Your Monster Swiss Cheese plant or, Monstera as they are commonly known, might be a lot easier to take care of than you think. A split-leaf philodendron is not the same thing. Monstera are native to more tropical regions of the globe but they are easily adapted to our homes. Domestication suits Monstera when grown in the right conditions.
Light & Water
Monstera makes a perfect focal point and statement piece for any room. All you need for success with your monstera is a brightly lit room and a mind that will remember water. I personally lack that mind. Try to remember that they are not fond of direct light. So don’t put it in front of a window that receives full-on rays from the solar power in the sky. Water your monster once a week or twice weekly if your house is dry and warm. Also, you want to be sure that your pot has ample drainage. Don’t let your monster sit in the water. Once it has taken up all the water that it is going to, drain the excess from the tray beneath.
Feeding your monster only has to happen once per month, only during its growing cycle. Usually, this will be when the days begin to get longer in the spring until they begin to get shorter in the fall. Since Monstera is a rapid grower anyway, feeding it more could cause it to outgrow its pot and space more rapidly. Generally speaking, you can expect your monster to grow about one to two feet per year when it is happy with its conditions.
Monstera plants are not that picky about where they put down their roots. Use high-quality soil with perlite and or lava rocks to improve aeration and drainage around the roots. If you leave it in compact soil, it surely will not grow to its full beautiful potential.
Curling Leaves: Usually this is a telltale sign of under-watering. Simply water your monstera thoroughly and drain off the excess water after about 20 minutes. Repeat the process in a few days. Remember, more light = more water as does less light = less water.
Lack of splitting or holes: If your monstera seems to be producing more and more solid leaves that are devoid of the typical holes and fenestrations, you need to move your monstera to a new location where there is more light.
Brown tips: Not always a sign of lack of water. It could be a sign of overwatering. It is also a good sign of a lack of humidity. If your monstera is being watered properly and the edges of the leaves are still browning, try placing a humidifier nearby or misting the leaves every few days as this will help to improve the humidity in the air that immediately surrounds the plant. It may also be a sign of not draining off the water in the saucer under it.
Ripping leaves: If it looks as though your monstera leaves are ripping, this is another sign that you need to increase the humidity for your monstera. there is no need to cut the leaves off as this will heal over time once there is a bit more moisture in the air.
Putting all of this into motion and just tending to its needs as addressed above should make you a successful monster parent! No matter which variety you have, the care is pretty much the same, with the exception of your variegated varieties. They require a little more light in order to show off the color variations to the best of their ability and stay as healthy as possible.
Variegated plants have less chlorophyll which is the reason for their variegated coloring. By having less chlorophyll they don’t use the sunlight as efficiently therefore it requires more sunlight to remain in good health. They also are not great at producing oxygen, so if you are looking for air purifiers, steer clear of variegated varieties.
Enjoy your monster, and don’t sweat the small things. These plants are tougher than you think.