i feel like i’m gonna write this about every one of my plants but my monstera deliciosa really is one of my favourites. this plant reminds me of my first trip overseas to hawai’i & being in awe of nature in the tropics (ironically, this plant is mildly invasive in hawai’i). my monstera deliciosa was one of the first plants i bought when i moved back to toronto. it was a small baby summer 17 and it’s grown so much! have a look at #jmmonsteradeliciosa on instagram for progress shots. i’ve pulled two baby plants from the mother plant – i kept one and gave the other to my sister. photos below and on instagram at #jmmonsteradeliciosa2 💚

my precious monstera deliciosa

history

monstera deliciosa is native to tropical areas in southern mexico to panama. it is an epiphyte, which refers to plants that can grow on other plants, such as trees. they get most of the nutrients they need from the air, as opposed to soil. the plant was taken from it’s natural habitat in the 1840s and brought to europe shortly after (madison, 1977). it’s cultivation spread quickly and today you can find monstera deliciosa plants around the world. while i appreciate that this has led to the privilege of having one in my home, this plant is representative of colonialism. as i am enjoying the company of my plant, it’s natural habitat is being exploited by deforestation and destruction. with this knowledge, i am committed to anti-colonialism and supporting indigenous-led efforts to protect our planet and ecosystems. 

did you know?

aside from being mesmerizing to look at, the split edges & perforations are said to be functional. it has been suggested that they help protect the plants from high tropical winds + heavy tropical rainfall, & also allow lower leaves to get some sun. according to muir (2013), the monstera deliciosa has holes in its leaves as an adaptation for lighting. in the rainforest, monsteras grow from the forest floor and grow up trees in search of bright light. in general, plants nearest to the ground survive by receiving small beams of sunlight through the top of the canopy. as such, the holes increase the likelihood of sun exposure.

sometimes monstera deliciosa will grow away from light – a phenomenon referred to as negative phototropism (madison, 1977). in its natural habitat, it produces small seeds that fall to the ground. they sprout into shoots that grow toward the shade searching for the base of the closest tree. as soon as it reaches a vertical surface its growth pattern changes & it starts to grow upwards in search of the sunlight at the top of the rainforest canopy.

okay, last fun fact – in the wild these guys produce inflorescence which develops into a white, edible fruit. when the fruit ripens an aroma similar to pineapple & banana develops. it is very sweet, although before fully ripened it causes an irritating sensation in the mouth due to the presence of calcium oxalate crystals (peppard, 1992). it has a nutritional composition similar to other tropical fruits (high water content, significant concentrations of carbohydrates, & reduced protein + fat contents), but with a higher content of minerals, specifically sodium & calcium (barros, galego, & pires-cabral, 2018). apparently, one fruit per day provides 25% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin c.

care tips

  • bright, indirect light – i keep my m. deliciosa in a corner right next to east facing windows
  • water moderately and when the soil is dry, typically the leaves are a touch droopy
  • i wipe down the leaves when i remember to prevent sunlight from being blocked
  • propagate via cuttings which include at least one node

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