If you’ve been on social media for the last couple of months, you must already have noticed the rise of houseplants’ popularity. While a lot of plants have made their debut on the feeds of countless houseplant enthusiasts, the genus Monstera has taken center stage.
If you’re thinking of adding this beautiful houseplant to your collection but have doubts on how to care for it, look no further. This guide covers everything you need to know about Monstera adansonii so you can adopt one, care for it, and make it part of your growing collection of houseplants.
The Monstera adansonii plant is native to South and Central America. It is a member of the Araceae plant family. Monstera Adansonii is a tropical perennial that is commonly grown as a houseplant.
Instead of developing huge indentations on its leaves like its cousin Monstera deliciosa, Adansonii develops large oval holes or “fenestrations” upon maturing, similar to the holes in Swiss cheese.
These holes do more than just filter light down to the plant, they also provide the adansonii the capability of resisting high winds by letting the breeze pass through its holes with minimal resistance. Additionally, the Monstera adansonii retains the full edges of its leaves so the holes stay holes instead of becoming indentations.
It’s notorious for growing quickly, taking less than 6 months to grow into an impressive height. It also loves to climb so if you provide it with a moss pole or trellis, it will readily wrap itself and grow around it.
The Monstera adansonii is often called the “Swiss cheese plant” or “five holes plant” because of its big heart-shaped leaves. It also goes by the name “monkey mask” or “Adanson’s monster.”
Monstera adansonii plants are flowering aroid plants native to South and Central America. They’re found on some Caribbean Islands and rely on indirect, bright sunlight. These plants can be commonly found growing on tree trunks at low altitudes in the deep jungles.
Like many aroids, the Monstera adansonii has two types of leaves: juvenile and adult. Adult leaves can be as big as 20 to 30 inches. When grown on a trellis, the plant can reach an impressive height of up to 13 feet.
Compared to its cousin, the Monstera deliciosa, Swiss cheese plants don’t become as big making them suitable for smaller spaces. They can be cultivated indoors and outdoors as long as they have the right environment for growth.
Instead of watering the Monstera adansonii in one go, it’s best to water it in small amounts at a time.
The soak and dry method is known to work best for this aroid plant. Water it, wait until the soil appears to be dry, and then insert your finger an inch into the soil to test for moisture.
If it’s still dry, add a bit more water, but if it’s already wet you can water it again after about 7 to 9 days in the warmer months or around 14 to 20 days during winter.
How Do I Know if It’s Not Getting Enough Water?
Dry soil indicates that your houseplant needs watering. While it’s essential to monitor the watering, you also have to make sure that the plant is not exposed to arid conditions. Remember, it’s used to a damp environment.
Other signs that your plant is getting too much water are leaves that curl inward, a drooping or leaning plant, and the production of leaves without fenestrations.
Leaf discoloration is another sign of an underwatered plant. If the leaves turn yellow, brown, or start dying, it can be a cause of concern. However, underwatering is not the only cause of dead leaves. It could also be due to overwatering, too much sunlight, or the presence of pests.
How Do I Know If It’s Overwatered?
An overwatered plant is just as bad as an underwatered plant. If you notice the leaves of your houseplant yellowing or have signs of lead edema, it’s time to modify your watering routine.
Excessive water can make the roots suffer, rot, and die. Without a stable root system, your houseplant will expire prematurely. Moreover, as the soil retains water, overwatering can prevent enough oxygen from reaching the roots, causing issues like root hypoxia.
It’s always better to give less water than too much and keep an eye out for any signs of overwatering. Bringing an overwatered plant back to health is significantly harder than dealing with an underwatered plant.
Since the Monstera adansonii’s natural habitats are rainforests and other jungle-like areas, you should keep it away from harsh light and direct sun exposure as they can burn the leaves.
You can leave your Monstera adansonii in the shade but be prepared to see significantly stunted growth. For it to flourish, it’s best to place it in lighting that mimics its natural environment. Placing it somewhere with partial shade works well too.
