This stunning plant, which has won the hearts of many, is called Philodendon Adansonii, or the Swiss Cheese Plant.
This plant goes by several names, Swiss Cheese Vine, Swiss Cheese Philodendron, and Swiss Cheese Monstera, and it is called this because of the many holes that the heart shaped leaves has. It is believed that these “holes”, or fenestrations, is what allows the plant to withstand high wind conditions and allows the lower leaves sunlight as it vines up nearby trees.
It is a flowering plant that is part of the Araceae family, that is found all throughout Central and South America. They can also be found on islands in the West Indies like St. Lucia, Antigua, and Trinidad.
Lighting and Temperatures
Swiss Cheese Plant can be found along river valleys in lower elevations. It is a vining plant that slowly makes its way up surrounding plants, trees, and rocks. Because of this, this plant does not need full sun. It will thrive better in diffused or dappled light settings that mimic its natural environment. I like to place mine near East or West facing windows. Southwest facing windows are fine as well but be cautious of leaves burning if they move towards the light too much.
These are very tropical plants and placing them in extreme heat or cold will damage or kill the plant. Average in home temperatures are perfect and I wouldn’t expose them to temperatures below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
Watering and Fertilizing
I’ve noticed with my plants that they appreciate drying out a little between watering. Like most plants, soggy roots lead to root rot. Since this plant is mostly a dappled defused light kind of plant, the soil will stay moist for longer periods than a plant that receives full sun. I also water my philodendrons with filtered water. If this is not an option, you can also fill up any jug or watering can, and allow the water to sit for 24 hours before watering your plants with it. This will allow any extra minerals and salts to get evaporated. Philodendrons are sensitive to excess salts and minerals that tap water may have in it.
These plants also like a good amount of humidity. It’s not a requirement like with ferns but the plant will appreciate it. You can mist or place the plant in a bathroom where it will get extra humidity.
You can fertilize the plant during the spring and summer months with a balanced fertilizer or a fertilizer with slightly higher nitrogen. The nitrogen will help to keep leaves looking their best. Withhold from watering in the fall and winter months. If you have just repotted, I would refrain from fertilizing for about 6 months, as most potting soil has slow release fertilizer in it. Six months is about how long it takes for a plant to use up the fertilizer in the soil.
Soil and Propagation
Philodendrons will do best in soil that has some aeration. You can use indoor potting mix and add extra perlite or pumice. This should keep the soil from compacting and staying wet for too long.
Propagation is fairly easy with this plant. You can cut off long vines off the plant and place the root nodes in water or directly into soil. Just be sure to keep the soil moist until roots develop. Trimming your plant will not only give you new plants through propagation but will also encourage the plant to grow more full.
Other Useful Information
Philodendrons, although beautiful, are poisonous! I would be careful having them in reach of small children or animals. If ingested it can cause vomiting, drooling, and swelling.
This particular type of plant also gets mislabeled a lot. I bought one once that was labeled Philodendron Obliqua. They are very similar but Obliqua‘s are very rare! Only about 17 people world wide have seen and documented this plant in the wild! They are very very rare. You will never find or be able to purchase an Obliqua in your local nursery or plant shop. Currently only collectors are able to grow it and if you purchased one from them, it would probably cost you hundreds of dollars.
There are also several different types of Adansonii. Many of these get confused for obliqua but they are in fact Adansonii. Some Adansonii have more narrow leaves and some have larger wider leaves. No matter the size of the leaves the fenestrations are the same in size and frequency. The growth pattern and care are the same as well.
Swiss Cheese Philodendrons can produce flowers although they almost never do kept indoors. They do produce flowers in their natural environment that range from cream to purple.
If any of you would like to share your care tips or experience with this plant, please do. I hope you enjoyed this and look forward from hearing from you.