Your monstera may not seem like a vine to you, but it is. These lovely creatures are indigenous to the tropical rainforests of Central America1, where they soar to incredible heights from the forest’s base. Although the majority of common monsteras have a similar appearance, part of the fun is determining your type:
- The most well-liked monstera available on the market is Monstera deliciosa, sometimes referred to as the Swiss cheese plant. Its enormous, heart-shaped leaves grow big holes along the main leaf vein and large leaf splits along the outside edge when grown and exposed to enough light. 1
- Monkey mask, often referred to as monstera adansonii, is less typical. The edges of its arrow-shaped leaves do not separate. The perforations, however, are still present inside the leaf edges.
- Although mislabeled plants are widespread, Monstera obliqua is a rare plant that is rarely found for sale. It looks quite similar to Monstera adansonii but has narrower, thinner leaves and more leaf holes.
All monsteras are part of the botanical family Araceae, which is toxic to pets if consumed. 2 Pets should never be taught to consume houseplants or plant pieces, if you have any. Call your veterinarian right away if your pet consumes monstera leaves or stems.
The ideal places for Monstera to grow.
It is not surprising that Monstera prefers a warm, humid climate because they are indigenous to tropical jungles from southern Mexico to Panama. This makes them perfect for interior use. Georgina Reid, a writer and Wonderground’s founding editor, “Monsteras appreciate moisture, warmth, and shade. They are actually pretty difficult to kill and are quite content indoors. If you reside in a chilly climate, don’t even try to plant one outdoors (less than 10C in winter). Given the proper conditions, they are renowned for being tough.”
Georgina advises putting your Monstera deliciosa in a bright indoor location with lots of room for growth for care and upkeep. To let it to breathe and absorb moisture, water once a week or whenever it appears to be getting dry, and dust leaves with a damp cloth.
How are Monsteras plants grown in nature?
Monsteras originate from tropical regions in Central America, stretching from the southernmost part of Mexico to Panama. Other places where it was introduced, including Hawaii, also have monstera.
These plants flourish in dense rainforests where they “climb up trees toward the light in the canopy” using their aerial roots. Young leaves will grow toward the area of a tree’s base that is the darkest since this will assist them locate and cling to a strong trunk.
The mysterious purpose of the monstera’s recognizable holes is unknown, although it’s been hypothesized that the holes form to strengthen the leaves against strong winds or to let a little more light reach the lower leaves.
In the wild, monstera plants can reach a height of 20 meters, and their leaves can reach a length of 1 meter! However, most monsteras indoors only reach a height of 10 feet or so, which is quite tall for a houseplant.
When monstera leaves are immature, they are heart-shaped, without holes, and resemble philodendron or pothos (this might also be where some of the split-leaf philodendron confusion comes from) That’s also one of the reasons why some monstera kinds are difficult to distinguish while they’re young since they haven’t yet acquired those distinguishing holes. It is simpler to determine the age of the plant because many types develop even more holes over time.
One of the reasons this plant was first grown was because it blooms and bears fruit at around 3 years old.
Where do monsteras grow naturally?
Uncertainty surrounds the name Monstera’s possible Latin monstrum origin, which refers to the plant’s monster-like leaves. The specific epithet, deliciosa, relates to the edible fruit and implies delightful.
The genus Monstera, which originated in tropical America and is closely related to philodendrons, has roughly 22 species. The range of this particular species extends from Mexico to Panama in the south, but it is also commonly cultivated in other tropical regions. It can grow to a height of 20 meters in its natural habitat, where it uses aerial roots to climb trees in search of light. The thick, fibrous stems from which the aerial roots dangle down resemble drapes. By its aerial roots, the big specimen of Monstera deliciosa at Oxford Botanic Garden clings to the wall of one of the glasshouse corridors. The roots are used in Mexico to make baskets and in Peru to make rope.
The major reason why monstera deliciosa is grown is for its one-meter-long, glossy, dark green leaves. Young leaves have unbroken edges, but as the plant grows older, the leaf edges become deeply sliced and develop elliptic holes. There are also lovely variegated cultivars with cream marbling on the leaves that can offer contrast to other tropical foliage while illuminating a dim area in a room or glasshouse.
The flowers and eventual fruit of this plant are another reason to grow it. The Araceae’s characteristically small blooms are tightly clustered at the base of a whitish spadix and encircled by a lovely creamy white spathe. If the circumstances are ideal, these intricate inflorescences will produce scaly fruit that tastes of pineapple and banana. The only component of Monstera deliciosa that is safe to eat is the ripe fruit, it is crucial to remember this. The unripe fruit includes raphides and trichosclereids, which are needle-like structures that will irritate the throat, while the stems and leaves contain a sap that can cause a rash. The fruit’s tough, green scales naturally peel off when it is ripe, exposing the creamy yellow kernels inside.
