Monstera Deliciosa is also called Philodendron Pertusum, Ceriman, Monster fruit, Windowleaf, Monstereo, Swiss Cheese Plant, Mexican Breadfruit, and more, and is a creeping vine native to tropical rainforests from southern Mexico south to Panama. This plant belongs to the Araceae Juss family.
This plant is a jungle climbing relative of the philodendron. In nature, the Windowleaf is an evergreen liana that climbs high into the rain forest canopy, attaching itself to trunks and branches and supporting itself above the ground with long tentacle-like aerial roots. The aerial roots grow downward out of the thick stem and take root where they touch the ground. The vines are only sparingly branched and a single vine can reach more than 70 ft (21.3 m) in length.
The leaves are leathery and glossy, about 3 feet (25-90 cm) long, and 2 feet (25-75 cm) wide. The pinnate leaves of a young Windowleaf are heart shaped and without holes. They often overlap and cling closely to a tree trunk, and plants in that stage are called "shingle plants." Older plants develop the characteristic split and perforated adult leaves that stand away from the supporting tree trunk.
Flowering is rare when the plant is grown indoors. Several inflorescences develop from leaf axils along the cylindrical stem. The 8-12 in (20.3-30.5cm) inflorescence, called a spike, is made up of numerous perfect flowers (containing male and female parts).The fruit is called a spadix and is made up of numerous cohering berries. At first the spadix is sheltered by a waxy, white, spathe (bract) that later drops off and then it swells into an aromatic fruit that looks a little like a green corn cob.
The fruit is deep green, up to 8 - 10 inches long (20 - 25 cm) and 2 - 3 inches in diameter (5 - 7.5 cm), and looks like a mix of a corn (in shape and in the fruit kernels) and a (bumpy) cucumber with hexagon tiles on the skin. When it first flowers, the fruit contains so much oxalic acid that it is poisonous, causing immediate and painful blistering and irritation, swelling, itching, and loss of voice. It takes a year for the fruit to ripen, at which point it is safe to eat. The fruit may be ripened by cutting the fruit when the first scales begin to lift up and the fruit begins to exude a pungent odor, then wrapping in a paper bag and setting aside until the kernels begin popping off. The kernels are then brushed off; they fall away to reveal the edible flesh underneath. The flesh is then cut away from the core and you will be rewarded with the unique, custard texture, pale yellow color, and tropical flavor of the Monstera Deliciosa. It has a delicious fruity taste similar to a mix of banana, pineapple and mango. The plant begins bearing after three years. Some people say it's so good, it's scary!
Hardiness Zones :
10 – 11(1c/35f, 4c/40f). Elsewhere, grow Monstera Deliciosa as a house plant. Windowleaf needs some kind of support on which to climb. A "moss stick" ("moss pillar", "moss totem") provides support for the vine as well as water and nutrients through the aerial roots. Roll a length of 1/4 in (0.6 cm) plastic netting into a tube and stuff with sphagnum moss; insert a dowel down through the center of the tube and into the pot. Alternatively, wrap sphagnum around a wooden slat or piece of bark, securing the moss in place by wrapping with nylon thread or monofilament fishing line; insert the stick into the pot. Then, water through the top of the moss stick. This plant tolerates dry air and semi-shade better than most plants. Direct the aerial roots into the potting medium to improve support for the weak stem. Wipe the dust from the leaves with a damp sponge periodically. It grows best at temperatures of 20 °C to 30 °C, requires high humidity, and needs shade. Growth ceases below 10 °C and frost will kill it. During active growth, water the plants thoroughly before the soil becomes dry, but water less in winter. Windowleaf plant appreciates a little misting when humidity is very low. The plant grows in nature along the banks of streams and rivers and loves to have the roots in the water. It loves water! But will also last a long time with neglect.