Monstera plant care. How not to kill your Swiss cheese plant

Essential care for Monstera

Monstera Deliciosa is often called Swiss cheese plant, Split leaf philodendron, or Philodendron monstera. Mature Monstera plant develop rounded slits, or windows, in their leaves that resemble the holes in Swiss cheese. These holes help the plant withstand strong winds

Is Monstera plant easy to grow?

Monstera plant is easy to grow and tolerant of occasional neglect. This handsome foliage plant produces dramatically perforated leaves to 12 inches (30cm) long, or sometimes larger. A climber that attaches itself to a post with aerial roots, monstera makes a bold, vertical accent plant in large spaces. Over 7 years it can grow to 6–8 ft (1.8–2.4 m) tall.

Swiss cheese plant can can grow to 6–8 ft (1.8–2.4 m) tall over 7 years
Swiss cheese plant can can grow to 6–8 ft (1.8–2.4 m) tall over 7 years

What to expect when growing Swiss cheese plants indoor?

When grown outdoors in tropical areas, monstera produces edible fruit but plants seldom flower and fruit when grown indoors.

Healthy plants produce a steady parade of pencil-thick aerial roots, which gather moisture from the air. Secure roots that emerge near the base of the plant into the soil, and train others to cling to the plant’s post.

Monstera plants produce a steady parade of pencil-thick aerial roots
Monstera plants produce a steady parade of pencil-thick aerial roots

Is Monstera Deliciosa fruit edible? And where to buy one?

Actually monstera fruit is edible, but only when it ripes. A lesser-known fact is Swiss cheese plants sometimes called the “fruit salad” plant. The name comes from the fact that when ripped, Swiss cheese plant’s fruit is very delicious and it tastes like a combination of fruits in a fruit sale: banana, strawberry, guava, passion fruit, mango, and pineapple.

However, the fruit takes about 10 months long to ripe. And eating unripped fruit give your mouth and throat a burn because of Calcium Oxalate in unripped fruits. You can order the fruit online from a farm in Miami for 100-150$ a box

Is the Swiss Cheese plant poisonous for my pets?

The leaves of this plant are poisonous and can cause a severe burning sensation in the mouth if eaten by people or pets. If your pets accidentally eat the plant and show signs of distress, you can try to wash their mouth using running water, or take them to the vet.

The leaves of Monstera plant are poisonous for human and pets
The leaves of Monstera plant are poisonous for human and pets


Monstera plant essential care guide

  • Light: This plant prefers moderate to bright light, but no direct sun.
  • Temperature: Average to warm (65–85°F/18–29°C).
  • Fertilizer: From spring through summer, feed your monstera plant every 2 weeks with a balanced houseplant fertilizer. In winter, feed monthly.
  • Water: Allow the soil to dry to within an inch of the surface between waterings. Water less in winter than in summer.
  • Soil: A heavy mix comprised of 2 parts clean, bagged topsoil, 2 parts peat moss, and 1 part sand or perlite. Re-pot monstera every other spring. Keep plants in a large pot that provides room for the planting the aerial roots that emerge near the base of the plant. Mature plants require the support of a stout wood post.

What is better propagation methods for Swiss cheese? Step cutting or Air layering?

When the plant outgrows the space you have for it, propagate a vigorous stem tip by air layering or by rooting it as a stem tip cutting. Air layering is the easiest and most reliable method for monstera

You can also propagate monstera using bottles of water
You can also propagate Swiss cheese plant using bottles of water

How to bring out the beauty of Monstera plant?

There are many varieties of Monstera. Most plants have glossy, dark green leaves, but variegated forms are available. Over time, these may revert to all-green leaves. Young plants without windows in their leaves are sometimes sold as Philodendron pertusum.

To bring out the beauty of this plant, clean leaves often to keep them vibrantly glossy. This is an ideal floor plant for large spaces. It can fill the corner of a brightly lit room, or you can use it to divide space in large, open corridors.


Swiss cheese plant: Top 5 most common problems

Top 5 most common Swiss cheese plant problems

Monstera leaves has brown tips

CAUSE: Soil too dry.

REMEDY: Water more frequently, using rainwater or distilled water. If your monstera dries out completely, rehydrate pot…

New leaves are small or lack perforations

CAUSE: Too little light; too little fertilizer.

REMEDY: It is normal for young monstera plants to develop leaves without holes or slits, but when new leaves on older plants fail to develop perforations, the plant needs more light and fertilizer.

