Monstera Epipremnoides (Swiss Cheese Plant) Care

Monstera Epipremnoides

The monstera epipremnoides looks very much the like the monstera adansonii, which is why it is often mistaken for it. But, if you look closely, this plant have larger foliage compared to the adansonii.

Still, it’s very distinctive holes and shape of its leaves make it a very beautiful plant to grown both indoors and outdies.

However, be prepared to shell out a few bucks for it. As, the monstera epipremnoides runs in the 3-digit range.

Like many monstera, this is a climbing plant. Its more attractive feature are the glossy broad green leaves that are somewhat oblong in shape. They can grow to between 13 and 20 inches long and 13 inches wide.

But, it is the presences of holes all over its foliage that make it unique to look at.

Hailing from Nicaragua and Costa Rica, the plant likes tropical conditions.

Difference Between Monstera Epipremnoides and Monstera Adansonii

One of the most common questions people ask is how to tell the difference between a Monstera Epipremnoides and Monstera Adansonii. Often the former is mistaken for the other since the latter is the more popular plant.

But, if you look closely, you’ll be able to tell the difference.

What you want to focus on is its foliage. If you can just look at one leaf for each plant and compare. You’ll see the following differences.

  • Size. This will be the first thing you notice. Monstera Epipremnoides have bigger leaves than the Monstera Adansonii. They can reach between 13 and 20 inches long and 13 inches wide.
  • Color. The Monstera Adansonii has green colored foliage. Meanwhile, the Monstera Epipremnoides has light green. Or, you can argue that it has green with a very light tinge of yellow. Either way, the green isn’t as deep.
  • Fenestration. In simple terms, this refers to the holes in the leaves for which monstera plants are popular for. the Monstera Epipremnoides has large holes relative to its leaves. They can begin from the midrib and run all the way to the edges. On the other hand, the Monstera Adansonii has smaller holes which mostly stay in the middle or near the midrib of the leaf. The holes also don’t cut through the edges of the leaves.

 

Monstera Epipremnoides Plant Care

Monstera Epipremnoides Light

The monstera epipremnoides does well in both partial shade and dappled sunlight. To explain each:

  • Partial shade. Receives 2 to 6 hours of sunlight daily. Much more than this, or very intense sun for long periods daily will scorch its leaves.
  • Dappled sunlight. Some kind of overhead canopy but don’t completely covered from light for 2 to 6 hours a day. Thus, this is slightly less light than partial shade due to some of the sun being blocked.

To give you a better idea, the plant is native to rainforests in Costa Rica and Nicaragua. As, these areas get sunlight all year round. But since the plant lives under the larger trees and plants, their branches and leaves cover the plant.

As such, the plant is used to dappled sun.

Thus, outdoors, you’re better off leaving it under some kind of shade. That’s still bright. While it can take 2 to 6 hours of direct sunlight, it is often hard to find a spot when the sun will suddenly disappear after 6 hours. So, the latter can be more challenging.

Indoors, an east facing window is perfect since the morning sun is gentle. Plus, the east gets about 6 or so hours of sunlight mostly earlier in the day.

In west and south facing windows, you want to filter the light or position the plant so the sun gets blocked out some parts of the day.

 

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Monstera Epipremnoides Temperature & Humidity

Your monstera epipremnoides does best when temperature stays between 60 and 80 degrees. While it can tolerate mild cold, it cannot take frost or stay in freezing temperatures long without suffering.

As such, it is only well suited for growing outdoors in USDA zones 9b, 10 or 11. Below zone 9b, it is a goo idea to keep them in containers to make it easy to bring indoors during the winter.

This also allows you to take them outdoors in the summertime.

Because it lives in tropical rainforests, the plant is likewise used to high humidity. This puts it in line with other monstera plants.

More importantly, it means that you’ll likely need to increase humidity around the plant.

The 3 easiest ways to do so are:

  • Misting. Spraying with water every few days. Although, this is more manually intensive.
  • Grouping. Grouping it with other plants allows their transpiration to evaporate to increase moisture in the air over them.
  • Pebble tray. Keeping the plant on top of stones in a water tray works as well. When the water evaporates, the air gets more moist.

