How To: Propagate a Monstera Deliciosa
Want to propagate your monster Monstera? Look no further than this helpful guide from Leaf and Paw.
Monty, my Monstera, became just too big in seven short months. Easily doubling in size, his leaves began to sprout every which way. Chaos ensued, and stems grew awkwardly horizontal. After repotting, he only became happier and unfurled another four leaves in a few weeks. Yes, of course I was a proud plant mom. I was the proudest mom in the whole world. But Monty was dominating my living room and I realized I had to do something.
I hate pruning plants. Cutting, shaping, any kind of trimming plants in any fashion is terrifying. The fear stems from the idea that I will either:
- Kill the plant
- Make it stop growing and it will never grow again
- Prune incorrectly and sadly end up with 1 and 2
- All of the above and cry.
But Monty was too big. I had to do something. My love for all Monsteras is far and wide so I decided to strategically prune Monty to propagate him. Honesty, after pruning, it was the best thing I could do. The best part – more Montys!
Why We Propagate.
Plants (like people) grow and grow, but they don’t (like people) always grow the way you want them to. As Monty grew as wide as a boat, that gave me incentive to cancel his dietician and fitness coach and do everyone a favor and prune. This allowed me (to attempt) to make him the shape I wanted. The goal was taller, rather than wide. Also, since Monty was a very healthy plant, pruning actually encourages growth! And who doesn’t love the thought of having little Monsteras around.
Now, I did my research on the best way to propagate, mind you, but I was still terrified. When I did propagating in the past, sometimes the cutting ends up moldy or shrivels – resulting in so many bad emotions. I was determined to not have this happen to Monty Jr.
How We Propagate.
There are a couple ways you can propagate a Monstera deliciosa, also called a Swiss Cheese Plant. I gathered some tools and started by chopping off one giant stem and chose the rooting method.
The segment I picked had an aerial root and node (see Step 1) and I took this as an opportunity to speed up the process by enticing this root to grow. I selected a chunk on Monty that not only had two stems, also called petioles, but also had at least two leaves, too.
You may be tempted to propagate a Monstera with just a leaf. This won’t work, I’ve tried. You need to have a node and/or a root present for propagation to happen and be successful. Just a stem with a leaf will sit in a glass jar just fine (like cut flowers) but it will not grow roots and will eventually turn yellow and sadly pass (like cut flowers).
These were the steps I took to ensure Monty Jr. would grow up big and strong:
- Find the Node
Look your monstera over and find the node. This little nub is key and will be the ONLY way you can propagate as it turns into a root. It looks kind of like kind of like a plant pimple, and is located at a petiole intersection.
- Snip the Stem
With sharp sheers (I like these) I snipped the stem to include this aerial root, leaves, and node in one. After taking this cutting this from the main plant, I washed it under filtered water. If there were any extra leaves, this would be the time to remove them. Two to three leaves are fine, but remove any additional.
- Time for Water
I cleaned and filled a glass jar (no lid needed) halfway with room temperature, filtered water (chlorine is not good eats for young plants).
- Position the Cutting
I carefully positioned the cutting so it remained upright. You can always try a rig with twist ties or lean the plant on the jar lip to keep it centered.
Every couple days or so I would quickly rinse the roots and supply Monty Jr with fresh water. In about a month or so, I started to see good things happen. A new root, which would became the plant’s backbone securing it in the soil grew and that small node (remember that little nub?) grew into another aerial root. Monstera roots oddly grow circular, not straight down like typical plants.
Keep in mind, I performed this surgery in mid-summer, so promptly placing Monty Jr in my humid, sunny, screened porch was I-D-E-A-L. And honestly, I would not attempt this in winter anyway, since plants become somewhat dormant and hibernate-y. Be a good person and don’t disturb them.
I let Monty Jr soak in his bath for a good two months before planting. I used one of my good ol’ standby pots that’s plastic and sturdy, perfect for starting-out saplings. Filling lightly and not pressing the soil down, I put Monty Jr in his new home. He spent the rest of the summer-early fall on the porch, but as soon as the evening degrees dropped I took him in. New cuttings just seem like they would be more sensitive to influxes in temperatures, so I played it safe. I’m right, right?
With the second cutting I did a few weeks later, after I had proven I was a capable parent, I attempted a take on an air layering method. After Monty Jr. worked out so well, Monty Jr. II (yes, that reads Monty Junior the Second) was cut off Monty the same way, but this time wrapped in moss on Monty rather than placed in water. Air layering involves forcing roots to develop on the mother plant, then you can snip the stem off.
How to Air Layer
- Step 1: Assemble the hardware – you’ll need some sphagnum moss (note: do not use dyed moss, it will get all over your hands when wet and stain everything for days), plastic wrap, and twisty ties.
- Step 2: Go ahead and make an incision cut on the monstera stem, include the node (or nub) – that will be your aerial root. The incision should be below all of this.
- Step 3: On the plant, wrap the node, any roots, and the incision with moistened sphagnum moss.
- Step 4: Wrap that bundle in plastic wrap and secure with twisty ties. This won’t be wrapped forever, and you should see roots really start to develop from the node in a couple months. Every few days, you’ll need to unwrap the root package remoisten the moss. A spray bottle works for this best, I think.
- In couple months, you’ll notice large roots have begin to grow on the plant in the moss package. Cut the stem clean off where the incision once was and pot away!
Nine Months Later.
Both mini Montys are happier than ever. They produce new leaves even though it is February and nature is dead inside. See above for the full roots that formed – cool right? Below is a new node developing on Monty Jr – it doesn’t take long!
And how is Monty the Monstera doing? He still leans a bit to one side and is still the best cat-hiding spot in the house. Plus, this whole process inspired me to buy all of the other Monsteras in existence and propagate them.
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