Monstera adansonii care | Swiss cheese vine

If you’re a houseplant enthusiast you’ve undoubtedly heard of the genus Monstera. Monstera deliciosa (the split leaf Philodendron) is a great option for those who have some space and need an eye-catching centerpiece, but what about smaller rooms? Don’t despair: Monstera adansonii has all that Monstera goodness without the huge size. It’s a vining plant that looks great in a hanging container.

Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about Monstera adansonii care and growing the Swiss cheese vine into your own home!

Name(s) (Common, scientific)Swiss cheese vine, Philodendron ‘Monkey Mask’, Adanson’s Monstera,
five holes plant, Monstera adansonii (sometimes incorrectly Monstera obliqua)
Difficulty levelEasy
LightBright indirect
WateringKeep very lightly moist
SoilAroid soil

Monstera adansonii natural habitat

Monstera adansonii plants are flowering aroid plants.

In the wild, they are native to Central and South America, where they can be found growing on tree trunks in deep jungles at low altitudes. They also occur on some Caribbean islands.

Monstera adansonii light and temperature

Light

Because it naturally grows in a creeping fashion on tree trunks, Monstera adansonii is normally shaded from direct sun in the wild. As such, it hasn’t evolved to withstand full sun, although darkness isn’t ideal either: you should aim for bright but indirect lighting. 2 to 3 hours of direct sunlight are fine but anything longer or harsher can scorch the leaves.

While they can handle low light conditions if they have to, Monstera adansonii plants will grow slower and may become leggy in these conditions. This causes new leaves to grow further and further apart, which makes for a sparse-looking plant.

Swiss cheese vine leaf | Monstera adansonii care & info

Temperature

Monstera adansonii plants do well between 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 26 degrees Celsius), although they definitely do prefer the 80s and even 90s Fahrenheit (mid 20s to early 30s Celsius). Not surprising, given their tropical native habitat! They also enjoy high humidity and would love to call your bathroom or kitchen home if there’s enough lighting.

Even if your home isn’t the perfect climate for Monstera adansonii care, just keep them away from drafts and heaters at the very least. If you can spring for it, getting a humidifier will really help your plants, especially during dry months.

Some people also opt for misting the leaves, although this alone doesn’t do much when it comes to increasing humidity. Other options to increase humidity include:

  • Placing multiple plants together so they can benefit from the moisture each one emits.
  • Placing your Monstera adansonii on a humidity tray in the form of a saucer with a layer of pebbles and water.
  • Some people even grow their tropical plants in a plastic storage box or aquarium to create a greenhouse environment!
Leaves of Monstera adansonii, an aroid houseplant also known as the Swiss cheese vine.

Monstera adansonii soil and planting

Soil

Just like with a lot of houseplants, Monstera adansonii will do fine in general potting mixes that are well-draining and more acidic. You can find and make mixes with peat for the acidity and add perlite to help with drainage.

If you want a soil mix specifically for your Monstera adansonii, try finding an aroid soil. You can also mix one yourself by combining coarse coco coir or peat, perlite or pumice, orchid bark and sphagnum moss.

Planting

Because Monstera adansonii is a vining plant, you can get creative with how you plant yours! For instance, they like to crawl by throwing out aerial roots, so can be trained to climb using hooks and garden ties. However, many people like to place them in hanging pots or on top of high shelves to let the vines trail downwards.

Whatever method you choose depends purely on your tastes, but just keep in mind that Monstera adansonii tends to grow larger, fuller leaves when climbing rather than trailing down.

Vines that hang down produce smaller foliage. If you really want to see some good sized adansonii leaves, consider letting your plant climb up a plant totem or trellis.

Fenestrated foliage of Monstera adansonii, a popular houseplant.

Watering Monstera adansonii

What makes Monstera adansonii care so appealing is that they can handle being on the dry side. If you’re the type to sometimes forget about watering plants, this species is right up your alley.

They like to dry out between waterings but still shouldn’t be allowed to dry entirely too often. When the top one or two inches of soil have dried out, it’s time to get your plants a drink. You may only need to do this once a week, or even later, but it’s important to get to know your own plants.

There are a ton of factors, such as lighting, soil mix, temperature, and humidity, that determine how fast your plant’s soil will dry out. If you’re not sure, just stick a chopstick into the soil: the top should come out dry but it should still touch some humidity.

