Monstera Deliciosa aka 'The Cheeseplant'
Monstera Deliciosa. The cheese plant gets its nickname from the big holes in its leaves. Easy peasy. As for the Latin name, think of something big lurking in the jungle. No not Rambo. Monster-raa!
Foolproof, nothing cheesy about this easy pleaser.
With strong roots in the 1970’s, the cheese plant brings mixed waves of nostalgia. I fondly think of my nonna’s plant taking over the living room. But no matter how we feel about the cheese plant, it will forgive you. This is the perfect flatmate for a beginner, as it’s so unfussy. It’s a grower. People come to my shop and worry about the space, but I love big plants, they make a statement and look wicked. If you run out of room, you can start training the plant round a picture-frame and it is happily moved around the house.
It’s all about the lovely, large, leathery leaves. It’s important to wipe regularly to keep them clean and your cheese plant happy. I also love using single leaves as flower displays, simply cut them off at the stem and sit in water.
(Pot sold separately)
There’s nothing cheesy about this easy pleaser
*Please note measurements are approximate and each plant will vary
How Not To Kill Your Cheese Plant.
Confusingly, when they don’t get enough light, young leaves can start to grow towards dark spots rather than the light. This is because back in the rainforest, the darkest spots are where the tall trees are. The little shoots will reach for them so they can clamber up into the light. Clever things. In our homes the dark spots stay dark so wrap them back into the main stems and get the poor thing some light. Yellow lower leaves can often mean it’s too cold. If the yellow leaves have brown tips then it's almost certainly caused by very dry air. Cut the dead brown bits off and get the mister out.
Back To The Roots.
Think Rambo - hot, sweaty (and hunky). This guy starts its life on the forest floor and uses aerial roots to attach itself to the trunks and branches of other trees to climb up towards the light. Even in your sitting room, your cheese plant will still produce these roots - attach them to a moss stick to help your cheese plant baby grow into a heartthrob.
The important thing to remember is back in the rainforest, that canopy of trees stops any direct sunlight getting through to the cheese plant below. With this is mind, consider where your cheese plant will be happy: it loves light but doesn’t need too much and won’t like direct sunlight. Remember to turn your pot around regularly so light reaches all the plant to help it grow straight and tall. You’ll know if your cheese plant isn’t getting enough light as the leaves will grow smaller and without holes.
When it comes to watering, the cheese plant can survive some a little oversight - just don’t make it a habit. Remember to touch the soil and water when compost feels dry. Water thoroughly, then allow soil to dry out a bit before watering again and reduce watering in winter when it does into its chill out phase. Also consider how humid it is back home. To mimic this, mist the leaves once a week to raise the humidity levels around the plant. Do this is in the morning to allow time for the water to evaporate - otherwise your plant can get damp. Keep them away from radiators and coolers so the temperature stays consistent. If your cheese plant isn’t getting enough humidity, the leaves may start crisping. To keep it looking good, cut dead leaves off just above the base of the leaf's stem. Because it’s a grower, you’ll need to repot it it every few years, try to do this in the spring before new leaves appear.