Plant Spotlight: Monstera deliciosa
A statement-sized specimen that's a consistent favorite for indoor greenery, Monstera deliciosa derives its name from a remarkable size and a tasty, though rarely-seen fruit. Native to rainforests from southern Mexico to Panama, this flowering tropical is also known as the "Swiss cheese plant." Its nickname comes from the unusually-shaped leaves shown above, which begin as a single oval and become fenestrated as they mature. The lacy leaves are a natural adaptation that helps Monstera thrive in its native habitat; open spaces let the leaves withstand intense rainfall and wind, while a large surface area collects the limited sun that filters through the rainforest canopy. Indoors, these large-scale leaves offer a burst of glossy green that's perfect for brightening an empty corner.
At home, place your Monstera in bright, indirect light-- direct sun can cause the leaves to burn. Water weekly and be sure to prune your plant as needed by making a flat cut where the leaf or branch joins the parent stem. In the wild, Monstera can reach up to 65 feet in height, so regular trims are necessary for indoor cultivation, and a supportive stick or trellis is key for upright growth. It's rare for these tropical beauties to flower or fruit when kept inside, but dedicated gardeners could see flowers about three years after planting. The flavor of the fruit has been compared to banana and pineapple; if your plant does produce a fruit, it must be fully ripened before it's safe to eat. In the meantime, Monstera is sure to become the centerpiece of your indoor garden.
Photo by Ewen Roberts.