When I was a kid I used to dream about the house I’d eventually live in.
It would have a mirrored hallway filled on either side with a tangle of greenery – Boston ferns, spider plants, palms and that 80s staple, the Monstera (which we knew in New Zealand as fruit salad plants – don’t ask me why).
But, by the time I left home at in the 1990s, something terrible had happened. Bar the ubiquitous ficus, plants had gone out of fashion.
Though, to be honest, by that stage I was too busy drinking Coruba rum and Coke (or suffering from Coruba rum and Coke-induced hangovers) to keep plants alive anyway.
Fast forward to the next millennium, and – hurrah – the urban jungle look is back with a vengeance. Once again it’s cool to surround yourself with ferns and foliage, petals and props, and this time I was NOT missing out.
I had a lovely Monstera plant before our building work started last year, but after all the craziness of the renovations she was in a sad state – battered and bruised and smothered in builders’ dust, the leaves burned where they’d been pressed up against our hall radiator.
I tried to nurse her back to life, but it was clear she’d seen better days.
Then I remembered what I used to do ‘back in the day’, when Mum taught me how to take cuttings of plants, propagate them in water until they sprouted roots, then plant them in soil.
I knew that some plants were better at growing from cuttings than others so I did a quick search and – according to Google – Monstera were one of the easiest plants to grow hydroponically (in water alone).
I selected a few of the newer, undamaged stems and cut them an inch below a node (the lumpy join where a new shoot comes off from). I put the stems in a vase of water, popped in by a sunny window, and waited…
With two weeks, white roots began to bud on the stems (I meant to take a photo, but totally forgot to do it before I replanted them, grrrr!). I let them grow for a few more weeks, topping the water up every few days until the roots were a few inches long and looked nice and strong.
I bought a cheap plastic flower pot and some indoor plant potting soil. I started with some pebbles on the base of the pot for drainage, then added a couple of inches of soil.
Next, I carefully removed the Monstera stems from the vase of water in one big bunch, and placed them into the pot. Holding the stems upright, I sprinkled soil around the roots, then pressed the soil down to compact it and hold the plant firmly in place.
Finally, I topped up the soil until it reached the rim of the pot, gave it another light press down, and gave it a good soaking of water.
So, there it is! How to grow a Swiss Cheese plant from a cutting.
It’s been a week now since Monstera 2.0 went live, and she’s looking absolutely fabulous, with big, green, healthy looking leaves. I’m so inspired by her success that I’m now attempting to propagate my Ceropegia (chain of hearts), which has started looking a little stringy.
I’ll let you know how it goes (or should that be… how it grows?!).