Monstera Adansonii Care Guide: How to Grow a Huge & Healthy Swiss Cheese Plant

If you’re looking for a fast-growing Monstera that will quickly take over your home and have you living your indoor jungle fantasy, the Monstera Adansonii is an excellent choice!

Easy to find at many garden stores, the Monstera Adansonii (also called the Swiss Cheese Plant) is a great addition to any beginner’s collection. With a moss pole and good lighting, it can be fun watching your plant grow monstrous leaves with huge fenestrations!

There are several forms and variegated varieties of Monstera Adansonii, but they all fall within the same species. We’ll discuss all of those below!

We’ll also talk about how to care for your Monstera Adansonii and clear up any questions you may have about your plant. Let’s begin!

My Experience with Monstera Adansonii

a large monstera adansonii vining across the wall

I [Allison, the editor] purchased a huge Monstera Adansonii from a local plant collector who was moving and couldn’t take their Monstera with them.

They had been training it up a coco coir pole, and the plant was already about 2 feet tall when I bought it. However, I decided I wanted the look of a jungle taking over my apartment, so I ended up placing my Monstera Adansonii on a high shelf and encouraging it to vine over the wall and doorway.

I did this by placing nails in the wall at certain points and then using small, green twist ties to fasten the vines and keep them in place.

My plant is located fairly far back from the main window and doesn’t get a ton of light, but it’s still an incredibly fast grower and has been very happy vining across the wall!

My Monstera Adansonii is the “normal form”, which looks different than many Adansonii’s you’ll see on the internet. It has less fenestrations and flatter leaves. It also tends to have longer gaps between its nodes, leading to a more vine-y and less bushy look.

Aside from the normal form, you’ll see wide and narrow forms of Monstera Adansoniis more commonly in pictures and plant shops! We’ll talk more about that later below.

Where Can I Find Monstera Adansonii for Sale?

trailing Monstera Adansonii in a black pot on a marble counter

You will likely find Monstera Adansonii at your local plant nursery store, or even at a garden center like Lowe’s or Home Depot!

Monstera Adansonii Plants and Cuttings

If you can’t find Monstera Adansonii at your local nursery, you may want to buy one from an online seller.

This seller on Etsy sells beautiful established Adansoniis with lots of fenestrations! You can also buy cuttings for a very affordable price.

Variegated Monstera Adansonii Plants

Of course, variegated Monstera Adansonii plants are rarer and harder to find than your standard Monstera Adansonii. In that case, you’ll typically need to look online for a seller!

We’ll discuss each of these variegation types later, but here’s where you can find some online sellers:

  • This seller has gorgeous Monstera Adansonii with Mint variegation
  • This seller has Monstera Adansonii with Aurea variegation
  • This seller has the Japanese Tricolor Monstera Adansonii
  • This seller has the rare Monstera Adansonii Archipelago variety

Monstera Adansonii Overview & Origin

Monstera Adansonii is a fast-growing aroid which is best known for the prominent holes on its leaves even as a young plant. It is one of the most readily available and well-known species among Monsteras.

Because this plant is so accessible to many hobbyists, Monstera Adansonii had been given a lot of common names. People call it the Monkey’s Mask, Adanson’s Monster, Cheese Plant, Swiss Cheese Vine, and Five Holes Plant.

The official name of this species is Monstera adansonii Schott.

Interestingly, the same botanist that it’s named after made the mistake of calling what he thought was a different plant as Monstera friedrichsthalii. It was later discovered that these two plants are in fact the same.

Monstera Adansonii’s home is the Amazon forest in the regions of Brazil, Ecuador and Peru. It’s also been found trailing along river banks in the West Indies.

It was first documented in 1830, but it’s now a popular houseplant among indoor gardeners all over the world!

Monstera Adansonii Narrow Form vs Wide Form

When you purchase M. Adansonii, you can either get the narrow form or the wide form. The main difference is in the leaf shape, with the narrow form being more elongated and narrow (as its name suggests) than the wide form.

What many people don’t realize is that there is actually a third variety called the normal form of this plant. Here are the main distinctions of Adansonii’s three formas:

  • Normal form: Also called “flat form”, the leaves of this variety have a smooth, flat surface. Apparently, this develops fewer holes than the other two forms.
  • Narrow form: This variety has long, skinny leaves which taper towards the tips.
  • Wide form: Also called “round form”, its leaves have a wider heart-shaped appearance. You will also notice a crinkled texture, almost as if the leaves are shriveling up.

If you have a young Adansonii plant, you might find it difficult to distinguish among these different forms because most juvenile leaves tend to look alike.

