The monstera plant produces many aerial roots during its lifetime, which can grow very long if not looked after properly.
The best way to manage such roots is through pruning. Pruning helps discourage their excess growth and maintains the overall aesthetics of the plant.
So, how do you go about this process? Let's find out below!
Can I Cut Monstera Aerial Roots?
Yes, you can cut monstera aerial roots. It won't harm the plant. If the roots have expanded too long on your monstera, trim them off using scissors or pruning shears.
However, the tools must be sharp enough to make a clean cut. Else, it will damage the plant unnecessarily.
Note: If the aerial roots are small, like the ones displayed in the above photo, don't prune them. The short roots are not going to be a hurdle in any way. So, it's perfectly fine to have them on the plant. They will only help absorb more nutrients and moisture from the surroundings.
But if the roots are large, prune them.
Source - Reddit
What Happens If You Cut A Monstera Aerial Root?
Cutting monstera aerial roots is a standard gardening practice and doesn't hurt the plant. In fact, it will produce more new aerial roots on different branches.
When you cut the aerial root, it will create a wound on the damaged part. But it will callus over in 3-4 days. It's a natural process, and you don't have to do anything else.
Avoid spraying water and fungicide on the plant during this period, though. If you spray water on the plant's wound, it might attract fungus and bacterial growth. Similarly, a fungicide can be too harsh on the wound and may cause burn issues on this part.
Water the plant at the base so that it doesn't cause any other issues.
How To Cut Monstera Aerial Roots
Cutting monstera aerial roots is a 3-step process, i.e., inspection, pruning, and decomposing the roots. Let's look at it in more detail below.
1. Inspect The Aerial Roots
Inspection is important at this stage because you won't get another opportunity after pruning the roots. So, carefully examine the roots and select the ones you wish to cut initially.
Don't cut all aerial roots at once. Remove the ones that have overgrown and causing hindrances in your room. You can perform this task in two or three intervals. It will allow you to be more precise with pruning.
You should also remove the aerial roots that are not looking in mint condition and might have turned black.
2. Initiate Pruning
Prune the aerial roots entirely from their base and cut them flat. Don't cut them at an angle, as the pointed edges can harm anyone walking around the plant.
If the roots have turned strong, cut them into small parts and reach the hard part later. This part can be removed using sharp shears or a knife.
Don't harm the stem in this process, though. You must be careful when advancing to the connected part of the aerial roots.
After trimming the aerial roots, let the damaged part dry out naturally. Place the plant under the fan if needed. It will expedite the drying process.
3. Decompose The Unwanted Roots
Decomposing is a better way to manage unwanted roots.
Cut the roots into small pieces so that they decompose quickly. Once you chop the roots into small pieces, put them in the compost bin or pit and allow them to decompose for 5-6 months. If the root sizes are large, it will take longer for this process.
Note: The aerial roots won't produce a new plant if you put them in the soil. You will need a plant cutting with nodes for this process.
Read more: Monstera Node vs. Aerial Roots
What To Do If You Don't Want To Cut Monstera Aerial Roots?
Pruning aerial roots is a heavy-duty task, especially if the roots have been growing for a few years.
Ideally, you should remove them immediately. But if you want to prolong the process, you can use them to support the plant.
There are two ways to do it -
1. Use A Moss Pole
Moss pole gives much-needed support to the plant and allows you to tie the aerial roots around it. It's an effective solution to tackle overgrown aerial roots.
So, place the moss pole at the center of the pot or near the main stem of the monstera plant. You can even perform this task when repotting, allowing you to place the pole perfectly at the center of the pot.
Nevertheless, install the moss pole properly and swirl the roots and leaves around it. Tie the loose ends using a thread so that they don't fall apart.
2. Train Them On A Wall Or Trellis
A moss pole won't be much help if your plant is oversized. In this case, you should opt for sturdier support.
To make this easier, install a trellis or use a wall near the plant. Both these structures support the plant and aerial roots well.
Training the aerial roots on a wall will be difficult and should only be done in outdoor spaces. Don't do it indoors, as the roots won't hold on to the flat surface and will fall off eventually.
If you do it indoors, it might also damage the wall color. So, it's better to avoid it.
Important: Once you set up support with a moss pole or trellis, moving the plant around your room won't be easier. You will also find it challenging to repot the plant at later stages.
Therefore, transplant the plant into a bigger pot before providing additional support to the aerial roots.
How To Propagate Monstera Aerial Roots
The aerial roots are not too effective in propagation when used independently. They will not propagate with any known propagation methods.
However, these roots can be beneficial for using them along with stem cutting. When used with the cutting, the aerial roots act like normal roots and feed the system with water and nutrients from the soil.
There are two methods to propagate the monstera plant with aerial roots. Let's check them out below.
1. Soil Propagation
It is the best method for monstera propagation, as soil equips the plant with adequate nutrients and a suitable environment for new growth.
You can use any potting mix of your choice to propagate the plant. Once the root formation initiates, move the plant to a bigger pot. For better root formation, wait for a couple of weeks or more.
2. Water Propagation
Water propagation functions similarly, but you will need to change the water after 3-4 days.
Sometimes, this practice doesn't offer the best possible results, as the damaged stem starts to decay in water. That said, you can still propagate monstera stem with aerial roots in water.
If you want to know more about these two methods, watch the following video. It will give you an idea of how to propagate the plant in both ways.
It's not necessary to put the monstera aerial roots in the soil.
Yes, the monstera cutting doesn't require aerial roots for rooting. However, it should have a few nodes to improve the chances of successful propagation.
If the cutting has aerial roots, it can only expedite the rooting process. But it's not a necessary feature to grow a new monstera plant from cutting.
Monstera likes to climb on different plants and objects in its natural habitat. The aerial roots help reach the plant at a new height so that it can fetch sufficient sunlight in a dense jungle. So, the plant mimics similar characteristics when you grow indoors.
Besides, the aerial roots also perform a secondary task, i.e., collecting water and nutrients from the air. Therefore, it produces more aerial roots in the process.
Use a moss pole or a wooden stick to support the plant. You can swirl the wine and aerial roots around the moss pole using clips or threads and tie the loose parts.
You may perform a similar technique on a trellis. Guide the new growth upward and tie the hanging parts appropriately.
You can rotate the monstera plant if it's growing in one direction or not receiving sunlight from all sides.
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