How to Care for Swiss Cheese Plant?
With large leaves that are spotted with holes much like a Swiss cheese, the Monstera Deliciosa is a large-growing tropical plant that feels right at home even in an apartment setting.
This is a plant for new plant owners, or simply anyone who finds the foliage of this vining plant appealing. They’re easy enough to take care of and can beautifully complement the decor of your home.
Below I summarized the most important elements that go into caring for a Swiss Cheese plant, so you can easily get started with your Monstera plant.
Size & Growth
Swiss Cheese plants have a vining-like growth pattern and enjoy climbing, so your plant will probably require stalking at some point.
As for the size of this plant, it can reach even 60 feet if it’s properly supported. Indoors, however, it will grow at a slower rate and stay at manageable sizes.
Some will prefer growing them in hanging baskets, which also makes for a great plant display, plus this way the plant will not require frequent repotting.
Accustomed to the filtered light of the jungles in South or Central America, your Swiss Cheese plant needs indirect light. Its soft and smooth leaves will not do well under the strong rays of direct sunlight, so it’s best to avoid it.
Avoiding direct light should not be interpreted to mean you should keep the plant in low light. In low light conditions, your plant will not develop the fenestration (holes) which gave the plant its name.
Therefore, aim for a bright location, a few feet away from a sunny window, making sure the rays of the sun don’t blast the plant directly.
Don’t deprive your plant of light as it will grow leggy and dark, and its leaves won’t develop the Swiss cheese-like holes it’s famous for.
Overwatering is often more of an issue with Monstera plants than underwatering, but both extremes should be avoided. You shouldn’t water too frequently, nor should you allow the soil to completely dry out.
So how should you water the Swiss Cheese plant? Easy! By doing the finger dip test. Simply stick your finger into the soil up to the first knuckle. If the soil is nearly dry, water your plant.
Soil that’s heavy and prone to waterlogging must be avoided for this plant. Instead, go for peat-based soil that retains a bit of moisture without being too excessive. It also offers better drainage and aeration to roots.
The container in which you’re growing your Swiss Cheese plant should have a draining hole at the bottom to allow excess water to escape from the pot, which will also prevent problems associated with overwatering.
Temperature & Humidity
Warm temperature is ideal for this plant. Add to that high humidity and your Monstera will reward you with luscious growth.
Whenever in doubt about the environmental conditions of your plant, think of the environment of tropical jungles that feature high humidity and high temperatures.
Monstera will grow best if indoor temperatures are kept above 60 F. Although the plant can withstand some exposure to cold for a brief time, tissue damage will set in quite quickly, so if you’re keeping this plant outdoors during the summer, be sure to move it back inside once temperatures start to drop.
In terms of fertilizing, you should fertilize monthly during spring through summer. Stop fertilizing in autumn and winter.
Use a good quality liquid fertilizer and watch out for dosage recommendations to avoid causing fertilizer burn.
This isn’t a heavy feeder, yet it will benefit from monthly fertilizing that will sustain a healthier and lusher growth.
Potting & Repotting
While the plant is still small, any pot with draining holes will be fine. As it grows larger and you stake it up, you’ll need a pot that will not allow the plant to fall over once it becomes top heavy.
While it’s still small and growing, Swiss cheese plants benefit from yearly repotting. As the plant matures, it’s enough to replant it every other year.
Even so, it’s a good idea to add a fresh layer of rich soil atop the soil yearly to freshen it up a bit.
How to Propagate Swiss Cheese Plant?
The easiest way to propagate Swiss cheese plants is through stem cuttings, which should be cut below a leaf node and any leaves on the bottom of the cutting should be removed.
You can add a bit of rooting hormone to the cut end, although the stem cutting can and will produce roots even without the help of rooting hormone.
You can root Swiss Cheese stem cuttings in water or in potting medium. It’s important to keep them out of direct sunlight but not in low light conditions.
They should be kept in a warm location with adequate humidity or you can cover them with a plastic wrap to retain moisture much better.
It will take at least two weeks for you to notice any root development on your Swiss cheese plant, but sometimes it will take much longer, especially if the temperature and light conditions in your home are not ideal.
When the roots are about an inch or so long, you can transfer the plant to a pot if you’ve been rooting it in water.
Rooting from seeds is also possible, but it presents with a lot of difficulty. First, seeds are hard to come by and even when available, they aren’t shelf stable for long.
Although they germinate fast, the plantlets take a very long time to develop, so all things considered, you’re much better off rooting from stem cuttings.
A tropical vining perennial, the Swiss Cheese plant is a plant that you can confidently buy for your home knowing that it will be easy to care for it.
It’s not as prone to diseases or pest problems compared to other houseplants, but the occasional problems that do arise can be managed easily.
Because the plant is sensitive to temperature extremes, overwatering and direct sunlight, you should be mindful of these when trying to find the ideal location for it in your home.