5 years to reach maturity
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Swiss Cheese Plant Overview
Monstera deliciosa f. borsigiana is the smaller, faster-growing climbing form of the classic M. deliciosa plant and is often confused with this species. It is an impressive, easy-to-grow and generally low maintenance plant. It may be kept indoors as a distinctive foliage houseplant, requiring support for optimal growth and this variety has a climbing habit. Their cream-white flowers are large, if not particularly pretty, and will later produce fruit that are inedible until their scales lift up. These are infrequently seen in cultivation, requiring exacting conditions to achieve flowering. They resemble a green ear of maize and can cause stomach upset if consumed unripe. Foliage is the main reason for growing this lovely plant, the leaves are large, glossy and heart-shaped. They change structure with age, developing characteristic splits over time, this is where the common name swiss cheese plant originates from. Foliage is whole in young specimens, developing larger splits with growing maturity. Native to tropical rainforests, this plant climbs using aerial roots and is classified as an epiphyte, this is an organism that doesn't require a water or soil substrate to grow, surviving on other organisms and gleaning nutrition and moisture from the air and their immediate surroundings. They also do fine potted in an airy, well-draining soil mix, its advisable to add moss and perlite to achieve this. It has a bushy, climbing habit and is frost-tender, keep above freezing temperatures, plant in a position of full sun and well-draining soil for optimal growth. Water when the soil has thoroughly dried out for best results.
Common problems with Swiss Cheese Plant
Indoor plants can be vulnerable to mites sap-sucking pests whereas those kept outdoors can be damaged by grasshoppers. Insects can be controlled by spraying the plant with a diluted horticultural oil or soap or homemade repellant. Root Rot can cause severe damage to this plant when conditions are too wet.
How to harvest Swiss Cheese Plant
The fruit may be ripened by cutting it when the first scales begin to lift up and it begins to smell pungent. Set aside wrapped in a paper bag until the scales begin popping off. Brush scales off to reveal the edible flesh underneath which can be cut from the core and eaten.
How to propagate Swiss Cheese Plant
A tip cutting, including at least two leaves, will root in spring, if it is planted in a deep pot containing a moistened equal-parts mixture of peat moss and sand. Enclose the cutting in a plastic bag.
Special features of Swiss Cheese Plant
Provide a large container to allow air roots to tap into the soil.
Plants grown indoors in temperate regions occasionally produce flowers and fruit.
Attractive foliage plant.
Other uses of Swiss Cheese Plant
Suits a conservatory or light indoor room as an architectural feature houseplant.
The flesh of the fruit underneath the scales can be cut from the core and eaten. The flesh has a fruity taste similar to jackfruit and pineapple.