Are you in search of evergreen houseplants that are quick and easy to grow and care for whether you are a beginner or an expert in gardening? Then the Monstera Adansonii species, otherwise called the Swiss cheese vine and monkey mask plant is an incredible choice.
What is the Monstera Adansonii plant species exactly and how can you make it a part of your home or garden? Find the answers through this article.
Max of 13 feet as a vine, 3 to 5 feet tall as a houseplant
Soil pH level:
5.5 to 7.5 pH level
Type of soil:
Peat-based and chunky potting soil; should have proper drainage
10 to 11
Color of flowers:
Creamy or purple
During springtime when in the wild
Pests and diseases:
Leaf spot, spider mites, scale insects
Monstera adansonii, which is also recognized for several other names, including the Swiss cheese vine, monkey mask plant, five holes plant, Adanson’s monstera, and Swiss cheese plant, is a houseplant loved by many because of its unique look. This plant belongs to the Araceae family.
The Swiss cheese plant is also a native plant to Central and South America, West Indies, and Mexico. You can often find this plant close to river valleys, particularly in places that have low elevation. You can also find it in jungle-like environments with plenty of sun and water.
These plants tend to make a statement, thanks to their leaf fenestration and trailing vines. You can cultivate them as potted indoor plants if you want your home to have a slight vibe of South America.
Typically, you can place these plants in a planter on a shelf or a hanging basket, allowing them to drape down once they become large. Note, though, that the Monstera Adansonii also loves to climb provided it has the right support.
If you wish these plants to grow in the same way as a vine, instead of as a draping plant, then just simply place a moss pole or stake close to it, making it easier for it to climb. If you decide to plant your Swiss cheese plant outdoors, then do it close to a trellis, so it goes up instead of to the side.
Regardless of the growing method you choose, you can expect it to result in a beautiful and healthy plant. Just ensure that it receives sufficient and proper care.
Physical Characteristics of the Monstera Adansonii (Swiss Cheese Plant)
Here are the most notable and recognizable features of the Monstera Adansonii:
This houseplant features thick, green, and branched stems. This stem also possesses a cylindrical aerial elongated axis, which features extended internodes.
Another distinctive feature of the Monstera Adansonii is its strikingly unique leaves that look exotic through the fenestrations. The surface of each leaf also holds a leathery feel and texture.
The shape of the leaves is either oval or heart and accompanied by natural holes that are quite unique and irregular in size. It is classified as an epiphyte, too, which indicates that you can easily grow it on another plant or as a climbing houseplant by growing it in a moss pole.
This plant features bisexual flowers that demonstrate cream to yellow colors while in the wild. However, it rarely flowers when grown as a houseplant or indoors.
Monstera adansonii is also capable of growing really tall or long. You can expect them to grow to around 3 to 5 feet long while the leaves could grow around 1 to 3 feet wide when indoors. When outdoors, this plant can reach a length of 13 feet.
What Do the Holes in the Swiss Cheese Plant’s Leaves Mean?
The leaves of the Monstera adansonii come with holes due to the fenestration process. Most plants that belong to the Monstera genus, including the Monstera Adansonii, go through the fenestration process because of genetics.
However, this process may also take place when some sections or parts of plants die early or prematurely during its life. Fortunately, the presence of these holes in the Swiss cheese plant does not cause it any harm. As a matter of fact, the presence of these holes is good as it promotes faster growth.
The reason is that the plant does not have to supply nutrients to certain leaf areas without any plant matter. With that, you have an assurance that these plants will be able to supply more than enough nourishment to the vines. It can provide such vines with the energy needed for growth.
Caring for your Swiss Cheese Vine (Monstera Adansonii)
The process of caring for your Monstera Adansonii is actually easy. The reason is that these plants are capable of thriving and growing in various conditions present within households.
This plant typically grows in tropical rainforests. It requires indirect yet bright sunlight, too. That said, the best spot for you to plant your Monstera adansonii is close to a window facing the East or the West.
It is because these spots allow the plant to receive several hours of daily sunlight without excessively exposing it to direct light.
Also, note that even if Monsteras, like the Adansonii, are in favor of bright locations, there is still a great possibility for them to survive rooms with dim lighting. This makes them great low-light plants for places with only slight natural light as well as offices and rooms facing the north.
However, note that if you grow the Monstera Adansonii in a place without sufficient light, there is a chance for the holes in its leaves to not develop properly. Still, you should avoid overly exposing it to direct sunlight, too.
For your Swiss cheese vine to achieve healthy growth, watering it correctly is necessary. One of the most valuable tips when it comes to watering the Monstera adansonii is to do it only when the top inch or two of the soil becomes completely dry.
Watering also involves pouring sufficient water in the container to the soil until it fully drains from the bottom. Ensure that you wait for a bit until it is slightly dry before you repeat the process.
The following simple tips for watering your Monstera adansonii should also be kept in mind to prevent issues later on:
Ensure that the container or pot has a lot of drainage holes – This is necessary for preventing the soil from becoming excessively damp.
Use soil guaranteed to be well-draining – It should not hold excessive moisture.
