Swiss Cheese Plant—How to Monstera adansonii

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This "Swiss cheese plant" is an excellent example of why using common names is confusing. Various plants are called Swiss cheese plants, including Monstera deliciosa and this little beauty, Monstera adansonii. To further complicate the situation, this same plant is sometimes labeled M. friedrichsthalii or even a philodendron. In truth, the M. adansonii is unique. These climbers have striking, perforated deeply green leaves that will make you the envy of any plant collector worth their sphagnum peat.

But be warned: M. adansonii is an expert-level plant for most growers.

Growing Conditions:

Light: Bright light, but not direct sunlight.
Water: High humidity. Keep soil continuously moist throughout spring and summer, and reduce watering in the winter.
Temperature: Prefers warm and humid conditions. Keep above 60ºF if possible, but it can survive brief cold spells with some die-back.
Soil: A very well-drained potting mix, including plenty of perlite. Almost an orchid mix.
Fertilizer: Feed regularly with liquid fertilizer throughout growing season.

Propagation:

Propagation by stem cuttings with a rooting hormone. Keep cuttings warm and protected until new growth emerges.

Repotting:

In nature, M. adansonii are climbers, scooting up rainforest trees into the canopy and enlarging as they grow. Most growers, however, use them as trailers or hanging plants, which necessitates less frequent repotting. Repot every other year as needed, and refresh potting soil annually.

Varieties:

There are actually 41 species of Monstera, including the M.

adanonsii. All of them are native to Mexico, Central and South America, although some of the species are likely extinct in their native habitat. Like many aroids, M. adansonii has two leaf forms—juvenile and adult. Most plants in garden centers will feature juvenile leaf forms, with the characteristic holes in the leaf. Much of the confusion surrounding this species is due to the fact that the plant changes forms several time as it ages and no two plants look exactly the same.

Grower's Tips:

M. adansonii is best grown in a conservatory or greenhouse, where humidity, temperature and light are all maximized. These are deep-jungle plants that thrive on very high humidity, lots of moisture during the rainy season and high temps. Adult plants are also climbers, so they can be aggressive if grown correctly. The closer you can mimic the plant's natural conditions the better—choose well-lit, warm and humid bathrooms or kitchens, or mist plants frequently. Move them outside in the summer and water daily, along with ample fertilizer.
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