Living the Sweet Life: My Marvelous Monstera

By Alisa Murray
Nationally recognized
portrait artist and

Hey  Sweet Lifers! Everyone should have a house plant, and I believe that like choosing a pet, the decisions about which one, or in most cases ones, to select is a choice made by personality. This conclusion has been based on deep research as both my sweet Brian and I have slid into the wonderful world of gardening together, and as we have, that has spilled over from the outdoors into the house. These things tend to happen.

Sweet Nana had hers sitting by her chair. I can remember her watering the tiny little delicate things and delighting in watching them bloom. She adored violets and had them growing all the time. That is all she tended to, and as Brian and I have become quite fond of the BBC’s long-going show Gardener’s World (over 50 years to be exact) it is obvious that gardener’s fall into two categories.

The first is those who fall so in love with one single plant that they grow every variety that they can get their hands on. Their yards are filled with, let’s say Clematis vines, and they figure out how to make more and more. Sometimes’s it’s the succulents (at least those stay little) that turn them on, and one lady had over 1000 in different varieties and in cute pots. The second is folks who fall into love with almost everything. They have felt the surge of both relief and pride in keeping stuff alive and are propelled as if by some external force to pursue more and more. Those are the more dangerous types, and alas, I fall into that category.

I found her at the local hardware store and at first glance thought now that one looks interesting! She was about 16 inches tall and had on her a good set of leaves off set with an incredible veining. So I took her home and our adventures began. At first I thought she might like the porch, because there’s dappled lighting, and I could get to her every day easily for keeping watch. But soon, I discovered the cats liked her too and began shredding her leaves, and she wasn’t very happy. So I took her inside and potted her up to be near a window. Within days she began unfurling new leaves, and now she does this almost every day. She is big and showy, a perfect match to my personality. I thought oh boy I am in trouble because her growth rate was faster than I had imagined, so I went about researching what exactly she was. Turns out she is a monstera and for those who really know me, you know I never buy one of anything. Not a lamp or a pillow…it always has to be two (don’t ask me why). So you can imagine my predicament!

Perplexed with what to do with her, I researched and discovered a whole world full of fellow monstera mothers and fathers. We even have “Monstera Mondays” on social where we post proudly our progress with these giant gems. Turns out there’s a simple way to propagate her, and so I did. I carefully cut three away from her and stuck them in water and within weeks I had three more. You see where this is going. The good news is my mother plants are contained and not everywhere and eventually every room in the house. The bad news? Well, not so bad because these make lovely gifts and are so prolific I don’t suppose I’m going to have to buy another present for my friends ever again. Hopefully I can watch my friends who think they are not plant people grow with a little help from me and my marvelous monstera!

Take care of you, and of course, “Stay sweet!”