SPLIT LEAF PHILODENDRON sometimes called Hurricane plant

Araceae Monstera deliciosa


GENERAL DESCRIPTION: Climbs and sends out aerial roots that attach to supports or grow to the grow. Flowers may appear, consisting of off-white spathes with a 10 inch spike. The edible fruit, called ceriman, ripens in a year and tastes like a combination of pineapple and strawberry.

Generates attractively split and perforated leaves up to a meter in length.  Aroid expert Dr. Michael Madison of the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens calls monstera "probably the finest foliage plant introduced in horticulture."  He also believes that the holes in Monstera deliciosa leaves increase convective cooling by breaking up the layer of still air next to the leaf.

Most popular; ease of culture and willingness to grow in dim light, torrid heat and despite neglect are virtues.  Gardeners fail to capitalize on is that many philodendrons, though they remain small-leaved and insignificant when grown in little pots with no support, can become big giant-leaved plants when staked to bark poles.

HEIGHT: 8 to 10 feet


BLOOM COLOR(S): Off-white spathes with a 10-inch (25cm) spike projecting from the center.


FOLIAGE:(shape, color, texture, fragrance, etc.): Young leaves are heart shaped and solid, but develop serrated edges and are riddled with holes as they age. Mature leaves are leathery and measure up to 18 inches wide.


LIGHT REQUIREMENTS: Bright indirect light; will tolerate shade. Moderate to low light from any exposure, with some direct winter sun. Does well under artificial light, needing 14 to 16 light hours a day.

Ideal is a bright north or sunny east window, or similar brightness near a south or west window.  Young plants grow well under fluorescent lights.  Mature philodendrons keep well for several months in dim light, but then they need several months of bright light or some sun in order to recuperate.



AIR TEMPERATURE REQUIREMENTS: Day, 65 to 75F.; night, 65 to 70F. Day, 70 to 80F.; night, 62 to 69F.


SOIL TYPE AND pH PREFERRED: all purpose mix



BEST PROPAGATION METHOD/TIME: When the plant grows to tall, take stem cuttings, in early summer, from the top. The parent will continue to grow, or air layering.



GENERAL CARE REQUIREMENTS: Prefers to be pot-bound. Repot every 2 to 3 years or when the roots occupy 3/4 of the pot space, in the spring. Rinse foliage frequently. Guide aerial roots onto support or soil. Plant rests during the winter; keep cool, 55°F.; reduce water, keeping soil barely moist and withhold fertilizer.

Monstera deliciosa are big dust collectors.  One of the simplest ways to clean their foliage is simply to wash the leaves off with a damp sponge that has been soaked in warm water to which a few drops of mild dishwashing detergent have been added.

MOISTURE REQUIREMENTS: Water when soil is dry to the touch. Reduce in winter.

Keep evenly moist; use water at room temperature.  Can stand neglect, but repeated periods of soggy wetness or extreme dryness destroy the root system.  Frequent misting benefits all philodendrons, but especially those in a hot, dry atmosphere.

FEEDING REQUIREMENTS: every 2 weeks during the growing season, with a mild liquid fertilizer.



MOST COMMON CULTURAL PROBLEMS: Wash and polish mature leaves. Guide aerial roots into the soil or support. Cut tops of tall plants to limit growth. Waterlogged soil will cause leaves to weep around the edges. Leaves with brown, brittle edges result from dry air. Brown edges and yellowed leaves are a symptom of over-watering or, less frequently, underfeeding. Serious leaf (drop)results from moving the plant or an abrupt change in environment. Young leaves often have no perforation. Low light also will cause small unperforated, leaves.


Stems grow long and floppy; too dark.  Move to lighter location but not in full sun.  It need not be by window but does need some light to flourish.

Scorch marks on leaves; direct sunlight.  Do not spray in sunlight, and keep plant in shadier location.

Leaves look dull and do not grow in spring; too cold.  Move to warmer place, at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees C).

Leaves droop - too hot and dry.  Soak plant in bucket of water for 10-15 minutes, then drain.  Water more often and keep in cooler place.

Leaves turn yellow, then (drop)- too wet, overwatered.  Make sure drainage holes are clear, and let plant dry out before watering again.  In winter allow top layer of soil to dry out between waterings.

New leaves stay small or none appear - needs feeding or repotting.  Check roots and repot in spring if crowded together.  Feed regularly when growing.

The most common problem with philodendrons concerns cut- or split-leaved types whose new leaves grow smaller than the old ones and are plain, without splits.  This is usually caused by one or a combination of three conditions:  1-temperatures are cold, 2-air is dry, 3-the main stem has grown taller than the totem pole and the aerial roots have no moist, rough surface to attach to.  Correct by supplying a taller totem.

MOST COMMON INSECT PROBLEMS: Aphids, mealybugs, spider mites and scale.

Red spider mite; webs under leaves, leaves start to discolor.  Spray with insecticidal soap or kelthane every 14 days until clear.




Mature plants produce a cone-like edible fruit, which has a pineapple aroma.  However, as a house plant, the development of fruit is unlikely.  The fruit must be ripe when eaten because the unripe form contains a chemical which will cause the mouth to swell painfully.

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