For a plant, Monstera has a lot to offer: stems, sometimes a moss pole, a trunk, usually impressive aerial roots - there’s plenty to see. That has made it an enormous hit on Instagram and a very popular element for creating the popular urban jungle look, amongst other things. The most fascinating aspect is that the young leaves are heart-shaped and only develop the characteristic incisions later, when they’ve had some life experience. Its air-purifying properties mean that Monstera also helps create a pleasant environment in the home - another unique USP for this attractive houseplant.
Monstera is a member of the arum family. They are actually lianas from Panama and southern Mexico, where the plants can climb up the trees to a height of 20 metres. They also use their fleshy aerial roots to secure themselves to tree trunks, rocks or the soil in the forests of Southeast Asia. They wrap and clamber upwards, growing their gigantic leaves and so providing some extra shade.
The Monstera range is not extensive. The best-known is the climber Monstera deleciosa, the Swiss cheese plant. This is usually the green-leafed variety, but occasionally the variegated cultivar ‘Variegata’. It’s offered in both small pot sizes without a moss pole and as sizeable specimens a couple of metres tall which are attached to moss poles or other decorative supports. Monstera obliqua is less well-known but also very attractive. The plant has small bright green leaves that contain attractive holes. It can be used as a hanging or climbing plant.
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