Swiss Cheese Plant: Misnamed Plant, You Can Eat

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Swiss Cheese Plant

Swiss Cheese Plant

Ask the genuine philodendron for it to rise, and you may be surprised at the one plant that doesn’t: the split-leaf Philodendron, also known as the Swiss cheese plant.

Split-leaf Philodendron looks a lot like a philodendron. It has smooth, shiny leaves and brown roots that hang from the stems like thick strings. Much like a true philodendron can tolerate low light, dry air, neglectful watering, and other houseplants.

Split-leaf Philodendrons will only have to use new leaves. They will need them undersized without the deep cuts or holes that give them their Swiss cheese plant name. Split-leaf Philodendrons with full leaves look more like real philodendrons.

IMPOSTOR

Make no mistake, Split-leaf Philodendron is not a Philodendron. Monstera is its botanical name and not Philodendron. This is because the leaves can grow to be very large, sometimes even up to 2 or 3 feet in diameter.

Although Monstera is a different species than philodendron, it is still a relative. It shares the same family with Jack-in-the-pulpit, calla lily.

The unique flowers are what unites these plants within a single-family. Although individual flowers may seem boring, they are distinctive in how they are packed along with a fleshy spike.

The whole spike rises just above a few broad, brightly-colored bracts. Bracts are modified leaves at the bottom of flowers and are often more prominent than the flower. Poinsettias’ red bracts are an example.

While you’re likely to have seen Jack-in-the-pulpit and calla lily flowers at a park, garden, or florist’s shop in the woods or gardens, you might not have seen split-leaf Philodendron flowers.

Split-leaf Philodendron flowers only grow in near ideal conditions. This is because they require high heat, high humidity, and high light to develop.

These are conditions found in either the tropics or a warm greenhouse. A young plant might flower as soon as 2 years after it has been propagated as an incidentally very easy-to-root stem cutting. The 10-inch spike surrounded by a boat-shaped white bract is amazing.

TASTY FRUIT WITH A CAUTIONS

Split-leaf Philodendron’s fruit that follows such flowers makes it even more fascinating and gives rise to its second botanical name, delicious.

These fruits are sometimes found in markets, particularly those that specialize in tropical delicacies. Sometimes they are called ceriman.

The spike becomes a long, pine cone-shaped fruit covered in small, hexagonal green rind plates. Individual edible kernels are protected by the rind.

The high concentration of oxalic acids at this stage can cause burning sensations in your throat.

Fruits signal their ripening when they turn a lighter, almost yellow color and shed bits of their rind.

The kernels don’t all ripen simultaneously, but you can remove the fruit from the plant as soon as it begins to ripen, wrap it in plastic, and let the fruit ripen completely at room temperature.

Take a bite of the small, pale, juicy kernels, and you will taste a mixture of banana and pineapple with a hint of apple.

Propagation of Swiss Cheese Plants

You can propagate the Swiss cheese vine plant through stem cuttings, seeds, or suckers. Cuttings and suckers are more common.

It is straightforward to cut Swiss cheese plant stem cuttings. To propagate Swiss cheese plants, take stem cuttings. Leave a portion of the stem intact by cutting right after a leaf node. The first leaf should be removed from the base of the cutting.

Next, plant the node in the soil. Rooting hormone can be used if you wish, but it is not necessary. Allow the cutting to drain out water. You may want to soak the cutting in water before you move it to a pot.

Rooting will occur once enough time has passed. After washing the Swiss cheese vine cutting in water for two to three weeks, transfer it to a pot with rich potting soil.

Wrap damp moss around the stem of a Swiss cheese plant to propagate it. This section should be enclosed in a clear bag.

Tie it at the top and add a few air vents. New roots will develop on the Swiss cheese vine within a few months.

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