This post shares swiss cheese plant or monstera deliciosa care tips. Growing monstera deliciosa indoors is easy, and this beautiful plant will make a great addition to your home.
Monstera Deliciosa Care Guide
What kind of plant loving blogger would I be if I didn’t have a post about caring for your monstera deliciosa? The stunning monstera deliciosa plant, sometimes also referred to as the swiss cheese plant or just simply cheese plants, is native to Central America and can help turn any suburban home into a tropical oasis. (I would know.)
The plant gets its name from the fact that it can grow up to 30 feet (monstera, or monstrous) and produces edible fruits (deliciosa, or delicious). Note that your houseplant varieties won’t do either of these things, but they are still fab plants. They are also non-toxic to cats and dogs, so bonus points for the pet parents.
Is a Monstera Deliciosa the same as a Split-Leaf Philodendron?
No! This stumped me for a while. The first monstera deliciosa plant I bought was actually labeled as a “split leaf philodendron.” But the monstera deliciosa is part of the same family (Araceae) as philodendron, they are totally different plants.
The monstera deliciosa belongs to the monstera genus, while philodendron plants belong to the philodendron genus. (Note though, that monstera deliciosa care and philodendron care are very similar—both pretty easy!)
But the two plants are often confused for one another when it comes to naming conventions, probably because the monstera deliciosa does have some similarities in appearance with the lacey tree philodendron (philodendron bipinnatifidum), which also has a split-leaf look. Nevertheless, they are totally different plants.
Like easy-to-care-for plants? You’ll also love my guides on how to take care of snake plants, how to take care of pothos plants, how to take care of rubber plants, how to care for elephant ear varieties, how to care for philodendron, tips for taking care of succulents indoors, how to care for prickly pear cactus pads, and how to care for peperomia plants.
Growing monstera deliciosa indoors: Light needs
This monstera plant is famous for the holes in its leaves—holes that sometimes grow so large as the leaf grows that they split the leaf. It’s likely that the leaves have this pattern as a way of adapting to harsh conditions in the rainforest—think heavy rain and whatnot.
But although the tropical monstera deliciosa comes from the rainforest, it’s a perfectly adaptable plant that grows quite well indoors as a houseplant. The biggest challenge is getting enough light. Monsteras thrive in bright, indirect sunlight.
You don’t want to keep this plant in a room that only gets a bit of sunlight. I have mine in a corner of a room that gets decent light in the morning and great indirect bright light all afternoon and early evening.
When new leaves form, they twist out of a rolled-up-looking stem. The leaves are shapes like hearts and are solid when they first form, but they quickly begin to sprout their famous holes and splits (fenestrations) as the leaf gets bigger.
However, when I first got my monstera deliciosa, it needed some major TLC. The leaves looked awful, and barely any of them had any fenestrations at all. Not to mention they had bird poop and dust all over them. It really needed some love!
I took the plant home and put it in a pot as it was, slowly cutting off old growth as new growth emerged. Just a few weeks later, the plant was already beginning to look a million times better, and all of the new leaves had the beautiful holes and slits you’re accustomed to seeing.
If the leaves on your plant are turning yellow, your monstera might be getting too much direct sun (note that this could also be a sign of overwatering, so use your best judgment there).
Watering Guide & Soil Needs
Speaking of water, monsteras are fairly low maintenance when it comes to watering. While they are actively growing during the spring and summer, you should shoot to water them as soon as the soil dries out.
It would hurt if you forget to, but watering promptly will help to encourage new growth. Like other houseplants, you only need to water once every few weeks in the winter.
The monstera deliciosa is pretty tolerant of most houseplant soils. I have mine in a well-draining indoor potting soil. You can add in some coco coir or moss to help with moisture retention without keeping the soil too wet, too. I add in some for a lot of my houseplants.
If you don’t have a drainage hole in your pot, make sure you build some drainage in so the roots aren’t sitting in water. You can help to avoid this problem by not overwatering—but the best way to avoid it is to plant your monstera in a pot with a drainage hole so you can water thoroughly and let the excess drain off.
As a general rule, if your plant’s top 2 inches of soil are dry, it needs a drink. You can add a bit of houseplant fertilizer to your watering can once a month or so during the spring and summer to encourage growth. I am now just adding worm castings into my soil every spring to help the plant.
Temperature & Humidity
Because it originates from the rainforest, the monstera deliciosa likes warming temperatures and adapts well to most normal household temperatures. It will not be happy in the cold, though. It also likes high humidity but will do well with average household humidity.
If you don’t want to increase the humidity of your entire room or home, you can mist the leaves to help it retain moisture. Occasionally on humid summer days, I set my monstera just outside on the patio to get a big of nice heat and humidity.
However, don’t yank this plant around too much by drastically changing up its conditions. You can usually keep a stable environment for your monstera by just avoiding heat or cooling registers in the home. Low humidity or harsh forced air from HVAC registers can lead to browning tips on the leaves.
Pruning, Repotting, and Training to Grow Tall
The best way to prune an unruly monstera is to cut back stems at the nodes in the spring. These can then be replanted (see propagation section below). As your monstera grows, you will want to repot it every year or so depending on how quickly it’s growing.
If you’re caring for it perfectly and it is otherwise not doing great (brown tips on the leaves, for example), it may be unhappily potbound and need a bigger home. When I repotted mine last spring, it absolutely EXPLODED in growth. It was so potbound and was dying for a new home.
The monstera deliosca has aerial roots to help support the plant as it grows. If you do nothing with the roots, the plant will spread out as it grows, needing a big space. If you’d like to train your monstera to grow tall, however, you need to plant it with a moss pole. This will give the aerial roots something to grab on to for support as it climbs.
Propagating Monstera Deliciosa Plants from Cuttings
Propagating your monstera deliciosa plants from cuttings is easy. In the spring or summer, cut a leaf and stem at the node. You can either plant the cutting in moist soil and keep moist until it begins rooting, or you can put the cuttings in a vase or cup of water. The cuttings should root in either moist soil or water in just a few weeks.
If you like propagating plants, see my guides for how to propagate pothos from cuttings, the different ways to propagate snake plants, how to propagate prickly pear cactus pads, and how to propagate rubber plants. Also be sure to read how to stake indoor houseplants and see the roundup of my indoor planter DIYs to help you decorate with houseplants!
So is my monstera deliciosa going to grow fruit?
Even if you follow all of the essential monstera deliciosa care tips, probably not. Especially if you’re growing it as a houseplant. Although they can grow to be taller than a tall human when they are indoors, they probably won’t grow fruit indoors.
That’s because the plants must flower before growing fruit, and they rarely flower indoors. If you’re growing the monstera deliciosa outdoors in an area that mimics the plants natural habitat, you may be lucky enough to have your plant flower and fruit.
My Monstera Update!
I’m popping back in to update this post…I want to share how amazing my monstera is still doing! I just repotting it from its original planter—it was long overdue. But there has been a lot going on, and I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect pot (that’s also not super expensive).
I finally found one and got it painted up, so I repotted my monstera. Below is a series of photos: first the totally overgrown monstera in its pot, then the plant pulled out of the pot—you can see how root bound it was! I’m sorry, plant 🙁 And then a few photos of it happy in its new home.
I also added a bamboo stake and some vinyl rubber ties to help bunch some of the branches together since the plant is getting so wide. (Check out my post about how to keep tall potted plants from falling over if you’re interested!)