Monstera adansonii fertilizer

Monstera adansonii isn’t too demanding when it comes to fertilizers. You can feed the plants once or twice a month during spring and summer and fall, then reduce feedings or stop them altogether during winter.

If you want to give your plants a little extra nutrients right from the beginning, you can add worm castings to your soil mix or even a bit of home-produced compost.

Leaves of Monstera adansonii, a popular vining houseplant also known as the Swiss cheese vine.

Propagating Monstera adansonii

Because Monstera adansonii is a vining species, it’s pretty easy to propagate them. When left to run amok, the plants can grow vines between 10 to 20 meters long, which means you’ll have to prune them eventually if you don’t want to have to play jungle explorer in your own house!

When you prune the vines, be sure not to throw them out. You can take stem cuttings from the end, making sure to get at least two nodes for best results. These can be used to make more plants or fill up the planter for a fuller look.

Once you have your stem cuttings, you can dip them in growth hormone and plant them in moist soil. Alternatively, pop them into vases of water. Some people simply put them in a sealed bag to trap moisture and humidity. Whichever method you decide to use, you’ll have to be patient since it can take 2 or 3 weeks for the roots to take hold.

Tip: Want to find out more about the ins and out of Monstera adansonii propagation? Head over to the full article on propagating Monstera.

Swiss cheese vine and other colorful houseplants | Monstera adansonii care & info

Problems with Monstera adansonii

Monstera adansonii care comes with the usual problems you can encounter with pretty much any houseplant.

  • Monstera adansonii with yellow leaves: can be caused by both under- and overwatering plants. As mentioned earlier, harsh sunlight can also lead to crispy leaves.
  • Monstera adansonii with brown or black leaves: this is definitely overwatering or a lack of drainage. Repot into fresh, well-draining soil and cut away any roots that appear black or rotting.
  • One thing that has been noted among owners of these plants is how they seem to be more prone to insect pests, such as thrips, especially when it comes to new growth.
  • Thankfully, if you make checking the leaves part of your regular Monstera adansonii care routine, you can spot pest problems early and deal with them easier. For instance, if you have smaller plants, you can take them into the sink or shower and blast the pests away.

    There also plenty of home remedies and commercial products to use on the leaves to help control infestations as well, like neem oil.

Buying Monstera adansonii

Given their popularity and ease of care, Monstera adansonii can be found at local nurseries or online. Both round and narrow forms are widely available on the market.

Round forms have wider leaves with larger holes and a ruffled appearance, while narrow forms have narrower leaves with fewer, smaller holes and lacks the ruffled texture.

You can easily buy a Monstera adansonii online from American Plant Exchange.

Did you know? There’s even a variegated version of Monstera adansonii out there. It’s called Monstera adansonii ‘Archipelago’, but unfortunately it’s even rarer and more coveted at this time than the variegated Monstera deliciosa.

Close-up of wet leaf of Monstera adansonii houseplant.

Monstera obliqua vs adansonii

Many houseplants are a bit of a taxonomic mess, meaning their naming is pretty unclear. One common issue with Monstera adansonii is that it’s generally mislabeled as Monstera obliqua.

Take it from me: you don’t have a Monstera obliqua, even if that’s what the label said. This species is very rare even among horticulturists and easily recognized since the leaves consist almost entirely of holes.

So where did this confusion come from? It’s probably due to the fact that, as mentioned above, there are a few different cultivars of Monstera adansonii out there and nurseries all want a unique name for theirs. Some are not even pure adansonii, but crosses with other Monstera species.

Other common names for Monstera adansonii include Swiss cheese vine, five holes plant and Philodendron ‘Monkey Mask’. The latter is a trademarked name invented by the nursery that produced this specific cultivar, but it’s really nothing more than a Monstera adansonii (which is not even a species of Philodendron!).

Is Monstera adansonii toxic to cats and dogs?

Yes, according to the ASPCA, Monstera adansonii plants are unfortunately toxic to cats and dogs. Like many other houseplants they contain insoluble calcium oxalates.

As mentioned in the article on Monstera toxicity, the plant isn’t as damaging as it’s often made out to be. Exposure is more bothersome than actually dangerous. Symptoms can include irritation and burning of the mouth, lips, and tongue, excessive drooling, difficulty swallowing, and vomiting.


If you have any more question about Monstera adansonii care or want to share your own experiences with this popular houseplant, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below! 🌿

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