Swiss Cheese Plant Care
The Swiss cheese plant (Monstera deliciosa) is so named for the oblong, decorative holes that develop in the plant's foliage as it matures. Also called the cut-leaf or split-leaf philodendron, this plant is a tropical vine that is often grown indoors as a houseplant. In the wild, the vine can grow upwards of 30 feet long, with individual leaves that measure three feet long. This vine grows very rapidly, but growth can be contained if it is planted in a container.
Monstera deliciosa is a tropical vine. As such, it should only be grown outdoors in United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) growing zones 10a-11. It does not do well in freezing temperatures. Indoor temperatures should be kept around 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the growing season, with a resting (winter) temperature of 50 to 60 degrees.
The Swiss cheese plant prefers filtered or indirect sunlight, as bright, hot sunlight can scorch the plant's delicate leaves, turning them black. Under a tree works well if you are planting the vine outdoors. Indoors, place the vine near a window that is exposed to morning sun and afternoon shade, or near a south-facing window.
Monstera deliciosa should be watered enough to keep the soil slightly moist. In most conditions, this means watering once every week during the growing season. Container plants may need more frequent watering than outdoor plants. This tropical plant will not tolerate cold water, so use lukewarm or room temperature water. Reduce watering to once every ten days in the winter. This vine also likes humid temperatures and can benefit from daily mistings or a nearby humidifier.
Soil and Food
The Swiss cheese plant thrives in alkaline soil that is well-draining. Soil with added peat moss and sand works well, or any commercial potting soil marketed for African violets. Newly planted vines should be fed once every two months with a low-dose, balanced (6-6-6) fertilizer. Established Monstera deliciosa vines do not need to be fertilized very often. Once a quarter is sufficient. Monstera deliciosa has tender roots, so err on the side of caution.
Monstera deliciosa is a toxic plant, so do not place it where pets can easily nibble on the leaves. It is also a very rigorous grower, so you will have to support it with stakes or tie the vine onto a trellis. Outdoor plants can be trained to wrap around a tree or other arbor.