A popular houseplant, the Swiss cheese vine (Monstera adansonii), is so called because its large, heart-shaped leaves develop holes, similar to Swiss cheese, as the plant ages. This process, known as fenestration, gives the plant a distinctive appearance that helps it to stand out in any houseplant collection.
Despite its show-stopping appearance, Monstera adansonii is surprisingly easy to care for. A tropical perennial, the Swiss cheese vine is native to Central and South America. It can also be found on some islands in the West Indies.
The distinctive foliage of Monstera adansonii.
Also known as the five-holes plant, Monstera adansonii is commonly grown as a houseplant. A cousin of both Monstera deliciosa, also known as the Swiss cheese plant, and Monstera Minima, Monstera adansonni is a quick-growing plant with an extensive vining habit.
However, when grown in a pot as a houseplant, the Swiss cheese vine remains a manageable size. This, coupled with its easy going nature and distinctive holy foliage, makes it an attractive addition to any houseplant collection.
Whether you are a new plant parent, looking for an interesting specimen to get you started, or an experienced hand keen to learn how to add Monstera adansonii to your houseplant collection, this guide is packed with all the information you need.
Warning, like the Swiss cheese plant, all parts of Monstera adansonii are toxic to pets.
Where to Grow Your Swiss Cheese Vine
Swiss cheese vine is classified as hardy in USDA Zones 10 to 12. This means it can grow outside in these areas; however, the plants are more commonly grown as houseplants.
The Swiss cheese vine is a climbing plant. As it grows, aerial roots grow down from the stem. In their natural forest habitats, the aerial roots spread out, attaching themselves to any woody vines or trees they come into contact with.
If you are growing your Swiss cheese vine as a houseplant, inserting a stake into the center of the pot gives the aerial roots something to cling to.
A stake gives the plant something to climb up.
In the wild, these plants can achieve a height of 10 to 13 ft. When cultivated as a houseplant, growth is more compact. A mature specimen can attain a height of 3 to 8 ft and spread 1 to 3 ft wide. Pruning your plants every year helps to contain the spread meaning that they are unlikely to outgrow their spot in your home.
A tropical plant, the Swiss cheese vine does best when exposed to lots of bright, indirect sunlight. In their native habitats, these plants grow beneath the canopy of larger trees. This means placing your plant close to but not in a south or east-facing window.
Please don’t place your Swiss cheese vine in a full or direct sun position unless it is completely unavoidable. If you must set the plant in direct sun, aim to limit its exposure to no more than three hours a day. Too much exposure to direct sun causes the leaves to burn or turn brown.
The Swiss cheese vine thrives in warm, humid conditions. Therefore, a light, warm bathroom is ideal in most homes.
Suppose you can’t place your plant in the bathroom. In that case, you can replicate the humid conditions that the Swiss cheese vine adores elsewhere in your home by placing the plant somewhere at least 40 ℉ with a humidity level of over 50%.
These plants like lots of indirect light.
While you can use a humidifier to artificially raise humidity levels, I prefer regularly misting my plants. This raises humidity levels around the plant and allows me to check for disease or infestation.
Another way to artificially raise humidity levels is to place the plant pot on a tray filled with water and small pebbles. Don’t allow the pot to contact the water. Slowly, the water evaporates, raising humidity levels around the plant. Just remember to occasionally top up the water and the plant will be fine.
Finally, don’t place your Swiss cheese vine in a drafty position.
Potting and Repotting Your Plant
Repot newly purchased plants as soon as possible. Otherwise, these plants are best repotted in the spring. Repot every two years to keep your Swiss cheese vine healthy
When repotting, transplant into a pot that is slightly larger than the plant’s root ball. Transplanting into too large a container can stress the plant and stunt its growth.
You can grow Swiss cheese vine in any type of plant pot just as long as it has drainage holes in the bottom. If your plant pot doesn’t have drainage holes, drill some in before planting. Their vining habit makes these plants particularly attractive when planted in hanging baskets.
To transplant, fill a clean pot with a peat-based potting mix. This retains water without becoming waterlogged. A soil pH of 5.5 to 7 helps to keep the plant growing.
Remove your plant from its current pot and brush away any remaining soil. Be careful not to damage the plant when handling it.
Make a hole in the center of the new pot. You are aiming to replant to the same depth as in the previous pot. When you are happy with the position of the plant, firm the soil down and water well.
How to Care for Swiss Cheese Vine
Positioned in a favorable position, this is an easygoing plant.
One of the main attractions of this plant is its distinctive holed leaves. These develop naturally on happy, healthy plants. Monstera specimens growing outside produce white flowers during the spring. While it is possible, plants growing as houseplants are unlikely to flower.
When to Water
The Swiss cheese vine likes the soil to be consistently moist.
To work out whether your plant needs water, stick your finger around an inch into the soil. If it feels dry, water until excess water starts to pour from the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot.
Hold off watering for a few more days if the soil is still moist.
How to Fertilize
Most commercial potting mixes contain a slow-release fertilizer. If yours doesn’t, you can work in a dose of all-purpose granular fertilizer into the soil before planting. Then, after repotting, wait 4 to 6 months before fertilizing.
