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Monstera climbing plants are known for their broad and spectacular leaves, making them excellent houseplants. However, we do not often envision them with aerial roots protruding from the stem, which are pretty standard in tropical trees and vining plants such as Monstera Deliciosas.
As their name suggests, aerial roots grow on plants above the soil’s surface. These are entirely normal and help the plant attach to tree trunks and support them in growing higher and attaining brighter light.
However, people have a few concerns regarding when aerial roots grow on Monstera and want to trim them back to make their plants look neat and presentable.
What do Aerial Roots Look Like?
Before diving into the options for dealing with aerial roots, we should learn how to identify them first. So, what do aerial roots look like?
Monstera growing aerial roots are not harmful to the plant. Rather, they do have a couple of important functions.
Firstly, the plant uses aerial roots to grow trees for support as it will climb up walls or other structures in search of sunlight in its natural habitat.
Secondly, the roots absorb moisture from the air, helping the plant get enough water.
Why Does Monstera Grow Aerial Roots?
Monsteras, by nature, are climbers. They usually climb up trees, huge rocks, and even cliffs in their natural habitat. 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 have aerial roots, but as your plant grows, you will notice it is 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 too many 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. Propagating monstera aerial roots is easy too.
This is the reason why various experts opt to leave them as is.
However, if those aerial roots have grown 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, it would be best if you 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. More information can be found in my Care Guide.
How to Cut Monstera Aerial Roots?
Removing aerial roots is simple and similar to any other trimming. An experienced gardener would find no difficulty in trimming aerial roots.
Also, one should know that pruning encourages air roots. This can lead to additional aerial roots with just an aerial root.
All you need is a set of sharp scissors to prune the roots back to the stem. You 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 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 onto.
Some experts prefer a moss pole or totem that gives them enough support. The young aerial roots can eventually attach to them and cover the moss poles providing you keep the moss pole moist.
Monstera are climbing tropical plants, which means they constantly find a way to support themselves. Thus, they do not require to be trained into a moss pole. Once the moss poles are in place, the plant will quickly adapt to its new support system.
With a 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.
Aerial roots on Monstera can help the plant grow taller and encourage it to produce bigger, more beautiful leaves with more holes.
If your plant needs some assistance, you can consider securing your vine against the pole. Also, be sure that you regularly mist the pole to keep it moist.
How Can I Tuck Monstera Aerial Roots?
If the Monstera’s aerial roots on your Monstera are started to get wild and grow outside the pot, you can consider tucking them back to give your plant a clean look. This can tidy wild-looking aerial roots.
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 train them with the help of a tie or a rubber band.
You must ensure 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 plant indicate that your plant is healthy and doing well.
So, to encourage your monstera deliciosa plant to push out more 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.
These plants originate from Central and South America, and others are similar. Many people think they are parasitic plants as they climb and cling to trees, but this is not true. Many tropical plants like Monstera do this, and it causes no issues to the trees they climb.
How to Prevent Monstera Aerial Roots from Shriveling?
People who like aerial roots on their monstera deliciosa might get worried if they start drying up. However, it is normal for an aerial root to get woody and brown as they mature.
You must give them enough moisture and humidity to ensure your aerial roots do not shrink or die. Usually, turning brown is a result of underwatering.
How to Prevent Monstera Aerial Root Rotting?
Monstera plants are prone to rot, including when aerial roots grow on trees and rocks. So, if you witness your monstera plant aerial root starting to rot, it is better to cut it off before it damages the main stem, which can kill the plant.
After cutting the infected part of the root, check if more rot is going inside the root or the stem. Don’t worry, as the plant will sprout roots from its nodes.
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 or other plants.
Should I Mist Monstera Aerial Roots?
Monstera plants can thrive in high humidity levels, and so do their 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 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 under the plant to 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 from a mother plant, you must know that you can grow a new plant from an aerial root. This is a viable cutting and is a perfect way as it guarantees success. The Mature Plant can also provide larger leaves for a more dramatic look.
Monstera plants aerial roots can transform into regular, underground monstera roots with an entirely different function than the aerial root.
Can I Put Monstera Aerial Roots in Water?
People think that putting an aerial root in water can help with hydration. Some people also believe that putting them in water can grow new leaves. This is not the case, but you can grow feeder roots.
