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Love the lush, tropical look of monstera but don't have the space for a large plant? Try its cousin, the Swiss cheese plant. Also known as Monstera adansonii, this verdant climbing vine looks beautiful and grows easily in the right conditions. Here's everything you need to know to grow a Swiss cheese plant.
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Alexandra Jones is a certified master gardener in Philadelphia. As an indoor and outdoor gardener, Jones is an author on topics like gardening, climate, urban farming, and sustainability.
- Botanical Name: Monstera adansonii
- Common Name: Adanson's monstera, Swiss cheese plant, five holes plant, monkey mask plant
- Plant Type: Perennial
- Mature Size: Six to eight feet tall and two feet wide
- Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light
- Soil Type: Well-drained, peat-based potting mix
- Soil pH: 5.5 - 7.0
- Toxicity: Toxic to dogs and cats
Swiss cheese plants need something to climb on, so one of the most important parts of their care is providing some kind of support. You can provide your plant with a simple wooden or wire trellis, but a moss pole—a stake or other support covered in sphagnum moss—is ideal because it gives the plant's aerial roots more to grab onto. You can loosely tie Swiss cheese plant stems to the pole when you first install it to train them to climb up.
With the proper conditions, Swiss cheese plant care is pretty simple. Keep the potting mix consistently moist but not soggy. Six months after repotting your plant, you can feed it once per month with houseplant fertilizer diluted to half strength.
If your Swiss cheese plant is getting overgrown or leggy, you'll want to prune it back to keep it contained. Do this in the spring when the plant is actively growing, cutting just below a leaf node. You can save the cuttings to propagate new plants.
Best Growing Conditions for Swiss Cheese Plant
The Swiss cheese plant grows best with bright, indirect light. In its natural habitat, this vine often climbs from the shady jungle floor to the sunny canopy. This means it can tolerate a range of light levels, but it will do best near a window that doesn't get harsh direct sun, such as a north-facing or east-facing window.
Rather than regular potting soil, Swiss cheese plants need a chunky, well-drained potting medium. You can buy pre-made monstera or aroid mixes at nurseries and garden centers. You can try making your own Swiss cheese plant potting mix by combining one part perlite, three parts peat-based potting mix or coconut coir, and one part orchid bark.
You'll want to give your Swiss cheese plant warm temperatures ranging from 55 to 85 degrees and as much humidity as possible. Try keeping your Swiss cheese plant in your bathroom near a window.
Types of Swiss Cheese Plant
Several different plants in the Monstera genus are known by the common name Swiss cheese plant. There are several different varieties of Monstera adansonii or Swiss cheese plant, including Monstera adansonii variegata, which has patches of white and green on its leaves. Monstera adansonii archipelago is another variegated type. Monstera adansonii laniata, another variety, has darker, shinier leaves.
How to Propagate Swiss Cheese Plant
It's easy to propagate Swiss cheese plants by rooting stem cuttings in water. You'll have the best success propagating during spring or summer.
What You'll Need
- Healthy, mature plant
- Clean, sharp knife or pruners
- Small clear glass or jar
- Small plant pot
- Monstera potting mix
Step 1: Choose a healthy stem with several leaves. Make a diagonal cut at least six inches from the tip of the stem, directly beneath a leaf node. Trim off the lower leaves, leaving at least two to three leaves on the cutting.
Step 2: Place the cutting in the jar and add water so that the lower leaf nodes are submerged. Put the jar in a warm place with bright, indirect light.
Step 3: Watch for roots to grow from the leaf nodes submerged in the water. This can take several weeks. Change out the water if it gets cloudy.
Step 4: When the new roots are about an inch long or new leaf growth emerges, the cutting is ready to pot up into a small container. After repotting, you can care for it as usual.
Common Problems With Swiss Cheese Plant
While a few yellow leaves can be normal, lots of yellowing can indicate overwatering or underwatering. Check the moisture of the potting mix and adjust watering accordingly.
Yellowing can be an early sign of sunburn after exposure to direct sunlight. Yellow leaves can also indicate a nitrogen deficiency, so if you haven't repotted or fertilized the plant in a long time, feeding it might resolve the issue.
Are Swiss Cheese Plants Easy to Care For?
If you can create the proper growing conditions, Swiss cheese plants are relatively easy to grow. They need warmth, humidity, and bright, indirect light to thrive.
What’s the Difference Between Swiss Cheese Plant and Monstera?
Many plants in the genus Monstera are known as "Swiss cheese plants," but the general consensus is that this common name belongs to Monstera adansonii. Other types of monstera, such as Monstera deliciosa, look similar but have different shaped leaves with different sizes or types of openings or slits in the leaves. They may also grow larger or bushier than Monstera adansonii.
Can Swiss Cheese Plant Grow Indoors?
Yes. In most of the country, Swiss cheese plants must be kept indoors, because this heat-loving tropical can't survive cold temperatures. It can be planted outdoors in zone 10, but in colder zones, it's best to keep it as a houseplant. Give it bright, indirect light, warm temperatures, and as much humidity as possible for the best results.