Most people freak out when they find holes in the leaves of their plants! However, in some cases holes are expected and ornamental. Have you ever seen the “Swiss Cheese” plant? This houseplant is known for its holes and would not look good, nor fulfill its name, without these missing spaces. This low-maintenance plant is making a come-back as a houseplant collector’s choice.
Officially known as Monstera adansonii, the Swiss cheese plant is related to the equally well-known larger Monstera deliciosa. The UF/IFAS Assessment of Non-native Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas actually ranks the Monstera deliciosa as having a “High Invasion Risk”, so keep your related Swiss cheese plant under control and in a container. The Swiss cheese plant, or Adanson’s Monstera, is native to the rain forests of Central and South America and has been a favored indoor houseplant for some time. This houseplant is vining in nature and should be grown in either a hanging basket or trained up a sphagnum-wrapped pole. Epiphytes by nature, multiple aerial roots will latch on to the pole just like they would attach themselves to a tree in natural setting. Best kept out of direct sun in filtered light, Swiss cheese plants will thrive in shaded areas – under the dappled shade of trees or in a shady lanai. If you keep this plant indoors, position it near an east or west-facing window.
Make sure that the soil you use is well-drained – an orchid mix would actually be ideal. While the Swiss cheese plant will likely do fine most of the year outside in our area, temperatures below fifty-five degrees Fahrenheit are its limit. Water when dry, but do not have any water sitting in the saucer for long as root rots can occur. If kept indoors where the environment is on the dry side, mist occasionally or set the pot on a tray of pebbles just above the water level to increase the humidity.
Swiss cheese plants are often available at local garden centers, on-line, at plant sales, and as pass-a-long plants from friends and neighbors. Propagation is as easy as taking a stem cutting with at least one node or with preexisting roots. Long vines growing out-of-bounds can make several new plants.
Houseplants are really seeing a revival today as a hobby and a collector’s passion. The Swiss cheese plant makes a great house plant to add to any collection! For more information on all types of houseplants for the beginner and the experienced gardener, or to ask a question, please visit https://www.facebook.com/CharlotteMGLifeline/ . Ralph E. Mitchell is the Director/Horticulture Agent for the UF/IFAS Charlotte County Extension Service. He can be reached at 941-764-4344 or email@example.com.
Iseli, M. (2020) Monstera adansonii Care – Best Kept Secrets! Plantophiles.
Monstera deliciosa (2021) The UF/IFAS Assessment of Non-native Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas. The University of Florida Extension Service, IFAS.