However, an aerial root is called so because of this 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 onto, such as a moss pole. Putting them in the soil will only lead to root rot unless placed in water first. This will create soil roots, as you can see above. These soil roots can grow normally and not rot in the soil.
Can You Put Monstera’s Aerial Roots in Soil?
Putting Monstera’s aerial roots in soil is not a great idea. This is because they have a limited capacity to absorb moisture. You would need to place these tropical plants’ aerial roots into the water to produce normal roots that can be placed in soil.
Moreover, an aerial root has its function and differs greatly from underground roots. So, while you can put Monstera aerial roots in the soil, you should not.
How to Repot Monstera with Aerial Roots?
Whether you train them so that an aerial root attaches itself to a moss pole filled with sphagnum moss or just let them be, repotting your Monstera’s aerial roots can be a little complicated. But putting Monstera aerial roots in water is a very easy way to propagate the plant.
However, it is important. To ensure your monstera plant grows well, repot it once a year. Here are a few tips to help you do so while keeping your aerial roots.
While repotting your monstera deliciosa, Swiss Cheese Plant, you need to gather all the leaves, vines, and aerial roots together to become a little more manageable. You can also consider wrapping it up in a sheet to get better control over the plant.
To unpot the monstera plant, try to tilt the pot onto one side and carefully get the plant out of the pot and check for healthy roots.
You can also use a knife to release the plant’s aerial roots to 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 if you are handling mature plants.
Note: If you have a moss pole or a trellis, you should try to keep the entire thing intact while repotting your plant, as these can contain very long aerial roots. This blog will help you get a better idea of this.
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 prune away the damaged areas, and your plant will do well. It is also perfect to take these cuttings and create a new plant.
It is even possible to cut the entire plant into single nodes, this will grow roots, and each can produce a new monstera plant.
Aerial roots start from a node, and usually, there is one at the base of each leaf.
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, aerial subterranean, and lateral subterranean.
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.
Where Do Monstera Grow and Why Do They Need Aerial Roots?
Monstera is an amazing plant and grows in South America. They live in tropical forests, climb trees, and poke through the forest canopy. They attach new roots to the tree as they continue to climb. The taller the trees, the bigger the plant can grow.
Healthy Monstera plants absorb water through their aerial roots, so Monstera owners try to replicate this by growing Monstera vertically.
Water roots grow from an aerial root designed to take on large volumes of water from rainfall. This is the reason that Monstera pushes out roots all over the place when in their trees.
While Monstera are young, they do not get as much light, so their leaves are smaller and don’t have the fenestrations; as they climb through the canopy, they get more direct sunlight, and the leaves can grow larger and produce the holes we desire.
Other aerial roots and underground roots are formed around the forest floor as these plants can also crawl until they find a tree in which to grow up.
At home, we want to replicate these growing conditions. Plant normal roots into a pot and allow aerial roots to climb a pole or support. As they get taller, we can chop the plant and repot it to make the plant think it’s still climbing through the trees.
As it climbs, it will grow bigger leaves and become a more dramatic-looking plant. When potting these plants, we want to replicate what they have in the wild. We need light, airy course soil, not normal all-purpose potting soil.
Give the plant a larger pot as required, and if it grows indoors, Monstera provides bright light. In early spring when feeding should start. Provide the correct moisture and nutrients; fingers crossed, if you are like many Monstera owners, you will have a stunning plant to admire.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Can Monstera Aerial Roots Get?
Monstera aerial roots can get quite long. Some have reported that theirs got around 3 feet long. Also, aerial roots tend to grow faster as compared to underground roots.
When do Monstera Grow Aerial Roots?
Young Monsteras do not generally grow aerial roots. They are typically produced when the plant matures and grows bigger. This is because a bigger Monstera plant requires more support to keep growing.
When Should I Trim Monstera Deliciosa’s aerial roots?
If you plan to trim the aerial roots on your Monstera, you should consider waiting for the growing season to end. So, you can trim the roots during the early spring and summer seasons.
Monstera aerial roots can sometimes look like spider plants but 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 you adore as they do in the wild when growing up their host plant. You can give them a tidy look in several ways, but treat them as you would air plants.
But if you wish to eliminate them, you can trim them regularly. You will also have a smaller and more manageable Monstera plant.