Having said that, there are no universal traits that can ultimately define what each plant species is supposed to look like. Plants can take many different “faces” due to unique growing conditions. 

Monstera Adansonii Variegation Types

The growing hype for variegated plants sparked a lot of ingenuity in growers and hobbyists alike. People found ways to reproduce and even create new cultivars of these uniquely-colored plants. 

Below, we are describing some famous variegation types of Monstera Adansonii:

  • Variegated Adansonii “Mint” (or Indonesian Form)

Growers from Indonesia found a way to induce variegation in Adansonii using a chemical called Colchicine.

Unlike the temporary pigmentation of the Pink Congo (which we briefly discussed here), the effect of Colchicine on plants is a permanent mutation which is targeted at the cellular level.

The result? We now have stunning splashes of mint green color on the leaves of the Monstera Adansonii! In fact, this type of variegation is more stable than ones that occur naturally. If you have this plant, you can expect that it won’t easily revert back to its green form over time! 

Here is a photo of the Mint-variegated Adansonii for you to see.

  • Variegated Adansonii “Aurea

Adansonii plants labeled as Aurea have yellow-colored variegation in their leaves. The variegation pattern could be speckled, sectoral, or full but one thing is for sure: it will turn bright yellow as the leaves mature!

This is an extremely rare variety and is therefore difficult and costly to acquire. Check out this post from Facebook to see what Adansonii Aurea looks like.

  • Variegated Adansonii ‘Japanese Tricolor’ (or “Albo”)

This variegated Adansonii originated from Japan. As you might have guessed from its name, the leaves of this cultivar have three colors: white and yellow (as their variegation), and green (as their natural pigment).

This photo from Reddit beautifully showcases the various colors found in an Adansonii Japanese Tricolor.

  • Variegated Adansonii ‘Archipelago’ (or ‘Ghost’)

One woman who lives in the archipelago outside of Stockholm, Sweden woke up one day to find that her regular Monstera Adansonii has somehow mutated to have variegated leaves! On her Instagram, she shares her journey with her plant which is now called Adansonii ‘Archipelago Ghost’.

This plant is the modern proof that variegation can spontaneously occur in nature. The only caveat is that the variegation is unstable.

The plant can either revert back to green if not exposed to proper lighting, or it can produce fully white leaves which have a high likelihood of dying due to lack of chlorophyll.

The Archipelago Ghost is said to grow slower than the Adansonii Mint. It has since been reproduced and sold to a few lucky plant collectors.

Monstera Adansonii Care Guide

Monstera Adansonii is a prolific grower and is notoriously easy to care for. This plant will survive in less-than-perfect conditions, but it is still ideal to replicate its natural growing environment the best way you can.

Originating from the rainforests of South America, the Adansonii enjoys plenty of water, humidity, and warmth. 

Because this plant likes frequent watering, fungus gnats are attracted to its wet soil. To get rid of these pests, use sticky traps; place bowls of wine or beer nearby; and sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth powder on the topsoil in between waterings.

Hydrogen Peroxide is a chemical that can be diluted and sprayed on leaves to kill gnats and other types of insects. It’s also a natural component of rainwater which promotes healthy root growth. You can mix in a few drops of hydrogen peroxide when watering your plants.

Monstera Adansonii Light Needs

Like most houseplants, your Monstera Adansonii prefers medium to bright indirect light. It can handle a few hours of morning sun, but limit its exposure to 3 hours. 

In its natural environment, M. Adansonii thrives under the cover of large trees in the jungle. If your indoor plant is kept in an area that gets too much direct sunlight, pull it back a few feet away from the window or use blinds to filter the light.

Monstera Adansonii Watering Needs

Monstera Adansonii is a thirsty plant that likes to be watered when the top 2-3 inches of the topsoil is dry.

Depending on your climate, potting material, soil type, and light exposure, your plant may need a thorough drench every week or two. 

To check if the soil is dry, simply stick your finger into the pot to feel for moisture. You can also use a wooden skewer or a pencil to determine if the soil is still muddy and wet. Or, you can invest in a soil moisture meter device which is available in most gardening stores.

Your Adansonii will tell you that it needs a drink if it has droopy leaves that are turning a lighter green color. As a fast-grower that uses up a lot of energy to push out new leaves, this plant’s bottom leaves will turn yellow if you miss watering schedules.

To water your plant, generously drench the soil until water starts flowing out of the pot’s drainage holes. 

