Philodendron Monstera Delicosa has glossy, heart-shaped or rounded leathery leaves that develop deep clefts and oblong perforations as they grow older. The leaves may be as much as 18” wide on foot-long leafstalks. In nature this plant is actually an evergreen liana, a trailing or climbing epiphytic vine, which grows high into the rainforest canopy. It can grow 70 feet or more and rarely branches. The heavy, cylindrical, 2½ -3” stems are rough with leaf scars.
The flowers, which are rarely if ever seen on houseplants, are a 8-12” long, creamy-white, Jack-in-the-pulpit type. The fleshy upright spike (spadix) with tiny flowers is surrounded by the boat-shaped spathe. It takes a little over a year for the fruit to mature, swelling into a 9” cone-like structure that looks sort of like a green cob of corn with hexagonal kernels. The edible fruits supposedly taste like a combination of banana, pineapple and mango and are high in potassium and Vitamin C.
As a houseplant, split-leaf philodendron does best in bright light in summer and direct sun in winter. It can be grown under florescent light, but will not develop the leaf perforations when light is inadequate. It prefers warm room temperature and medium to high humidity, but is fairly tolerant of a wide range of conditions once acclimated. Plants do not grow below 50ºF, however, and frost will kill them.