Plant Portrait: Monstera Deliciosa
One of the best parts of the IG plant community? #Monsteramonday, featuring the lush and exotic Monstera Deliciosa.
Out of all the social media platforms, Instagram is the best for plant lovers. Once Leaf & Paw was born I was excited to create its own account.
First off, every Monday is #monsteramonday. IGers present luxurious photos of these giant Jurassic Park plants that I had never seen before. Maybe it’s just NY, but Monstera Deliciosa, also called the Swiss Cheese Plant, was not a common one. After seeing photo upon photo of green deliciousness (get it? like “deliciosa”), I had to have one of these. Since they were scarce in NY, I was shocked, SHOCKED that weeks later I saw one, ONE in Wegmans for $15. It was fate since I have never seen one there again. I know the garden faeries left it just for me. Now I have one of these monsters (get it? like “monstera”) it has ultimately become my favorite plant child. I named him Monty.
Once Leaf & Paw (and Monty) became active in #monsteramondays and I was surprised to receive a message asking why I own a toxic houseplant in a house of cats, despite my blog being safe plants for pets. Makes sense, so I’ll clear the air.
Toxic Plants and Pets
Monsteras are philodendrons – which is a vast plant group. It includes different types of monsteras, the heart shaped philodendron (above), and the elephant ear plant (below), as the most common. Part of the Araceae family, they are considered toxic, but less than its siblings, the Calla Lily and Dieffenbachia. These two plants are more poisonous in general on the toxic scale, so I recommend avoiding them. Monsteras are only toxic in excess, causing stinging around the mouth and stomach upset if consumed consistently.
In my Ficus Elastica post, I came across this similar situation – I have quite a few plants that are toxic to animals and I’ll explain why I do. The main reason is leaf size. My cats, and it seems cats in general, fancy stringy, grass-like leaves that are easily chewable – like palms and spider plants. I have never had a problem with cats or dogs chewing, or even showing interest in large leaf plants, since they seem more like furniture than a salad. The Monstera Deliciosa is no exception with its plasticky leaves’ average size being 10″ in diameter. Honestly, leaf size is the key. So, to those wondering if it is ok to get one of these beauties, I say yes, as long as your pets aren’t destructive-consuming-plant-vacuums. In the end, you are the only one who knows your pet.
Monsteras are super easy to take care of. Plant them in well draining, high quality soil, with plenty of perlite and rocks. The soil mix should stay relatively moist in all seasons, and you should only water when the top 1/2 of the soil is dry.
As far as light – Monsteras aren’t too picky, but, like all plants, they enjoy a decent amount of filtered light and humidity. Monty is still in the plastic pot he came in and he seems just peachy. The photo below is when I first got him (plastic brontosaurus for scale), and the first picture in this post is his size now. Sniff, I’m so proud.
Want to learn more? Well, a year later (now February 2018), I’ve propagated more Montys! Interested in how to do it yourself? Read my new post now.