Saturday, April 18, 2009

Monstera deliciosa Fruit-salad plant

Monstera deliciosa 
This hardy fruit bearing ground cover /climber is known world wide as a decorative garden plant or as an indoor or office plant.The huge leathery,perforated and incised leaves are also popular with florists for tropical style decorations. I like it as a bold landscaping plant especially around the base of large trees or covering walls and tall fences.The Monstera has interesting flowers of the arum type,with a creamy white boat shaped 30cm spathe overarching a cylindrical spath.
The resulting fruit is a cone like structure about 20cm long. which may take up to a year to ripen. It is made up of a series of hexagonal plates which peel away from the base upwards. You can tell when it is ripe by the strong fruit salad /stinky cheese aroma emerging from under the leaves. The fruit never made it to the supermarket shelves because it has to be really soft to eat. Not only that, but each segment of fruit contain black flecks which bite the tongue and mouth with their sharp taste. The fruit is sometimes called Mexican Breadfruit as the plant is native to Mexico and Guatemala.
Monstera fruit (just don't eat the black bits)
The variegated form M.deliciosa 'Albo-variegata' has interesting white splashed leaves but is less vigorous with smaller leaves. The form M. deliciosa minima "Little Monster" has miniature leaves but my specimens have been very slow growing and spindly in habit.
Propagation is easy from cut stem pieces simply buried slightly beneath the soil. In frosty climates some leaf damage is to be expected during winter but new leaves unfurl from the stout stems once the warm weather starts.
2017 update: I no longer have the miniature form. I have plants of the white variegated leaf variety but it is fairly unstable and often reverts to green.

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