Do deep watering – This should help in nourishing the plant’s roots, thereby promoting the healthy growth of the plant.
Water only once the surface partly dries out.
Remember that the usual diseases that the Monstera faces, including yellow leaves, root rot, and brown leaf spots, are often caused by watering issues, so ensure that you do this process correctly.
The best type of soil for the Swiss cheese or Monstera adansonii plants is peat-based potting type. The reason is that it can retain its moisture without the risk of becoming waterlogged.
You can also use a potting mix composed of 1 part perlite, 1 part peat moss, and four parts pine barks. The peat moss used in this potting mix works in absorbing the water’s weight, thereby slowly releasing it to the plant while still letting any excess drain freely.
The inclusion of the pine bark and perlite can help with the draining of moisture, too. As for the pH levels, the perfect one is slightly acidic to alkaline. The plant also tends to deliver incredible performance when grown in soil with a pH level of around 5.5 to 7.5.
The fact that the Monstera Adansonii is categorized as a tropical rainforest plant means that it can handle average room temperatures. The perfect temperature for them is usually around 70 degrees to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Ensure that you do not position it close to radiators or drafts, especially during the winter as this Monstera plant is incapable of tolerating temperatures below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, note that you may encounter challenges when it comes to Monstera adansonii care during the cold winter and hot summer seasons.
The reason is that both household heating and air conditioning may lead to sudden changes in temperature. In addition, cooling or heating your home may cause the air to dry. To let these indoor plants thrive the entire season, you should, therefore, retain proper humidity.
Monstera adansonii can survive incredibly well when the soil is moderately moist and when there is high humidity. In that case, among the parts of your home where you can put these plants are the bathroom and your kitchen.
A wise tip is to grow these plants in a room that has natural humidity. You may also spray the surface occasionally with water. Also, it is possible for you to maintain the green shade and the lushness of the leaves if you boost their level of humidity through humidifiers.
In terms of the use of fertilizer, stick to what the Monstera Adansonii can handle. One helpful tip is to avoid fertilizing it within the first six months after you planted its seedlings.
Once it is the right time to use a fertilizer, the best variety is a 20-20-20 liquid. You should water the plant deeply after you have repotted it then wait for around one to two weeks to begin feeding it every month using an all-purpose liquid fertilizer. This should help establish the plants’ root system.
Monstera Adansonii Propagation
Just like other vines, Monstera adansonii propagation is a quick and easy process. You can actually do the propagation in soil or water. It is even possible for you to leave this plant permanently in water, though, the growth will not be as great as when you propagate it in soil.
How to Propagate in Water?
Here are some steps that will let you do the Monstera adansonii propagation using water:
Take cuttings from a few leaves of the mother plant – Use a pair of clean scissors when cutting around one-fourth inch beneath the node, which also means you should include the node in each cutting. If you are still unfamiliar with nodes, then be aware that they refer to the specific parts of the plant where you can expect the new roots to sprout.
Get rid of the bottom leaves – The result should be several inches of bare stem.
Pour water in a glass and place the cuttings there – Ensure that one of the nodes is beneath the surface. Also, there should not be any submerged leaves. After that, put the cutting in a spot that receives bright indirect light.
Monitor the water every now and then and change it when it becomes murky – Refill the glass with water, too, whenever the water level becomes low. You may notice tiny roots that sprout within one to two weeks. However, you may have to wait several weeks before it is safe to transfer the cutting to the soil.
Wait for the roots to become a few inches long – After that, you can move the cutting to a new permanent pot. Basically, a root length of 2-3 inches is often enough for the transfer. After transferring the cutting, water it then supply it with the required plant care.
How to Propagate in Soil?
The propagation of this plant in soil involves the following steps:
Take cuttings from the mother plant just like what you did in the previously mentioned propagation method – However, rather than putting the removed cuttings in water, you should directly put them in a moistened soil. Ensure that you bury at least one of its nodes. Avoid burying the leaves.
Put these cuttings in bright yet indirect light – Make sure that the soil remains moist without being wet while the roots are still developing.
Wait for a few weeks for the root system to develop – Monitor the cuttings every now and then so you will know right away if there is already new growth.
Test the cutting – Do so by gently tugging it. If there is a bit of resistance, then it is a sign that it already has successfully developed roots. In that case, you should start caring for it and treating it like how you normally treat this plant.
How to Repot your Monstera Adansonii?
One of the most important things you should do, as far as proper Monstera adansonii care is concerned, is repotting. Note that this plant can greatly benefit if you repot it every 2 to 3 years. Just make sure to watch out for signs that tell you that repotting is already necessary, including:
Insufficient or improper drainage
Roots that grow out from the drainage holes
When it is time to repot, pick a deep pot that perfectly suits the plant’s size. If your goal is to stimulate growth, then use a larger container. However, if retaining its present size is your goal but the potting mix already needs to be refreshed, then you should repot using a similar pot or container.
To do the repotting, following these steps/tips:
Take the plant out of the present container but do so carefully.
Take out as much soil as possible from the plant’s roots. Examine the roots, too, so you will know if there are any indications or signs of root damage or rot.