Some websites claim that you will need to completely let the soil dry out in between waterings, but the Adansonii comes from rainforests which stay wet all year round. There is simply no need for short periods of drought.

Monstera Adansonii Soil Needs

M. Adansonii plants prefer a chunky, fast-draining soil mix so their roots can breathe better. They also like to stay in moist (but not soggy and wet) soil at all times. 

If you’re buying a substrate for your plant, choose pre-packed orchid mix, aroid potting mix, LECA, or any products that have good aeration.

You can also prepare your own soil mix by following our recommended soil ratio for aroids. 

Cocopeat is an excellent base for the growing medium because it has excellent water retention but it is also light enough that it doesn’t squeeze the roots.

Successful growers of M. Adansonii suggest adding perlite, orchid bark, charcoal, gravel, sphagnum moss, and cypress mulch for best results.

Monstera Adansonii Temperature and Humidity Needs

The Adansonii has one of the highest humidity needs among Monsteras. While it will do fine in 60%-80% humidity, keeping the humidity level at 90% will work wonders for your plant’s growth. 

Of course, such a high level of humidity may not be ideal in regular homes and can instead be achieved in terrariums or greenhouses. A bathroom, provided that it’s well-lit, is also a good spot to keep this plant in.

You may follow the usual practice of putting a tray of pebbles and water underneath the pot, or you may group plants together to increase air moisture. However, a humidifier is still the best and most reliable way of increasing humidity for your plant. 

If you meet the high humidity needs of your Adansonii, it will push out lush, green growth in a short span of time. You might also notice a beautiful velvety sheen on your plant’s leaves. 

The ideal temperature for M. Adansonii is between 60-80°F (16-27°C). Anything lower than 40°F may put your plant in dormancy, or even kill its roots.

Monstera Adansonii Fertilization Needs

Your Adansonii will appreciate an application of half-strength fertilizer every two weeks during its growing season in the spring and summer. 

Plants are like people. When they are growing a lot, they need food to energize them too. As a vigorous-grower, Adansonii needs a lot of extra nutrients to replenish the energy it’s using up. 

You may choose any organic or chemical plant food product as long as you follow the recommended application method and dosage.

If you notice your plant’s growth slowing down in the winter, cut back on fertilizing too.

Pruning Monstera Adansonii

Pruning your Monstera Adansonii is an excellent way to encourage new growth points for a fuller look. 

When pruning, use sterile tools to keep bacteria from getting inside the wounded stems. Cut back leafless vines, long aerial roots, or any unwanted growth. Remove dead or damaged leaves as needed.

You can set aside healthy cuttings for propagation which you can later on plant into the same pot to create an illusion of bushy foliage.

Propagating Monstera Adansonii

Owners of this plant have said that the common method of propagating cuttings in soil tends to have low success rates for Monstera Adansonii. 

Instead, we recommend water propagation, which seems to be the most effective way to propagate this plant.

To develop your cuttings in water, follow these steps:

  1. Cut: Choose a healthy section of your plant with fresh leaf growth and at least one node. 
  2. Submerge: Place your cutting in a glass of water with the nodes submerged. Keep leaves above water level to avoid rot.
  3. Maintain: Place it in a well-lit room with good airflow. Refill the glass with clean water every 3-5 days.
  4. Transplant: After about 2-4 weeks, check if your cuttings have long enough roots and emerging leaves. When you are satisfied with the new growth, pot your cutting in a sterile soil mix. Loosen the soil to give the roots some breathing room.
  5. Moisten: The new roots of your cuttings grew in a really wet environment so it’s important to keep the soil moist at all times for them to adjust faster. 

If you want your new Adansonii plants to grow larger leaves more quickly, harvest cuttings from the mature leaves at the top of your mother plant. That section tends to produce roots and shoot out new leaves faster.

Sphagnum peat moss is also an excellent medium to propagate your Adansonii plant.

Repotting Monstera Adansonii

It is ideal to repot your Monstera Adansonii once a year. Most nurseries suggest that you shouldn’t wait longer than two years to repot.

This plant suffers from problems such as root rot, nutrient deficiency, and heavy foliage loss when it’s left root-bound for a long time.

The best time to repot is in the spring, when temperatures are not too cold and not too warm. You’ll get more leaf growth when you size up your pot for the roots to expand.

When repotting, trim off some entangled roots at the bottom, but be careful not to disrupt the main, inner root ball. Use a fresh batch of soil to provide more nutrients to your plant. 

Monstera Adansonii FAQ

Below, we are discussing Monstera Adansonii’s resemblance with related plants. We are also answering some frequently-asked questions about its rarity, growth potential, climbing ability, and fenestrations.