My monstera has yellow leaves and shrivel to brown

CAUSE: Natural in winter when temperatures and light levels are low. In summer, yellowing leaves are caused by uneven watering, which makes the soil too wet or too dry.

REMEDY: Clip off failing leaves with sharp scissors. Water more frequently to keep soil evenly moist.

My monstera has white cottony on stems and under leaves

CAUSE: Mealybug.

REMEDY: Isolate plant, and remove mealybugs with tweezers or a cotton swab dipped in alcohol. Repeat every few days until mealybugs are gone. The open growth habit of this plant makes it easy to remove mealybugs by hand.

Leaves pale, with faint webbing on leaf undersides

CAUSE: Spider mites.

REMEDY: Isolate plant, and thoroughly clean leaf undersides with a soft cloth or sponge dipped in soapy water. Repeat after a week. Regular cleaning of leaves will prevent this problem, as will keeping plants in a moderately humid place. Monstera is less likely than other houseplants to become infested with spider mites.


Conclusions

Monstera is the must-have plant in your house because of its handsomeness. It’s very beginner-friendly and can immediately add a tropical touch to your house. Make sure to follow the tips in this article and keep the plant out of reach of pets and children to have a healthy plant.

When and how to apply fertilizer for your plants

The primary energy force for plants is light, but they also need nutrients that support strong growth. Here are some fertilizer guidelines and helpful tips

When should I fertilize my plants?

As a general rule, fertilize plants whenever they are actively producing new growth, which for most plants is spring to fall when light levels are high. Plants kept under lights should also be fed in winter, but feeding plants that are resting in weak winter light can do more harm than good.

Apply fertilizer when the soil is moist
Apply fertilizer when the soil is moist

Apply fertilizer when the soil is moist. Plants that have been stressed by dry soil conditions may take up more nutrients than they can use when fertilized before they have a chance to rehydrate roots, leaves, and stems.

Avoid this when fertilize your plants

Withhold fertilizer from newly purchased plants or plants that have been moved to a new place, because the task of adjusting to new conditions is difficult enough without the additional pressure to produce new growth.

Withhold fertilizer from newly purchased plants
Withhold fertilizer from newly purchased plants

How often should I fertilize my plants?

As a broad general rule, wait at least 6 weeks after repotting plants in fertilizer-enriched soil before you begin feeding them again. Plants usually need no fertilizer for several weeks after they are repotted into potting soil that includes fertilizer.

Wait at least 6 weeks after repotting plants in fertilizer-enriched soil before you begin feeding them again
Wait at least 6 weeks after repotting plants in fertilizer-enriched soil before you begin feeding them again

Most potting soils do include a bit of starter fertilizer, and it is best to allow plants time to make use of these nutrients before giving them additional food. Knowing when to begin feeding freshly repotted plants is part of the grower’s art because several factors influence the rate at which the plants use the fertilizer, including light, temperature, frequency of watering, size of the root mass, and overall growth rate of the plant.

Types of fertilizers

There's are so many forms for fertilizer to choose from
There’s are so many forms for fertilizer to choose from

There’s are so many forms for fertilizer to choose from — liquid concentrates, powders, crystals, tablets that dissolve in water, spikes that are pushed into the potting soil, or time-release fertilizers, which are coated granules that slowly release nutrients as they dissolve.

Liquid fertilizer for plants

For most plants, the best choice is a liquid or mix-with-water powder or crystal form, which gives you tight control over how much fertilizer goes into the pot. One is no better than another, though liquids dissolve very quickly, and do not clump or melt when exposed to high humidity as powders and crystals sometimes do.

Liquids dissolve very quickly, and do not clump or melt
Liquids dissolve very quickly, and do not clump or melt

Both liquids and soluble powdered fertilizers are available as organic products, derived from natural materials, or you can use synthetic forms (plants don’t seem to be able to tell the difference). Spikes are quite unpredictable and should be used only when you anticipate a long absence when you must leave your plants in the hands of an inexperienced plant-sitter.

Slow release fertilizer

Very large, long-lived houseplants such as palms, Norfolk pines, and others that grow into small trees can easily be fed by scratching 1–2 tsp/5–10 ml of coated time-release fertilizer into the top .5 in/1.25 cm of soil.

