Common name: Swiss Cheese plant or Mexican Bread plant
Monstera deliciousa grows outdoors in the gardens of Mexico, and are normally grown as house plants in the UK.
They are often used as living structural features in offices and hotel foyers.
To grow indoors, the plants require shade, high humidity, and moderate temperatures.
Growing in shaded conditions will curtail leaf size, and growing in too deep shade, may cause the leaves to grow without the characteristic notches.
They can reach a height of over 2 metres (7ft), and the glossy dark green heart shaped leaves can be 600mm in diameter.
The plants require a minimum winter temperature of 10°C (50°F).
Plants will stop growing in cold temperatures and frost can kill them.
In the wild the young plants grow in humid shade until they find a tree to climb on, where they then climbs towards sunlight.
Indoors this can be replicated by using a moss covered pole to climb up, which, when kept moist will create a humid atmosphere around the plants.
Provide a stake or moss pole when the plants are about 300mm (12") tall.
The aerial roots should be trained down to enter the soil in the pot, do this by winding them around the moss pole.
This will also assist with the plants general health and vigour.
Sinking the 300 mm (12") pot into a larger pot filled with moist peat or clay granules will also assist the general humidity around the plant.
Spray the leaves with clean water in hot weather.
Mature plants have deeply notched leaves with numerous perforations, which are absent in young leaves, and sometimes produce groups of cream-yellow, arum-like spathes 100-150mm (4"-6") long.
These are followed by green-white fruits, and the seeds are embedded in a succulent pulp.
The fruit is 250mm (10")long and 30-40mm (1½") wide and is similar in appearance to an cob of corn complete with kernels.
The plant may take three years to bloom but rarely set fruit when grown indoors.
If the plant does happen to to bloom and produce fruit the grower will be well advised not to attempt to eat the fruit due to its poisonous properties.
The immature fruit contains an acid substance which is poisonous.
Eating the fruit before it ripens may cause irritation and swelling in the throat and in severe cases death.
Grow plants in pots or tubs that are of a miniumum size of 300mm (12") diameter /square and contain proprietary peat compost, the equivalent of John Innes No.3.
When new season growth starts the plants will require more water and a humid atmosphere, this can be done by damping down and syringing the leaves.
Feed plants every two weeks from April to September with a weak liquid fertiliser.
Too strong a feed can damage the root system.
Re-pot every two or three years.
Avoid direct sunlight, shade the glass in summer.
Take tip cutting by removing the growing tip complete with one mature leaf and insert in a suitable sized pot containing equal parts (by volume) peat and sand.
Root at a temperature of 24°C (75°F)
A new plantlet will eventually appear on the parent plant, on the next leaf joint down from where the cutting was removed.
Alternatively, if several new plants are required, remove the top part of a stem, and cut into several pieces, each about 75mm (3") long, and each containing one leaf.
Monsteras occasionally produce lateral shoots, these may be removed when they are 150mm (6") long and treated as a cutting.