The Monstera, also known as the Swiss cheese plant, has made its way into homes worldwide and proves to be an easy plant to care for when given the correct conditions.
Favored for its distinctive leaves with fenestrations, it adds that tropical vibe to any living space. With its fast growth time and ability to climb, it makes an excellent addition to your indoor jungle.
The stages of Monstera growth are seen in a series of transformations that it undergoes from a small seedling, followed by a juvenile plant, and finishing as a mature plant.
The progression of the various characteristics, such as the formations of leaves, aerial roots, and the emergence of fenestrations, signify the growth stages.
Throughout this article, we will dig a little deeper into the stages of Monstera growth and what to look out for when caring for one of these stunning plants.
Monstera Growth Facts
The Monstera is an evergreen flowering plant that originates from the rainforests of Southern Mexico to Panama.
They can grow up to a staggering 60 feet (18 m) or more in their natural habitat. In the home, they grow up to 8 feet (2.4 m) when fully matured.
The Swiss cheese plant produces iconic glossy heart-shaped leaves that grow 10-35 inches long (25-90 cm) by 10–29 inches (25-75 cm) wide.
At around three years old, the Monstera blooms a cream-white spathe flower that is commonly seen with other plants of the Aracea family. The flowers are self-pollinating and produce a delicious fruit that resembles a green cob of corn.
The tropical-flavored fruit of the Monstera deliciosa is consumed by countries such as Mexico, Panama, and Costa Rica, where it originates from.
In the wild, the Monstera utilizes its areal roots to attach to trees in the rainforest and can grow several feet long. Installing a moss pole or climbing frame next to your Monstera will help it grow to its maximum indoor height.
|Common name||Swiss Cheese Plant, Split leaf Philodendron, Hurricane Plant, Mexican Breadfruit, Monstera|
|Scientific Name||Monstera deliciosa|
|Origin||Southern Mexico, Panama|
|Maturity Size||60 feet|
|USDA Hardiness zone||10-12|
|Light Requirements||Bright indirect sunlight|
|Soil||Well-draining, pH 5.5-7|
Take a look at this time-lapse video of a Monstera plant progressing through its growth stages:
3 Monstera Growth Stages Explored
By understanding the characteristics of the Monstera growth stages you will know what to expect when keeping one of these beauties in your home.
Monstera can be grown from seeds that have come from their fruit. Growing Monstera from seeds is pretty straightforward and takes from 10 days to 1 month to germinate. You can start the seeds in a paper towel or potting soil indoors.
The Swiss Cheese plants are not difficult to take care of, but they have some special requirements to help them thrive.
Let’s take a look a bit further into the different growth stages in more detail:
After the seeds of the Monstera have germinated, a small shoot will appear, and the Monstera will commence its initial stage of life.
During the seedling stage, you will witness the first set of leaves appear. These are called cotyledons and are used to provide the plant with the light to photosynthesize.
The seedling is very fragile at this stage and will grow as a creeper low to the surface of the soil.
A few weeks after the Monstera seedling has produced the cotyledons, a new set of leaves will appear from the center. The cotyledons are discarded when the true leaves are a sufficient size to provide for the plant.
Although the monstera seedling does require bright indirect light during this stage, some species of Monstera grow toward the dark. This habit is called phototropism, and it signifies that the plant is looking to attach itself on a tree trunk or nearby branch.
As the plant continues to mature, small thin roots will grow out of the nodes (the flappy part where the leaves roll out from). These roots can grow up to 8 inches (20 cm) long and are known as aerial roots.
Certain species of monstera grow stolons (runners) during the seedling stage, and these tend to grow along the ground and produce more nodes where leaves will form. For this reason, some species of Monstera grow faster than others.
Around 3 months after germination, the juvenile plant stage begins, when the plant grows a lot of new leaves. The leaves will grow larger in size and become predominantly heart-shaped with fenestrations.
As the aerial roots continue to grow in the juvenile stage, they use the moisture and nutrients from the air to flourish. The Swiss cheese plant’s juvenile stage can last between 2-8 years before reaching maturity.
Proper care should be taken while the Monstera is still juvenile.
Monsteras are sensitive to overwatering as it can cause root rot. Avoid soaking the soil and check the moisture content of the soil regularly.
You can see if the monstera needs watering by inserting your finger into the top 2 inches (5cm) of the soil.
Generally, the monstera prefers to be in temperatures of 64-81°F (18-27°C), which is similar to the average household temperatures.
As they are rainforest plants, the humidity levels should be kept at 60%, and you can achieve this by using a humidifier, grouping your plants together, or misting the leaves.
Feel free to give your Monstera leaves a shower or a soak as they love the excess humidity too!
While the Monstera is kept in its favored conditions, it will continue to grow toward its final stage of life as a mature plant.
The final stage of the Swiss cheese plants growth cycle is the mature plant stage.
