Our Delicious Monster came home from a féte several years ago, snugly ensconced in a medium-sized black plastic container. “Trouble-free,” the vendor had told us and so it seemed an ideal indoor pot plant for our son to look after. I am not very good about looking after indoor plants and so – along with my son – didn’t pay much attention to it after the first few months. As pot plants go it certainly proved to be a tough one for it remained alive after months of neglect. Feeling sorry for it, I reckoned it would have a better go at life if I transplanted it in the garden. There it would get watered by the rain at least.
My choice of position has proved to be fortuitous for what we had not been told is that this plant actually expands by creeping, taking up whatever space is available for it. I had previously only seen it as office plants (with hindsight I realise these must either be severely pruned or are horribly pot-bound) or on the occasional veranda, where their bold leaves make a dramatic show. I have since discovered that it is native to rainforests in Columbia – no wonder it enjoys expanding within the filtered light of the trees under which I planted it!
Apparently, when not confined to a pot, Monstera deliciosa grows towards the darkest area it can find until finding a tree trunk so that it can grow up towards the light by creeping up the tree. I shall have to keep an eye out for I wouldn’t like my indigenous forest to become overrun by a Columbian import!
I happened to notice a pale sheath near the bottom of the Monster on Saturday afternoon and passed by on the assumption that it was probably a new leaf about to unfurl. It wasn’t until the following afternoon that I returned with my camera to photograph a new leaf … instead I was greeted by this:
This is the first time I have ever seen the flower of a Delicious Monster and feel rather chuffed at finding one in my garden after it has been growing here for so long! See how the patterns on the stamen have been impressed on the inside of the petal.
I have read that one can eat the fruit of the Delicious Monster – providing one waits for the green hexagonal-shaped scales to open and lift. That is an experience that can wait as far as I am concerned: I prefer to use bananas, pineapples and mangoes separately in my fruit salad for now. Having said that, I realise now why some texts refer to the Monstera deliciosa as the Fruit Salad Plant.