and makes easy germination by rehydrating the seeds. Growers can set up the seeds in different possible ways and the use of mini-greenhouse systems, zip lock bags, and paper towel methods are most helpful for better germination.
Placing the seeds a few inches in the grow media helps to ensure proper exposure for light and aeration. The use of specific growing media and organic soil is greatly helpful for better aeration, water holding capacity, and easy emergence. While the use of clay soil, and the growing media having some compaction and cemented layer can cause difficulty for seedling germination.
Usually, seeds can germinate in 2-4 weeks by the provision of the right management conditions. Delay in germination may happen due to the use of poor quality and contaminated grow media, fungal infections, and unfavorable environmental conditions. Therefore, growers should monitor all the beneficial and harmful factors affecting germination and seedling vigor. Acclimatization of seedlings to fresh air immediately after emergence is also important to improve the chances of their survival and further development.
Paper Towel Method
- This is the easiest method to support the better growth of Swiss cheese plants.
- Growers only need a plate, spray bottle, water, paper towel, and monstera seeds.
- Spread the seeds in a single layer specifically on the paper towel.
- Overlap the towel on the Swiss cheese seeds until they are covered in two layers.
- Place the paper towel on a clean plate and spritz it properly until the seeds are moist.
- Put this plate in a bright area for sunlight exposure but avoid the prolonged placement as it can cause slower germination and less vigorous seedlings.
- Daily check the seeds and spritz them on the paper towel.
- Seed germination can be evident after two to four days of sowing.
- Plant the seedlings in the contaminant-free and good quality grow media to get the best support.
- Avoid both biotic and abiotic stresses for the seedlings as these are more prone to compromised growth at this stage.
- The soaking method is the simplest method to support the germination of monstera deliciosa seeds.
- Soak the healthy and well-treated seeds in clean water for 10-25 hours to support easy and fast germination.
- Fill the container with warm water and place the seeds in it.
- Never leave the seeds in the water for more than 48 hours.
- Keep the container in a sunny area but avoid placing it in the direct sunlight.
- Growers can observe seedling emergence after two to three weeks of sowing.
- Soaking is helpful to break the outer seed coat and reduce the germination time.
Seed Germination in Mini Greenhouse
- Growers only need peat pods and plastic cover for this method of seed germination.
- Soak the seeds in the peat pods and plant them directly to the peat moss.
- Growers can also purchase the mini greenhouse container from the market. These containers are provided plastic cover or lid that helps to improve humidity in the surroundings of seedlings.
- This is an easy method as there is no need to mix the substrate and prepare to grow media.
- There is an individual pod for each seedling and the whole structure can be easily managed.
- However, the size of pods could be a concern because seedlings grow quickly and require immediate transplantation for good root development and plant growth.
- The presence of a net around the roots can cause problems for root development. Therefore, removal of this net is a must approach to ensure proper growth.
- It is also possible to place the seeds directly in containers or pots. The use of good quality grow media and organic soil is essentially helpful to promote growth and development on a sustainable basis.
How to Grow the Swiss Cheese Plant by Propagation
Propagation in Water and Soil
- Monstera deliciosa can be easily propagated by the stem cuttings because rooting of its cuttings is easiest than seed germination.
- Take cuttings from healthy and mature plants to get good propagation results.
- It is possible to take small multiple cuttings having one to two leaves with the nodes or take full cutting having four to five leaves, one vine, and one node.
- Use sharp, and clean shears and scissors to assure the health and safety of the parent plant.
- Thoroughly clean the cutting with soap water or rub it with the alcohol.
- Directly cut below the aerial root or the node.
- Cut each node and leaf into individual segments on any side of the aerial root or node.
- The cutting can be placed both in the soil and water for rooting development.
- Dipping the obtained cuttings in the rooting hormone is also a good choice to improve rooting chances. Although this is not a must practice but can improve the survival and development chances by multiple times.
- Allow the drying out or healing of the cuts in the obtained cutting before water submersion. This healing process is not too long, and it takes only a few minutes for drying.
