The Q&A Archives: Where To Buy Old-fashioned Philodendron?

Question: For a couple of years I have been trying to find one of the old-fashioned philodendrons with the leaves which begin whole and then split from the edge toward the spine, leaving the ends of the "fingers" with squarish corners. The only philodendrons I find for sale now are the "curly" ones with rounded ends onthe fingers, curly edges, whose leaves come out curled tightly but with the leave already "split." In fact, it took me some time to even find a photo of the old-fashioned kind - in a used gardening book. Most of the nursery people I spoke to remembered what I was talking about but some didn't and those who did couldn't recall having seen any for sale for years. Where can I buy such a plant? Do they only exist is barber shop windows, have they been wiped out by some disease or have they simply lost their popularity in favor of the new "frilly" ones?

Answer: I think you are describing the Swiss Cheese Plant or Monstera deliciosa. (There is also a "tree philodendron" or Philodendron bipinnatifidum with finger-like indentations, but it is less impressive than the Monstera.)

Immature Monstera plants have a different leaf (smaller, without holes, look more like a normal philodendron) from the mature plants which may have three foot, heart shaped leaves with deep slashes on the leaves and lots of perforations. Plants which lack light will also have smaller and less cut-up leaves, so I am wondering if what you are seeing are simply immature plants compared to the "granddaddies" at the barber shop as you so aptly put it. You might ask for a stem cutting from a recognized plant to propagate an indentical one of your own, or Monstera plants are available from houseplant and tropical specialists such as Glasshouse Works: or

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1-740-662-2142 (Information)
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1-800-837-2142 (Orders Only)
1-740-662-2120 (Day or Night)
P.O. Box 97, Church Street
Stewart, OH 45778-0097 U.S.A.

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