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What are Monstera aerial roots, and what do you do with them? In my other Monstera posts, many people have asked me a variety of questions about them, so I will discuss everything in this post and also show photos of my own plant and what I’ve done with the roots.
MONSTERA PLANT AERIAL ROOTS
Here are the most common questions that I’ve received from my readers and followers, along with a simple explanation.
1. What are Monstera aerial roots?
Monstera deliciosa plants eventually develop very long aerial roots, even indoors. What is the purpose of them? The key is understanding their function in nature.
Aerial roots are simply roots that grow on plants above the surface of the soil.
Monstera deliciosa plants in nature use their aerial roots to attach onto tree trunks for support, and to grow higher up to reach brighter light.
They also use them to collect moisture and nutrients from their surroundings.
The aerial roots outdoors can attach to trees, walls, and other structures. Check out the one below climbing up a wall.
Here is another example of a Monstera growing up a tree in the Cleveland Botanical Gardens.
2. What do Monstera aerial roots look like?
They will start out as firm, brown nubs along the vine, and eventually they can get even a few feet long.
Take a look at the prolific aerial roots on my own plant below.
3. What do you do with aerial roots on Monstera?
On my own plant, the thick, brown, cord-like aerial roots grew so much that they formed a giant pile on the floor in my living room. It became difficult to rotate my plant, so I simply trimmed the roots so that they were not touching the floor anymore.
This will not harm your plant. Just know that more aerial roots will grow, so you’ll probably need to trim them again at some point in the future.
I personally like the look of the aerial roots, do I don’t cut them completely off. But you will not harm your plant if you do so.
Some people will guide them to start growing into the soil in their pot. I personally don’t do this, but there is no harm in doing so, although if you do this enough, it might make it harder to repot your plant down the line.
I’ve also had people ask me if they should place their Monstera aerial roots in small cups of water.
You can do this, but it really isn’t necessary. If you employ good watering practices, you don’t need to worry about watering or even misting your aerial roots.
Not to mention, you’ll be cluttering up your growing space.
4. Can you propagate monstera aerial roots?
I’m not sure where this notion came from, but you can not grow a new Monstera plant from just an aerial root.
In order to grow a new plant, you’ll need to start with a cutting that contains a node (where the leaf meets the vine). See the photo below.
You can see the growing “eye” where the arrow is in the photo above on my own Monstera deliciosa plant.
You can simply cut the vine where the two red line are, on either side of the node, and place either in water to root, or directly into moist potting mix.
A new vine will grow from the “eye”.
5. How can I train Monstera roots into a moss pole?
While it is not necessary to train your Monstera on a moss pole, you can simply secure your vine against your moss pole.
You can see in the photo below where I secured the vine with a green twisty tie, and there is an aerial root above that is growing into the moss.
Watering your moss post will make it easier for the aerial roots to grow into the moss.
In the photo above, I made that moss pole for my variegated monstera.
Be sure not to miss my DIY moss post tutorial. You can make a better one that anything out there in the market! I was always frustrated with the quality of pre-made moss poles, so I made my own and am so happy I did so.
Is a moss post necessary? No it is not. In fact for my non-variegated plant, I simply made a bamboo tripod and I tie the vines to that structure for support.
6. Why doesn’t my Monstera have aerial roots?
In most cases, your Monstera delciosa probably is still too young. As your plant grows and ages, the aerial roots will appear.
If you still have a juvenile plant, like the one below, it will probably be a little while before aerial roots start to appear.
7. Why are my Monstera roots shriveling?
Unlike Phalaenopsis orchid aerial roots which will shrivel up if they’re not provided with enough moisture, the aerial roots on Monsteras are completely different.
I’ve never misted or moistened mine and they still stay completely plump and firm, even when humidity in the house is very low during the winter time.
If you find that your aerial roots on your Monstera are shriveling, inspect to see if there was any physical damage.
Perhaps you accidentally snapped or broke the roots at one point. Simply trim off anything that has dried or shriveled up.
If your aerial roots have not suffered any physical damage, but they’re still shriveling or dying at the tips, review your growing conditions and make sure your Monstera plant care is up to par.
Also, if you would like help troubleshooting other problems with your plant, check out my Monstera Problems post with over a dozen problems, with solutions.
Do you have another question that I did not cover in this post? Comment below. I’d love to help!
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