Create a jungle vibe with this striking indoor plant
IF YOU'RE searching for a plant to bring a lush, tropical jungle vibe to your home, look no further than monstera deliciosa.
This beauty has large, rich green leaves that have interesting splits and holes in them, which gives rise to some of its nicknames, including the swiss cheese plant and window plant.
It does bear edible fruit when mature, which taste like a blend of pineapple and banana, so it's also called fruit salad plant.
Monsteras originate in the under-storey of jungles in South America, so they are well-suited to growing indoors as they are happy in fairly low light.
The leaves on a young plant are quite small and entire but as the plant grows the interesting shapes start to appear and no two leaves are identical.
In the jungles, young monsteras scramble along the ground towards the darker areas produced by the shade of a large tree. When they reach the tree they start to climb it to the light.
They produce roots to cling to the host tree and may eventually lose contact with the ground altogether. They use the large tree for support but don't harm it as a strangler fig does.
A mature monstera growing in a protected, shady position in a garden will flower and produce fruit but I doubt a plant grown indoors would do so.
Monsteras are pretty easy to grow, as long as they get adequate moisture. Like so many plants though, they don't like to be wet and soggy all the time, so you need a premium potting mix that holds moisture well but also drains effectively.
This is not a plant for a small space. The leaves can be large, nearly 1m across, and the plant will be quite wide as well as tall.
You may need to give your monstera something to climb on. A strong, straight branch or timber pole inserted firmly and deeply into the pot would do the job.
The size of the plant and the growth rate will be governed to some extent by the size of the pot and the amount of food and fertiliser you use. You will also see much faster growth in the warmer months and little or none during winter.
The large leaves may need to be wiped to remove dust or you can give your monstera a shower in the bathroom or in the rain to keep it nice and clean.
If you do put it outside in the rain, make sure it doesn't get burned when the sun comes out again. Re-potting is best done in spring or early summer.
As with all indoor plants, do think carefully before you plant it out in a garden if you no longer want it indoors. Some plants are perfectly well behaved living in a pot in your home, but may grow huge, or be invasive, if released into the wild.
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