Monstera plant develops nodes and aerial roots when it reaches maturity.
A monstera node helps the plant grow new leaves and branches, whereas aerial roots provide support, nutrients, and water to the plant system. Both these features are paramount for the survival and growth of the plant.
Without the nodes, the plant cannot grow essential parts. The nodes are also important for propagation. Similarly, aerial roots play their role during extreme conditions.
So, in this guide, let's understand more about these two features in detail.
What Are Monstera Nodes?
Monstera nodes are small, fleshy bumps that grow along the stem of this plant. They help the plant produce new leaves, stems, and aerial roots.
As mentioned above, the nodes are also helpful in the propagation of the plant. For this process, you need to cut the stem below the node so that it can develop fresh leaves and branches for the new plant.
If the plant is suffering from black stem issues or other problems, you can give it a new life through propagation. The monstera plant produces sufficient nodes on its stems throughout its lifecycle. So, if you want to propagate the plant, you can cut a thriving stem with adequate nodes and plant it in the soil. Use sharp scissors to carry out this task.
While planting, they should be above the soil and not buried deep into it.
The monstera nodes are generally brown and covered with thick skin. Hence, they are easily identifiable.
Note: You will need to wait at least 2-3 months to see full-fledged leaves from the propagated nodes.
What Are Monstera Aerial Roots?
Like nodes, the monstera delicosa plant produces another interesting feature called aerial roots. These roots are nothing but adventitious roots.
The aerial roots support the plant by climbing on stronger objects. Since monstera is a vine, it needs support from walls and trees to grow upward in the direction of sunlight.
Apart from that, these roots also absorb moisture and nutrients from the air. Hence, they are beneficial during the plant's survival phase.
The fresh roots are often white, whereas the mature roots turn brown as they age. These roots can grow up to 20 ft in their natural habitat. However, they don't develop much in indoor conditions.
If the indoor plant produces long aerial roots, trim them off to maintain the shape and size of the plant. It will not hurt the overall growth of the plant.
Monstera Node vs. Aerial Root - The Differences
The basic difference between a monstera node and an aerial root is their appearance and functions. But their other noteworthy characteristics help us understand the dissimilarities even further.
Let's find out more about them in the following section.
Monstera nodes appear like bumps on the stems. At an early stage, they look green and turn brown as the plant ages.
On the other hand, the aerial roots appear white when newly sprouted and become brown or black with the growth. The roots, however, change their color faster than the nodes.
This is another basic difference between a node and an aerial root.
Monstera nodes do not change their size or appearance much as they grow over time. But the same is not true for aerial roots. These adventitious roots grow significantly in length and can reach several feet depending on the surroundings.
The aerial roots also turn stronger once they get external support from a wall or tree. However, as mentioned in the guide, you can regulate its growth through periodic trimming.
3. Growth Location
The monstera nodes emerge on the stem of this plant. You can see several nodes on each stem, as it's the only juncture from which the plant produces new leaves, stems, and aerial roots.
As for the monstera aerial roots, they evolve from nodes. So, you will find these roots coming out from some of the nodes of your plant.
It's also important to remember that this plant can't have aerial roots without sufficient nodes on its stem.
As you know, the nodes are specifically designed to develop new growth for the plant.
But aerial roots work differently than nodes. These roots reach out to get nutrients and moisture from the atmosphere as well as support from external structures. These are the two primary functions of monstera's aerial roots.
Nodes don't demand much care or attention from the plant parent.
Since they are inherently sturdy and immobile, they will grow at their standard rate as long as the stem doesn't get damaged.
As for the aerial roots, you need to be more attentive during their early development stage. These roots are fragile at this phase and can break off easily with slight damage to the plant.
So, keep an eye on them, especially if you wish to propagate the plant in the future.
Both nodes and aerial roots can play a role in the successful propagation of the monstera plant.
However, their roles are quite different. Since nodes are key to further growth, you must have at least a few nodes on the stem for propagation. Without them, the new plant can't produce fresh leaves and stems.
As compared to nodes, aerial roots play a different role in propagation. With their help, the stem can root quickly in the soil or water. When you use a stem with aerial roots for propagation, these roots transform into regular roots and provide vital nutrients and water to the propagated stem.
Having said that, you can produce a new plant with a stem having no aerial roots. It might slow the propagation process, but you don't have to depend on these roots for further growth. These roots only expedite the propagation.
The monstera nodes are static and grow slowly throughout the plant's life. Also, at some point, the nodes will stop developing further and retain their shape for a long period. On the contrary, the aerial roots depict vigorous growth due to their inborn nature to look for support.
So, that's another differentiating aspect between these two plant characteristics.
8. Response To Weather Conditions
The nodes don't show much difference when the weather turns bad. If the plant stands tall in such conditions, you don't have to worry about them.
But aerial roots are sensitive. They may not grow as quickly during unfavorable weather conditions. During these circumstances, the plant will focus on reserving its resources than spending them on producing aerial roots.
You don't have to trim or cut the nodes from the stem. They are a natural feature of the monstera plant.
However, trim the aerial roots if you don't like their appearance. Even though these roots are beneficial for support and nutrient collection, they are not as consequential as other parts of the plant system. Hence, you can snip the extra roots from the stems.
Use sharp scissors to prune the aerial roots and make a clean cut. Don't cut them in half, leaving the rest of the parts tied to the stem. This won't look pleasing and will ruin the overall look of your monstera plant.
Note: The aerial roots trimming is not essential. You should only do it for aesthetic reasons.
10. Overwatering & Underwatering Effects
Although overwatering directly affects the roots, leaves, and stems of the plant, you will also see its effects on the aerial roots.
