Monstera deliciosa: magical easy care indoor jungle plant

This post may contain affiliate links, and we will be compensated if you buy after clicking. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases on our links.

Photo of author
Written By Martin Cole

Plantsman, gardener, plant-obsessive

Monstera deliciosa

Monstera deliciosa: the Verdict

Monstera deliciosa is a great house plant due to its striking appearance, relative eas of care, and its air purification abilities. Its quick growth rate and ease of propagation make it ideal for novice and experienced plant enthusiasts alike.

  • Ease of Care: 5/5 – Hardy and tolerates a degree of neglect.
  • Visual Appeal: 5/5 – Unique leaves make it a stunning statement piece.
  • Value for Money: 4/5 – Initial cost can be high for larger plants, but rapid growth and ease of propagation provide long-term value.
Monstera deliciosa

Basic Needs

Light

Water: growth period

Water: dormancy

Humidity

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5 Star House Plant

Pros

Dramatic visual appeal

Air purifier

Ease of care

Grows quickly

Cons

Can outgrow small spaces

Toxic to people and pets

Aerial roots can be untidy

Leaves can accumulate dust

Monstera deliciosa

US Buyers

Monstera deliciosa

UK Buyers

Uk

Star Ratings

We rate plants from 1 to 5 stars based on Ease of care, Visual appeal and value for money. See further details here: How we test & score products

Full details care requirements are in the care guide below.

Monstera deliciosa, commonly known as the Swiss Cheese Plant, originates from the tropical forests of Southern Mexico and Panama. In its native habitat, it is found in the dappled sunlight, clambering up the tree trunks under the rainforest canopy. It thrives in the high humidity and warm temperatures.

But, interestingly Monstera deliciosa is a pretty versatile plant. I’ve seen it grown happily in the parks and gardens of Sydney, Australia, where temperatures can dip into single figures Celsius in winter. It also thrives in the nooks and crevasses of Sydney’s reserves – and in fact can take over and threaten the native vegetation.

Grown as an indoor plant, this evergreen perennial is prized for its large, glossy, heart-shaped leaves with distinctive splits and holes. It is a popular choice for an indoor plant due to its striking appearance, air-purifying qualities, and the drama its size brings to a room.

This is a plant that is pretty easy to care for and it will reward even beginner gardeners with robust growth. Display it as a floor plant in a well-lit corner, or train it to climb for a spectacular vertical display.

Monstera or philodendron?

People often confuse Monstera with some of the large leaved Philodedrons, like Philodendron Solloum.

While both types of plants can have green shiny, deeply lobed leaves, the key difference is that only Monstera leaves have holes. The lobes of Philodendron Solloum leaves are divided, but they do not have actual perforations on the leaf surface.

Philodendron leaf on left. Monstera leaf on right, showing perforations in the leaf surface

Monstera deliciosa quick care guide

  • Light: Bright, indirect light
  • Water: Allow top inch or two of soil to dry between waterings
  • Humidity: Prefers 40-50% humidity, mist leaves when the atmosphere is particularly dry, e.g. because of heating
  • Temperature range: 18-30°C (64-86°F)
    • Minimum: 15°C (59°F)
  • Soil: Well-draining aroid mix (with bark, perlite and/or other aggregates to promote drainage).
  • Fertiliser: Balanced liquid fertiliser in spring/summer
  • Propagation: Stem cuttings in water or moss
  • Repotting: Every 2-3 years in spring, size up 2-4″ pot
  • Pruning: Remove dead or damaged leaves and stems
  • Leaf Cleaning: Dust can accumulate on the large leaves, so gently wipe them with a damp cloth to keep them healthy and glossy.

All about Monstera deliciosa

Monstera deliciosa is not just another houseplant. Here are some of its more interesting features:

  • Aerial Roots: Monstera plants develop long aerial roots that help them climb. Indoors, these can be guided onto a moss pole or trimmed if preferred.
  • Support Structures: To encourage vertical growth and maintain desired shape, provide a sturdy support, such as a moss pole or trellis.
  • Variegated Varieties: Variegated Monsteras, like the rare Monstera deliciosa ‘Variegata’, require more light to maintain their variegation.
  • Leaf Splitting: Young Monstera leaves are whole and develop splits as the plant matures. Adequate light and proper care will encourage this natural process.
Monstera deliciosa - aerial roots

Monstera deliciosa aerial roots

Monstera deliciosa fruit

The plant produces edible fruit known as Mexican breadfruit in tropical environments.

The fruit takes 1-2 years to mature and ripen. It looks like a green ear of corn and turns yellow when ripe. The ripe fruit has a sweet pineapple-banana flavour and texture. It can be eaten raw or cooked.

Outdoors, the fruit is often eaten by indigenous peoples and wildlife in Central and South America. The fruit is high in vitamins C, K and B vitamins, and contains antioxidants.

