Monstera, also called the Swiss Cheese Plant, are attractive indoor plants that add an interesting shape to any home décor. Their leaves tend to be heart-shaped, while their trunks resemble more of a cylinder shape. Monstera houseplants grow from large aerial roots which dangle from the bottom of the trunk and are often mistaken as dead branches by uninformed gardeners who then cut them off or worse, throw them away. But what do you do with aerial roots on Monstera? Do you remove them? Keep reading to learn how to properly care for your Monstera plant and prevent aerial root rot.
The Dreaded Aerial Roots
Many people who own a Monstera plant experience the dreaded aerial roots. These are not just unsightly, but they may grow to be bigger than the actual plant itself, so it’s best to get rid of them quickly. One way to remove them is by using a sharp knife or scissors and cutting them off about 2 inches from the base of the stem. This should kill the root and keep it from growing anymore. Another method, which some people prefer because it’s much less traumatic for the plant, is to use pruning shears or a sharp knife and cut all around where you see the root coming out of the soil.
Water from the bottom up
Aerial roots are the plant’s way of getting nutrients and water from other sources. The aerial roots will find a surface to cling to, usually bark, and then use that surface to get what it needs. As long as the plant has enough water, this is not a problem. If you notice any signs of wilting or drooping leaves, it’s likely because the plant is not getting enough water from the top down. However, if there are no signs of wilting or drooping leaves then chances are that there is too much water coming in from below which can rot the root system. To avoid this, increase air circulation by pruning back some foliage so that light can get in and encourage good airflow around your plant.
Refraining from watering during growth cycle
Monstera are native to tropical rainforests where it grows as a vine. The leaves of the Monstera are huge, and the plant can grow up to 20 feet long. However, because they can’t stand upright in their environment, they have evolved aerial roots that allow them to grip onto tree trunks and other structures for support. While this is great for them in their natural habitat, it’s not so great when you’re trying to grow them indoors!
Cut Aerial Roots
Cut the aerial roots off of a Monstera plant. If the plant is too big, transplant it. The best time to transplant is in spring and summer. Make sure to water the plant thoroughly before moving it and make sure to put enough soil at the new location.
Transplant to a larger container
One of the most common causes for aerial roots is a lack of root space. This can cause plants to grow more and more outwards, rather than down. To fix this, try transplanting your plant into a larger container. Make sure it has plenty of drainage, as well as some form of potting mix that is free draining such as perlite or sand. Place your plant in the new container and fill it up around the plant to about an inch below the top rim of the pot. Once you have done this, make sure there are no air pockets by gently tapping down the soil around the sides until there are no gaps remaining. Finally, water in your new arrangement to make sure that everything is moistened before planting back into its new home!