How to look after ‘fairly sensitive’ Swiss cheese plant – ‘perfect spot’ for your Monstera

David Domoney provides advice on popular houseplants

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Swiss cheese plants, also known as Monstera, are native to South America. They are known for their lush, glossy leaves that are heart-shaped when young and perforated as they mature. A popular houseplant choice for UK households, the Monstera is a fairly easy plant to look after, although needs extra care during the winter months.

This process is known as fenestration, and it is thought that the plants do this when in the wild to let as much light as possible through to the lower leaves.

In the average home, cheese plants grow very fast and need plenty of room to do so.

They can reach up to two metres high and two metres wide.

In the right conditions, they can live for several years.

One expert shared top tips on looking after the common houseplant in winter.

Samantha Jones, Gardening Expert at MyJobQuote, told “They are actually fairly sensitive to overwatering, therefore you should mist the leaves as often as possible to avoid soaking the plant.”

Misting the leaves of a houseplant every morning can help to increase their humidity levels.

It should be done with tepid water, either tap, distilled or rain water.

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Although the Swiss cheese plant isn’t sensitive in terms of the type of water it drinks, tap water contains certain salts that can be harmful to houseplants in general.

When watering in winter, it is important to allow the soil to dry out in between.

This is because the houseplant is dormant throughout the colder months, meaning it needs watering less frequently.

Where should you put your Swiss cheese plant?

Samatha explained: “When looking for the perfect spot for your cheese plant, you should try and find a spot in your home that is just a few feet away from a window, under a bright light.

“This will offer the perfect balance for the plant, as the plant will be exposed to just the right amount of light and heat.”

Although the houseplant is generally pest-free, mealybugs and scale insects can be a problem.

It is important to look out for pests during the winter months, when they are more susceptible to them.

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Gardeners’ World said: “Mealybugs can be a problem, look out for insects that look like white, fluffy blobs on the underside of leaves.

“Wipe them off with a damp cloth or cotton bud that has been soaked in an insecticide that contains fatty acids or plant oils.

“Keep checking the leaves, as mealybugs can be hard to eradicate.

“You may also spot scale insects, small, brown sap sucking insects that are around six millimetres long.

“Wipe off with a cotton bud or cloth soaked with an insecticide containing fatty acids.”

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