One of the most popular houseplants grown across the globe is the Swiss cheese plant, also known as Monstera deliciosa.
While we tend to grow this striking plant for its beautiful leaves with bold fenestrations (the holes in the leaves), not many house plant enthusiasts know that this plant can produce edible fruit.
It does make sense though, when you consider that the plant’s epithet literally means ‘delicious’, describing the fruit perfectly!
If you were wondering, the genus name, Monstera, is Latin for ‘monstrous’, referring not only to the size of the leaves but also the fenestrations that are instantly recognizable.
While this plant does produce fantastic fruit, it can be dangerous to eat it when it isn’t fully ripe. Here’s everything you need to know.
5 Things You Should Know About The Fruit Of Monstera Deliciosa
Can A Swiss Cheese Plant Produce Fruit Indoors?
Unfortunately, a Monstera deliciosa is unlikely to flower and fruit indoors. That’s not to say that it is impossible, but it is difficult to encourage without greenhouse conditions.
In order to fruit, a Swiss cheese plant needs to be in a high humidity environment, with plenty of room, and preferably a grow light to help it along.
Then you might see flowers and eventually fruit, but otherwise, it’s very unlikely that a Swiss cheese plant will do so.
How Soon After Flowering Will A Monstera Produce Fruit?
You will have to be patient. A Monstera deliciosa will produce flowers first, but the fruit can take up to a year to finish ripening.
You’ll notice when the fruit forms on the plant, as it will reach about 12 inches in length, and looks a little like unripe corn.
When Is Monstera Fruit Safe To Eat?
When the fruit is ready, the large green scales that form the outer skin will start to lift away from the fruit and break apart.
This will always begin at the bottom of the fruit, and spread upwards. You can also check if it’s ripe by pulling at the green scales.
If they come away easily, the fruit is ready. If not, be patient a little while longer.
Something you can try to speed up the ripening process is to remove a semi-ripe fruit from the plant, and pop it into a brown paper bag (not plastic, the fruit needs to have good air circulation), close it up gently, and put it somewhere that’s room temperature.
Check it frequently, and you’ll notice that the scales will lift a little quicker than if you left it on the plant.
When you can see the creamy flesh, it’s ready to eat!
It’s important to note that you should hold off if you’re not sure if the plant is ripe or not.
Like many houseplants, the fruit contains calcium oxalate crystals, and these disappear when the fruit goes through the ripening process.
Calcium oxalate crystals are dangerous if eaten, and will cause intense pain and swelling.
As you might imagine, this is particularly uncomfortable and can be quite dangerous when ingested, so don’t eat the fruit until you are absolutely sure it is ripe.
The Taste Of Monstera Deliciosa Fruit
The fruit of a Swiss cheese plant is described differently by everyone that is lucky enough to try it.
If you think about it, this makes sense, as everyone’s palates are different.
Some people say that the fruit’s flavor is a mixture between pineapple and banana, while others swear that it tastes like strawberries or passion fruit.
It does have some acidic notes that you find in a lot of fruits, as well as a light sweetness where you can taste the sugar.
Some people claim that the fruit changes flavor with each day that passes once it is ripe.
Some people claim that it has a similar flavor to guava at the start, and by the fourth day, it will resemble the taste of passion fruit, and if you leave it for nine days, it will get as sweet as it is going to!
The only true answer is to try it and decide for yourself!
It also helps that the fruit is actually packed with goodness, including vitamin C and potassium.
Which Parts Do You Eat?
Only eat the exposed area – the white flesh of the fruit.
Monstera deliciosa is a fabulous plant not only for its looks, but also for its fruit. If you are lucky enough to be able to grow the fruit yourself, make absolutely sure that it is ripe before trying to sample it.
To make it last longer (as it is a long wait to begin with), you can use the fruit in jams, or, if you want a pick-me-up, why not incorporate the fruit into a smoothie?