Monstera adansonii, sometimes known as the “Swiss cheese plant,” is a wildly popular and fast-growing houseplant. Famous for its bright green, heart-shaped leaves, which fill with lacy holes as it matures, this plant can climb trellises or grow trails, quickly filling a room. Due to its reputation for rapid growth, many Monstera adansonii owners worry if their plant doesn’t appear to be growing fast enough.
Wondering why your Monstera adansonii isn’t growing as fast as it could? A few common mistakes, like not giving it the care or environment it needs, can slow your Swiss cheese plant’s growth. But don’t worry – with a few corrections, your Monstera adansonii can easily achieve its growth potential.
If you’re ready to help your Monstera adansonii grow faster, taller, and healthier, we are here to help! Keep reading to learn more about what things may be causing your plant’s slow growth and how to create the best conditions possible for your Monstera adansonii to thrive!
How Fast is Fast Enough?
It can be hard to discuss increasing the growth rate of your Monstera adansonii without first discussing its growth potential. A tropical plant native to the forests in Mexico and Panama, Monstera adansonii is easy-to-grow and quick to flourish. Furthermore, these plants are unique in their ability to grow both as vines and as climbing plants.
This means that you can grow a Swiss cheese plant from a hanging basket or otherwise allow it to form vines, which can take over a bookshelf, counter, or another surface.
However, Monstera adansonii can also climb surfaces by developing structures called “aerial roots,” which grab on to nearby structures, climbing them for support. Using these aerial roots, your Monstera plant can climb a trellis, stake, or even a wall, if trained to do so.
Knowing this distinction can be important depending on the goals you have for the overall size and shape of your plant. Monstera adansonii can climb to heights of 10 feet inside while, as a vine, it can develop trails up to 13 feet long. And the plant can achieve these heights with surprising speed.
While many plants can achieve heights of 6 inches to 12 inches a year, Monstera adansonii can grow up to two feet in a single season. Keep in mind that these results can vary and will depend on the right growing conditions, which may sometimes be a challenge to achieve.
Why Your Monstera Adansonii Isn’t Growing
If your Monstera’s growth appears to be at a standstill, there are some likely issues that, if addressed, can help get your Swiss cheese plant back on track. Below is a list of the top reasons why your plant’s growth may have stalled and some tips for improving the health, and growth rate, of your Monstera.
1. Your Monstera Adansonii Is Dormant
While dormancy is not exactly an “issue,” it is the first thing you should consider when diagnosing a slow-growing Monstera. This is because, should you start making changes to the care routine of a dormant Monstera, you may accidentally slow its growth even more.
Let’s explain – The Monstera adansonii plant has a long growing period, which can extend from early spring to fall. During these months, you will likely see rapid growth, which can result in up to two feet of additional height, or length, for your plant. This happens because, during these warmer months, your plant will focus its energy on expanding and growing new leaves to soak up the sun.
However, while plants cannot think like animals, they can sense environmental changes. And just as they can detect the increased warmth and sunlight that comes with spring, they can also perceive the shorter days and cooler nights of winter.
When this seasonal shift occurs, your Monstera plant will refocus its energy on its roots. Shifting energy to the roots is important because healthy roots will keep the plant alive, even in extreme conditions. This period is called dormancy.
The result is that you will likely not see much growth in your Monstera plant in the fall and winter months. For this reason, most plants require slightly less water and rarely any fertilizer during this time. Knowing if your plant is in a dormant period will help you avoid over-fertilizing, overwatering, or making other mistakes, during this dormant time.
Instead, rest assured that dormancy is a part of your plant’s larger growing cycle and that it will emerge better than ever. In the meantime, provide steady care, insulation from drafts, and a bit of patience, until spring arrives.
2. You’re Giving Your Plant Too Much / Too Little Light
For many inexperienced plant lovers, more sunlight seems like the first solution for a slow-growing, otherwise unhealthy-looking plant. These enthusiasts immediately place their plants on the sunniest windowsill or right on their porch for maximum light. But this can be a rookie mistake.
