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Monstera Aerial Roots – How to Deal with Them

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Monstera Deliciosa’s aerial roots

Monstera is known for its broad and spectacular leaves, making them an amazing houseplant. However, we do not often envision them with aerial roots protruding from the stem, which are quite common in tropical trees and vining plants such as Monstera Deliciosas.

Aerial roots, as their name suggests, are roots that grow on plants above the surface of the soil. These are completely normal and help the plant attach to tree trunks and support them in growing higher and attaining brighter light.

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    However, people have a few concerns regarding aerial roots on monstera and want to trim them back to make their plant look neat and presentable.

    So, can you cut monstera aerial roots? If yes, how to do that? Read on to get all the answers to your queries regarding Monstera Deliciosa aerial roots.

    What do Monstera aerial Roots Look Like?

    Monstera Deliciosa’s aerial roots

    Before diving into the options for dealing with aerial roots, we should learn how to identify them first. So, what do Monstera aerial roots look like?

    Aerial roots appear as small, brown nubs along the stem and will then begin to get around a few feet long

    Monstera growing aerial roots is not harmful. Rather, they do have a couple of important functions. Firstly, the plant uses aerial roots for support as it climbs up trees, walls, or other structures in search of sunlight. Secondly, the roots absorb moisture from the air, helping the plant get enough water.

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    Why Do Monstera Grow Aerial Roots?

    Monsteras, by nature, are climbers. They usually climb up trees, huge rocks, and even cliffs in the wild. Vining plants use their aerial roots to attach themselves to other surfaces.

    They do this to grow up towards the sun. The more sunlight they get, the stronger they will be, ensuring they do not blow over in the wind. They will also be able to produce bigger leaves.

    Although, as a houseplant, you may offer your monstera ample light and water to help it grow, it would still want to climb.

    Young monsteras do not grow aerial roots, but as your plant grows, you will notice it trying to climb up surfaces in its proximity.

    Besides helping the plant climb, monstera’s aerial roots also help the plant absorb moisture from the air and the surroundings.

    What Is the Difference Between Monstera Underground Roots and Aerial Roots? 

    How to Deal with Monstera Aerial Roots?

    There are a bunch of ways to deal with monstera aerial roots. People usually try to get rid of them because they do not like looking at the long and stringy roots that may hamper the overall look of their plant. However, aerial roots are a sign that your plant is doing well.

    This is the reason why various experts opt to leave them as is.

    In an exclusive poll conducted by Simplify Gardening, more than 90% of people voted for ‘let them be’ when asked how they prefer dealing with monstera aerial roots.

    However, if those aerial roots have started growing wild, you can consider pruning them. This, again, is not harmful to your plant. But you need to know that the roots will grow back. So, you need to cut them back again.

    One of the easiest would be tucking them into the pot. This way, you do not have to prune them or leave them. If their unruly look bothers you, this is one of the quickest and easiest solutions.

    How to Cut Monstera Aerial Roots?

    Pruning monstera aerial roots is simple and similar to any other trimming. An experienced gardener would find no difficulty in trimming monstera aerial roots.

    Also, one should know that pruning encourages aerial root growth. This can lead to multiple roots emerging where there was only one before.

    Pruning Monstera Aerial Roots
    Pruning Monstera Aerial Roots

    All you need is a set of sharp scissors to prune the roots back to the stem. You simply need to cut before the root meets the stem.

    Be sure you do not cut too close as you may weaken the stem, making it vulnerable to bacteria, fungi, and pests.

    Note: Be sure to sterilize them; otherwise, it can cause a bacterial or fungal infection to your plant that can be harmful. Although Monstera is known to be quite hardy, it is better to take some preventive measures.

    Train Monstera Aerial Roots up a Moss Pole?

    If you are someone who is not bothered by the aerial roots on your monstera, there is an amazing way to embrace them. You can offer these roots something to grab on to.

    Some experts prefer a moss pole or totem that gives them enough support. The roots can attach to them and cover the pole eventually.

    Your monstera is a climber, which means it constantly finds a way to support itself.  Thus, they do not require to be trained into a moss pole. Once the pole is in place, the plant will quickly adapt to its new support system.

    Training Monstera Up A Moss Pole
    Training Monstera Up A Moss Pole

    With a moss pole, you can be sure your plant does not grow wildly and only has a much tidier appearance since it will grow towards the pole.

    Moreover, this will help the plant grow taller and encourage it to produce bigger and more beautiful leaves with more holes.

    If you think your plant needs a little assistance, you can consider securing your vine against the pole. Also, be sure that you regularly mist the pole to keep it moist.

    It will make it easier for the aerial roots to grow towards the pole.

    How Can I Tuck Monstera Aerial Roots?

    If the aerial roots on your monstera are started to get wild and growing outside the pot, you can consider them tucking them back to give your plant a clean look.

    Be sure that you are gentle while handling the aerial roots, as you may snap them off. And if the roots are going in an unusual direction, you can simply train them with the help of a tie or a rubber band.

    You must ensure that the roots grow parallel to the stem and downwards towards the pot.

    How to Encourage Monstera to Grow Aerial Roots?

    As mentioned earlier, aerial roots on your monstera indicate that your plant is healthy and doing well.

    So, to encourage your monstera to grow aerial roots, you need to take good care of your plant. Here is a blog to help you know more about monstera’s light requirement.

