The Swiss Cheese Plant is known for its wonderfully large, decorative leaves. The glossy green leaves are covered with different splits, cuts, and perforations hence its nickname.
Swiss cheese plants are easy to look after and add tropical style to a room with ease. They’re ideal for bright rooms and apartments where they will happily shoot out new leaves, growing to new heights.
Read our Swiss Cheese Plant Care Guide for tops tips and advice on how to take the best care of your new indoor house guest.
How to Look After Swiss Cheese Plants
Monstera deliciosa is a species that originates from areas of Southern Mexico, meaning it enjoys a warmer, more humid environment. Not to worry if you don’t have this when grown as indoor plants in the UK they are pretty hardy and can thrive in a wide variety of conditions.
Swiss Cheese Plant Soil
Swiss cheese plants will grow well in any good quality potting soil with added peat moss. When potting, always make sure to choose a good-sized plant pot with plenty of drainage.
Repotting your Swiss Cheese Plant
We recommend repotting your Swiss Cheese plant once a year while it’s growing. This gives the plant both plenty of space and enough nutrients to grow.
Repotting is best done in very early spring just before new leaves start to grow.
Choose a pot that is around 5cm (2 in) bigger in diameter and make sure it has plenty of good drainage holes. You want to avoid selecting a pot any large than this as it can lead to waterlogged soil when watering.
Once your plant has reached optimal height for your space, you can renew the soil in the pot by giving it a top dressing every year and then repotting and renewing soil every 3 years thereon after.
As your plant grows larger, ensure that you add a trellis or moss pole that it can start to climb. If one isn’t added, your swiss cheese may start growing wider and more spindly.
Swiss Cheese Plant Light Needs
Your Swiss Cheese Plant can tolerate different lighting conditions and will grow happily in lower light. However, in bright light they grow much quicker and become a lot more dramatic. Avoid placement in bright direct sunlight as this can burn the leaves.
Swiss Cheese Plant Humidity Needs
As Swiss Cheese plants are from jungle areas they like slightly higher humidity, however, this is not a necessity and there are ways you can combat this yourself.
One way to increase humidity is to mist the leaves once a week, or wipe them over with a damp cloth. This will both clean the leaves and allow the plant to absorb moisture through the foliage. The best time to mist the leaves is in the morning while the plant has time to absorb it all.
To generally increase the humidity around the plant try placing the pot on a dish filled with pebbles and add water to the pebbles. As the water evaporates it will increase the moisture levels in the air around you swiss cheese plant.
Watering your Swiss Cheese Plant
Swiss Cheese plants are known to be drought tolerant so they don’t need as much maintenance as other plants. A general rule of thumb is to let the first couple inches of soil dry out between waterings. As long as the compost isn’t left to dry out too much.
Watering your Swiss Cheese will vary from season to season, depending on its growth rate throughout the year.
In the warmer months of summer, expect your cheese plant to start growing vigorously pushing out lots of new leaves and growth. During this time your plant will need watering more regularly. Growing that fast is thirsty work!
In the winter, when it’s cooled down slightly, your plant should slow down and enter more of a dormancy period. This is the time to space out the water, letting the compost drying out a little more between waterings but not completely
Signs of Over or Under Watering
If you notice that your Swiss Cheese plant has started to look a little under the weather, this could be a sign of over or under-watering.
If the leaves have started to turn yellow and wilted, this is a sign that the compost is too wet. Feel the top layer, if it’s damp then leave to dry out for a few days and avoid adding more water until the top few inches of soil has dried.
Check on the soil daily, if it hasn’t started to dry out yet then this may lead to root rot. Try repotting your plant into drier compost to absorb some of the moisture and keep a close eye on your plant for the following couple of weeks.
Drooping or dried falling leaves are signals that your swiss cheese plant has dried out too much. Top up the compost with water around the root zone and make sure that the water runs right through the drainage holes in the pot. Your plant should spring back to life in a few hours. Make sure not to leave it standing in the water.
Fertilising your Swiss Cheese Plant
Just like with watering, you can feed your Swiss Cheese plant more often throughout the summer while it’s growing. This will help the plant grow lots of new leaves and encourage a healthy root system.
We recommend using an organic indoor plant feed on your plant around once a month throughout spring and summer.
Avoid adding any sort of fertiliser in autumn and winter. Plants become more dormant at this time of year and adding feed will sometimes encourage the plant to send out spindly growth at the wrong time of year.
Pruning Swiss Cheese Plants
Pruning is required depending on how you wish your Swiss Cheese plant to look. If you want to grow a large dramatic plant that really fills the space then only conduct general pruning when absolutely needed, removing damaged or dying leaves to keep the plant healthy.
If you plan to keep your swiss cheese plant at a smaller height or it has reached the ultimate height for your space then pinch out some of the growth to keep it compact.
When it comes to removing large stems, consider selecting ones that can be used for propagation. If your plant is simply too big and you need to drastically cut it back, select ones from the base with aerial roots that can be placed in water and grown as new.
Once these have been potted up you can either add the new plant to your collection or gift some to friends to start them on their plant journey.
See more on propagation in the next section.
Swiss Cheese Plant Propagation
You’ll be surprised how easy it is to propagate your Swiss Cheese plant. All you need is a cutting.
Find a larger stem with a couple of leaves and look to the base to find an aerial root or node. An aerial root is quite prominent and easy to spot and will just look like a root growing out of the stem. A node will be a slightly smaller bump but still easy to spot.
This spot on the plant is where the new root will grow from, make sure to cut below it.
Place the base of your cutting in freshwater so the node is submerged and leave for a couple of months. You will need to change the water every couple of days to ensure it doesn’t become mouldy.
After a few weeks or months, you will notice a large white root developing. Once it has developed a decent sized root system it is ready for planting.
Grab yourself a new pot, fresh houseplant potting soil and a watering can. Pot up your lovely new cutting and water well. Keep the soil moist while the roots are establishing in the soil but never over water and make it wet.
You now have a brand new swiss cheese plant and you can sit back to watch it grow.
Extra Care Tips
Remove the dust by taking a damp cloth and wiping the leaves gently. This can be done as needed and is a great way to keep the foliage nice and healthy. Indoor plants with large leaves like this one are prone to collecting dust on them. This can clog the leaves and suffocate them slightly. Too much dust can also inhibit the plant's ability to photosynthesize effectively.
Not many people realise that swiss cheese plants are in fact climbers. In the wild they use their long aerial roots to climb and wrap themselves around larger trees.
Once your plant starts to become bigger you may notice as the leaves start to spread and lean outwards, this is a good point to buy yourself a moss pole to tie the plant onto. Instead of growing outwards it can start to grow up the moss pole. Not only will the plant have a stronger structure to hold onto but they look pretty cool too!
Swiss Cheese Plant Toxicity
Swiss Cheese plants can be mildly toxic when ingested for both pets and humans. If eaten it may cause stomach and mouth irritation which can then lead to vomiting.
To avoid any toxicity we recommend placing your plants out of reach of animals and children. If this isn’t an option for you then please see our range of pet friendly plants.
Swiss Cheese Plants Pests and Problems
Swiss cheese plants are easy going and are rarely affected by any pests and diseases. A simple wipe down when the leaves are dusty and a check for any aphids or spider mites every now and again will keep your plant happy and healthy.