Because they can withstand poor lighting and low humidity, Monstera deliciosa is a popular choice for indoor plants, but growth ceases at 10 C. The ideal environment is at least 20 C and heavy humidity. In the past, English hot houses were used to grow Monstera deliciosa for its fruit.
1999 Huxley A. Gardening terms from The New Royal Horticultural Society Dictionary. Dictionary company Groves Inc.
CD Muir, 2013. What caused the Swiss cheese factory’s holes? pp. 273-281 in The American Naturalist 181.
Where ought my Monstera to reside?
A well-known indoor plant, the Monstera deliciosa, is prized on Instagram for its exquisite leaves and lovely form. But this plant originates in Central and South American tropical jungles. Monsteras can find warm temperatures and a lot of humidity in their natural habitat. Can a Monstera deliciosa therefore survive and grow outside in your region?
The climate of the area where you live affects a Monstera’s capacity to survive outside. An ideal location for a Monstera is one with a USDA hardiness zone of 10 to 12. A Monstera outside won’t be possible in places that frequently freeze, although it might be possible in the summer.
This article will address some of the most often asked questions about caring for a Monstera outside, such as how to plant it in the ground, if it is invasive, and how to move an indoor plant outside during the warmer months.
Monsteras can they grow outside?
Numerous other names for the monstera deliciosa include the Swiss cheese plant, split leaf philodendron, and Mexican breadfruit. One of the most recognizable leaves in the design industry may be found on this enormous floor plant. Its “Swiss cheese” moniker relates to the recognizable splits and holes in its leaves, while its “breadfruit” moniker alludes to the fruit’s corn-like appearance.
Monsteras have a lengthy history in both interior decorating and fine art. Pictures of the monstera leaf are frequently printed on pillows, mounted on walls, and even suspended alone in a glass vase.
Native to Central America, the monstera can be found in the rainforests from Mexico to Panama. In the same family as popular houseplants like peace lilies and ZZ plants, monsteras are an arum. If you reside in zones 10 or 11, a monstera deliciosa can be grown outdoors. To find out more about the various zones, look at the USDA’s map of plant hardiness zones.
Is Monstera found outdoors or indoors?
In most warm temperate and tropical areas, monstera does best when grown outside in partial shade. Monstera deliciosa is easily adapted inside and will grow in most climes, with the exception of those with extremely frigid indoor temperatures. It is so well-liked as an indoor plant because of this.
How many years do Monsteras live?
The perennial Monstera flower blooms every year. They are frequently referred to as heritage plants because they can live for more than 40 years. The plants’ lengthy lifespan, however, is highly reliant on their ability to thrive and be properly taken care of.
The ability of Monstera plants to experience periods of dormancy is one of the factors contributing to their lengthy longevity. The plant will halt its growth when circumstances are not optimal and wait for things to get better. This enables the plant to preserve energy and prolong its lifespan.
The Araceae family includes the roughly 50 different species of Monstera plants. The Monstera deliciosa, sometimes referred to as the Swiss cheese plant or split-leaf philodendron, is the most prevalent variety.
These plants are extremely hardy and durable due to their adaptation to the harsh jungle environment, which may extend their lifespans. When there are strong gusts or heavy rains, the plant benefits from the well-known holes in its leaves that keep the leaf surface from ripping.
They are also substantial and rather huge. Monstera plants can grow up to 70 feet long when left outside. However, you may anticipate your Monstera plant to grow to a height of around 6 feet indoors.
What makes the Monstera plant unique?
The Monstera’s native environment is tropical rainforests. The huge Monstera leaves are better able to survive strong winds and rain because they have holes in their leaves, which allow the elements to pass through. The plant got its name from these peculiar leaves (the Latin word monstera, which means weird). One of the more interesting monstera facts, yes?
Delicious Monstera Deliciosa fruit.
Because the fruit of the Monstera Deliciosa looks and tastes somewhat like just about every delectable fruit that exists, it is commonly referred to as the “Fruit Salad Plant” in English. This fruit’s flavors include strawberry, banana, mango, guava, passion fruit, and pineapple. The Monstera Deliciosa’s fruit does not ripen for at least 10 months, which is a drawback. However, there is some risk because eating unripe fruit can cause acute throat burn. When the fruit’s outer scale begins to loosen and the interior becomes yellow like a banana, it is ripe.
