Swiss Cheese Plants come from the humid tropical rain forests of Mexico. Their common name comes from the way theare split—resembling large-holed Swiss cheeses. In the wild they grow up tree trunks in search of light, but in they make slower growth.
The young leaves are sparsely divided and often entire. As the plant matures so the leaves become deeply split at the edges and quite large holes appear in the centre. In the wild the splitdeveloped to help the plant withstand the damaging effects of hot tropical winds. Luxuriantly glossy, the leaves can be up to 45cm (18in) in width on stalks 30cm (12in) long.
Flowers and flowering
Plants grown in containers do not often flower.
Grown for its attractive, deeply-split leaves, the Swiss Cheese Plant can make a most dramatic effect in a room, but it needs space to develop. Sponge the leaves regularly with tepid water and apply lea fshine once every 6-8 weeks.
Plants reach 1.8m (oft) in just a few years and individual leaves can be 30-45cm (12-18in) across. Even when young the plant will take up a fair amount of space, and mature plants need a great deal of space to grow well. As they get larger they should be supported with a moss pole in the centre of theto give the aerial a foothold.
Train your plant on a strong trellis (its leaves andare quite heavy) or fasten it to wires against a wall.
If your plant becomes too big start new plants by taking large tipin spring or early summer.
1. Remove the growing tip with 3-4 leaves attached bythe cleanly just below a joint.
2. Remove the lowest leaf on the cutting, then plant the cutting in an equal parts mixture of coarse sand and moistened peat in a 10cm (4in) pot. Enclose the cutting and pot in a polythene bag.
3. After 5-6 weeks the roots should be well-established. During the last week or two of this period leave the bag open, then remove it.
4. When active growth is visible carefully pot the rooted cutting into a mixture of coarse leaf-mould and a soil-basedmixture. Care for it as you would a mature plant.
Pests And Diseases
Dry, brown leaf edges are caused by dry air. Prevention: Improve the level ofby misting or placing the plant on a tray of damp pebbles.
Ored spider mites may attack a plant grown in a dry warm room. Prevention: Mist the plant regularly and, if necessary, use a suitable.
Oscale insects may be present on the undersides of leaves, close to the prominent mid-rib.
Treatment: Remove with a cotton swab dipped in diluted methylated spirits. Use a systemicif severe.
Yellow lower leaves indicate that the plant is over-watered.
Treatment: Remove the discoloured leaves and let the plant dry out. Then water very sparingly.
This plant needs attention to ensureis kept high. Clean leaves of dust with a damp sponge periodically (leave the very young leaves alone).
: Repot each year in spring until the maximum convenient pot size is reached: thereafter top-dress. Use a soil-based with added leafmould or coarse peat.
Water moderately in summer and sparingly in winter. In warm rooms increase humidity levels by standing on generously-sized trays filled with moist pebbles.
Feeding: Give fortnightly feeds of a general liquid fertilizer during the active growth period only.
BEST GROWTH ENVIRONMENT
- Light:The plants should be protected against full sunlight—they prefer good filtered light. They can be sited a little distance from the window, but will get leggy if there is not enough light.
- Temperature: Normal room temperatures are suitable during the growing period. Provide a minimum of 13°C (55°F) during the winter.
- Buy your plant in early spring so that it can settle down with you during the summer.
- Choose young plants with undamaged leaves and close growth. Stout, unbroken aerial roots are an advantage.
They will last for several years, but are at their best when young and clothed to the base with healthy leaves.
Handsome and relatively slow-growing, the Swiss Cheese Plant is easy to care for. Its attractively broken leaves will make a dramatic impact in the room where you grow it.
Monstera deliciosa (Swiss Cheese Plant), is an evergreen which can be grown to a considerable size, it forms an impressive, long-lived plant. The large, shiny leaves are deeply incised. It produces aerial roots and should be trained against supports covered in damp moss, to which the roots can cling.
- Growing season 22-24 °C (72-75 °F)
- Minimum winter 10 °C (50 °F)
Soil: A sterile soil-less compost.
Where to: It requires a light sunless position, chosen with care; it grows to suit its site and may not shift easily. It is wise to avoid draughts and temperature changes.
Watering requirements: The soil must always be moist and springy to the touch. It is a big drinker and needs tepid, soft water and daily spraying in hot weather. Provide humidity.
General care: Dry soil or air causes leaf edges to brown. Give well-diluted liquid fertilizer once weekly. It will grow quite large, and a stake or moss pole should be provided for its support. Sponge leaves gently to remove dust, or polish them with one of the special emulsions for that purpose. Re-pot the plant when it becomes totally pot-bound.
Rest: No marked rest period but growth slows in colder weather. Feeding should be stopped and water reduced to maintain soil condition. Spray with lukewarm water every two or three days at this time.
When it looks sick:
- Damaged and tired looking leaves : Too dry an atmosphere or draughts may cause this. Improve humidity. Ensure that its position is draught-free. Leaves drying and becoming brown : The cause is likely to be under- . Do not drown it. But restore a moist springy soil condition.
- Attack by : Check regularly.