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Products > Monstera deliciosa
Monstera deliciosa - Split-leaf Philodendron
Image of Monstera deliciosa
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Vine
Family: Araceae (Arums)
Origin: Brazil (South America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: White
Bloomtime: Summer
Synonyms: [Philodendron pertusum]
Height: Climbing (Vine)
Width: Spreading
Exposure: Cool Sun/Light Shade
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 25-30 F
Monstera deliciosa (Split-leaf Philodendron) A large vining plant that can sprawl across the ground or cling to tree trunks or structures to climb 20 feet or more on 2 inch thick stems that have thick cord-like aerial roots and hold huge (2 foot wide by 3 foot long) dark green glossy leaves held angling downwards on 2 to 3 foot long stout petioles. These leaves are distinctively cut and perforated, which gives this plant its common name. When mature plants are well situated they will produce their unusual arum flowers in late summer and fall with a 6 to 10 inch spadix surrounded by a greenish white spathe that is followed by the swollen spadix being covered in the sweet smelling edible fruit that looks like a green cob of corn and has a fragrance and taste often compared to the mix of pineapple and banana. Plant in full coastal sun (where leaves tend to be will be smaller) to fairly deep shade and irrigate regularly to occasionally - surprisingly drought tolerant in shady locations once established. Hardy and evergreen to 28-30F and will repsprout from stems if foliage is damaged. This plant is often seen as an indoor house plant growing in dark corners but it is also a great understory plant in mild Bay Area and Southern California gardens, where its stems crawls along with foliage rising 2-4 feet until it finds something to allow it to climb. Makes a nice large scale groundcover with palms where its large decorative foliage adds to the tropical feel. Split-leaf Philodendron is native to tropical rainforests of southern Mexico, south to Panama. The name for the genus is thought to be from either the Latin word 'mons' or 'montis' meaning a "mountain" with 'teres' meaning "rounded off" or "smoothed" or from the word 'monstrifer' meaning "monster-bearing" and both likely a reference to the large perforated leaves. The specific epithet means "delicious" and is in reference to the sweet edible fruit. Although technically not a "true" philodendron, this plant is commonly called split-leaf philodendron, an obvious reference to the perforated foliage but it is also called Swiss Cheese Plant and Hurricane Plant. This plant was awarded the prestigious Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Merit in 1993. We likely would never have grown this plant until seeing it growing in an unirrigated area in the garden of the late Bruce Van Dyke, one of Santa Barbara's premier horticulturists. In this garden a large Monstera was happily growing beneath and up into the branches of a large coast live oak, Quercus agrifolia. It was from this plant our stock came from and it now is a ground cover beneath and through a large hedge of Victorian box, Pittosporum undulatum, in our own nursery garden.  The information on this page is based on research conducted about this plant in our library and from reliable online sources. We also take into consideration observations of this plant in our nursery crops, as well as of plants growing in the nursery's garden and those in other gardens we visit. We also will incorporate comments that we receive from others and welcome getting feedback from anyone who may have additional information, particularly if it includes cultural information that would aid others in growing Monstera deliciosa.