The fruit salad plant, more commonly known under its Latin name “Monstera Deliciosa” that sounds more like one of Harry Potter’s spells than a tropical plant is one of the world’s most popular indoor plants. But whatever the case, one thing is certain; this plant has the special ability to become a focal point of any room with its elegant appearance. So whether you’re planning to grow and take care of a fruit salad plant or just want to learn more about this fascinating plant, keep reading; our comprehensive guide will show you everything you need to know.
Origins Of Fruit Salad Plant
The Monstera Deliciosa plant is native to the southern parts of Mexico but it can also be found in the tropical forests of Central and South America. Today, the plant is introduced to many other tropical areas, such as Hawaii, Society Islands, the West Indies, Ascension Island, and Seychelles where it has become a mildly invasive species. Despite the fact that the fruit grows in humid and moisty places, it still requires extreme levels of moist which is why in the wild, the fruit salad plant is most often found near water surfaces.
The plant is known under several different names, such as Monstera Deliciosa, Fruit Salad Plant, and Swiss Cheese plants but most nicknames originate from the plant’s edible sweet fruit and its large leathery leaves. The plant usually grows as an understorey plant and it attaches itself to trees by aerial roots from where it can reach up to 20 meters in height. However, nowadays, the more usual version of the plant that we see is indoors where most fruit salad plants grow up to 5 meters tall and 2-3 meters wide.
What About The Fruit?
The fruit grows up to 25 cm in length, it’s corn-shaped, has green tiles covering it, and it’s one of the most fascinating exotic fruits we’ve seen. The spathes of the plant’s cream flowers can only grow in warm/tropical conditions when the plant is mature. It takes roughly one year for the fruit to ripen and start developing cones of its sweet smelling-edible fruit. The fruit is edible only when ripe because if not ripe, it can be poisonous. Here’s a detailed video that explains how to consume the fruit safely.
As a rule of thumb, you can assess whether the fruit is ripe or not judging by its green hexagonal tiles. When they start to fall off and the fruit starts releasing a sweet scent, it means that the fruit is getting ripe. As the fruit ripens, the sweet scent gets stronger but once it ripes fully, it slowly starts fading away. As for its flavor, we’d say it’s a mix of mango, banana, and pineapple (hence, the name fruit salad plant).
Are you a fan of strange exotic fruit? Then you’ll probably like our post about the bushukan fruit (Buddha’s Hand).
Is It A Seasonal Fruit?
Yes, the Monstera Deliciosa plant is seasonal. The harvest starts in the summer (July-August) and it lasts until mid-to-late October.
Are you a fan of exotic fruits? The you may also want to check out:
How To Grow Monstera Deliciosa
If you’re thinking of trying to grow Monstera Deliciosa in your home or garden, here are some useful tips.
Temperature and Environment
As we mentioned, this plant is best grown in warm, humid places with a partial shade. Indoors, however, the plant adapts easily and can grow in most surroundings, except ones with very cold indoor conditions. When growing it indoors, try to place it in a spot where it will get more sunshine. Sure, the plant can survive with low exposure to sunlight too but its leaves grow larger when it gets more sun. However, too much sun isn’t good either; under direct sunlight, some of the leaves might burn.
The fruit salad plant can grow in most garden soils. However, keep in mind that it prefers humus-rich and well-drained soil with a lot of moist. For strong growth, it’s recommended that the pH of the soil should range between 5.5 and 7. Also, make sure to re-pot every two years into a larger container to maintain the level of growth.
The plant doesn’t need a lot of water and overwatering is often a reason for diseases and even death. When watering your plant, make sure to soak it well and let the water drain. Don’t leave your fruit salad plant sitting in the water because this can make the roots rot.
If you’re keeping your plant indoors, we suggest you go for a controlled-release fertilizer. Apply a water-soluble liquid fertilizer every month during summer and spring.
The most common issue with this plant are yellowing leaves. It happens when the plant grows in cool or low-light conditions or is getting too much water. If this happens, place the plant in a brighter spot and reduce the amount of water you use.
Another common issue is dry air causing brown tips on the leaf edges. If this happens, try to increase the humidity by misting the leaves regularly or double potting the plant in a bigger container. Finally, you can also wipe clean dull or dusty leaves with a damp cloth and water.
The most common pests include mealybug, mites, and scale. All of them can be controlled with an insecticide.
Interesting Facts About Monstera Deliciosa
- The plant’s holes have a function; the holes in the leaves are there to help the plant withstand heavy rainfall typical for the rainy season of most areas with a tropical climate. The leaves are known as monstera, hence, the name Monstera Deliciosa.
- However, the leaves can’t create new holes. During its lifespan, none of the plant’s leaves can develop new holes. What you’re actually seeing when you think that this happens is new bigger leaves with more holes replacing the older leaves that had fewer holes.
- It has a lot of wrong names. The most common is Monstera Pertusum which even though similar, is another plant.
- The fruit salad plant can be an air plant. In its natural environment, this plant can leave as an epiphyte (a plant that lives on another plant). The plant always starts growing out of the soil but tends to grow to the darkest place it can find, most commonly, other large trees. In other words, the Monstera Deliciosa can find free accommodation plus food even though it doesn’t have eyes.
- And it might not have eyes but it has muscles. The junction between the petiole and the leaf blade known as “geniculum” can be described as a muscle because it allows the plant to direct its leaves towards the sun.
- Its aerial roots are good guys. Most aerial roots destroy the surface they attach to (i.e. ivy in old, abandoned buildings). However, the Monstera Deliciosa aerial roots never damage the tree/interior they’re attached to and only use it as extra support or food source.
- In some regions, the fruit salad plant is used for treating arthritis and snakebites while its roots are used for making ropes and even blankets.
Did you ever hear about the fruit salad plant? Would you like to have it in your home? Did you find our post helpful? Let us know in the comments!
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