The cheese plant (Monstera deliciousa) is an evergreen commonly grown as a houseplant. Desirable for its large, glossy, delicately cut leaves, the plant is often called the split-leaf philodendron or the swiss cheese plant due to the appearance of the foliage. Monstera deliciousa is a vigorous grower. The vines can reach lengths and heights of 30 feet if left unpruned, according to Edward F. Gilman, a horticulturist with the University of Florida. In the right climate, care for this plant will not require much.
The cheese plant is native to the tropical jungles of central America. For this reason, it will only thrive outdoors in similar environments in the United States, namely the USDA growing zones 10B through 11. These areas are limited to the southern portion of Florida, a small area of the southern California coast and Hawaii. Keep indoor plants mildly warm, with temperatures averaging in the low 70s. If the temperature drops below 50 degrees, the plant will suffer.
One of the reasons the cheese plant makes an excellent houseplant is that it can thrive even in low-light conditions, according to Gilman. In the wild, this plant grows in the shady understory of the forest. Monstera deliciousa will do fine with some sunlight as long as it is not direct. The direct rays of the sun will scorch the plant's large, thin leaves.
Water the cheese plant often during the growing season. Do not let the soil dry out, but keep it cool and moist. Use warm water that is not rich in minerals, such as rain water. Do not use so much water that the soil becomes waterlogged, as standing water can contribute to the development of root rot. Empty the water-catch tray beneath container plants as soon as the soil stops draining.
These hardy plants can grow in almost any type of soil save those that are heavily alkaline, according to Gilman. Monstera deliciousa will tolerate clay or sandy soil, as well as acidic soils, but prefer rich, loamy soil. Use a potting mixture that includes peat moss and sand for good drainage, or amend your outdoor soil with these materials, plus some organic mulch.
Like many shrubs and vines, the cheese plant can suffer from a number of insect pets. Luckily, these are not usually serious infestations. If mites, scale and mealy bugs infest a cheese plant, rinse them off the plant with a hose or spray with an insecticide. There are no diseases that threaten the life of this vine.