A gorgeous and well known foliage houseplant with large, leathery, glossy, heart shaped leaves. The foliage on young plants start off entire with no holes but as the mature leaves emerge they have the typical holes and cut foliage which gives it its common name of Swiss cheese plant. The mature leaves are large and jungly reaching lengths of anything between 25 to 90cm with a width of between 25 to 75cm.
The scientific part of the name deliciosa refers to the 25cm long fruit. They are rarely produced in the home environment but if you ever visit Madeira, Tropical Mexico or Central America you will find them regularly available in the markets. When ripe they have a flavour that is like a cross between a pineapple and banana. The fruits emerge from an attractive white flowering spathe. This tropical aroid originates from the jungles of Southern Mexico down to Panama. The seeds germinate in the darkness of the forest floor rapidly heading up a mature tree in search for the abundant light of the hosts canopy.
A very easy plant to maintain in the home requiring a humus rich, moist but well drained, open compost (orchid compost or a mix of peat, sharp sand and bark chipping will be ideal). Place in a bright spot out of direct, midday, summer sun and use a foliage feed once every few weeks from April through to October. Stop feeding for the winter months and keep the compost on the drier side. Mist regularly with rainwater or boiled (but cooled down) tap water if you are in a hardwater area as the lime and calcium content can leave white droplet stains on the foliage once dried. Re-pot as and when the roots are bursting the pot.
We have had these survive down to 3 to 4 degrees centigrade under glass for short periods during the winter and are pushing them further propagating from those that are tolerating the coldest temperature. Who knows, one day we may even be able to grow them outdoors permanently in milder parts of the UK???
Sent in a 1ltr pot.
Photos CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7094, By B.navez - Self-photographed, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1430075, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=127353, By rjones0856 - Tropical flower, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5577015, By Annon201 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7018860