The same thing can happen with underwatering. When the plant is underwatered, it might produce more aerial roots to fetch moisture from the atmosphere. But in the case of tender roots, they may start to show signs of distress and won't perform at their optimum rate.
As for the nodes, they look the same in both these conditions and won't exhibit any visual changes. Still, the plant will produce fewer leaves and stems from the nodes during this period.
Here's a quick summary of some of these differentiating factors -
|Monstera Node||Aerial Root|
|Color||Green or Brown||White or Brown|
|Function||To Produce New Leaves, Aerial Roots||To Climb Up And Support The Plant|
|Propagation||Possible Through Cuttings||Not Possible Without Nodes|
|Essential For Plant's Growth||Yes||No|
|Pruning||Can Be Pruned For Propagation Or Other Stem Issues||Not Required|
What To Do With Monstera Aerial Roots?
The monstera looks great when growing at a good rate, but it can also produce large aerial roots at the same rate.
If the plant is small or medium-sized, you should let the aerial roots grow on the stems. You can conduct occasional trimming as proposed earlier. It will help maintain the look of your houseplant.
The aerial roots of a large plant can become a little invasive in your indoor place. In such cases, you should get rid of them as much as possible. For this, you will need to perform hard pruning on these roots.
It might induce a trimming shock in the plant if it has many overgrown aerial roots. So, you can divide this task into short intervals and see how it responds to the first trimming phase.
The pruned roots are not useful in propagation or any other process. You can put them in the compost bin or discard them entirely.
How To Propagate Monstera With Aerial Roots
There are two ways through which you can propagate this plant. Let's look at them below.
Water Propagation Method
Here's how to propagate monstera in water -
Step 1: Cut the stem carefully with a sharp knife or scissors.
It needs to be cut at an angle so that there is more surface area for the root to grow. Also, make sure the aerial roots are intact and not damaged.
Plus, the stem should have at least a couple of nodes. So, choose your stem accordingly.
Note: Allow the stems to callus over for 3-4 days. Don't put them directly in the water.
Step 2: Place the stem in a jar or glass of water.
You can use any clean jar and fill it with water. The water should be fresh and at room temperature.
Don't use hot, cold, or lukewarm water for propagation. It will only hinder the root formation process.
Step 3: Place the jar in a warm, humid place.
Do not place it in direct sunlight. A windowsill near a bathroom or kitchen would be ideal.
If that's not possible, keep it in a well-lit spot in your home.
Step 4: Change the water every 3-4 days.
After a few weeks, you will notice root growth in the water. Once they are 2-3 inches long, plant them in the soil. You can also wait for a week to get even stronger roots.
Tip: Try propagating more stems with nodes and aerial roots for better results. This will allow you to have more plants in a short period. If some of them don't make it, you will still have others to take their place.
Soil Propagation Method
This is a more common method for monstera propagation. It also gives better results due to a consistent nutrient supply from the soil.
Here are the steps to follow -
Step 1: Prepare a soil mix and the pot for your new monstera plants.
You can use any garden soil for this purpose and mix some compost. Do not add compost in large quantities, though. It will burn the tender roots.
Use a small pot size for propagation, as you can always transplant the newly propagated plants.
Step 2: Cut a few stems with nodes and aerial roots from your monstera plant.
You must follow the same steps mentioned in the water propagation method.
Step 3: Put the stems in the soil.
Once the stems are callused over, you can safely place them in the soil. Keep a distance between each branch so that they get enough nutrients and water from the soil.
Step 4: Water the stems.
When watering, don't water them from the top. It will make the stems wet and cause stem rot issues. So, water them at the base.
As for the frequency, you can water them every 3-4 days or when the soil turns dry. Keep an eye on the soil condition, and you will know when to water your stems.
These are the four main steps of soil propagation of monstera stems. If the conditions are right, you will see root formation in 1-2 weeks. But be patient and don't remove the stems to check the progress daily.
If the stems are turning black, they are rotting from the inside. You will need to throw them away and start over again.
Why Does My Monstera Not Have Aerial Roots?
Unlike nodes, the monstera plant develops aerial roots once it turns mature. If your plant is young, you will have to wait for at least 1-2 years to see these roots on the stems.
Apart from that, sometimes, the plant only produces these roots when it's in distress. So, you may not see any such roots on your plant if it's getting all the required nutrients, water, and support in your home garden.
If you still want to see aerial roots on the monstera plant sooner, reduce the watering frequency and keep the plant near a warm place. This should trigger the survival mechanism, which will stimulate the plant to produce aerial roots.
What Is The Monstera Aerial Roots In Water Hack?
When you place the monstera aerials in water, they start acting like normal roots and soak the required water for the plant's system. As a result, it gives your plant an added resource to get water in hot or underwatering situations.
Of course, you can skip this additional task, as the regular watering of your main plant is more than sufficient. Generally, your plant doesn't require another source to collect its required water.
However, it can be a fun experiment for kids who want to learn about aerial roots and their adaptive nature.
No, a node is not the same as an aerial root. Nodes are the raised bumps on the stem from which the leaves and branches emerge. Aerial roots are the roots that grow from the stem and not from the soil.
Yes, you can propagate monstera with aerial roots. These roots offer great help in the early propagation of the plant.
The nodes on a Monstera plant look like raised bumps or ridges, and they are usually found on the stem.
It's a way for the plant to get support. The aerial roots help stabilize the plant and allow it to climb up surfaces.
No, you cannot root monstera without a node. The nodes are the key to propagating the plant. They help develop new growth from the cuttings.