Monstera deliciosa, or Split-leaf Philodendron, is an vigorous, evergreen epiphytic climber from Central America and Mexico. It has glossy green leaves that are pinnately split and perforated with oblong holes. Leaves reach up to 3 feet (1 m) in length and the stems will reach up to 30 feet (10 m) or more. Stems are short and jointed, with cordlike arial roots that help support the plants as they climb.
Blooming Time: The flowers are a white spathe that that will reach up to 12 inches (30 cm) long. The spadix is about 10 inches (25 cm) long and will mature into an edible fruit. The fruit has a pleasant aroma and tastes, to me, like a cross between banana and pineapple.
Culture: Monstera deliciosa need partial shade to high indirect light, with a rich, well-drained soil mix. In the greenhouse, we use a soil mix consisting of 2 parts peat moss to 2 parts loam to 1 part sand or perlite. The plants are kept moist for optimal growth and are fertilized on a weekly basis during the growing season (spring and summer). They are very vigorous growers and need a lot of support to keep the stems from breaking. Our plant in the greenhouse is about 15 feet long and we continually keep cutting it back to keep it contained. If grown in the home, plants should be grown on the dry side, as this will help slow their growth. They should be re-potted every other year in containers.
Propagation: Monstera deliciosa plants are easily propagated by stem cuttings.
Monstera deliciosa was featured as Plant of the Week November 7-13, 2003.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.