Live green plants in indoor environments have proven psychological and physical health benefits, as well as adding to the décor. Green plants and foliage help improve overall mood, lower stress, and improve mental clarity. Many people enjoy tending houseplants for these reasons and more.
If you are a houseplant lover who loves exotic, dramatic plants, then Monstera Adansonii is for you. It’s a unique looking plant that is easy to grow. Its large green oval leaves have interesting dramatic holes, which is why it’s nickname is Swiss Cheese Plant, Swiss Cheese Vine, or five holes plant.
With this guide you’ll learn all about growing and caring for your Monstera Adansonii.
Monstera Adansonii Origins and Interesting Facts
Monstera Adansonii is named for the 18th-century French botanist Michel Adanson, who traveled to Senegal to study plants. It’s part of the arum (Araceae) plant family that has more than 3,000 species of flowering plants. Some are flowering plants used in the floral industry and others are popular houseplants, including Monstera Adansonii. Some of the major species in this plant family you may have heard of are jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema Triphyllum), calla lily (Zantedeschia), dumb cane (Diffenbachia), and pothos (Epipremnum Aureum).
Swiss Cheese Plant is a tropical vine native to the West Indies, southern Mexico, and Central and South America. It’s an epiphyte, a vining or trailing plant that grows on another plant, and has aerial roots that attach to other plants to support it. Its native environment is warm and humid rainforest regions, where it can grow than twelve feet and larger up jungle tree trunks.
As a houseplant vine, it will grow three to five feet, trailing from a hanging basket or growing up a support like a trellis. Variegated or all-white adansonii variegata is very rare and very expensive, costing hundreds of dollars. But houseplant lovers who want a really eye-popping statement plant covet the even-more dramatic variegated or albino plants.
The slits or large holes in the leaves are called fenestrations, and allow the leaves to cover more area to reach sunlight. They generally won’t show up in plants that are younger than three years old, or in plants that are neglected and have improper growing conditions.
Monstera Adansonii Care
A Monstera Adansonii plant is not difficult to grow and take care of, but for the optimal growth and health of your plant, it’s important to know its ideal growing conditions. The most important part of Swiss Cheese Plant care is good plant care, paying attention to light, water, temperature, and humidity.
Montera Adansonii’s native habitat is warm and humid jungle environments, growing up tree trunks into the jungle canopy in bright indirect light. The plants will grow in lower light conditions but will grow more slowly and may get stressed. They shouldn’t be left in front of a sunny window in direct sun because the leaves will get sunburned. A corner in a bright room that gets light most of the day will provide the right lighting conditions for healthy growth.
Although Monstera Adansonii is a tropical plant, it does not like “wet feet” or soggy soil, so don’t let it sit in water or overwater it. Make sure it’s in a container with good drainage holes that lets excess water drain away from roots. You should let its soil dry out about 75 percent between watering, but never let the soil completely dry out. You definitely want to avoid a wilted plant, as that will stress your Monstera and affect its growth. Using a moisture meter and watering log will make it easier to avoid overwatering that can cause the root rot that kills this plant.
The temperature in the space you keep your Monstera Adansonii should be kept between 60 and 80 degrees for optimal growth. Warmer is even better, as it is a tropical plant. Don’t let the temperature drop below 55 degrees, and avoid sudden drastic temperature changes. Be sure to locate the plant out of cold drafts and away from heating and air conditioning vents or open windows that may aim blasts of air blowing at it.
Average household humidity is fine for Monstera Adansonii, but paying attention to moisture around the plant will help it thrive. Consider using a mister to spray the plant daily, or place a humidifier or pebble tray filled with water nearby to increase moisture in the air around the plant.
Use a lightweight potting mix for container growing for your Monstera Adansonii, with additional organic matter such as earthworm castings or mushroom compost, or compost you create with a Lomi Home Composter. Avoid overly sandy or loose soils and crusty, compacted soils. You want to get as close as possible to the plant’s natural environment soil, which is loose, rich jungle soil.
Plan to fertilize your Monstera plants once a month with a general houseplant fertilizer, although tropical plants need less phosphorus. Look for fertilizers formulated especially for tropical plants that has a lower phosphorus ratio than the other two common nutrients nitrogen and potassium, as well as added iron and magnesium that tropical plants need. With a rich potting soil that has organic matter, be careful not to over fertilize, which will also stress the plant. Use the right fertilizer at half strength monthly in the growing season from spring through summer, stopping in the late fall and winter months when natural light levels are lower and the plant will be growing less actively. Keeping a record of when you fertilize, like when you check soil moisture levels and water, ensures you don’t overfeed your Swiss Cheese Plant.
