Say Swiss Cheese!

Today we’re going to talk about the Monstera Adansonii, commonly referred to as the Swiss Cheese plant or Swiss Cheese vine. When I first got back into all this planting goodness Monsteras of all kinds were alllll the rage. I went into a plant shop as a newby plant lover years ago and told the clerk what I was looking “Monstera Deliciosa” and described it and said I’d also heard it called the swiss cheese vine ands the overly self assured counter person corrected me rudely…

Like… have you ever seen the movie High Fidelity? I felt like I was talking to the plant shop version of Jack Black’s character. They had knowledge but no interest in sharing the plant l joy. It turns out they didn’t have the Monstera I was after, which is the one we’re going to talk about today. But they did have a different variety of monstera. I bought it quietly without exploring much more of the wonderful stock the shop had to offer, because while I have no problem being corrected, I don’t like being treated like I’m stupid. Especially when I’m new to something.

I digress. Back then I did get a plant that I did wind up liking. But it wasn’t THIS plant. And I didn’t want to go back to that shop for more than a year because I was so on edge about asking anyone there for help. I’ve since gotten over my fear of the shop and of looking like I don’t know anything when it comes to plants. When it comes to plant shopping I embrace my inner know-nothing and keep to shops that invite curiosity.

Back to the Monsteras… they were all the rage when I started my plant obsession. They seem to be still. And I get the appeal. Something about their deep green color and adorable fenestrations is delightful and alluring.

Wait a moment… what was that word I used?

Which one? Adorable? Delightful? Alluring?

No no no, none of those. The F word.

Ahhhhhh you mean fenestrations. Yeah. I just dropped that plant term in there like I’ve been using it for forever and like all of you totally know exactly what I was talking about. And who knows, maybe I have (I haven’t) and maybe you do? But I can tell you if you google the definition of “fenestration” the answer you most commonly get will not be applicable to plants. It will talk about windows and doors on the elevation of a building or a surgical procedure where a new hole is created.

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Monstera Adansonii from Solabee

But we’re going to take our notes from the botany term. After all this is the English language, since when should a word have only one definition? In the plant world a fenestration refers to “natural holes in the leaves of some species of plants.”

I want to take a moment and define natural too since “nature” can be considered a whole lot of things. It means that the leaves of the plant GREW with holes in it. Not that it was poked by a branch or nibbled by a creature. Simply put it means naturally occurring holes, or in some cases what looks like slices, in the leaves of certain species of plant. And Monsteras are the plant that most modern plant lovers seem to think of in this category.

So let’s welcome this lovely new plant to the house of Kaos.

It was almost a surprise. Two of the plants I ordered on Friday evening wound up being out of stock, this was one of the replacement options I was offered. I literally squealed with delight at the chance to add this hanging basket of swiss cheese goodness to my living room. I do already have one smaller Adansonii that I’m trying to train on a hoop of sorts. I’ve done nothing to harm that plant, which I’ve had for a few months, but it also isn’t growing prolifically either.

It’s living in the same area as my Monstera Deliciosa, since the same type of care is indicated for the two plants. Hopefully that means I’ll keep this new gorgeous plant alive.

Tips from the card that came with the plant:

Light: Thrives best in bright indirect light
Water: Let the topsoil dry 1-2″ on top, watering about once every 7-10 days depending on size and light.
Tips: Monsteras are tropical aroids and do best when they climb on a trellis or moss pole. Splits in the leaves occur when the plant reaches maturity and it’s growing in bright light.

Well you and I both know that when they say “splits” they really mean fenestrations 😉

Featured image by 王维家 on Unsplash is of a different variety of Monstera.