Unfortunately, northern Europe does not have easy access to the Monstera Deliciosa fruit. The greatest option is to travel to a nation where it is grown and browse the local markets there. You may order your own box from a Miami grower for $144 if you’re really up for it and know how to get through customs.
Delicious Monstera Deliciosa leaves
Okay, maybe it’s not so tasty, but you can still eat it. Unripe Monstera Deliciosa fruits sting because they have calcium oxalate in them. The leaves contain more of it. Therefore, while eating from your Monstera won’t be fatal, it will hurt a lot if you or your cat do so. It will also have diarrhea and stomach cramps. The calcium oxalate dissolves when the leaves are entirely boiled or dried, making the leaves edible, however we don’t know if it tastes good or not. Never consume Monstera leaves without first seeking advice from a dietitian!
Is Monstera a tropical plant?
Monstera are species of evergreen tropical vines and shrubs that are native to Central America. Their common name, Swiss Cheese Plant, originated from their well-known natural leaf-holes. Fenestrations, the name for the Monstera’s leaf holes, are thought to optimize the amount of sunlight that reaches the forest floor by spreading the leaf out wider while using fewer leaf cells to support it.
Canines are Monstera toxic?
Some of your indoor plants are just not safe if you have pets or young children, which is a sad but inevitable realization in the road of becoming a plant parent. While many common genera of houseplants are stunning to look at, many of them are moderately or seriously hazardous. Still others, when handled excessively, can irritate the skin.
The good news is that with enough preparation, you can determine which dangerous houseplants to stay away from, evaluate the risk to your family and pets, and still enjoy a lively and stunningly green collection of indoor plants.
Here are 10 toxic houseplants that, while we love them, should be used with caution if your children or pets will have access to them. A word of clarity, though, is in need before we proceed: “toxic is a relative term, and the severity of a reaction will depend largely on the level of exposure (amount consumed), which plant species, and the specifics of your pet. Some poisonous houseplants cause short-lived, acute symptoms (such as vomiting). Some can have more serious, life-threatening effects if swallowed in excess, while others only irritate the skin. This list is by no means intended to be comprehensive, so we strongly advise conducting additional research (ASPCA has a great database for pet owners).
Poisonous Houseplants for Pet Owners and Parents to Avoid
- Starting with one of the biggest players, Philodendron (and Monstera) is a vast genus of tropical plants that is particularly well-liked for usage inside because of its great variety of growing habits, leaf shapes, and colors. Plants in this genus are poisonous to dogs and cats as well as somewhat toxic to humans. Oral irritation, soreness and swelling in the mouth, tongue, and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, and trouble swallowing are all signs of exposure.
Are monsteras a rainforest plant?
According to study by a US scientist, the plants’ well-known hole-riddled leaves enable them to collect sunlight more frequently, helping them to live in dark rainforests.
According to the BBC Nature, they are typically grown as house plants but can also be found in the wild from southern Mexico to Colombia.
One is that by allowing the wind to pass through, the holes in the leaves help the plants withstand hurricane gusts. Another benefit is that they enable better temperature control or water to reach the roots of the plants.
Some have hypothesized that the holes conceal the plants from herbivores in some way.
Christopher Muir’s research at the University of Indiana in Bloomington, US, led to the hypothesis that the holes are a result of the plants’ adaptation to their rainforest environment.
Monstera deliciosa, a species of Swiss cheese plant, resides in the gloomy tropical rainforest understory. In order to photosynthesise for energy, it depends on collecting erratic shafts of sunlight known as “sunflecks.”
Muir compared leaves with and without holes using mathematical models because he doubted that the sunflecks could account for the peculiar leaf forms.
He discovered that the same amount of sunlight has an equal positive impact on both leaf forms.
A leaf with holes will miss some sunlight because it filters through them, but solid leaves with the same surface area actually occupy less space, which limits their availability to sunshine.
According to Muir’s simulations, a leaf with the same surface area but numerous holes would come into touch with sunlight more frequently since it occupies more space.
He proposed that by maintaining this consistency, the changing leaf form becomes more dependable, reducing stress on the plant and increasing its chances of survival.
However, Muir asserts that immature Swiss cheese plants don’t require holes in their leaves.
At different times during its life cycle, the monstera deliciosa grows in a different way. It is an epiphyte, sometimes known as an air plant.
Young plants are located closer to the forest floor, where sunlight penetration is lower. Muir predicted that because the light in this area is of poor quality, holes do not help the plant.
The plant only becomes higher as it ages, reaching areas of the understorey with more sunflecks.
The leaves then get bigger, get holes, and are held away from the trunk so they have a greater chance of getting the sunshine they need to thrive.