If you want one post that has everything you need to know about monstera adansonii care, you’ve found it! I’m sharing it all, plus all about how to propagate adansonii cuttings.
All about monstera adansonii care!
Today we’re talking about the monstera adansonii plant, which has a neat nickname: the Swiss cheese plant. It gets this adorable name from its delicate, heart-shaped leaves that develop holes, much like swiss cheese.
It’s relatively easy to take care of and loves to climb and link on to stakes or trellises. If you’re growing it indoors, it’s best as a tabletop or hanging plant because it will cascade beautifully. It also looks lovely on the edge of a shelf.
A cousin of the monstera deliciosa
Several other species use the Swiss cheese plant nickname, including its cousin the monstera deliciosa, which is a much larger plant. The deliciosa is an easier to find plant, I’d say. I often see it at big box nurseries and have even heard of it going for really affordable prices at Costco.
Monsteras are a genus of 45 plants, all native to tropical regions. The name monstera comes from “monstrous” because of the oddly shaped leaf holes that members of the genus have. However, the adansonii is one of the smallest, making it a perfect houseplant.
Where is the monstera adansonii from?
The monstera adansonii originates from Central and South America, but it has been found as far north as Mexico. They are flowering jungle plants that grow deep within the rainforest, relying only on indirect, bright light. The leaves evolved into the shape of a heart to maximize the amount of sunlight they capture, even with their large holes.
You may be wondering, why do they have those holes in the first place? Well, they actually serve a purpose. The plant is designed to withstand high winds and heavy rain by letting it literally pass through them. Since you probably won’t be growing your Swiss cheese plant in inclement tropical weather, their unique holes will serve more as a conversation starter than a survival tactic.
Monstera adanonsii light needs
Monstera adansonii plants originate from deep within the tropical rainforests in Central and South America. That means they survive on the indirect sunlight that manages to break through the canopies above. Therefore, in your home this plant will only need indirect, bright light.
Try putting it by a north or south facing window, or six feet away from a bright window. It’s an ideal plant to hang, which makes adjusting the amount of light it gets a little easier. I wouldn’t worry too much about this plant getting too much light if you have it indoors. My mom’s large adansonii is in a very sunny window, and it got bright indirect light all summer long outside and was fine. (The foliage burned with direct sun.)
How much do I water my adansonii plant?
Like other plants that have tropical origins, watering is a tricky balance of moist and dry. The best way to gauge your watering is to test the top inch of soil. If it is dry, it’s time to water it again, if not, give it another day or two. Typically you should be thoroughly watering it once a week.
However, if you are in a place that is extra dry, it might require twice a week. This is almost certainly the case if you have your plant outside for the growing season. I had mine outside and I watered every few days; it can get really hot here in Maryland and suck all of the moisture out of the soil.
Monstera adaonsonii leaves turning yellow
If its leaves begin to yellow, that’s probably a sign you’re not watering correctly. Like a lot of lush green houseplants, the foliage starts turning yellow when they are getting too much water. This is because the roots are getting waterlogged and need more air. They’ll eventually start to droop and die off. You can’t reverse this either, sadly 🙁
To fix the damage done on the plant, make sure to ease off the watering. Trim the yellow leaves. Inspect the roots to make sure there are no dead, mushy, or gray roots. If there are, trim them off and let the roots air out for a few hours. Replant in fresh soil and begin to water a few days later.
The Swiss cheese plant requires moisture retention in its soil, therefore it will grow best in a peat-based potting soil. Peat is designed to trap moisture in the soil without making it soggy. It them slowly releases that water to the plant. The pot it’s in should have proper drainage as well, to make sure excess water does not remain trapped. Adansonii plants grow best in slightly acidic soil, with a pH range of about 5.5 to 7.0.
Monstera adansonii care: Temperature & humidity
Plants from the jungle grow best in high temperatures with extra high humidity. The closer you can create that without turning your living room into a greenhouse, the better. Placement has a lot to do with getting your Swiss cheese plant enough warmth, so choose a well-lit room that gets plenty of heat during the day, without scorching the plant with direct sunlight. It should always be above 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
One of the most important aspects of monstera adansonii care is humidity. Jungles are insanely humid, therefore Swiss cheese plants thrive on as much moisture in the air as possible. You can increase humidity by misting the plant frequently, keeping it above a pebble water tray, or even near a humidifier if you want to take it a step further. Also keep in mind, growing plants closer together raises the humidity naturally.
Monstera adansonii propagation
Propagating a monstera adansonii plant is very simple! The best way to go about doing this is with stem cuttings and rooting hormone, which will help the roots sprout. On the plant’s stems, you’ll notice nodes, use those as a guide to know where to cut. With sharp scissors, cut right below a node and either dip it in rooting hormone and plant it in moist soil or place it in a jar of water.
Keep this jar in a warm, safe place to allow the roots time to grow. You can ensure they’re getting enough moisture by covering the top of the jar with a plastic bag. But generally this is a very easy plant to root and propagate.
Once roots have appeared, if you have the plant cutting in water, you can take the stems and place in fresh peat-based potting soil. Keep them out of direct sunlight, and make sure there is plenty of humidity to help the roots take hold. To check if your plant is growing properly, tug gently on the stem and check that the roots are anchored.
Monstera adansonii and mosaic virus
Now for the yucky stuff. Instead of going over the list of normal pests that the monstera adansonii might fall victim to—like gnats, thrips, spider mites, etc.–I want to talk about something terrible and awful: mosaic virus. Mosaic virus affects more than 150 types of plants. Signs of mosaic virus are discolored leaves that can actually look kind of pretty, blistered-looking or raised foliage, and deformed or wrinkled growth.
It can be hard to identify mosaic virus in a plant because the leaf discoloration and deformed leaves can look a lot like damage from other pests. The most distinct sign of mosaic virus, I think, is the blistered or raised foliage. Here are a few pictures of what highly suspected mosaic virus looked like in my mom’s adansonii plant.
Mosaic virus can come from other plants, and pests can move from plant to plant spreading the virus. Mosaic virus often affects vegetables like cucumbers, so if you have a veggie garden and your houseplants outside for the summer, it can spread that way. Some of the plant groups on Facebook have also said that there was a large crop of adansonii plants with suspected mosaic virus—and they were the ones that were sold in big-box garden stores. I can’t confirm this, obviously, but lots of plans have shown signs of it.
This is bad news because once a plant has the virus, there is no saving it. You have to chuck it, or at the very least, totally isolate it. Some plants can live looking relatively happy with mosaic virus, a lot like my mom’s adansonii. She isolated it to a room in the basement where there are no other plants. However, it’s always safest to just destroy the plant.