There's no forgetting the perforated emerald shields of Monstera deliciosa. This curious specimen hails from southern Mexico but has since spread across the globe to grace indoor spaces and outdoor areas alike. Named for its mammoth size and strange fruit, the beautiful Monstera deliciosa rightfully earned its moniker "delicious monster." When planted in the ground, these guys can grow in excess of 20 feet in height and produce a fruit similar to pineapple in flavor.
Monstera deliciosa is an interesting plant in the sense that its overall size and height is proportionate to its container. The smaller the container, the smaller the plant. Stick to planters that are 12 to 16 inches in diameter, and always make sure your pots have drainage holes — even if that means drilling them yourself.
Follow a few leaf stems down until you find a swollen joint or nodule. You will sometimes find an aerial root at these junctions; that's a good indication that you've found the right spot. Once a node has been located, cut cleanly one inch below it with sterile shears. Fill a vase with water and place your cutting on display until the cutting produces roots of its own. Repot, and care for like normal.
Proper hydration is key when it comes to keeping your Monstera deliciosa alive and well. Although tropical, they do prefer the top inch of soil to dry out between each watering. This works out to watering about once a week for outdoor specimens, and once every two weeks for indoor plants.
Monstera deliciosa is adaptable when it comes to lighting, as it can survive in lower light conditions and thrive in brighter areas. Although they can grow to tolerate sunlight, moving an indoor or shade-grown Monstera deliciosa into unfiltered sun can burn the leaves beyond repair. Keep your plant by a sunny window or outdoors under cover; strong ambient lighting will encourage faster growth.
An easygoing houseplant, Monstera deliciosa enjoys a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and materials when it comes to pots. Feel free to choose anything from plastic to ceramic, conventional or abstract. The material will only affect how quickly water evaporates from the soil: terra-cotta dries out the fastest, plastic the second, and glazed ceramic the slowest. What matters most to Monstera deliciosa is the potting mix, not the pot itself.
There are plenty of commercial preparations suitable for Monstera deliciosa, so feel free to go with your favorite one. Look for a soil that is light and fluffy, almost puffed, with a bit of fertilizer mixed in if you can. The proper soil will retain just the right amount of moisture and release the excess to prevent root rot.
The thick, leathery leaves of Monstera deliciosa have made this plant immune to most common pests except for spider mites and mealybugs. Both of these attach to plant tissue and extract vital nutrients from the host, leaving behind yellow spots and deadly mold. A topical application of neem oil to the affected areas should help eliminate the infestation.
Susceptible only to leaf spot and root rot, Monstera deliciosa has certainly proven its resilience. Leaf spot, a minor fungal infection, requires a simple but heartbreaking treatment: removal of the entire affected leaf. Root rot, on the contrary, cannot be treated as simply and will jeopardize the health of the entire plant. To prevent it, do not overwater your Monstera deliciosa nor allow it to sit in water.
Fertilizing a Monstera deliciosa is not a matter of if but when. These plants experience growth spurts during the spring and summer months. Applying a balanced fertilizer with equal parts nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium — such as a 20-20-20 formulation — will ensure your plant has everything it needs to continue growing. If you're lucky enough, you might even get your Monstera to flower.
The "delicious" part of Monstera deliciosa is attributed to its unique fruit. This corn-shaped cob is full of a custard-like flesh said to taste like pineapple and jackfruit. A tropical delicacy, the fruit takes anywhere from 10 to 12 months to ripen after flowering. Great care should be taken when harvesting, as unripened fruit can be toxic if ingested.