Monstera adansonii

Monstera adansonii

Propagation

Stem cuttings – Cut off a 4-6 inch stem piece just after a leaf node. Remove the leaves at the bottom. Let the cut end heal over for 12 hours. Plant in soil, burying node 4 inches. Water well and place in a warm, bright location.

Light

Bright, indirect sunlight

Water

Water to keep the soil moist but not soggy. Add water when the top inch of soil is dry.

Growth

Fast – may grow up to 2 feet in one season

Temperature

65-80F

Humidity

60% and above

About

Also known as a Swiss Cheese Plant, M.adansonii features large deep-green heart-shaped leaves with many oval perforations, like its namesake. The leaves are thick and glossy, and the holes give them an intricate, lacy look. This Monstera is a vine that grows 3-5 feet long as a houseplant.

 

Other common names for M. adansonii include: Five holes plant, Monkey Mask Monstera, Adanson's Monstera, and Friedrichsthalii.

 

M. adansonii leaves are bright-green when they emerge and turn dark green later. New leaf growth on young plants often lacks holes at first. The holes will start to develop when the leaves are 2-4 inches long.

 

Swiss cheese plants evolved with holes in their leaves so that they wouldn't suffer in the heavy rains or blustery winds of the tropics. Rain and wind can just pass through the leaves; it's an excellent survival tactic!

 

The leaves grow on average 10-28 inches long and 6-18 inches wide. When the plant is young, it focuses on crawling (spreading out) as fast as it can. As it matures, it wants to climb upwards.

 

While M.adansonii is in crawling mode, the leaves tend to remain small. Then, when it goes into climbing mode, the leaves get larger. The immature Adansonii is often mistaken for a Philodendron because the leaves are small and haven't developed fenestrations yet.

 

Since M.adansonii is a climber, it loves a trellis, stakes, or moss pole to scale up and show off its foliage. It also looks stunning as a hanging plant. Just make sure the vines have adequate space to cascade and spread out.

 

The Adansonii climbs with aerial roots – these are roots that grow above the soil surface. In the wild, these roots attach to trees for support as the plant stretches out to reach more sunlight. The aerial roots also allow the plant to collect more moisture and nutrients from its surroundings. Aerial roots don't form until the plant is mature.

 

The aerial roots are thin and brown and can get several feet long like cords. Of course, in your home, the aerial roots don't serve as much purpose as in the wild. Some folks don't like the way they look, gathered or hanging around the base of the plant. This is fine; the roots can be trimmed without any ill consequences for the plant. They'll regrow, though, so you'll need to trim them regularly if you don't like the aesthetic.

 

M.adansonii comes in narrow leaf and round leaf forms. As the names suggest, the narrow form has longer, more slender leaves, and the tips are pointier. Usually, the leaves are significantly longer than they are wide, and one side of the leaf is longer than the other (unequal growth).

 

The rounded form has wider, more heart-shaped leaves. The overall length of the leaf is less than half the width, and the growth is more symmetrical. They aren't entirely equal but more balanced than with the narrow form. Rounded form Adansonii leaves also tend to be a little ruffled or crinkled looking.

 

The best way to tell the types apart, especially when they are young and the leaves aren't fully formed, is by looking at the vines. The round form has thicker stems, while the narrow form has a very thin stem.

 

The Monstera species is known to be highly variable in appearance, and it morphs as it grows. In addition to each leaf being unique, each plant also grows rather distinctively. So much depends on available light, watering routine, and climate.

 

Monstera deliciosa is the more well-known Swiss Cheese Plant; it has massive leaves, greater growth, and more developed fenestrations that split the leaf. M.adansonii is petite compared to deliciosa, and its foliage is delicate.

 

Monstera obliqua is often confused with Adansonii because they look very similar. M.obliqua has much thinner leaves that are incredibly smooth. The Obliqua is much rarer and not often found in cultivation.

 

Monstera adansonii is originally from the tropical forests of Central and South America. It is found in Peru, Ecuador, and Brazil. During the growing season (spring through fall), this Swiss Cheese Plant grows prolifically if it has enough space. Once the weather starts cooling down, though, growth will slow down and then usually stall completely. This is normal! In fact, this downtime is necessary for the plant to remain healthy and strong.

Other Notes

There are several M. adansonii cultivars. All of them are pretty rare and quite pricey!

Variegata – features chunky white stripes and patches
Archipelago – features creamy yellow and white variegation on green leaves
Laniata – looks remarkably similar, except the leaves are glossier. To tell them apart, look at the leaf underside. The 'laniata' is glossy, while the classic 'adansonii' will have a matte finish.

Photos from Our Community!