- Trim the aerial roots or fold them carefully at the bottom of the vessel.
- Properly arrange the stems in the vessel or container to allow enough room for rooting development.
- Pour the water in the container until the ends and roots are properly covered.
- Place the container in a bright location but avoid direct exposure to the sunlight.
- Change the container water after every three to six days for good growth.
- Apply liquid fertilizers in the optimal amount in case of nutritional deficiencies.
- The propagation in the soil is also similar to the water propagation but the main difference is only filling the container with the soil or water.
- The use of organic soil, with optimal pH and good drainage, is helpful to support better rooting and development of the cutting.
- The best advantage of using soil is that there is no need for regular replacement of growing media after a few days.
- Furthermore, the soil is a rich source of nutrients and can provide nutrients to some extent to the growing plants even if growers forget to fertilize the plants.
- Air layering is focused on growing the aerial roots into soil roots before obtaining the cutting.
- Air layering can be done with the moss-wrapped bundles specifically around the aerial roots.
- Guide the aerial roots in the moss or other organic media on a pole. Or place these roots in the container of water or soil.
- It is considered a propagating method because it allows the development of the roots on the cuttings while these are still attached to the parent plant.
- It removes the need for an unrooted propagative phase and promotes the success chances of cuttings development.
- There are fewer chances of rotting in the air layering and plant can grow faster because it does not have to spend energy on fighting against the problems.
- Moreover, there are significantly lower chances of node and leaf loss on the cuttings.
Potting and Repotting the Swiss Cheese Plant
Monstera deliciosa requires repotting for various possible reasons and brings multiple benefits for its growth and development. Repotting provides enough growing room for the roots of Swiss cheese plants. Growers can achieve the significant length of the monstera deliciosa plants by improving the growth of an extensive rooting system. Fresh soil is added in the containers or around the root zones during the repotting process, so it provides all essential nutrients to the plants.
Usually, the houseplants suffer from the deficiency of minerals and vitamins and these deficiencies can be greatly reduced by the addition of fresh soil during repotting. The addition of compost, organic material, peat moss, and amendments is even more helpful to improve growth. Growers can also use organic materials to improve soil fertility and nutrient profile. However, the use of synthetic fertilizers is discouraged for houseplants because it can cause environmental contamination and health hazards for pets and children.
Early summer and spring are the best time for repotting the Swiss cheese plant because plants have an active growing period at this time. Its growth is reduced during the winter season and repotting at this time can cause potential shock and damage to the health of growing plants. Sometimes growers’ weight is to see emerging roots from the containers for repotting but even if roots are not emerging in a certain period, repotting is required for replacing the old soil with the fresh one.
The diameter of the new pot should be slightly more than the old one. The new pot should be clean and free from contaminants. Drainage holes must be provided in these pots to support the efficient drainage of excessive water. Other than providing drainage holes, the use of soil with drainage properties is also important. Use of compost, organic matter, compost, coco coir, peat moss, sphagnum moss, perlite, and other amendments is greatly important to get good repotting results.
Swiss Cheese Plant Common Problems and How to Treat.
Insect Pest Problems
As a houseplant monstera is prone to be attacked by the common insect pests including spider mites, fungus gnats, scales, thrips, and mealybugs. Although there are fewer pest species in indoor conditions, these pests can easily move from one part to another part.
Mealybugs: The presence of mealybugs can be identified by the presence of fuzzy and sticky dots on the points where leaves are attached with the stem or on the lower sides of the leaves. These bugs suck the cell sap from the leaves and can cause significant damage to the growing plants.
Thrips: These pests can be identified by the presence of tiny, light brown insects that sticks to the veins of the leaves. They cause discoloration in the form of spots and complete removal of their populations requires great care and attention.
Spider mites: These are specks and can be easily identified from the web tails they leave on the lower sides of the roots. They pop up in the presence of dry air and can quickly infest the complete foliage.
