Cheryl Discenza – Halton Master Gardener
As outdoor gardeners are transitioning to more time indoors as the cooler seasons arrive, the value and health benefits of having indoor plants is monumental. My favourite houseplant is the Monstera deliciosa. This iconic plant is known for the holes and slits in its large stunning leaves. Its fascinating foliage is the reason why it is commonly known as the Swiss Cheese plant or the Split-leaf Philodendron. We’ll discuss its beautiful leaves in a little bit. But first, this plant is native to central America from the southernmost part of Mexico to Panama. Hardy to zone 10-12, It can also be found in tropical and subtropical locations where it has been introduced over the years. In temperate climates the Monstera deliciosa is found indoors as a popular houseplant. It can grow to 20m tall in nature, however, as an indoor plant, it will reach between 2-3m tall at maturity. In areas where it grows wild, with the right conditions, it will produce an edible fruit. It was given its botanical name Monstera deliciosa due to it’s monstrous or abnormal foliage and its delicious fruit. The fruit taste has been described as a combination of pineapple and bananas.
For the love of fenestrations! Fenestrations are the holes and slits in the leaves that gives this plant the tropical feel that attracts people. This is a naturally occurring phenomenon that only a few plants experience, including Monstera adansonii and Rhaphidophora tetrasperma. Although the evolutionary reason for the perforated leaves is unknown, some guesses include protecting the leaves from high winds, allowing rain to run down to the leaves below, or to let the sunlight travel to the underlying leaves.
Not only does the Monstera deliciosa help create your own indoor jungle, but it is very easy to care for and is a great beginner plant. This plant will thrive with a medium to bright indirect light. Allow the top 50% of the soil to dry out between waterings. Make sure to rotate your plant regularly as it will grow towards the light. Wiping the leaves clean from dust and debris will increase the plants health and yours as well as it always a relaxing experience. This vining plant will need to be staked to maintain a striking upright appearance. We take ours outdoors in the warmer months, in a shaded location, where the plant flourishes with our summer heat, humidity, bright light and fresh rainwater!