A guide to the Monstera Deliciosa

Monstera plants are the most iconic of all time. One peek at their holey leaves and you'll know - this is the Swiss Cheese Plant! In its natural habitat, Monstera thrives in tropical conditions where it produces edible fruit, so you cannot plant outdoors in the UK. Instead, the Monstera plant is a homebody, preferring warm and cosy Monstera Deliciosa care from the comfort of your living room, kitchen or bathroom.
Monstera Deliciosa | Prickle

You might be surprised to know that Monstera Deliciosa is actually a variety of climbing plants. Monstera has some other surprises in store for plant parents too. So, here at Prickle, we have written a complete guide to Monstera Deliciosa care. Whether you already have some plant babies to look after or you are a complete beginner, this guide will tell you everything you need to know.

How to care for Monstera Deliciosa

The Monstera Deliciosa plant is a tropical plant that has a native environment stretching from Southern Mexico to Central and South America. The plant is also known as the Swiss Cheese Plant and the Split Leaf Philodendron. You can quickly identify this beautiful plant by the foliage - Monstera leaves are large, dark green, glossy and voluptuous with splits and holes like a slice of Swiss cheese.

Care for a Monstera is relatively straightforward for a tropical plant. Here at Prickle, it is part of our Low Maintenance Plant collection and although it isn't suitable for homes with pets, it is a great choice for beginners nonetheless. With a large and leafy stature, it always makes a good first impression!

  • Origins: Central and South America

  • Light requirements: Bright indirect light

  • Water requirements: Consistent, when the top soil feels dry

  • Humidity requirements: Yes, all the humidity!

  • Soil requirements: Fertile and well-draining

  • Temperature requirements: 18°C to 27°C, minimum 13°C

  • Pruning requirements: Remove yellow, brown and leggy leaves casually

Is the Swiss Cheese Plant good for beginners?

Monstera is one of the best indoor plants for beginners as it is low maintenance and hard to kill. Unlike other plants that will drop leaves and be a bit of a diva when conditions aren't right, the Monstera will survive and let you know that it needs a change of pace. Adjusting conditions to get the right light, water, temperature and humidity will keep these tropical plants happy and healthy.

Monstera Deliciosa is toxic when ingested, so it should be avoided in homes with curious pets and small children. Another common problem is root health - as the plant loves moisture and humidity, you should make sure not to over-water.

Lil' Swiss Cheese | Prickle

How do you take care of Monstera Deliciosa for beginners?

Care for a Monstera plant is straightforward. Place it in an area with indirect sunlight, and water consistently, and give it a good misting daily. As the plant ages, it may need extra support in the form of a stake or pole. For beginners, the biggest issue will be knowing when to water the plant. Our advice is to get up close and personal - stick your finger into the soil and if the top inch is dry, it is time for water. If you feel moist or soggy soil, let it dry for a few days before watering. This will help you avoid root rot too!

Why you should wipe the leaves with a damp cloth

Plants love to receive enough light. It helps the mature leaves stay green and healthy, providing the plant with energy to grow. Even though Swiss Cheese varieties from Monstera Deliciosa to Monstera Adansonii prefer muted bright light, it is still important that they receive enough of it during the growing season. So, you should wipe the leaves with a damp cloth regularly to remove any dust build-up. It's a simple trick to keep this prickle glossy and perky.

What should you do with aerial roots?

Monstera develop these leggy growth wires that emerge from the main stem and shoots of the plant. These are known as aerial roots and they allow the plant to enjoy the air moisture of a humid environment. New plant parents can be a little shocked when they first emerge, but just like yellow leaves, they can be trimmed off in a jiffy. Alternatively, if you like the look of the jungle vines, leave them attached. The plant will be happy either way!

Swiss Cheese Plant | Prickle

Where should you place Monstera plants?

Monstera Deliciosa loves loves loves bright indirect light, plenty of humidity, and warm temperatures. So, the kitchen or bathroom is ideal. You could also place them in the living room by an eastern-facing window or conservatory, so long as it receives indirect or dappled light rather than direct sunlight. As Monstera can grow to great heights and lengths, they are also popular for large reception rooms and hallways. Don't forget to keep the potting soil well watered, as moist soil dries out quickly in bright spots.

Does Monstera prefer bright indirect light?

Yes! Most plants that grow in tropical and subtropical environments (including most Monstera varieties) are accustomed to light that filters through a thick canopy from above. So, bright indirect light is gold. Avoid placing the Monstera in direct sun for more than a few hours per day, as direct light can burn the leaves.

Does the Monstera plant need a moss pole?

Monstera can grow into quite a large plant, with Monstera leaves sprouting off long shoots from the main stem as well as aerial roots popping up here and there. Establishing a moss pole in the pot before the growing season (spring and summer, when natural light is brightest) will give the Monstera a natural frame to cling to. You can use clips or simply wind leaf stems around the moss pole to encourage it to grow taller with the additional support. This is not usually necessary, however, until the plant has grown to a few feet tall.

Do Monstera Deliciosa plants like to be in the bathroom?

Yes, the warmer temperatures, steam, and filtered natural light of a bathroom are heaven to a Monstera plant. Don't forget that while Monstera can tolerate low light levels, it still grows best when it has bright indirect light. If your bathroom is too shaded, the kitchen often provides more light and moderate humidity too. For small and shady bathrooms, we have a whole range of Bathroom House Plants to fall in love with.

Monstera Deliciosa Close Up Leaves | Prickle

How often should you water Monstera?