    Besides ensuring that your plant gets ample sunlight, you must also pot the plant in a planter with drainage holes and a peaty potting mix.

    Also, be sure that you water the plant frequently. You can also fertilize your Monstera regularly. This will ensure your plant gets enough nutrients to grow properly and produce aerial roots.

    How to Prevent Monstera Aerial Roots from Shriveling?

    watering Monstera with support for Aerial roots

    People who like aerial roots on their monstera deliciosa might get worried if they start drying up. However, it is normal for monstera aerial roots to get woody and brown as they mature.

    You need to give them enough moisture and humidity to ensure that your aerial roots do not shrivel or die. Usually, turning brown is a result of underwatering.

    How to Prevent Monstera Aerial Root Rotting?

    Misting Monstera
    Misting Monstera

    Monsteras are prone to root rot, which also goes for their aerial roots. So, if you witness your monstera aerial root starting to rot, it is better to cut it off before it damages the main stem, which can kill the plant.

    To cut off the infected part, you need a pair of sharp and sterilized scissors.

    After cutting the infected part of the root, check if more rot is going inside the root or the stem.

    For each cut, you need to sterilize the scissors using rubbing alcohol as you would not want to transfer the infection to different parts of the root.

    Should I Mist Monstera Aerial Roots?

    Monstera thrives in high humidity levels, and so do its aerial roots. So, misting would be a good option to ensure that your plant and the aerial roots get sufficient moisture.

    You can increase the frequency by training the roots to grow on a moss pole.

    Another way to increase the humidity levels is by investing in a humidifier that you can place near the plant.

    You can also consider placing a pebble tray right under the plant that you can fill up with water. The humidity will increase as the water evaporates, and the roots will be able to soak it up.

    Can I Use Monstera Aerial Roots for Propagation?

    If you plan to propagate monstera deliciosa, it is important to know that you cannot grow a new plant from an aerial root.

    Monstera aerial roots cannot transform into regular, underground roots as they have an entirely different function.

    Although burying the runner from strawberries and spider plants can help you grow a new plant, this is sadly not the case with Monstera.

    Can I Put Monstera Aerial Roots in Water?

    Monstera Albo rooting in water
    Monstera Albo rooting in water

    People think that putting aerial roots in water can help with hydration. Some people also believe that putting them in water can grow new leaves.

    However, aerial roots are called so because of a reason. They prefer living in the air and can gather moisture from their surroundings.

    If you wish to help them, you can offer them something to grab on to, such as a moss pole. Putting them in water will only lead to root rot.

    Can You Put Monstera’s Aerial Roots in Soil?

    Putting monstera aerial roots in soil is not a great idea. This is because they have a limited capacity to absorb moisture.

    Moreover, an aerial root has its function and is a lot different from underground roots. So, while you can put monstera aerial roots in the soil, you should not.

    How to Repot Monstera with Aerial Roots?

    watering Monstera with support for Aerial roots

    No matter which option you choose – training them to a moss pole or just letting them be, repotting your monstera with aerial roots can be a little complicated.

    However, it is important. To ensure your plant grows well, you should repot it once a year. Here are a few tips to help you do so while keeping your aerial roots.

    While repotting your monstera, you need to gather all the leaves, vines, and aerial roots together so that it becomes a little more manageable. You can also consider wrapping it up in a sheet to get better control over the plant.

    To unpot, try to tilt the pot onto one side and carefully get the plant out of the pot.

    You need to get the root ball out gently.

    You can also use a knife to help the roots leave the pot’s inner walls, which will help you get the entire thing out in one go. You should ask for someone else’s support while you do this.

    Note: If you have a moss pole or a trellis, you should try to keep the entire thing intact while repotting your plant. This blog will help you get a better idea of this.

    Pinning Monstera To A Moss Pole
    Pinning Monstera To A Moss Pole

    Once you are done unpotting the plant, it is time to prepare your new pot. Begin by adding some soil to the bottom of the pot and then place the plant in it. Make sure that you provide support to the root ball while doing so.

    If you have a huge plant, there is a chance that you will break some vines or aerial roots during this process. Do not worry; you can simply prune away the damaged areas, and your plant will do well.

    After repotting the plant, you can return to your monstera’s routine care. If you are looking for some tips, this blog can come in handy.

    How Many Monstera Root Types are There?

    Monstera Deliciosa has three different roots: aerial roots, aerial subterranean roots, and lateral subterranean roots.

    What are Aerial Subterranean Roots?

    Aerial Subterranean roots start as aerial roots but have grown into the ground. The function of these roots may differ. However, they do offer support to Monstera as it continues to grow.

    What are Lateral Subterranean Roots?

    Lateral subterranean roots are the roots that grow from aerial roots and have entered the soil.

    Usually, the purpose of these roots is to support the plant and take up the nutrients from the soil while also absorbing the water available.

    These roots are smaller and usually not as fuzzy as the main aerial roots.

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    Monstera aerial roots are quite functional. And while many people wish to prune them off, it is important to know their purpose.

    These support your beautiful monstera and help it grow bigger and wider leaves that you adore. There are several ways in which you can give them a tidy look.

    But if you wish to eliminate them, you can trim them regularly. You will also have a smaller and more manageable Monstera plant.

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