You can also use a balanced organic fertilizer, which releases nutrients slowly as it decomposes
You can also use a balanced organic fertilizer, which releases nutrients slowly as it decomposes

You can also use a balanced organic fertilizer, which releases nutrients slowly as it decomposes. With either organic or time-release fertilizer, a small amount of fertilizer dissolves and moves down into the soil each time the plant is watered. Commercial growers use these products extensively, and you will often see a few round yellowish or greenish pellets on the soil’s surface of newly purchased plants. It is fine to leave these alone until you repot the plant. When you replace the soil, simply discard them along with the old potting soil in any convenient outdoor bed.

Infographic: How to choose the perfect Containers for your plants

The containers you choose for your houseplants are the only home they know, but they are part of your home, too. This balancing act — providing containers that meet the needs of your plants while also pleasing you with their presence — is not difficult if you keep a few fundamental guidelines in mind. These include size, drainage, and material.

We’ll dive into the details below, but we also put this info into this awesome infographic. Please help to share it so people can be more mindful when choosing containers for their plants.

Infographic: How to choose the perfect Containers for your plants

Share this infographic on your website

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Container garden guide. All you need to know about container

Size

How to choose the correct container size

Regardless of the material from which a container is made, its size should be proportional to that of its occupant. As a rule of thumb, measure the height of the plant from the soil line to the highest leaf. Divide this number by 3, and you have a good guess as to the ideal diameter of the container, measured in inches.

Choose containers in proper proportion to the size of the plant. A container that is about one-third as tall as the plant often works best
Choose containers in proper proportion to the size of the plant. A container that is about one-third as tall as the plant often works best

Choosing containers size for low-growing plants

This equation won’t work with low-growing, vining plants or small, squat cacti, so the next size-wise guideline is to choose the smallest container that will accommodate the roots of the plant.

Choose the smallest container that will accommodate the roots of the plant
Choose the smallest container that will accommodate the roots of the plant

There are two reasons to go small with containers. One is that small containers have a dwarfing effect on plant size, which is usually desirable under indoor conditions. Second, soil that is not employed in the service of roots tends to hold onto excess moisture, which in turn sets a tempting table for fungi that cause roots to rot.

Deep containers vs Shallow containers

Some plants with shallow surface roots do better in a low, squat container
Some plants with shallow surface roots do better in a low, squat container

The diameter of the top of the pot (the measurement between opposite edges) is usually about the same as its depth. However, some plants with shallow surface roots do better in a low, squat container.

Notice, too, that pots that narrow toward the base are prone to toppling over when planted with tall plants, though they are fine for small ones. Heavy pots with attached drainage dishes are often ideal for top-heavy plants. If a tall plant insists on tipping over, move it into a square planter that sits solidly in place.


Drainage

Several midsized drainage holes are better than one large one
Several midsized drainage holes are better than one large one

Whatever their size or shape, containers for plants must have drainage holes in the bottom through which excess water can escape. Several midsized drainage holes are better than one large one.

Many gardeners place a piece of screen over the holes to keep soil from coming out along with excess water, but it is better to leave the holes unobstructed. That way, you can check for the presence of roots growing out of the bottom of the pot, and if drainage problems develop you can reopen the holes by poking them with a skewer, awl, or pencil.

Line the bottom of the pot with a thin layer of pebbles or broken crockery when repotting your plants
Line the bottom of the pot with a thin layer of pebbles or broken crockery when repotting your plants

If soil loss is a big concern, simply line the bottom of the pot with a thin layer of pebbles or broken crockery when repotting your plants. A half-inch of loose pebbles or broken crockery improves drainage too.

Unfortunately, many beautiful brasses, ceramic, or hand-thrown pottery planters do not include drainage holes. Holes can be drilled into plastic or fiberglass, but don’t try this with fine ceramic or pottery. Instead, use these as cachepots, the term used to describe “containers for your containers.”

Place an inch of clean pebbles in the bottom of the cachepot, and set your plant in a container that can be slipped inside the drainless one. (It’s common to use a thin plastic pot for the inner one.) As long as the water is not allowed to form a deep puddle that keeps plant roots too wet, this double-potting system works quite well. If you accidentally overwater, be sure to drain off any excess that pools up in the bottom of the cachepot.

If a decorative container has no drainage holes, line the bottom with a layer of pebbles, and grow your plant in a well-drained container that can be slipped inside the prettier one and set on the pebble bed
If a decorative container has no drainage holes, grow your plant in a well-drained container that can be slipped inside the prettier one and set on the pebble bed.