As your Monstera Adansonii grows, you may need to repot it, or transplant it to a bigger pot. Roots growing out of the bottom of the pot are a sure sign that your plant needs a bigger pot and fresh soil to continue healthy growth. To transplant to a larger pot, gently tap your plant out of its pot and put the plant’s rootball into a bigger pot with about two inches of fresh soil and organic matter in the bottom. Push the rootball firmly into the soil, then fill in more soil around the sides and on top of the root ball until the new pot is filled. Lightly water and mist your newly repotted plant. Conversely, if you want to keep your plant the same size and in the same pot, you’ll still need to tap it out of its pot, but instead of putting it in a bigger pot, you’ll need to trim the roots back as well as the foliage, and plant it back into the same pot.
Training a Monstera Adansonii vine to grow the way you want it to grow is as easy as either clipping vine ends to curtail growth or loosely tying stems to a trellis support or small hooks up the side of a wall. Just make sure whatever you use to affix the plant to the support is loose and does not cut into the stems, which will damage the plant.
As Monstera Adansonii is not edible and slightly toxic when ingested by humans and animals, make sure it is out of reach of pets and babies or toddlers. Eating leaves or stems can cause unpleasant and uncomfortable burning, vomiting, and swelling.
Pruning and Propagating Your Monstera Adansonii
Monstera Adansonii are easy to prune if you want to control the size of your plant. Simply use a clean, sharp pair of scissors to snip off the end of a vine, being careful to cut in between leaf nodes, not into a node.
You can either discard the snipped vine endings or put them in water to grow roots on your cutting that can then be planted. Be sure to keep the cuttings in clean water while waiting for roots to grow. If you like the way the cut vines look in water in a glass, you can also leave them there, although they won’t grow as fast in water as in soil.
Alternatively, you can plant the clipped vine foliage in moist soil to propagate new plants, watching for new growth and monitoring moisture so the soil doesn’t dry out or get waterlogged and attract fungus or pests.
Troubleshooting Your Monstera Adansonii
While a Monstera Adansonii vine is generally easy to grow and take care of, there are plant care issues to watch for that will adversely affect its health and growth, such as a wilted plant or yellow leaves.
Wilting indicates a problem that needs immediate attention to safeguard the health and wellbeing of your plant. There are various reasons your plant could be wilting:Under-watering will cause your plant to wilt, and eventually die if left neglected without adequate water.
- The first thing you should do when you see the leaves are wilted is to check the soil moisture levels, either with a moisture meter or by sticking your finger at least an inch or two into the soil. If the soil is dry that far down, you should immediately water the plant and mist the leaves well. Let the water run out of the bottom of the pot several times.
- Then closely inspect the space where your plant has been kept. Is it in a very dry space in your home where it is prone to dry out quickly? Is it in a drafty location or a location where warm air is blowing on it and making it dry out regularly? If so, find a better location for your plant’s health and add mulch like orchid bark for moisture retention.
- If your plant is wilted and waterlogged, take immediate action by tapping the plant out of its pot and inspecting the soil and roots.
- Remove the waterlogged soil and inspect for root rot, gently removing any slimy and obviously dead and decaying roots. Replace the soggy soil with fresh loose rich dry soil
Lack of Humidity - Monstera Adansonii’s native habitat is high humidity tropical jungles. It needs high humidity levels, up to 90 percent, but at least 60 percent. Anything lower than that will cause the leaves to lose water and wilt if left too long in dry air conditions. Use a hygrometer to monitor the humidity levels near your plant and be sure to either mist regularly or place a humidifier or a pebble tray with water nearby.
Pests like aphids, fungus gnats, spider mites, thrips, or scale will damage your Monstera Adansonii and eventually kill it if left unchecked.
If you see bugs or unusual signs of insect activity on your plant, inspect it closely. Look underneath leaves, in the soil, and in the plant’s roots. Look up the kind of insect you see and treat accordingly.
Many insect pests can be eliminated by washing them off leaves and stems with soapy water and treating the soil with neem oil, a natural pesticide. If you have surrounding plants, they should also be checked and treated for pests to prevent them from spreading between plants.
Paying attention to the proper growing conditions for plants will prevent most diseases. Two common houseplant diseases that can affect your Monstera Adansonii are Alternaria Leaf Spot and Septoria Leaf Spot. Both are from fungal growth from too much watering, poor drainage, and waterlogged soil. Alternaria causes brown spots on leaves and Septoria causes yellow leaves. They both require immediate action to remedy the soil conditions and treatment with a copper-based fungicide.
Add a Monstera Adansonii to Your Home
Monstera Adansonii is a beautiful, unique, and easy to grow houseplant that makes it the perfect statement plant or enjoyable hobby plant with its show stopper foliage. With attention to the right water, light, and humidity conditions, you will have a healthy lush specimen to enjoy and share with others if you’d like.