Have all diseased or damaged roots trimmed off. If you decide to replant it in a similar container or pot, then prune back the roots. This is necessary for preventing the plant from getting rootbound.
Add moist and fresh potting soil to the new pot or container – Also, ensure that you plant it at a similar height as before.
Add peat, perlite mix, and potting mix soil to fill any remaining space – After that, press gently around the plant’s stems to get support.
Pruning the Monstera Adansonii
Pruning is also a vital part of Monstera Adansonii care. The reason is that it is necessary for controlling its growth. This is especially true once the vines climb and grow vigorously when you provide them with the perfect conditions.
Just do the pruning on the top growth. Get rid of damaged, yellow, or dead leaves. You may also want to cut healthy stems close to the primary stem as doing so can provide you with cuttings that you can use for propagation.
Make it a regular routine to prune the Monstera adansonii as it can help prevent it from looking leggy and unkempt. Pruning the air roots is unnecessary but you may do so if you think it can benefit the plant.
Common Problems and Pests that Affect Growth
One amazing thing about the Monstera adansonii is that it is hardy and can resist diseases. That said, the usual disease that tends to afflict this plant is linked to overwatering.
It is, therefore, possible to avoid such diseases and problems by ensuring that you only water it when you notice that the surface is dry. The potting medium also needs to drain properly.
In terms of pests, the ones that usually infest the Monstera adansonii are spider mites. Check for their presence by examining the leaves for thin webs. This plant may also be infested by mealybugs that you can detect if you search for any white fluff in the plant’s stem joints.
Ensure that you deal with the mentioned pest infestations as they may kill the plant and infest your other prized houseplants. In that case, you can naturally remove these houseplant pets and bugs using an insecticidal soap or natural neem oil solution.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do you care for a Monstera Adansonii plant?
The Monstera Adansonii or Swiss cheese vine has the advantage of being easy to care for. You just have to make sure that you provide this plant with what it needs in terms of light, water, soil, and fertilizer. It is also crucial to make it stay in a place with the right temperature and humidity.
Is Monstera Adansonii easy to care for?
Yes, it is. It is so easy to care for and maintain that you will enjoy growing it as a houseplant even if you are still a beginner in gardening. The care and maintenance requirements for this plant are also pretty basic, so anyone can easily meet them.
Is Monstera Adansonii rare?
No, the Monstera Adansonii can no longer be classified as rare species. It was rare before, but nowadays, it is no longer that hard to purchase and get a hold of these impressive houseplants.
Does the Monstera Adansonii grow fast?
Yes, the Monstera Adansonii tends to have very rapid growth during spring and early autumn. At this time, you may have to regularly prune the plant. Note, though, that once the late fall and winter start, this plant tends to become less active when it comes to its growing capability.
Why does the Monstera Adansonii need bright indirect light?
It is crucial for you to provide your Monstera Adansonii with bright indirect light as it is what it needs to achieve healthy growth fast. Note that it will not be able to grow when exposed to direct sunlight. The reason is that an extremely harsh direct light may only cause its leaves to burn.
It may spoil the leaves that will eventually destroy the health of the plant, not to mention slow down its growth. With that in mind, you really have to make sure that you put it in a place that gives it bright yet indirect sunlight.
Is Monstera Adansonii different from Monstera deliciosa?
Yes, the two are different even though, a lot of people often confuse them. One thing to note about the Monstera adansonii is that it has long tapering leaves with completely enclosed holes. The plant also needs only a small space, which is why it is a great purchase if you are planning to grow it indoors.
Monstera deliciosa, on the other hand, possesses larger leaves compared to the Monstera Adansonii. The leaves of Monstera deliciosa also have holes but unlike the ones from the Adansonii, the holes here grow towards the edge eventually. These holes tend to form deep indentations while having the ability to open up upon maturity.
Why are the leaves becoming brownish?
There are instances when your Monstera adansonii will display yellowing or browning leaves. If you notice the leaves of your Monstera turning either yellow or brown, then it could be because of watering issues. It could be due to overwatering or the surface becoming too damp or soggy.
Examine the potting soil and touch it to know if it is wet. If it is, then avoid watering and do so only if the surface has dried out mostly. If it does not still resolve the problem, then repotting the vine may be the best way to revive it.
How do I deal with drooping leaves?
If the Monstera looks like it is dying or wilting, then spend time examining the soil. Note that its leaves may have drooped down because of insufficient moisture. Water the plant thoroughly if that is the case so the roots will receive deep watering. Mist the leaves, too.
Is it toxic?
Yes, the Monstera adansonii, despite its somewhat edible other name, Swiss cheese, is unsafe and toxic, especially for cats and dogs. The reason is that its properties are toxic for these pets. With that said, ensure that your pets do not ingest this plant.
The Monstera Adansonii (Swiss cheese plant) is indeed a charming and striking vine plant, which you can easily care for and maintain as part of your houseplant collection. The good thing about it is that you can display it however you want – letting it cascade along the shelves at home, allowing it to climb up a trellis, or by hanging it in a basket.
Regardless of your chosen display or arrangement, these plants are definitely worth the purchase as they will surely make you feel good because of how attractive and massive they can be.