Depending on the variety, this can take 2 to 8 years to fully mature. It produces flowers and white fleshy fruits during the mature stage of the Monstera’s lifecycle.
The flowers are in the form of a spathe and spadix, similar to Philodendrons. The spathe is the leaf-like bract that protects the spadix (the waxy spike that contains tiny flowers).
As the inedible flower self-pollinates, it ripens into a rare edible fruit.
Although it is uncommon for a Monstera to bloom flowers when grown indoors if kept in a greenhouse or controlled heated growing environment, you might be lucky to experience this prized fruit.
If you find your Monstera has begun to bear fruit you can save the seeds and use them to germinate more Monstera later on.
During the maturity stage of the Monstera growth, you will notice the ever-changing leaf details.
Some varieties of Monstera have split around the edge of the leaves paired with fenestrations, whereas others remain unsplit but with central fenestrations.
Now we are going to take a look into the details of these fenestrations to get an idea of what to expect.
Fenestrations are the distinctive holes found on mature Monstera plants’ leaves and are an important characteristic of this species. They are believed to have evolved to regulate the plant’s temperature and water loss.
The fenestrations are also used as the plant increases its surface area for photosynthesis. The number and size of the fenestrations increase as the plants grow.
The largest and most numerous fenestrations are found on the leaves of fully mature plants.
In the early stages of Monstera growth, it is unlikely you will see any fenestrations on the leaves. The leaves are a solid heart shape and have no slits or holes.
As the Monstera continues to grow, you will start to see 1 -2-inch (2.5-5 cm) long slits along the edges of the leaves. This is the starting point of the fenestration.
The final stage of the fenestration happens when the Monstera is in its mature phase, and small holes will appear in the midrib of the leaves.
These holes go all the way through the leaves making small windows that the plant would use to control wind and water that passes through.
The final stage is when the Monstera looks the most dramatic and is a sure sign that you have kept your plant well and happy.
Tips For Encouraging New Growth
To encourage new growth in Monstera plants, it is crucial to supply them with proper care and environmental conditions. This includes adequate sunlight and water and maintaining a stable temperature range.
The Monstera plant benefits from regular fertilization during the growing season. Be sure to prune the Monstera plant and remove any damaged or yellowing leaves.
You can wipe down the leaves of the Monstera to remove any dust and keep them looking vibrant.
You will ensure it will grow to its maximum height by providing support for the Monstera.
Growing Bushier And Better Monstera Plants
To grow a bushier Monstera plant, you can install a trellis, moss pole, or a stake. This will ensure the plant grows upwards and prevent it from becoming leggy and sprawling out.
You can prune the monstera to control the shape and size of the plant.
Pruning should be done in spring before a big growth spurt. Use a clean, sharp pair of scissors or secateurs and snip the base of the unwanted stems.
Avoid cutting through the node, as this is an important part of the plant that needs to produce more leaves. You can cut 1-2 inches (2.5-5cm) above or below the node, depending on whether you want to propagate the cutting later.
Propagating the Monstera is really simple and can be done using stem cuttings.
Below I’ve supplied you with a step-by-step guide on propagating Monstera.
Propagating Monstera is a great way to create more plants to share with your friends or neighbors. Propagating by stem cutting fast forwards the germination stage of the lifecycle, and the Monstera continues its life from a seedling stage.
Here are some simple steps to follow when propagating Monstera:
- Select a healthy stem with at least 2-3 leaves and a few aerial roots. Using a clean sharp pair of scissors or secateurs, cut it near the base, just above a node (the point where a leaf meets the main stem).
- Place the stem in a jar or vase of water, ensuring the bottom is fully submerged. Change the water every couple of days to prevent bacterial growth and rotting.
- Wait for the roots to grow from the bottom of the stem. This can take from a few days to a few weeks.
- Once the roots have formed, carefully plant the stem in a pot filled with a well-draining potting mix. Make sure you bury the node and the aerial roots.
- Water the newly planted stem, keeping the soil moist but not soaking wet.
- Place the pot in a bright indirect light and avoid direct sunlight as it can scorch the leaves.
- Keep the soil consistently moist and provide the same care as the mother plant.
As the new Monstera cutting continues to grow, you will need to put it into a new pot when it gets bigger. Aim to re-pot the Monstera just before the spring growing season, so the plant has time to settle in.
Re-pot into a pot the next size up from the container it is currently in. After your Monster has reached the juvenile stage, you can expect to re-pot every two years from then on.
Keep an eye on the growth and root system, and if it slows down and becomes overcrowded, then it is time to re-pot.
Looking at the growth stages of the Monstera, they prove to be a carefree plant to keep in your home. With their constantly changing leaf patterns, it makes being a plant owner very interesting.
You can use the Monstera as a tabletop plant in its early stages, and as it matures, it will make a great floor-standing plant. One thing to be mindful of is its capability to sprawl out and spread wide.
Be sure to support the monstera with a moss pole or stake and let it showcase its bright tropical leaves as it provides your home with a stylish look!