In our eyes, plant care is a two-way street. You take care of your plants by giving them nutrients, light and water; they take care of you by reducing stress levels, boosting your mood and creating a relaxing home environment.
The Monstera deliciosa has been at the forefront of the houseplant resurgence, with homes across the UK adopting these big jungly plants and competing for the biggest leaf splits and holes.
A speedy grower and easy-pleaser, the Swiss Cheese plant is a great introductory plant for novices, but is loved by seasoned plant people too.
How you care for a Swiss Cheese Plant
To get your Monstera deliciosa to thrive, give it lots of light, moderate amounts of water and high humidity. A forgiving houseplant, it will endure in less than perfect conditions, but why not aim high?!
The Swiss Cheese Plant is unusual in terms of its ability to tolerate direct sunlight - over summer, south or westerly facing windows may be too much, but as a general rule the more light the better.
Monstera are native to the rainforests of Central and South America, so they are used to warmth and humidity. If you have a dry home, you can replicate this environment by misting your Cheese Plant with a spray bottle. This is also a good example of ‘active plant care,’ which will help you reap the benefits of living with indoor plants.
Care tip: mist your plant in the morning so it evaporates with the sun, over the course of the day, and the leaves don’t become soggy overnight.
Wait for the top couple of inches to dry out between waterings (especially if you’re keeping your Monstera regularly misted. When your plants due a watering, remove it from its decorative pot and don't stop until liquid comes out of the bottom. Wait 15 minutes before returning your plant to its exterior pot (or until water has stopped coming out the bottom).
How Swiss Cheese Plants care for you
Living with houseplants, practicing active plant care and building a relationship with nature has been shown to benefit our health in a variety of ways. All plants have the potential to do this, but some are more adept than others, depending on their formal or chemical characteristics.
Benefits of the Monstera deliciosa include improving the quality of the air you breathe, inducing feelings of calm, trapping dust and helping you feel alert.
How does it work?
Monstera deliciosae improve air quality in three ways:
Their big, textured leaves are covered in tiny pores which take in carbon dioxide and expel oxygen. All plants produce oxygen as they photosynthesise, but the large surface area of Swiss Cheese Plants means they’re especially efficient at doing so.
Large, waxy leaves like this are also mean dust trappers. Debris that would otherwise fall on surfaces and remain airborne will sit on Monstera leaves, where it can be easily wiped away, so both you and your plant can breathe easily!
- If you keep your Swiss Cheese Plant lightly misted, once every 5-7 days, it will add humidity to the air, warding off ailments such as dry skin conditions and respiratory problems that are aggravated by dryness.
It’s been well-reported that nature is beneficial to our mental health. Though the connection between nature and wellbeing is strong, the reasons for this are purely theoretical: it’s generally accepted that we respond well to particular forms due to the way we’ve adapted on an evolutionary level.
For example, studies have shown that the colour green makes people feel alert and healthy, encouraging them to make better decisions, and feel more vibrant. Big green plants, like Monsteras, are therefore good to have in living rooms and offices as they help us feel energised and productive.
Researchers have also deduced that top-heavy natural forms, and large overhanging canopies, induce feelings of safety in participants. The theory goes that these forms recall our ancestral home on the Savannah. In prehistory, landscapes dense with plants and trees like these would have been hospitable to humans, and these triggers remain embedded in our subconscious.
You can buy your own Swiss Cheese Plant here, and start experiencing the benefits for yourself.