Indoors, the plant rarely flowers or fruits. Mature plants grown in optimal conditions may occasionally fruit.

Unripe fruit is very toxic and should not be eaten due to its high calcium oxalate content.

Monstera deliciosa - unripe fruit
Monstera deliciosa – unripe fruit

Monstera deliciosa key facts

  • Scientific name: Monstera deliciosa
  • Meaning of name: Monstera is the genus name; “monstrous” due to its size. Deliciosa relates to the fruit which is edible when mature.
  • Common names: Swiss cheese plant, split-leaf philodendron (but note, it is not actually a Philodendron).
  • Plant family: Araceae
  • Place of origin: Southern Mexico, Panama
  • Type of plant: Evergreen perennial climber
  • Size (grown indoors): Up to 10 feet (3m) indoors
  • Foliage: Large, glossy, perforated leaves
  • Flower: Rare indoors, a white spathe and spadix
  • Fruit: the Monstera can produce fruit that tastes similar to a combination of pineapple and banana when grown in ideal conditions outdoors. Beware – the fruit is very toxic if unripe.
  • Toxicity: The leaves of Monstera species contain insoluble calcium oxalate crystals that can cause irritation and upset if ingested.

Monstera deliciosa growing notes

If you follow the care guide above, you won’t go far wrong with Monstera deliciosa. But there are some additional points to bear in mind in relation to light and propagation, which I deal with below.

You can also read more about house plant care in general in our comprehensive guide to the 7 critical requirements of house plant care here.

Light

Monstera deliciosa prospers in bright to medium indirect light. Too much direct sunlight can scorch the leaves, while too little can stunt growth and prevent the leaves from developing their characteristic holes.

East or west-facing windows draped with sheer curtains are ideal spots for your Monstera, ensuring it receives the right amount of light without the harshness of direct sun.

House plant bright light
Monstera delicisosa ideal location for optimum light

Propagation

Propagation is most successful in the spring or early summer. The simplest method is to cut a 6-inch stem segment just below an aerial root and leaf node. Place the cutting in water or moist soil until roots develop, then plant in a pot with appropriate potting mix.

Monstera deliciosa
Monstera deliciosa

Common Problems and Solutions

Monstera deliciosa is generally problem-free, but there are a few points to look out for.

Monstera deliciosa troubleshooting guide

Leaves and shoots

  • Yellowing Leaves: can be caused by over-watering. Let soil dry between waterings.
  • Brown Tips: typically caused by under-watering or low humidity. Water regularly and mist leaves.

Roots

  • Caused by poor drainage. Ensure your pot has drainage holes.

Pests

  • Mealybugs, scaleinsects. These can especially become a problem when the atmosphere is too dry. Try to keep the humidity up, especially when heating the home in winter. You can deal with the bugs by wiping with alcohol-dipped cotton or use insecticidal soap.

Diseases

  • Fungal infections. Avoid overhead watering and improve air circulation.

Winter care

Expect the Monstera to grow more slowly or not at all during winter. Therefore, reduce feeding and watering to match this dormant period. Also try to make sure the plant is kept away from cold drafts. If the air is dry, increase humidity with a humidifier or pebble tray.

Read more about how to overwinter your house plants here.

Buy

So, if you’ve got this far and are feeling like you can’t resist this beautiful plant, I’ve listed some buying options below – depending on whether you are US or UK based.

The buy links are affiliate links, which means I’d be paid a (very) small commission if you go on and buy after clicking these links. But that does not affect the price you pay.

Monstera deliciosa

US Buyers

Monstera deliciosa

UK Buyers

Uk

Other great Monstera

Consider Monstera adansonii for smaller spaces; it has similar care needs but smaller, more perforated leaves.

The ‘Borsigiana’ variety of Monstera deliciosa is a compact option, and the variegated ‘Albovariegata’ adds a splash of white to the foliage.

Other great foliage plants

See our guides to caring for these other great foliage plants:

Key references and resources

Alloway, Z and Bailey (F). (2018) RHS Practical House Plant Book: Choose The Best, Display Creatively, Nurture and Care, Royal Horticultural Society, UK.

Camilleri,L and Kaplan, S. (2020), Plantopedia: The Definitive Guide to Houseplants, Smith Street Books.

Hessayon, Dr D.G. (1991) The New House Plant Expert, PBI Publications, UK.

Brickell, C. (2016). Royal Horticultural Society AZ encyclopedia of garden plants. 4th Edition Dorling Kindersley.

Squire, D. (2017). Houseplant Handbook: Basic Growing Techniques and a Directory of 300 Everyday Houseplants, CompanionHouse Books.

Nelson, G (2021). Plant – House plants: Choosing, Styling, Caring. Mitchell Beazley. London

Brickell, C. (2011). American horticultural society encyclopedia of plants and flowers. Penguin.

Leave a Comment