This is one of my favourite houseplants, Monstera deliciosa, commonly known as the Swiss Cheese plant. When I was growing up in the 1970s this was the houseplant to have. You would train them to grow up moss poles, giving a portion of your home an exotic tropical look. Its fantastic foliage is peppered with holes and this feature is the inspiration for the common name.

This complete guide will help you to get the very best out of your Monstera.

What’s in a name?

Plants are often given two names. The genus (which is a noun) and the species (which is an adjective). So, for this plant the word Monstera means ‘monstrous’. This refers to the huge size it can grow, up to 60ft in its natural habitat, which are the tropical forests of Central America.

The monstrous leaves ensures that there is a large surface area to take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen into the atmosphere. And it is the oxygen releasing benefits that makes this plant a highly efficient natural tool for air purification. The glossy foliage is great at trapping any dust floating around your home too.  Just remember that the leaves need to be cleaned. And you do this by lightly wiping with a damp cloth, which will keep them looking vibrant.

As well as keeping the plant looking great, it’ll mean you and the plant can both breathe more easily.

So what does Deliciosa mean?

Monstera or Swiss Cheese plant with fruit in the wild

Deliciosa refers to the edible fruits that grow on the plant in its native habitat. It’s highly unlikely that any fruit will ever be produced with your houseplant. However, in the wild these fruits are safe to eat,  when they’re ripe. You can tell if they are ripe as the outer hexagonal scales on the fruit will fall off at the slightest touch. If the fruit isn’t ripe, it will be full of oxalic acid, a substance used to bleach wood and clean rust of metal. And the calcium oxalate crystals within can lead to mouth and throat irritation.

Do you want to know how to get the best out of your Monstera?

Click the images below to read my blogs on how to take care of your Monstera deliciosa.

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