Containers materials

When purchased, most plants are grown in plastic containers. Plastic is lightweight, holds moisture well, and seldom breaks as plants are packed and shipped. There certainly are attractive plastic containers, but those supplied by greenhouse growers are more practical than pretty. Once a plant has had a few weeks to adjust to conditions in its new home, a container upgrade is usually in order. Possible materials include clay, better plastic, fiberglass, and ceramic.

Terra-cotta clay pots

It is hard to criticize the handsome good looks of a healthy houseplant situated in the favorite choice, a clean clay pot set atop pebbles in a matching tray. Earth-toned clay pairs well with plants, and in the interest of uniformity, some people grow all of their plants in clay pots.

Earth-toned clay pairs well with plants, and in the interest of uniformity, some people grow all of their plants in clay pots
Earth-toned clay pairs well with plants, and in the interest of uniformity, some people grow all of their plants in clay pots

Because it dries quickly, clay is the preferred container material for plants that like periods of dryness between waterings, such as bromeliads and orchids. If you find that clay pots dry out too fast, you can paint their insides with paraffin or any color of latex paint. Or you can shop for dense Italian clay pots, which usually have “Made in Italy” stamped on the bottom. These cost more than comparatively porous Mexican-made pots and are usually a shade darker in color.

Plastic pots

Always supplying superior moisture retention, plastic pots come in a variety of colors and finishes. Those with a dull matte finish often must be tapped with a finger to see if they are ceramic or plastic! Many plastic pots also have snap-on trays, which do a great job of capturing water that drips from the bottoms of the pots (an especially desirable feature for hanging baskets). If you want a container in an unusual shape, such as an oblong box or a certain size of the pedestal, you are most likely to find it in plastic.

Plastic pots come in a variety of colors and finishes
Plastic pots come in a variety of colors and finishes

Glazed ceramic containers or fiberglass containers

Designed to look like fine clay or ceramic, these are usually the pots of choice for formal living rooms. Good-quality fiberglass containers can be costly, but with a little care, they will last a lifetime. Some contain enough metal to create a burnished finish, and fiberglass containers can be painted or antiqued if you want to make them fit a certain color scheme. Fiberglass containers are also quite lightweight, which makes them a top choice for large houseplants. Better garden shops carry fiberglass pots in a range of sizes and colors, including many that are replicas of classic Mediterranean styles. Select these with the same care you might put into choosing a piece of furniture.

Fiberglass containers are also quite lightweight, which makes them a top choice for large houseplants
Fiberglass containers are also quite lightweight, which makes them a top choice for large houseplants

Smaller plants are most appropriate for ceramic containers, particularly pots that include an attached or matching drainage tray. When protected from abuse, ceramic containers often outlive the plants they are partnered with, so keep versatility in mind when investing in ceramic pots. Neutral grays and browns are easy to work with and do not compete with plants for attention.

Smaller plants are most appropriate for ceramic containers, particularly pots that include an attached or matching drainage tray
Smaller plants are most appropriate for ceramic containers, particularly pots that include an attached or matching drainage tray

Some tips for choosing containers

When interior decor is your priority, it is usually best to choose the container before you choose the plant
When interior decor is your priority, it is usually best to choose the container before you choose the plant

When interior decor is your priority, it is usually best to choose the container before you choose the plant. Once the container and plant are in place, you may find that a third element, such as a small piece of statuary, works magic in bringing the composition to life.

Keep in mind that flat surfaces, such as floors, tabletops, and windowsills, are not the only places to keep plants. Various types of hardware — including hooks, chains, and fiber hangers — can be used to turn almost any container into a hanging basket, or you can use a container designed to be suspended from a hook. This is often a great way to give a plant bright light that might otherwise be wasted.

When installing a hook in the ceiling or mounting hanging hardware on a wall, make sure it is firmly anchored into a joist (the solid pieces of wood behind sheetrock). Otherwise, only very light plants, such as air plants, will be suitable for hanging.

Hanging containers are often a great way to give a plant bright light that might otherwise be wasted
Hanging containers are often a great way to give a plant bright light that might otherwise be wasted

How to clean your plants. Cleaning 4 types of houseplants

How to clean your plants. Cleaning 4 types of houseplants
How to clean your plants. Cleaning 4 types of houseplants

Beyond regular grooming, one of the simplest ways to improve the appearance of your plants is to keep them clean. Like other indoor surfaces, plant leaves often collect dust, though they also filter dust from the air through their transpiration processes. Removing this dust helps the plants by improving photosynthesis and transpiration. Once-popular leaf-shine products make leaves extra glossy, but, like dust, they can block the leaf pores, making it difficult for plants to exchange gases and release moisture. Instead of using commercial waxes, try using a half-and-half mixture of milk and water to bring out the sheen in naturally shiny plant leaves.