 

Watering Monstera Epipremnoides

Monstera Epipremnoides

When watering, allow the soil to almost dry before watering again. This will prevent overwatering which is a big no-no with monstera plants. If this keeps happening it can lead to root rot which can eventually kill your plant.

This makes checking the soil before watering essential. You want to use your finger to check to top 1 to 2 inches of soil each time before watering. Another option is to use a moisture meter.

This is a very inexpensive device that’s perfect for beginners of if you have a problem with discerning how moist or dry the soil is.

How you water is just as important as when you water.

Here, deep watering is the way to go. And, you want to water directly onto the soil not over the plant where the leaves will get soaked.

To water thoroughly, slowly wet the soil with a hose and let it keep going until you start seeing liquid drip from the bottom of the pot then stop. This ensures the entire root ball and soil is soaked. In doing so, you’re sure the water will get to the roots.

After this, allow the plant to drain completely. This means no more water dripping out from under. Often, takes a little over 10 minutes for this to finish. So, you can do something else in the meantime.

Then return the pot to its spot.

 

Soil

With soil, you want to remember 3 things:

  • Moist
  • Well draining
  • High organic matter

For soil to stay moist, it needs to retain some water. This is key because your monstera epipremnoides is used to damp conditions since it rains often in rainforests.

But, their location also allows this to drain quickly. So, want fast draining soil to remove excess moisture.

Finally, high organic matter helps the plant grow faster and better.

Thus, a good aroid soil mix works. If you don’t have a recipe for this you can likewise add perlite and orchid bark to potting soil.

 

Fertilizing

Monstera epipremnoides is a fairly light feeder. But, you don’t want to use cheap fertilizer because these contain heavy salts, which end up burning your plants roots.

Damaged roots means you plant can’t absorb water and plant food efficiently. And, the more damage there is, the more it will starve. If too much of its roots are affected, it will die from starvation.

When it comes to fertilizer, you can opt for liquid or slow released. A good balanced fertilizer works. Ideally, it contains micronutrients as well.

While you only need to feed to plant 3 times a year, you’ll want to do so. Otherwise, it will grow slowly.

If you use liquid fertilizer, make sure to dilute it to 50% of the recommended strength. You also want to water the soil when you apply the plant food. This will allow the plant absorb it.

 

Monstera Epipremnoides Pruning

The monstera epipremnoides is a slow grower. But, make no mistake is grows into a large plant. So, patience is key here. Indoors, left unpruned it will reach about 10 feet or so. Outside, it can get to 30 feet.

This is true for many monstera plants which is why they’re called as such. Monstera, when translated means monster. And, that’s to describe the size of the plant, not its looks, since we all know these are beautiful foliage plants.

As such, pruning is essential to keep its shape and size to your liking.

Just as importantly, waiting for the leaves to develop is worth it. They grow into large stunning, holed foliage.

However, it also means that if you start seeing discolorations, dying or dead leaves, you want to prune them off. Their size makes them unsightly.

More importantly, it causes the plant to use up a lot of resources maintaining a part that’s either dead or deteriorating. Thus, trimming them off helps keep the plant healthy.

Since the monstera epipremnoides is a climber, giving it a moss pole or totem is a good idea. It will like having something to latch on and grow onto.

As always make sure you sterilize your cutting tools with cotton and rubbing alcohol before making any cuts. This is true for pruning or propagating.

Speaking of which, you can also prune some stems if you want to propagate the plant. in the process, it also somewhat reduces the size of the mother plant.

 

Propagation

Monstera Epipremnoides

Monstera epipremnoides can be propagated via stem cuttings. Although you can use leaf cuttings as well. Or, divide the plant to grow more. I actually go through the division process below in the next section when I discuss separating the plant.

You may want to do that because the plant gets fairly large (up to 10 feet or so indoors).

In any case, here’s how to propagate monstera epipremnoides from stem cuttings.