With Monstera Deliciosa, consistency and moderation are ideal. First make sure your pot has at least one drainage hole, as drainage holes allow excess water to filter out and this will prevent root rot. To figure out if your plant needs a drink, dig your finger into the top layer of soil. Let the soil dry before you add more water. After watering, you should feel moist soil. If you feel waterlogged in wet soil, you need to improve drainage! As for humidity, Monstera is up at the top end of the moisture meter.

Do Monstera like to be misted?

The Monstera plant will be thrilled if you have high average household humidity, as they love that warm steamy air. Although they like high temperatures, they aren't accustomed to a dry climate like a cactus. If your home has dry air (you'll notice dry soil and even dry skin occurs more regularly) then you can boost humidity by using a mister to spritz water on the plant leaves. The more direct sunlight the plant receives, the more humidity it will need.

You can also leave trays of water near the plant. Just make sure that you don't leave excess water sitting in the plant pot or in the plant pot saucer. While this will boost humidity, it will also make the soil too moist and could damage the health of the roots.

How fast does the Split Leaf Philodendron grow?

Monstera Deliciosa (and many other varieties like Monstera Adansonii) are fast growers. They take off once in the right conditions, crawling up a moss pole as they grow tall and wide. Although these plants love indirect sunlight and humidity, increasing the light and humidity won't speed up growth. Consistency is what this plant is all about! In your home, it may reach a maximum height of 3 metres.

Close up of leaves of swiss cheese plant | Prickle

Should you cut brown off Monstera?

If you notice brown leaves on your Monstera plant, this may be an indication of sunburn, under-watering, or low humidity. So, cut off these damaged leaves and move the plant to a low light position, water the soil, and increase your misting schedule. Brown spots on leaves can also be caused by transplant shock if your new plant has recently been delivered or re-potted. Again, remove these leaves and let the plant acclimatise to your home.

Why does the Monstera have yellowing leaves?

If the leaves begin to turn yellow, this is usually a strong indicator of over-watering. Ensure you use well-draining soil (switch to new soil if your current plant pot holds onto water like a sponge), have proper drainage holes, and only water when necessary, as this will help to restore your plant. You should also do a quick check for root rot - is there yellowing at the base of the stem, or an unpleasant aroma?

Remove any badly yellowed leaves and let the soil dry out completely before starting up your watering schedule.

Why does the Monstera have wilting leaves?

For Monstera Deliciosa, both under-watering and over-watering can cause the leaves to wilt. If you also have yellowing leaves and wet soil, you'll know it is from over-watering. When under-watered or lacking humidity, the leaves may curl or wilt too. Too much low light can lead to leggy, small and wilted-looking leaves as well. Furthermore, if your Monstera has grown quite large, it may naturally flop over - a moss pole can do the trick in this scenario.

Swiss Cheese Plant | Prickle

What fertiliser is best for this plant?

Monstera Deliciosa likes a balanced fertiliser. A slow-release fertilizer will help the plant receive nutrients throughout the growing season, just don't go overboard. When fertilising any plant, even when using organic fertiliser for organic gardening, it is important to follow instructions for diluting. You should also remove any water and fertiliser that comes out of the drainage holes, as usual.

How often should you fertilise the Swiss Cheese Plant?

Generally, Monstera Deliciosa needs to be fertilised only during the growing period. In the UK, this will be spring and summer when the days are longer and the temperature is warmer. When the plant is actively growing, you can fertilise it once or twice per month. If you are using sphagnum moss on the surface of your plant pot, let the plant take up the diluted fertiliser through the base of the plant pot. If you have recently re-potted your plant with fresh soil, it may have all the nutrients it needs without adding fertiliser. This advice also applies to other Monstera varieties, such as Monstera Adansonii.

When should you repot the Swiss Cheese Plant?

Monstera Deliciosa will sit happily in the same pot and soil until its roots no longer fit (they become root-bound) or the soil is compact and no longer fertile. If you spot roots coming out the bottom of the pot or the growth rate slowing, this can be a sign that repotting is required. For young Monstera, this is usually once a year. Early springtime is a good time of year to start!

To repot, fill a new pot that is 2 or 3 inches wider with some soil and gently ease your Monstera out of its small pot. Making the soil moist can help this process. You don't need to do anything to the roots, just place your naked Monstera in its new home, gently pressing the soil around and on top. Once repotted, give the Monstera a good drink of water to settle the soil, letting excess drain away.

What soil do Monstera plants prefer?

These plants prefer well-draining soil. If you are ordering your plant from Prickle, it will arrive in the perfect soil type. When it comes to repotting, look for fertile and well-draining soil that is slightly on the acidic side. There are many brands available that offer a basic tropical plant mix that will be ideal.

How to propagate Monstera plants

Although there are several methods for propagation that plant parents can use, the best for varieties like Monstera Deliciosa and Monstera Adansonii is through stem cutting. To do this, sterilise some gardening scissors and cut just below a node (this is the point where the leaf shoot meets the stem) to take a cutting.

Place this cutting in water, swapping the water for fresh water every few days, until you see roots begin to emerge and develop. Once you have some healthy roots swimming about, you can transplant into some naturally draining soil.

For more detailed advice on propagating your Monstera plants, read our Guide to Propagation.

Variegated Monstera | Prickle

Grow your home jungle with Prickle!

While you might spot the occasional leaf turning yellow or get a little bit too happy with the watering can, Monstera Deliciosa is one of the most low-maintenance and beginner-friendly plant varieties we have at Prickle. It's a firm favourite in the Large and Leafy family!

If you need some help separating out aerial roots and deciphering whether your plant needs more or less light, don't hesitate to reach out. You can contact us on social media @prickplantsuk or send us some electronic snail mail via contact@prickleplants.co.uk. We’re always here to hear you!

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