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Palm Garden / Walkways

Swiss Cheese Plant

​​​​​​Swiss Cheese Plant

Monstera deliciosa

  • ​​Common Name: Swiss Cheese Plant (other common names: Monstera, Ceriman, Windowleaf, Cut-leaf Philodendron, Split-leaf Philodendron, Philodendron Cheesecake, Monstera Cheesecake, Mexican Breadfruit)
  • Scientific Name: Monstera deliciosa
  • Family Name: Araceae
  • Origin: Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Panama.
  • Height: 40’ or more (up to 70’)
  • Width: unknown, can spread quickly, plant away from trees or they will take over
  • Growth: Fast
  • Zone: 10A - 11
  • Light Needs: grow best under light shade (filtered sunlight) too much sun exposure may cause leaf scorching. When grown in full sun they are more productive than vines grown in shade, although the leaves grown in shade are a darker green and more aesthetically pleasing, leaves grown in full sun tend to be light green and may show signs of sun burn (excessive sun exposure).
  • Salt Tolerance:  poor
  • Soil/PH/Texture: adapted to most well-drained soil types including sandy type soils, calcareous soils, and high pH. If you wish to add topsoil or compost to the native soil, mix it with the excavated soil in no more than a 50-50 ratio.
  • Soil Moisture: not tolerant of flooded or excessively wet soil conditions, periodic watering during dry periods will result in better growth and larger fruit.
  • Drought Tolerance: moderately
  • Pests/Diseases: In general, there are no major insect or disease problems.
  • Growing Conditions: Easy to grow and low maintenance besides pruning, if left uncontrolled, the vine may be somewhat invasive and have the possibility of taking over the landscape or climbing nearby trees, so prune periodically to control it.
  • Characteristics: This philodendron species has a cylindrical, thick stem 2” to 4” in diameter that may grow along the ground or, if allowed, will climb onto trees and structures. The vine may exceed 70’ in length if left unpruned, it is covered with leaf scars from previous leaves and it develops numerous, long, cord-like aerial roots. The heart-shaped leaves are held on stiff, 2’ – 3’long petioles. Leaves are green and large, 3’ or more in length by 2’ to 3’ wide, oval, deeply dissected along the margins and perforated on each side of the midrib with elliptic or oblong holes of various sizes. Several inflorescences/flowers develop from its leaf axils along the cylindrical stem. The spike is made up of numerous perfect flowers (containing male and female parts). The fruit is called a spadix and is made up of numerous berries.
  • Propagation: by seed, stem or leaf cuttings, suckers, and tissue culture
  • Wildlife: Toxic to cats and dogs.
  • Facts: Monstera was introduced to England in 1752, Singapore in 1877, and India in 1878. All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested and handling this plant can cause skin irritation or allergic reaction. On a different note, the fruit was introduced to the US in 1874, and is eaten as a fresh fruit, although the pulp may be used as an ingredient in desserts, contains large amounts of oxalic acid, and it is not recommended to eat large quantities of this fruit at any one time. The nutritional value of the fruit is not documented. The pulp should only be eaten from that portion of the fruit that easily falls off the core (stem). This is because immature sections of the fruit contain oxalic acid crystals that cause severe discomfort when swallowed.
  • Designer Considerations: use as a groundcover, in a planter on your patio or deck, or somewhere in the landscape that you do not mind it spreading.