What is the difference between Monstera Adansonii and Philodendron Swiss Cheese Plant?

massive Monstera Deliciosa next to a small Monstera Adansonii
Monstera Deliciosa (left) next to a Monstera Adansonii (right), both mistakenly called Swiss Cheese Plant

There is no such thing as a Swiss Cheese Philodendron. This name, along with Split-Leaf Philodendron, is actually a poorly-chosen nickname for the Monstera Deliciosa. Sometimes, it is also mistakenly used for Monstera Adansonii.

Philodendrons and Monsteras are two unique genera which both fall under the Araceae family. As cousins, they share many similar traits which confuse people into thinking they are the same genus of plants.

There are very few pages on the web that mention the Swiss Cheese Philodendron, and if you look closely at the plants displayed on those pages, you will quickly notice that they are all just Monstera Adansoniis with narrow, wide, and normal forms.

Having established that the Swiss Cheese Philodendron is basically a mislabeled Monstera Adansonii or Monstera Deliciosa, we can now differentiate the two plants!

The Deliciosa has heart-shaped leaves which show prominent inner holes and outer splits as they mature. This plant grows quite large and quickly fills an indoor space. It is arguably the most popular species of Monstera.

The Adansonii has elongated leaves that are significantly smaller in size compared to the Deliciosa. It develops inner fenestrations way faster than Deliciosa, but it needs years of outdoor growth to develop outer pinnations. 

Both of these Monsteras are commonly called the “Swiss Cheese plant”. 

How can you tell the difference between Monstera Adansonii and Monstera Esqueleto?

Monstera Esqueleto, also known as Monstera Epipremnoides, has significantly bigger leaves that are lighter in color and more leathery in texture compared to Monstera Adansonii. The fenestrations of an Esqueleto are also more prominent and more symmetrical.

The Adansonii and the Esqueleto closely resemble each other, especially when they are both young.

As they age, the difference in their size becomes remarkable. Adansonii leaves typically grow 6 inches long indoors, while Esqueleto leaves grow up to 24 inches long even inside homes!

Also, note that Esqueleto is spanish for “skeleton”, named so because the leaves of this plant look skinny as bones with the fenestrations being so large.

Is Monstera Adansonii Swiss Cheese Plant rare?

Monstera Adansonii is not rare at all! It’s an extremely common plant that can be found in most local nurseries, home improvement stores, and online shops. 

However, it does have a lot of different forms, cultivars and variegated varieties which can only be ordered in online specialty shops. 

How long does it take for Monstera Adansonii to grow?

M. Adansonii grows at an extremely fast pace which means it can quickly overwhelm your home and outgrow its pot. When grown indoors, the average height of Adansonii is 3-8 feet, and even taller than that when allowed to climb as a vine. 

In an outdoor environment, it grows between 10-13 feet or even higher, with leaves that reach up to 26 inches in length!

Check out these jaw-dropping sizes of mature Adansonii leaves when allowed to grow in a wild environment!

Is Monstera Adansonii a climbing plant?

Monsteras are epiphytes, which means they use their aerial roots to climb trees in the forest so they can reach for more light. Monstera Adansonii, as a houseplant, is a natural climber that will cling onto walls and any nearby structures that can support its fragile stem.  

You can give your plant a moss pole or a coco pole to climb on if you want it to produce bigger leaves. Their aerial roots will also cling fast on stakes that are made of wood as they do in the wild.

Why does my Monstera Adansonii not have holes?

If your Adansonii does not have holes yet, it’s probably too young to develop fenestrations. You can expect a juvenile Adansonii to develop fenestrations after pushing out its first 3-4 leaves.

The number and size of the holes will increase as your plant matures. Adansonii plants tend to fenestrate quicker than other Monsteras.

If you have the “normal” form Adansonii instead of the narrow or wide form, its leaves will tend to produce fewer fenestrations, even when mature.

How do you get holes in Monstera Adansonii?

You can encourage your plant to fenestrate by helping the leaves reach their mature size faster. Let your Adansonii climb up a moss pole and then expose it to brighter light.

In the wild, Adansonii plants first grow on the forest floor when they are young, which means they aren’t getting a lot of light down there.

At that stage, it only makes sense that they won’t develop holes yet. With limited light, plants need a wider leaf surface area to store chlorophyll and synthesize food.

As the plant latches onto a tree and begins to climb upward, fenestrations will appear on the leaves. The holes allow light to pass through and reach the leaves at the lower part of the stem.

Leave a Comment