Instead of using commercial waxes, try using a half-and-half mixture of milk and water to bring out the sheen in naturally shiny plant leaves.
Instead of using commercial waxes, try using a half-and-half mixture of milk and water to bring out the sheen in naturally shiny plant leaves.

Wait until after your plants are clean and dry to wipe containers with a soapy cloth to remove dirt and fingerprints. This is also a good time to rinse out drainage trays — the final step in giving your entire indoor garden an orderly facelift.

Cleaning fine foliage houseplants.

Plants with finer foliage can be cleaned with a gentle spray of water. In summer, it is usually easiest to take plants outdoors, set them in a shady spot, and spray them from all sides with a very fine spray of water. (If the pots need to be leached to remove excess salts, both tasks can be accomplished at the same time.) To allow time for especially nasty deposits of dirt to soften, wait 10 minutes or so after the first shower and then spray plants again. Gently shake off water and allow the plants to dry in a place protected from the strong sun before returning them to their usual place.

Plants with finer foliage can be cleaned with a gentle spray of water
Plants with finer foliage can be cleaned with a gentle spray of water

If you must clean plants indoors, you can invite them into your shower or set them in a bathtub or sink and clean them with water from a spray bottle. Direct spray from a bathroom shower is often too harsh for houseplants, so the spray bottle method is usually best. Adding a few drops of dishwashing liquid to a quart of water in the spray bottle helps loosen dirt and dust so it floats off easily. Be sure to rinse cleaned plants well with lukewarm water before shaking off water droplets and returning plants to their places.

To clean the foliage of plants with hairy or finely cut leaves, tape a plastic produce bag over the pot and soil, then swish the foliage in a pan of warm water. It helps to loosen the dirt if you mix a few drops of dishwashing liquid into the water.

With some plants, such as ferns or others with fine leaf hairs that trap dust (velvet plant and piggy-back plant are two examples), you may want to submerge the foliage in warm, soapy water to get them clean. To avoid an unnecessary mess, enclose the container and the base of the plant in a plastic bag, firmly taped in place. Fill a deep sink with lukewarm water with a small amount of dishwashing liquid added, and hold the plant upside-down while swishing it through the water. Allow the plant to drip dry before shifting it back into bright light.

How to clean hairy leaf plants

African violets and other plants with hairy leaves can be submerged, or you can use a soft paintbrush to sweep dust and debris from the leaves. African violets and some other hairy-leafed plants will develop leaf spots if water droplets do not dry promptly, or if the plant is exposed to bright sunlight while the leaves are wet. After cleaning, shake off excess moisture and turn on a gentle fan, which will circulate air and speed drying time.

You can use a soft paintbrush to sweep dust and debris from the leaves
You can use a soft cotton swab to sweep dust and debris from the leaves

Cleaning Cacti plants

To clean spiny cacti, use a cotton swab to remove dirt and dust that persists after the plants have been sprayed with water.

Instead of using commercial waxes, try using a half-and-half mixture of milk and water to bring out the sheen in naturally shiny plant leaves.
To prevent bruising of leaves, and to do a better job of cleaning leaf crevices, support the back of a leaf with one hand while sponging or wiping the other side. Be sure to clean both sides, because many pests hide on leaf undersides.

Large-leafed plants

Although it’s a slow process, the best way to clean large-leafed plants is to do it by hand, one leaf at a time. Use a soft cloth or sponge and a pail of warm, soapy water, and support one side of the leaf with one hand while you wipe over the surface with the other. Clean both the top and undersides of each leaf. Along with dust and dirt, you may find yourself wiping up light infestations of spider mites and other tiny insects from leaf undersides. Don’t hurry, because this can be a very enjoyable chore that gives amazing results. Scientists have pointed out that such intimate contact between plants and their keepers benefits both parties. As you gently work them over, your plants are bathed in your breath, which is rich in the carbon dioxide they crave.

The best way to clean large-leafed plants is to do it by hand, one leaf at a time
The best way to clean large-leafed plants is to do it by hand, one leaf at a time