Many plants, including Monstera adansonii, do not grow well in direct sunlight, which can burn their leaves. Since the leaves are part of how a plant converts light, carbon dioxide, and water into energy, these burned leaves will harm your plant’s health and slow its growth.
Instead, Swiss cheese plants prefer bright but diffused, light. Placing your plant close to a curtained window or in a room that receives plenty of indirect sun will help your Monstera adansonii grow faster without damage to its delicate leaves.
Conversely, too little light can be an issue, too. If your plant is living in a space with little access to light, you may notice that your plant is becoming “leggy.” This term is used to describe a plant that is growing tall but has few leaves. These plants may also have a thin, top-heavy appearance.
Legginess is the plant’s attempt to seek sunlight and, while it is not fatal, it can cause a plant to grow taller and thinner than its roots can support – which may lead to collapse.
If your plant is looking leggy, it is not receiving the light it needs to grow, and you may wish to relocate your plant to a brighter space. But remember to be careful to keep it out of direct light. Move your plant three to four feet away from a bright and sunny, south-facing window for best results.
If a brighter area is not an option for you, consider using a grow light. Grow lights come in different sizes and can even clip onto the side of the planter. They are usually quite affordable and are available from most garden centers, as well as some online retailers, such as Amazon.
But make sure to use an actual grow light instead of a desk lamp or other type of light. Grow lights produce bright light with limited heat–a desk lamp can produce too much heat for your Monstera.
3. Your Monstera is Exposed to the Wrong Temperature
Monstera adansonii is a hardy plant that thrives in most indoor temperature conditions, though 65 – 75 degrees Fahrenheit is the preferred range.
But temperature issues can still slow plant growth if you aren’t mindful. Excessive heat can cause plant wilting, which will shock the plant and reduce growth, while cold drafts can cause leaf drop.
While temperature issues are not usually a growth concern in most indoor environments, they can arise during certain times of the year and in specific spaces. For example, it may be tempting to place your beautiful plant in the entryway of your home. However, the continual opening of the door, especially during colder months, can expose your plant to blasts of cold air.
Additionally, placing your plant close to poorly insulated windows can result in exposure to temperature extremes that are outside of the ideal for your Monstera. When it comes to Monstera Adansonii, aim for a comfortable and consistent temperature to help your plant thrive all year round.
4. Your Plant Is Suffering From a Nutrient Deficiency
Plants need vitamins, and your Monstera Adanosii is no exception. When planted outside, rainwater, insects, and other vegetation can help ensure that the plant gets all the nutrients it needs. But indoor plants may live in the same pot for years, depleting all the vitamins and minerals from the soil. Thankfully, fertilizer can replenish the nutrient content of your plant’s pot.
While your Swiss cheese plant doesn’t need extra nutrients every day, fertilizer can help ensure it has the vitamins needed for healthy growth. But be careful. Too much fertilizer can be very harmful to a plant, overwhelming it with more nutrients than it can digest. Instead, start with only a small amount of fertilizer and see how your plant responds.
While there are ways to blend your own fertilizer for your plant, there are plenty of all-purpose fertilizers that you can use to keep your plant vibrant. Jacks Balance Houseplant Fertilizer is my go-to option.
Generally, your plant will only need to be fertilized 3-4 times a year and should not be fertilized in the winter. Also, avoid getting any fertilizer directly on the stem or roots of your plant since the chemicals can damage the fragile stems.
You should not need to fertilize for a few months after repotting your plant since commercial potting mixes already have fertilizer included. Adding additional fertilizer right after a repotting may risk over-fertilizing your Monstera adansonii, which will slow growth and harm the plant.
5. Your Monstera Adansonii Has Cramped Growing Conditions
Every time your plant grows above the soil, there is an expansion taking place beneath the soil, as well. Monstera’s roots are continually expanding to maintain the new growth. And as a plant grows inside its pot, it eventually becomes “root bound.”
When a Monstera is rootbound, it will not grow quickly due to its constraints and the decreased amount of soil’s ability to hold enough water for the plant. But there is something you can do.
Repotting the plant into a slightly larger planter, such as transferring from a 6″ pot to an 8″ pot, will allow the roots to expand and help the plant grow overall.