Fungus gnats: These are smaller flies, and more damage is caused by their larvae. The larvae feed on the monstera roots and cause significant damage in search of root exudates (certain compounds released from roots of growing plants).
Scales: These are armored bugs and can stay motionlessly on the stems of plants. These pests also suck the sap from growing plants and can cause death in case of severe infestations.
No splitting in monstera deliciosa leaves is an indication that the plant is not able to reach maturity. No or less light is the major reason for no splitting and the problem can be resolved by placing the container in bright conditions. The plant does not split when it is in early growing conditions, and there is nothing to do with management and care at this time. Growers can observe intricate fenestration with time and follow the right care and management.
Leaf browning is a common issue in the monstera deliciosa and can be caused due to low humidity, underwatering, and overwatering. Excessive water application and retention may cause root rotting that in turn lead to the appearance of blackish or dark brown spots on its leaves. The appearance of light brown crisping is also an indication of the damaged rooting system and reduced capabilities of plants to use water.
The appearance of brown spots along with leaf curling, and drooping is an indication of underwatering. Growers can easily avoid this problem by optimizing the watering schedules according to the needs of growing plants and prevailing environmental conditions. While low humidity levels in the surroundings can also cause the appearance of crispy leaf edges and leaf browning.
Blackening of monstera deliciosa foliage is caused due to infection, nutrient toxicity, nutrient deficiency, sunburn, diseases, and root rotting. Although diseases are uncommon in the monstera deliciosa species, unfavorable conditions may cause the development of fungal and bacterial diseases. Bacterial leaf spots can cause the development of yellow hollows and black spots. The problem of diseases can be easily resolved by the use of efficient bactericides and fungicides.
The blackening of leaves is also an indication of over or under-fertilization. Therefore, growers must optimize the application of organic and inorganic fertilizers after properly testing the nutrient status in the soil and requirements of plants. Other than blackening imbalanced nutrient application can also cause discoloration on the leaves. This plant requires good sunlight exposure for better growth and development, but prolonged exposure can cause the appearance of black spots on the leaves. So, growers must avoid the sudden harsh exposure of sunlight to the growing plants.
The problem of leaf drooping in monstera deliciosa can be identified by the wilting of plants. The major reasons for leaf drooping include infestations, shock, temperature, and underwatering. The problem of leaf drooping can be avoided to a greater extent by regulating the watering schedule according to the surrounding conditions and needs of growing plants. Temperature stress is also a major reason for leaf drooping so growers must not place the monstera deliciosa plants in too cold or too hot environmental conditions.
Monstera deliciosa plants are fussy about sudden changes in the environmental conditions and growing media. Therefore, repotting can be evident after repotting as well and the plant can restore its health in a short time. However, the provision of the right and optimal growing environment is greatly important to get good growth. Overwatering, underwatering, and pest attacks can also cause leaf drooping by affecting the physiology and morphology of the roots.
Root rotting declines the overall health of the growing plant and can be caused due to low sunlight exposure, drainage problems, and overwatering. Root rotting is the most significant problem in the monstera deliciosa because it is irreversible and spread fast. It can cause the complete death of the rooting system and healthy growing plant. Growers can easily avoid the problem of root rotting by using grow media with good drainage capacity, putting drainage holes in the containers, optimizing the watering schedules and frequencies, and providing light to the growing plants by natural or artificial sources.
Usually, the symptoms of root rotting are greatly variable and can cause different effects such as leaf curling, drooping, leaf spots, blackening, browning, and yellowing. Therefore checking the watering schedule is the most important factor to minimize root rotting, drooping, browning, diseases, and insect pests attacks. Even though root rotting is irreversible damage but the extent of the problem can be minimized by timely assessment of damage, removal of infected plant parts, repotting into suitable and fresh soil, and improving the drainage capacity of the growing media. There is no need to worry about plant death even if the stems have been affected due to root rotting. The removal of these stems is helpful to minimize the damage and chances of further spread.
Where to Buy The Swiss Cheese Plant?
- Home Depot
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