Monstera are species of evergreen tropical vines and shrubs that are native to Central America. They are famous for their natural leaf-holes, which has led to the rise of their nickname, Swiss Cheese Plant. The Monstera's leaf-holes are called fenestrations and are theorized to maximize sun fleck capture on the forest floor by increasing the spread of the leaf while decreasing the mass of leaf cells to support.
Two different species of Monstera are cultivated as houseplants - Monstera deliciosa and Monstera adansonii. Monstera adansonii is distinguished from M. deliciosa by having longer, tapering leaves, as well as having completely enclosed leaf holes. Monstera deliciosa leaf holes eventually grow towards the edge and open up as they mature.
Part of Araceae, the Aroid Family, they are one of the few aroids that produces edible fruit, particularly, Monstera deliciosa, though they rarely flower or produce edible fruit indoors. Monsteras, like many aroids, were made known formally to the botanical world during the early 20th century, although they had been known for much longer by the indigenous peoples of Central America.
Thrives in bright to medium indirect light. Not suited for intense, direct sun but can be acclimated to withstand it.
Water every 1-2 weeks, allowing soil to dry out between waterings. Expect to water more often in brighter light and less often in lower light. Pro tip: Monsteras can benefit from filtered water or water left out overnight before using.
Most houseplants prefer temps in the 65°F-85°F range (18°C-30°C). It’s best not to let it go below 60°F (15°C).
The Monstera is an easy-going plant and is generally pest-free. Treat pests as soon as they appear with weekly sprays of a natural pesticide like neem oil and regular wipe-downs of the plant.
SYMPTOM: Leaves turning brown and crispy at the edges
CAUSE: Thirsty plant, underwatered or high salt build up
SYMPTOM: Wilting plant, dry potting mix
CAUSE: Underwatered or pot-bound
SYMPTOM: Yellowing leaves or black stems, wet potting mix
Monsteras can be irritating to cats, dogs, and humans if foliage consumed. Best practice is always to keep houseplants out of reach of small children and pets.