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 Monstera subsp. var.  
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Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Monstera (name unexplained by the author; probably from the Latin for strange or monstrous). Araceae. Root-climbing evergreen aroids from tropical America, of which one, Monstera deliciosa, is often grown under glass for its odd foliage and in the tropics for its edible fruit.

Woody, the branches rooting, the roots often cord like, the lvs. more or less distichous: lvs. often very large (small on juvenile shoots and more regular), from lanceolate to oblong and broader, entire, perforated or pinnatifid, the petiole prominent and sheathing: peduncles terminal, solitary or fascicled, bearing ovate or oblong boat-shaped spathe that opens widely after flowering and finally is deciduous: spadix shorter than the spathe, cylindrical or nearly so, densely flowered, bearing the hermaphrodite or perfect fls. above and sterile fls. below; fertile or perfect fls. with no perianth, and 4 stamens, and a 2-celled ovary with 2 ovules in each cell: frs. many small berries, crowded or joined into a multiple fr. or cone-like structure.-Species 27 as monographed by Engler & Krause in Engler's Pflanzenreich, hft. 37 (1908).

The species commonly known in horticulture is Monstera deliciosa, the ceriman (Fig. 2385). It is a greenhouse climber, with huge perforated leaves. As the plant climbs, the stems emit long aerial roots, many of which never reach the ground. The plant bears an edible fruit, which has a taste between a pineapple and a banana. The fruit grows about 6 to 8 inches long, and looks like a long pine-cone, the rind being composed of hexagonal plates. The monstera is a satisfactory greenhouse subject, even in a young stage, and being a great curiosity, excites much comment from visitors. It is usually kept in a hothouse, but succeeds in a cool house also. It is commonly allowed to grow in a spreading rather than climbing fashion. As a conservatory plant it does best when planted out in a bed of rich soil, where it can be kept within bounds by judicious pruning. It is not particular as to soil, as it fills the pots in which it is planted with thick succulent roots in a very short time. It is one of the best plants for enduring the varying conditions of temperature in a dwelling-house, as nothing short of a freeze seems to hurt it.

The propagation of monstera is easily accomplished by division of the growing stems. These can be cut up into lengths so as to include two or three joints placed in a propagating-bed with bottom heat of 75° to 80°. A good method is to place each cutting in a 3-inch pot, filled with a mixture of sand, peat and leaf-mold in equal parts. Plunge the pots up to the rims in a warm propagating-bed and cover with glass so as to insure a humid atmosphere. When they have made new roots they can be taken out of the propagation-bed and placed on a bench in a house, with a night temperature of 65° to 70° with a rise during bright days to 80° or 85°. While they will grow in 8 to 10° cooler temperature, they will never come to their full perfection without plenty of heat. As the pots become filled with roots, they should be shifted until the plants are in 10- or 12-inch pots or tubs. They may also be planted out along some wall or pillar in the greenhouse. Monsteras are tropical climbers, so will need some mode of support to keep them growing in their natural habit.

For a compost they like a turfy soil three parts, leaf-mold and well-rotted manure one part each; to this add enough sand to make it porous. Give plenty of ventilation. They should be syringed frequently during the spring, summer and fall months. During the summer, they require plenty of water to keep up their vigorous growth. When monsteras are wanted to ramble over a large area, they should be given much liquid feeding. They will need a little shade during the hottest part of the summer, but no more than is necessary to hold the foliage in good color, as it only tends to make them grow soft and flabby. During the winter months, it is always better to lessen the water-supply as they are in a state of dormancy until about the end of January when they will show renewed state of activity. These plants are not troubled with many insects. The texture of their leaves will allow syringing to such an extent so as to dislodge any kind of pest.

In the American tropics M. deliciosa requires a very warm moist climate for the production of fruit. Although it naturally grows by attaching itself to trees and creeping up, it appears to be more fruitful if compelled to grow on the ground without climbing. The fruit is green in color until it ripens, when there is just a tinge of yellow, and the outer rind comes off in bits at a touch.

The plant known to the trade as Marcgravia paradoxa is Monstera dubia. The adult leaves are something like those of M. deliciosa, being now and then perforated, but usually pinnately cut. The young leaves are very different, being much smaller, entire and heart-shaped. In its young stage, M. dubia is a very handsome hothouse climber, with thick roundish waxy leaves, which grow in two ranks and overlap one another. When the plant was introduced by Bull, it was shown growing on a board apparently in parasitic fashion, and emitting aerial roots. It seemed most like a Marcgravia, but when it flowered and fruited the first name was found to be incorrect. Marcgravia is a dicotyledon and Monstera a monocotyledon. The monstera-like leaves are likely to be developed when the plant reaches 15 feet. In the young stage the plant is generally allowed to clamber over a dead log or tree- fern trunk, in the manner of Philodendron, which see for culture.

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.



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