Lucknow-based gardener Ankita Rai shares tips on how to grow a healthy Monstera (aka Swiss Cheese) plant at home.
A favourite of plant lovers and interior designers, Monstera, also known as the ‘split-leaf philodendron’, effortlessly gives a luxurious feel to any home. Originally from the rainforest of Central America, this evergreen plant grows comfortably both indoors and outdoors.
The plant whose leaves are naturally and aesthetically torn is also called Swiss Cheese due to its design. Monstera which comes with shiny leaves can grow to 3-feet high indoors and more than 3 feet outdoors. However, there are a few exceptions too.
Architectural qualities, ease of growing and adaptation to all weather conditions make Monstera one of the most popular houseplants. It grows even in shade but spreads well if there is enough sunlight.
“Monstera is one of my favourite plants because it does the job of many plants,” says Lucknow-based gardener Ankita Rai. “It spreads greenery to the whole place and can be easily grown from its cuttings.”
Ankita explains the right way to grow Monstera at home and how to take care of them with a few tips.
- For growing it indoors, make sure to place the plant near a window where sufficient sunlight is available.
- The plant needs to be watered well to ensure good moisture in the soil. To keep the leaves fresh, sprinkle water on them too.
- In the initial stage of growth, the leaves of monstera will look like those of a money plant with no cuttings. Soon it will develop holes and then turn into unique designs.
- Monstera can be grown from cuttings. It has aerial roots like pothos, from which a new plant can be made.
- It would be good to plant it during the rainy season as healthy aerial roots emerge at this time.
Step by step
- Remove a cutting with aerial roots from a well-developed plant.
- Place the cutting in a large transparent container filled with water. Make sure that the cutting is not exposed to sunlight.
- After about 20 days, roots emerge from the cuttings and it’s time to shift them to the soil.
- For potting mix, use equal amounts of common soil, coco peat and compost/dried cow dung.
- Take an 8-10 inch pot, add potting mix and plant the cutting at its centre.
- In about 15 days new leaves will sprout which indicates the potting is successful.
- Water the plant once in 3-4 days and simultaneously sprinkle water on its leaves to keep it fresh and clean.
There is a tiny possibility of insect attack if it is grown indoors. If that happens, spray diluted neem water/oil on the leaves. Tobacco water also works as an effective pesticide.
The plant will need support when it reaches a specific height. For this, tie a wooden/moss stick to the plant for this purpose.
Seaweed extract is the best fertilizer for monstera plants. Spray it lightly once every five to six months to keep it healthy.
So, what are you waiting for? Find a well-lit spot at your home to place the plant and grab a cutting of this beauty from a nursery to begin.
Read this story in Hindi here.
(Edited by Yoshita Rao)