How to Propagate Monstera Epipremnoides from Stem Cuttings

  • Select one or more stems that area healthy. You want to pick out stems that are 4 to 6 inches long and have 2 or 3 leaves.
  • Cut the stem just under the node. That is, where the leaf attaches to the stem.
  • Now you have a few options. You can start rooting it in water or go directly to soil.
  • Rooting in water is faster. And, it has higher success rates. But, keeping the stem in water runs the risk of rotting as well.
  • If you plant directly, into soil, skips having to root in water then transfer to soil later. But, since you can’t see the roots, you don’t know if they’re growing or not. Or, how fast or well are they growing.
  • With water, once you have the stem cutting, remove the bottom leaves that will get submerged in water.
  • After 3 or se weeks, it should start to have roots.
  • Wait till the roots grow past an inch. You can leave it there longer if you want. Then, move it into a small container with potting mix.
  • If you go directly to soil, get a small container and fill with fresh, fast draining potting soil.
  • Plant the stem cutting into the soil.
  • Water the soil, then keep the plant in a warm, humid place with bright, indirect light.

 

Transplanting & Repotting

Every 2 to 3 years, your monstera epipremnoides will outgrow its container. As such, you will need to repot it. Since the plant is a slow grower, you get a lot more time in between.

But, once the roots start showing outside the container, it is a sign to move the plant to a larger pot.

The best time to do so is during the spring and summer when the plant is growing. This allows it to quickly overcome the shock of being transplanted. Plus, take advantage of the new found space for its roots.

When you’re repotting choose a container that’s 1 to 2 inches larger than the previous. You don’t want to jump too far up in size because it stresses the plant. Plus, large containers mean lots more soil. when wet, it will leave the plant sitting in water for long periods of time.

Similarly, you can use any kind of pot you want. However, I’ve found that plastic works better despite the fact the you want moisture to drain.

I initially believed clay pots or terracotta would be better because they’re porous. However, they seemed to seep too much moisture out that the soil dries out a bit too quickly.

For me, plastic seems to work better. But, make sure that there are holes below to let liquid escape.

How to Repot Monstera Epipremnoides

  • Now what you have the pot and its specifications above, you also want to have some fresh soil on hand.
  • Next, remove the plant from the pot. You can water the plant 1 to 2 days before to soften the soil. This makes it easier to slide the root ball out.
  • Check the root ball and roots. You want to remove excess dirt and soil so the roots get access to the new soil in its new home. If there are any damaged roots, trim them off.
  • Fill the new pot about 30% to 40% with fresh potting mix. Make sure to use fast draining soil.
  • Insert the plant into the pot and backfill with soil.
  • Water and return it back to its spot.

Similarly, you can also just refresh the soil every now. Or if the plant is getting too big for your liking, you can separate your monstera epipremnoides.

This will give you a few (2 or more depending on how many you split up) smaller plants that will eventually grow in size as well.

How to Separate Monstera Epipremnoides

  • Follow the same steps above in removing the plant from its container.
  • This time, you want to prepare extra pots if you want to split more than once. Otherwise, an extra pot will do.
  • Once out, find the natural separations into the root ball tracing form the stems and down to the roots. You can cut one or two sections out depending on how many you want and the size of the mother plant.
  • Use a sharp, sterile knife to cut the root ball into sections.
  • Plant the new plants into the new pots with fresh soil.
  • For the mother plant, you want to refresh the soil by taking out the spend soil in the pot. Then washing the pot so it is sterile. Then, add the new soil.
  • After that, replant the mother monstera epipremnoides.
  • Now you have 2 or 3 monstera epipremnoides plants at home.

 

Toxicity

The plant is toxic to people, dogs and cats. But, between them, it is more poisonous to animals that it is humans. Either way, bad side effects happen when the plant is ingested. So, it is not a good idea for either group to eat the plant.

 

Pests and Diseases

The monstera epipremnoides is susceptible to a few pests. The most common of which are spider mites and scale. As such, you want to regularly inspect your plant’s stems and leaves to make sure they are free from pests.

Similarly, leaf spot can be a problem. Leaf spot can be caused by fungus, bacteria or insects. Although most of the time it is one of the first two. You also want to be on the lookout for outer fungal diseases although they’re rare.

Finally, there’s root rot which is totally preventable. Make sure you use a pot with holes underneath, well draining soil and don’t overwater your plant.

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