Apply a dose of Miracle-Grow Indoor Liquid Plant Food diluted to half its strength once every month. This is a balanced product that contains all the nutrients your growing houseplants need. More experienced growers may prefer to use natural fertilizers for their houseplants.
Pruning a Swiss Cheese Vine
As the name suggests, the Swiss cheese vine is a climbing plant that will spread out as it grows. Therefore, you must prune the plant regularly to stop it from outgrowing its space and taking over your home.
Pruning is best done in the spring.
Prune your plants regularly.
Use garden scissors to cut the stems back by no more than 25%. Regular pruning means that you may not have to prune so severely; however, a good trim and tidy-up every spring encourages lots of new, healthy growth to emerge.
When pruning, aim to make clean cuts on the stem, just above a pair of leaves or leaf nodes.
Dead leaves and damaged stems can be removed when you notice them. This helps to keep your plant healthy.
Don’t forget to clean your scissors after use; this helps to prevent the accidental spread of disease around your garden or house plant collection.
How to Propagate Swiss Cheese Vine Propagate
In addition to being easy to care for, these plants are pleasingly easy to propagate.
Learning how to propagate plants is a great way to get new plants for free, increase the size of your houseplant collection, or create gifts for fellow plant-loving friends and family.
Stem cuttings provide an easy way to propagate your Swiss cheese vine.
Healthy stems can be rooted and grown on as new plants.
Best done in the spring, you can take stem cuttings for propagation while you prune the plant. Even if you only want one new plant, taking a few cuttings helps to guard against failure.
To propagate, use clean garden scissors to cut a 4 to 6 inch long piece of stem from the plant. The stem should be healthy and free from pests or diseases. If possible, make the incision just above a leaf node.
Prepare your cutting by removing any leaves that are present on the bottom half of the stem. Removing leaves creates nodes from which new roots emerge. To be successful, your cutting needs at least 2 to 3 nodes.
Dip the cutting in Garden Safe TakeRoot Rooting Hormone to stimulate root production.
Fill a pot with a moist, Organic Indoor Soilless Potting Mix. Plant your cutting deeply enough so that the newly created nodes are all buried in the soil. After planting, place the pot in a warm, bright spot that enjoys lots of bright, indirect light.
Regularly check your cutting for signs of drying out. Aim to keep the potting mix lightly moist.
Roots typically form in a few months. New growth emerging is a clear sign that a root system has developed. At this stage, you can transplant the cutting into a larger pot.
Propagating in Water
You can also propagate the plant in a jar of fresh water. To do this, prepare the stem cutting as described above before placing the cutting in a jar of water. The water level should cover the exposed nodes.
Change the water in the jar every day. Once roots emerge, plant the cutting in a pot filled with potting mix.
Growing from Seed
Cultivating a Swiss cheese vine from seed is possible, but it takes a little longer than propagating a new plant from stem cuttings.
Fill a shallow Seed Starter Tray with a moist seed-starter mix. Sow the seeds on top of the growing medium and lightly cover them. Place the humidity dome over the tray. If your seed tray doesn’t have a lid, you can place it inside a clear plastic bag. Use small sticks or straws to prevent the plastic bag from touching the seeds.
Place in a warm spot filled with bright, indirect light. Regularly mist the growing medium to prevent it from drying out. Seeds typically germinate in a few weeks.
Once seedlings start to grow, remove the plastic cover but continue to keep the growing medium moist.
You can transplant the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle.
Swiss Cheese Vine Pests and Diseases
An easygoing plant, while your Swiss cheese vine can become infested by some common household pests, infestations are rarely fatal.
Common house pests that target
Swiss cheese vine plants include:
- Spider mites.
Regularly check the foliage of your plants for signs of infestation. You can treat infestations by rubbing the affected leaves with neem oil if you notice any pests. Our guide to using neem oil on plants explains how to effectively use this solution on your houseplants.
Correctly cared for, the Swiss cheese vine is unlikely to develop any serious problems. However, diseases such as rust, blight and powdery mildew can all affect the plant.
Rust often develops on wet leaves. It can be treated by spraying a baking soda and water solution onto the plant. To prevent rust from forming, try to water only the soil, keeping keep the foliage as dry as possible
Foliage turning yellow is a sign that you are overwatering your Swiss cheese vine. If you don’t amend this issue quickly, a more severe disease, root rot, can develop. If your plant is showing signs of being overwatered, repot into lighter, better-draining soil.
After repotting, adjust your watering routine to ensure you don’t frequently water the plant. Many people struggle to work out when to water their houseplants. I like to use a soil moisture sensor to help me work out when to water my houseplants. This helps to prevent many of the issues that can arise from an incorrect watering routine.
Foliage turning brown or black is a sign of leaf burn. This means that your plant has been exposed to too much direct sunlight. Check your plant’s growing position to ensure it isn’t exposed to too much direct sun. The afternoon sun is particularly harmful.
Distinctive and easy to care for, the Swiss cheese vine is a standout addition to any home or houseplant collection. Ideal for novices, its hardy nature means that it also tolerates a little neglect or mismanagement, meaning that any mistakes you make can be quickly amended.
Why not get growing and add a Swiss cheese vine to your home today?
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.