But take note, it is important to not transfer your plant to a much larger container. When a container is too large, excess water can accumulate beyond the reach of the roots. This can lead to damp soil and eventually to root rot within the planter.
Spring and summer are the best times to repot Monstera adansonii since this is during the peak of the growing season. Because repotting can cause some “shock” to the plant due to the change in environment, it’s best to repot when the plant can recover quickly.
6. You’re Giving Your Plant Too Much / Too Little Water
Another issue that can put an immediate halt to your plant’s growth is inconsistent or improper watering. And just because animals need water every day, don’t make the mistake of assuming that plants do, as well. In fact, they may not even need water every week.
Surprised? Many plant owners make the mistake of assuming that they need to water their plant on a set schedule. And while that seems to make sense, changes in temperature, lighting, and growing season impact how much water your plant needs.
Instead of a weekly schedule, focus on checking your plant’s moisture level once or twice a week by inserting a finger into the soil. If the soil is dry 1-2″ down, water your plant thoroughly, then don’t water again until the soil feels dry. Remember that your Swiss cheese plant will need less water in the winter since it is in a dormant period.
How can you recognize a watering issue? Look for yellowing leaves, which can be a sign of either too much, or too little water. Next, feel the soil. Soggy soil is a sign of overwatering. However, dry soil, or soil that has started to pull away from the edges of the pot, means a bit more water is needed.
Note that there is a difference between watering your plant and adding humidity to their air. And for the healthiest plant possible, both are important. Adding humidity to the air is like adding lotion to your skin – even if you drink enough water, your skin can still become dry in the winter. The same is true for your plant.
If the air around your plant becomes too dry, the leaves and aerial roots can become dehydrated, impacting the health of the plant and its ability to grow. Consider adding a humidifier to the room in which you have your plant. These strategies help promote healthy foliage and help your plant retain moisture for healthy growth without the danger of overwatering.
7. It Is Time to Prune Your Monstera Adansonii
Can cutting your plant make it grow faster? Absolutely! This is because pruning your Monstera adansonii allows you to remove dead or dying leaves, which steal energy from the rest of your plant.
Trimming away these leaves will free up your Swiss cheese plant to focus on producing healthier leaves, which will make the plant stronger and will increase its ability to grow. Pruning also encourages the plant to grow taller and fuller by signaling to the plant that it needs to generate new buds and shoots.
Additionally, by reducing some of the leaves and stems, the Monster’s roots have more energy to produce a focused burst of growth. In other words, pruning helps to rev up your Monstera adansonii’s internal growing engine, signaling that it’s time to start producing new growth, fast.
While dying leaves should be removed on sight, it is a good idea to prune your Monstera adansonii in the spring. This allows your plant to recover throughout its growing period, which will result in faster, fuller growth. If you want to read more about why, when, and how to prune your Monstera adansonii, click here.
Also, don’t forget that any healthy leaves or stems you cut from your parent plant can be propagated in soil or water. With care and attention, these cuttings can help you grow several additional Monstera adansonii, allowing you to build a beautiful collection. For more information on taking Monstera adansonii cuttings, read this article.
Healthy Monstera Adansoniis
You’ve probably heard the expression, “Let nature take its course.” When it comes to plant care, that’s often the best advice. Every plant is a little different, and even two Monstera adansonii may grow at different rates or have different care needs.
But all plants require time and attention to reach their growth potential. This means that, even if you correctly troubleshoot your plant’s growth issues and create an ideal growth environment, your Monstera adansonii will not flourish in a single day. In fact, it may take several months for you to see the dramatic change in height or length that you may want.
But the wait is worth it. A healthy Monstera plant can live for years and can help you propagate countless new plants if you choose. However, getting impatient can have the opposite effect – resulting in an unhealthy plant that won’t produce the results you want. Applying too much fertilizer, overwatering, or introducing too much light will do more harm than good.
Instead, remember that a strong, healthy plant will naturally grow. And with the right light, food, and conditions, you will soon have a thriving Monstera adansonii, ready to achieve its growth potential. Just stay attentive, and remember that patience is rewarded!