Low temperatures can damage or even kill your plant so make sure the temperature around your plant is warm at all times. Conservatory or greenhouse environments work well.
Although it can survive temperatures as low as 50 degrees Fahrenheit, it grows best in temperatures between 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you have a humidifier and place your Monstera adansonii near it, your plant will flourish due to increased ambient air moisture. It’s good to have a plate filled with rocks and pebbles under your houseplant and keep the rocks submerged halfway with water. Upon evaporating, it will directly increase the humidity around your plant, giving it the perfect environment to thrive.
Excessive water retention can do more harm than good for your Monstera adansonii in the long run. It’s thus important to watch your soil’s moisture retention.
Instead of experimenting with well-draining soils, opt for a high-peat potting mix. Peat moss absorbs its weight in water without becoming waterlogged. It will then distribute the water to the plant as and when needed.
Aim for a pH level from 5.5 to 7.0 as the adansonii grows best in slightly acidic soil. A good drainage system at the bottom of the pot will also be beneficial.
How To Propagate
The Monstera adansonii is commonly reproduced through propagation. Each of its stems develops aerial roots at the nodes. If you cut it just below its visible aerial roots, you can put it in some soil and begin a new houseplant, roots and all.
Of course, there are chances that there may not be any aerial roots visible. In such situations, you can still propagate your adansonii by planting a cutting with 3 or more nodes along the stem.
Remove all the leaves from the cutting, except the ones at the tip. Dip it in rooting hormones and place it in the soil with 1 node submerged. Keep the climate humid and the soil moist to facilitate new growth.
You can also propagate it in water. Put the cutting in a jar of water and then transfer it to soil once you see noticeable growth. When doing so, remember that developing new roots takes time and requires patience.
Given the right conditions, this fast-growing plant will quickly need more space so you may want to transfer it to a bigger pot. However, if you’re growing it as a houseplant, you can’t afford to let it grow to a disproportionate size. There’s also an added risk of your adansonii developing root rot when placed in a bigger pot.
Generally, we like to keep the Monstera adansonii slightly cramped in its pot. But how do you know when the time is ripe for repotting? Check the bottom of the pot. If the roots are growing out from the bottom of your pot, it’s time to transfer it to another one, preferably a taller and thicker one than the last. Make sure that the pot you use has good drainage from the base.
You’ll want to give your Monstera adansonii enough room to grow to ensure that root rot doesn’t set in so go a size up when repotting, but don’t transfer it to a pot that’s too big for it either.
Common Pests And Diseases
Just like most plants, the Monstera adansonii is susceptible to pests and diseases. Here are common ones with the adansonii houseplant.
Spider mites, mealy bugs, whitefly, and scale insects are some of the most common pests encountered with the Monstera adansonii. If you have a small colony of insects on your Swiss cheese plant, you can easily remove them by using a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol.
For bigger insect populations and spider mites, spray the leaf surfaces and stems with neem oil. This should get rid of your pest problem. If it does not, you can use a pyrethrin-based organic pesticide to get rid of the little buggers.
Monstera adansonii is susceptible to fungi-related diseases. If you notice yellow or brown spotting on the leaf’s surface, take action before it spreads to cover the entire leaf.
Alternaria leaf spot and septoria leaf spot are common variations of fungi that colonize the leaves of your Monstera adansonii. With plants, it’s always best to use organic solutions to rid them of diseases. Bearing this in mind, use a copper-based fungicidal spray to take care of alternaria and septoria leaf spots.
The Monstera adansonii is toxic to animals. If you have a dog or cat, it’s best to strategically place this houseplant where your pets can’t reach it. If they chew on its leaves, it can result in difficulty swallowing, excessive drooling, irritation, mouth swelling, and vomiting.
Monstera adansonii’s easy maintenance, unique leaves, and rapid growth make it one of the best houseplants to have around. With a little care and know-how, you won’t have to wait long before seeing it flourish and grow to a strong and beautiful plant.