Monstera plant belongs to dracunculus family, and one of the most well-known philodendron house plants. It originated in tropics of America. The most often mistake in writing is “manstera”, but whatever the spelling, this flower has been very well-known for a long time and has a lot of admirers. Monstera plant has multiple names. It is also called ceriman, split-leaf philodendron, swiss cheese plant (or simply cheese plant), delicious monster, monster fruit (often misspelled as monster fruit), fruit salad plant and so on.
Monstera deliciosa is mostly grown as a house plant. The same is its ‘sister’ monster obliqua. It is a big fast growing liana. The first young monstera leaves are small and heart-shaped, but while the plant is growing its leaves can become of sufficient size (up to one meter) and have symmetrical deep cuts. Monstera leaf is of dark-green colour and shiny. The leaves have an interesting peculiarity – when the atmosphere is too humid, which is quite often in damp tropics, they remove excessive moisture through special stomata situated on the edges of leaves. It’s an interesting fact that swiss cheese plant “cries”.
On the lower part of the trunk opposite every leaf air-roots are formed. They help mostera flower get extra nutrition and support. They shouldn’t be removed.
Monstera deliciosa is not a capricious flower. When cared of properly it can grow up to 5 meters and more, so monstera fruit is considered to be a plant for large premises.
Monstera deliciosa does not blossom easily. The flower looks like a closed white lily, the fruit is edible, but you can get them only under the conditions of a greenhouse or a hothouse. According to the descriptions the fruit smells good and tastes like either banana or a pineapple, but monstera plant is not grown because of its flowers or fruit. This flower attracts with its powerful, beautiful shiny leaves and can decorate any interior.
Caring of monstera plant means creating conditions close to its natural living conditions.
The temperature should be above +16 Centigrade. If the temperature is lower, monstera philodendron ceases growing. In winter take care not to let temperature drop below +12. At this the temperature-humidity balance should be observed. In winter, if the temperature is rather low the plant should be watered less but the soil must still be kept damp. When the temperature is normal, monstera deliciosa or monstera obliqua grows watering should be abundant, but the soil between the waterings must dry out a little. Looking after monstera also includes sprinkling and washing the leaves with warm water. You can add some milk in the water so that the leaves were shinier.
As the majority of philodendrons monstera does not like direct sunrays, but this does not mean that it must be put in a dark corner. When there is lack of light the plant stops growing, the monstera leaves become small, lose their colour, right symmetrical cuts are not formed on them. Bright ambient light or half-shadow are necessary for the plant to grow properly.
You shouldn’t forget about air-roots, which must not be removed. In order that split-leaf philodendron got more nutrition and moisture air-roots must be directed to the soil, besides additional support is used in the form of a pipe made of plastic net with moss or peat that are constantly kept damp. Such artificial damp trunk keeps air-roots damp and creates humidity for the whole ceriman plant. In the premises with central heating and very dry air the plant needs to be sprinkled.
Monstera deliciosa is a big plant. It needs a big pot (30 cm in diameter). There should be drainage in the bottom of the pot to make your swiss cheese plant feel well. The soil consists of equal parts of compost earth, sand and peat. Every two years monstera must be transplanted. As it grows it requires a bigger pot.
MONSTERA DISEASES. PLANT PESTS.
Monstera deliciosa being cared of properly rarely ails, and it shows by its looks all the breakings of management rules and conditions.
Like, if moisture appears on the ends of leaves, it means that the humidity is too high. The soil should be dried out a little. Otherwise the stalk will rot, the leaves will become yellow and flabby. You will have to take emergency measures: cut the rot, transplant into the other pot, reduce watering (especially when the temperature is low).
Other monstera plant diseases are connected with extra-dry air, when heating systems are turned on in winter. In this case new leaves grow dark and small and the old ones become dry and brown (especially the edges), and then fall down. The pot with split-leaf philodendron must be put far away from the heating battery, you should water the plant more, sprinkle it more often and observe the humidity of the additional support.
If the monstera leaves become yellow but there are no signs of rot or fading, it is the evidence of a lack of nutrition. The plant must be nourished regularly when it is growing. In summer you should do it once a week, in winter – once a month. To ensure additional nourishing air-roots must be deepened into the soil pressed to the earth with the help of wire brackets or you should direct them on the additional damp support.
Small pale leaves and leaves without cuts testify to the lack of light or too low temperature. In this case monstera ceases growing.
Plant pests do not stand aside from monstera either. Keep the leaves clean and the air damp. Red spider likes dry warm air, and armored scales like dirty leaves.
Red spider is a tiny spider of red colour. It appears on the lower edge of the leaves and envelops them with thin white web. It can be destroyed by sprinkling and washing the leaves, especially at their lower part, by weak tobacco solution with soap, by pollination (in the fresh air, outside the rooms) with grinded sulphur, or the plant can be treated by ready-made system insecticides. 2-3 hours after washing the leaves by solutions with soap they should be washed by warm water.
Armored scales or parlatoria have their name from waxy shield covering the body of an adult pest. When young a parlatoria is slightly visible but it propagates quickly covering the stalks and leaves with dark spots. Adult species are stationary and sit under the shields where from the larvae crawl out and spread all over the plant. They should be exterminated at this time by sprinkling with soap-and-tobacco solution where some kerosene or denaturated alcohol can be added. Adult pests together with their shields are removed by damp tampon, but the plant should be anyway treated by insecticide or soap solution to exterminate the larvae. Such procedures are to be repeated more than once.
MONSTERA DELICIOSA PROPAGATION.
Any philodendron house plant can be bought at any specialized shop but most often we obtain this plant from our friends and acquaintances that already have it. The easiest way to get a new sample of the plant is reproduction by stem cutting. For this the stalk is divided into parts. Each part must have not less than two buds. Then you put the cutting horizontally into the prepared volume with light soil in the way that one bud touches the earth. The cutting should be pressed to the soil by the bracket but not covered with earth. Cover it with the jar to keep it damp. Take the jar away from time to time for airing. When the first leaf appears the plant is to be transplanted to a permanent pot.
You can take an upper part of the sprout with air-roots as a cutting. Such cutting is cut from the maternal plant and planted into its own pot. Maternal plant carries on growing.
Reproduction by air-cutting is quite suitable for monstera liana. You should make a small cut on the stalk under the leave at the distance not less than 60 cm from the root. On this cut you put a damp moss and cover it with polyethylene film. In 4-5 weeks the roots appear. After this the air-cutting is cut out and planted in the permanent place and the old plant stays in its pot.