• Photo Diary: Monstera Studies

    Take a closer look at the naturally artful Monstera leaf with a photo diary from Australian photographer Kara RileyAs she explains, "I think that plants can often makes more interesting photographic subjects than people do, and they seem to steal the show in my images. Plants are just as 'alive' as us. I'm interested in drawing focus to their personalities and giving them character."

    What to know:
    • The Monstera, aka Monstera deliciosa, is a tropical flowering plant, native to southern Mexico and Central American rainforests. 
    • A nickname for the plant is the “fruit salad tree” (its edible fruit is said to taste like fruit salad!); another great nickname is the Swiss cheese plant for the artfully irregular “holes” that appear in its leaf patterns.
    • Monsteras can grow up to 60 feet tall!
    • The roots of the plants have multiple uses in different cultures, ranging from use in weaving baskets to snakebite remedies.

    How to display:
    If you’re lucky enough to live in a place where Monsteras grow wild, clip a stem and put it in a wide vase with a couple inches of water (so the base of the stem is covered). Change the water every few days and put in a sunny spot. The leaves will live up to three weeks! 

    The individual stems can also be purchased at most flower shops or wherever you purchase your flowers — typically there will be a section where they sell more “branchy” or botanical greens. 

    Here’s a great article on propagating the plant if you’re looking to plant one — they make excellent houseplants. 

    "I have a few small potted monstera's in my home, and love to see them grow in whichever direction they please," Kara explains. "I love using vintage pots to plant them, as the plant makes me think of 1970's interior decorating, in homes full of houseplants, macrame, and ceramics."

    Try displaying individual leaves in a wide glass vase, or vintage bottle if you have something cool. The leaves are a little weighty so choosing something with some heft will be the best bet.

    Let us know how you display yours — tag #UOHome on Instagram with your own styling tips!

    Follow Kara's work
    Shop Indoor Garden