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Gotta love the Monstera! This trendy indoor plant has got it all: the rugged good looks, strong character and air-purifying skills. It didn’t surprise anyone that the Monstera has become a huge Instagram hit and urban jungle must-have. This month the Swiss cheese plant is put in the spotlights (even more than it already is). It has been named “Houseplant of the month of July”. An excellent moment to share all the ins and outs about the special properties, origins and care of this unique indoor plant!

What you didn’t know about the Monstera

The Monstera is …

… edible: In nature, the Monstera Deliciosa produces a delicious fruit that tastes like a combination of pineapple and banana. Sounds delicious, right? That is exactly what gave this plant its second name!

… a bit of a weirdo: The Swiss cheese plant owes its first name to the unusual leave holes. Monstera means “strange” in Latin.

… better than an umbrella: These lacy holes and notches in the leaves are not only unusual, but also quite useful in nature! This leaf shape ensures that the Swiss cheese plant is resistant to storms. The rain and wind simply blows through the leaves.

… a tanned muscle man: There is a wrinkled part between the plant’s leaf and stem: a sort of muscle. This allows the plant to always bend its leaves towards the sun.

… not bound to the ground: The Monstera has aerial roots. These are brown strands that appear on the plant over time, which they use to attach to trees or rocks. It tends to grow to such high places to get more sunlight. The aerial roots also allow the plant to receive more nutrients from his environment (oxygen, rain water). It can even get so much nutrition through these roots, that the ground roots are no longer necessary. At this point, the Monstera becomes an epiphyte, more commonly known as airplant!

monstera

The Monstera Deliciosa in its natural environment. Here you can clearly see how the plant climbs up a tree trunk. This photo was taken in Rio de Janeiro.

The unique Monstera look

Monstera does not mean ‘strange’ for no reason. The manner in which the leaves develop is unique to this plant. As a young plant it has heart-shaped leaves, which transform with age to show the characteristic holes and notches. The Monstera is therefore also called “Swiss cheese plant.” The Deliciosa, with its notches on the side of the leaves, is the most popular one. But its family member, the fresh green Monstera Obliqua, is also making its way into the spotlights. This plant has no incisions on the side, but its leaves have several holes nearby the veins. It looks a bit like a mask. The Obliqua has therefore also been nicknamed “Monkey Mask”.

Origins

The Monstera’s roots lie in the tropical rain forests of Central and South America. Although that area is quite moist already, the Monstera likes it next-level moist. It always grows nearby water. In its natural environment, the plant will always grow to a dark spot at first. This is not because the plant doesn’t like sunlight, but because dark spots indicate trees or rocks. Once the tree is spotted, the plant can attach itself to it and start to climb up. At this moment the Monstera is starting to transform into epiphyte. As time passes, it can climb up to 20 meters high.

What you should know before buying a Monstera

  • This houseplant is also ideal if you prefer low-maintenance plants. It’s quite resilient, and would survive if you forget to water it every once in a while.
  • The Monstera is a strong air-purifying plant. Want to profit from this trait? Then place the plant in the living room. Just like most air-purifying indoor plants, this one also converts CO2 into oxygen during the day.
  • Do you have children or pets? Then keep in mind that this indoor plant is poisonous. Make sure you keep the plant out of reach.

Plant care

The best spot: Place the Monstera in a light spot or in partial shade, but never in full shade. During the growing season (April – October) the plant should produce new leaves almost weekly. Is that not happening? Then move it to lighter spot. Do make sure that it’s not in direct sunlight, otherwise the leaves will turn yellow.

Watering: Keep the soil slightly moist, but make sure the plant doesn’t get wet roots. That can cause them to rot. Does your Monstera start showing brown spots on its leaves? Then he’s probably getting too much water. Furthermore, we recommend spraying the leaves regularly. Not only is this good for humidity; it also prevents the leaves from getting dusty.

Accelerate growth: In nature, the Monstera can extract a lot of food from the air with its aerial roots. This is different in your living room, where the plant gets the most of its food from the soil. To give this indoor plant extra nutrition and support, you can guide the air roots to the potting soil. This will help the plant grow a bit faster! Do you want to stimulate its growth further? Then we recommend repotting the houseplant once every two years, at the end of winter. Choose a pot with a diameter that is approximately 5 centimetres larger than the previous one.

Do you have any questions or are you missing any info in this blog? Then please don’t hesitate to contact us!

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