How to Look After Monstera Adansonii & Obliqua (Swiss Cheese Plant) - A Care Guide

Updated: Mar 8

Here's some tips on how to care for a Monstera obliqua and Monstera adansonii, so that you can make the most of this ruffly leaved swiss cheese plant.

A Monstera Adansonii being held up at the Garden Geeks store. | Garden Geeks UK
A Monstera adansonii at the Garden Geeks store.

Swiss Cheese Plant


Commonly called the 'Swiss Cheese Plant' due to the holes in their leaves reminiscent of swiss cheese, the Monstera plant family are native to central and south America.


The Monstera obliqua and Monstera adansonii are recognisable for their fenestrated, ruffled texture leaves. These houseplants will add some interest to your home and look great when their wrinkled foliage captures the light and shadow.


What's the difference between obliqua and adansonii?


Monstera obliqua and Monstera adansonii are often confused. Most likely the plants you see at garden centres and plant shops will be adansonii, even if the tag says otherwise. Original/true obliqua are a bit harder to come by


While both plants leaves are highly fenestrated (have lots of apertures/windows in), Monster obliqua is extremely fenestrated in comparison to Monstera adansonii. In a fully grown Monstera Obliqua, as much as 90% of the foliage can be empty space!


The leaves of the Monstera adansonii are also less delicate and a bit more textured than the papery thin leaves of the Monstera obliqua. As such, the obliqua is a little more difficult to care for.


Confusingly, these two species of Monstera look almost identical for the first few years og their life, which is why mislabelling often occurs.

Light


Like most swiss cheese plants, Monstera obliqua and Monstera adansonii prefer bright indirect sunlight.


The super-thin leaves of the obliqua especially will sun burn and crisp quickly if exposed to harsh direct sunlight - so keep it away!


These plants can cope with lower light conditions, however they won't grow as fast. Try to find a room that gets lots of natural light, but don't sit it right in the window.


Soil


You'll want to aim for a potting mist that keeps your Monstera moist, but not soggy or sitting in loads of water for too long.


Both Monstera adansonii and Monstera obliqua do well in a peaty potting mix with some drainage substrate added. Adding perlite and bark to your mix will help with drainage and provide a little water retention too, while providing aeration for the roots.


Every keen Monstera owner will have their own mix, some including ingredients such as pumice, activated carbon, coco coir or worm castings. We make our own here at Garden Geeks too. Just remember, good drainage, with some water retention is key (choose a pot with a drainage hole too).


Watering



With their highly fenestrated leaves, Monstera adansonii and obliqua aren't as thirsty as their well known friend Monstera deliciosa (the traditional cheese plant for many people).


You'll want to keep the soil lightly moist, but not soaking. As a rule of thumb, give your plant a drink when the top 2-3 inches of soil has dried out, letting any excess water run out of your pot's drainage holes. Distilled water or rainwater is best where possible. Don't let you plant stand in water.


You may need to increase the regularity of your watering in the warmer Summer months and cut it back slightly in winter.


Humidity


Being native to Central and South America, your Monstera will enjoy some humidity. Monstera obliqua in specific have quite high humidity requirements if you want to bring the best out of their delicate leaves.


  • Monsterasa adansonii can survive just fine in normal household humidity, though do appreciate a misting every so often. You can also sit them on a tray of pebbles and water.

  • Monstera obliqua enjoy constant, high humidity (around 85% if possible), otherwise they are prone to drying out and their delicate leaves will go crispy. This is moreso essential when the plant is reaching maturity and the leaves are very thin and fenestrated. You might want to consider having a humidifier near your obliqua.

Placing your Monstera near other humidity loving houseplants will help create a more humid microclimate too.


Temperature


  • Monstera obliqua enjoy warmer temperatures between 21–29°C. If you're using an artificial heat source to reach these temperatures, make sure your plant is getting sufficient humidity so that it's leaves don't dry out.

  • Monstera adansonii are less picky, and should do well in normal room temperatures between 15 and 26°C

Toxicity


The Monstera plant genus is mildly toxic to humans, and toxic to both dogs and cats. Don't be tempted to eat it even if it is called a swiss cheese plant as you wont have a nice time and keep it them away from prying paws.

Growth


  • Monstera obliqua are a slow growing houseplant. In the wild, plants can grow anywhere between 8 and 10 feet tall. However, when grown outside of its natural habitat and indoors, it will more likely reach around 4 feet in the right conditions. Don't be surprised if you don't see new leaves for up to 12 months in some cases!

  • Monstera adansonii are much faster growing than obliqua. In optimal conditions your plant can grown up to 1-2 feet a year. in the wild they may grow up to 10-13 feet, indoors around 3-8ft, depending on the conditions.

Monstera are climbing plants, so they enjoy it if you give them a moss pole or trellis to climb as they get bigger.

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