Known for its large and naturally perforated leaves, Monstera deliciosa makes a beautiful statement in any home. It’s easy to grow and maintain, and even easier to propagate—and I’m here to show you just how.
In this article, I’ll discuss everything you need to know about Monstera propagation, such as propagating Monstera through stem cuttings, division, or air layering, as well as other care tips.
Let’s get right into it!
When to Propagate Monstera
When propagating Monstera, timing is crucial. Propagation should be done during spring and summer when the plant is actively growing.
You can propagate the plant in winter, too, but you’ll likely need supplemental lighting for the cuttings to grow.
Cuttings take longer to grow in winter, so propagation is best performed in warmer months.
You’ll know the plant is ready to propagate when:
- The Monstera’s rooting system starts growing outside the pot
- The plant is getting too tall to support itself
- The plant’s soil dries out within 24 hours
- The plant’s root ball can be lifted out of the container with ease
- The plant seems to have stopped growing or appears dull
Can Monstera Be Propagated in Water?
One of the easiest ways to propagate Monstera is through water propagation.
As the name suggests, water propagation is the process of growing a new plant by placing it in water.
While there are conflicting opinions about its effectiveness with Monstera plants, it works just as well as soil propagation if done correctly.
And since the roots are much more visible in water than they are in the soil, it’s much easier to track the cuttings’ developmental progress.
Can You Propagate Monstera From a Leaf?
Monstera can’t be propagated from a single leaf cutting.
To produce new growth, Monstera needs to be propagated through stem cuttings or air layering. It can also be propagated through division, as long as each division includes a node.
Cuttings without a node are unlikely to produce new leaf growth.
Can You Propagate Monstera Without a Node?
Nodes are essential for complete propagation as they contain the cells needed for new growth. Without it, the plant won’t produce stems or leaves.
If propagated in water, a Monstera cutting without a node will start rooting in two to three weeks. The leaf will stay fresh and continue to absorb water through osmosis but it won’t grow past the rooting stage.
How to Propagate Monstera
There are three ways to propagate Monstera: through water propagation, soil propagation (stem cuttings and root division), and air layering.
Let’s start with perhaps the easiest method: water propagation
Propagating Monstera In Water
When propagating Monstera in water, you need to be precise about where you’re cutting from the parent plant. Follow these steps:
- Search for a node with an aerial root between the bottom two-thirds of the stem. If the plant doesn’t have a node, you’ll have to wait until its full growth to start the propagation process.
- Using a pair of sharp scissors, box cutters, or shears, cut one to two inches below the node, just along the internode.
- Remove the stems from the leaves to prevent unnecessary rotting.
- Clean the node and let the cutting air dry for about 10 minutes before placing it in a jar filled 1/2 to 2/3 with water. You can place several cuttings in one jar.
- Place the jar in bright, indirect sunlight. The brighter the location, the faster the cutting will root.
When choosing a jar, make sure it’s not too small or too big.
Ideally, the jar should have a narrow opening and a wide base. The opening will keep the stem upright and the base will give the roots enough space to develop and grow.
To ensure optimal growing conditions, change the water at least once a week.
When changing the water, rinse off the roots to keep them from developing mold and rot. Keep an eye on the roots and snip off areas that appear unhealthy.
The roots should look white, yellow, light green, or light brown. Diseased roots are brown or black, with a mushy or slimy consistency.
It’ll take approximately six to nine weeks for the plant to develop a solid root system in water.
Once the plant grows about five roots that are several inches long, you can plant the cutting in soil.
Propagating Monstera Through Stem Cuttings
Unlike water propagation, soil propagation doesn’t allow you to observe the cuttings’ development.
As such, it’s a bit more challenging to gauge when the cuttings are ready to be moved into their full-time pots. It can also be difficult to recognize signs of under or over-watering, as well as root or stem rot.
Still, it’s the favored method of most plant enthusiasts because it’s less tedious to care for. Moreover, soil propagation results in stronger roots that adjust better to soil growth after the propagation period.
When propagating Monstera through stem cuttings, you can either take multiple small cuttings of one to two leaves with nodes or one full cutting with four to five leaves and nodes.
Never remove more than a quarter to a third of the parent plant as this can lead to stress and shock to the parent plant, weakening it,
To start the process, follow these steps:
- Cut the stem directly below the node or aerial root, making sure you’re using sharp, sterilized shears or a knife.
- Once the cuttings are separated, pull off old sheathing from the stems of the leaves.
- Fill a medium-to-large container with a propagating mix. Then, make a small hole in the center of the soil and plant the cutting, pressing down around the base so the cutting stands upright.
- Once planted, water the soil immediately to encourage root growth. Don’t water the leaves as this leads to rotting.
Place the plant in a warm, humid, and bright area with indirect sunlight.
Water the soil every couple of days, making sure not to overwater as waterlogging will cause root and stem rot.
At the same time, make sure the soil doesn’t dry out completely as moisture is crucial for new roots to develop.
Propagating Monstera Through Root Division
Another way to propagate Monstera is through root division, wherein the root and crown are kept intact.
Root division is the fastest way to propagate plants because you won’t have to wait until roots emerge from the stem. However, it’s the most difficult to do because of how intertwined the root system tends to be on mature Monstera plants.
In this method, you’ll have to water the plant thoroughly around a week before the root division process. This ensures minimal trauma to the plants. Then, follow these steps:
- Tip the pot on its side and tap around the sides and the rim to loosen the plant from its housing. Don’t yank the plant out as this may damage the roots.
- If the plant doesn’t want to come out of the pot, you may have to slide a dowel into the drainage holes at the base of the pot to push the root ball out.
- After pulling out the plant from the pot, carefully divide the root ball with a sharp, sterilized knife. Cut each section where the stems naturally divide, making sure each section comes with a small, young stem.
- Place the newly divided plants into a separate pot with well-draining peaty soil.
- Water the plant thoroughly and place it in an area with bright, indirect sunlight.
It’ll take roughly a month for the roots to establish in the soil. After that time, you can start fertilizing the cuttings to encourage quick growth.
Propagating Monstera Through Air Layering
Air layering is perhaps the safest method of propagating Monstera because it has the lowest risk of root rot, infection, and leaf loss.
In this method, the stem grows roots while still connected to the mother plant. It involves making a tiny cut in the plant instead of cutting whole stems.
Monsteras propagated through air layering often grow faster and stronger than plants propagated through water and soil methods.
Here’s how to do it:
- Search for the stem you want to use for air layering. The item must have a mode beneath it.
- Cut below the node. Use a sharp knife to make a slice about one to two inches long at an angle of 30 degrees.
- Cut 1/3 to 2/3 of the way through the stem, making sure you don’t cut all the way through.
- Wrap the area you’ve just cut with moisture-retaining media, like compost or monstera soil, and wrap it around a plastic wrap or rooting ball. Make sure the medium is moist but not dripping wet.
- Hold everything in place with floral ties or twice.
- Place the plant in bright, indirect sunlight.
Check on the medium’s moisture about twice a week. If it’s dry, open the covering and moisten it with a spray bottle.
In this method, new roots will sprout within one to three months. When the root growth reaches about two inches, cut the stem and repot the cutting.
Monstera Propagation Care Tips
Here are some helpful propagation care tips to ensure the healthy growth of Monstera cuttings:
Propagate During Growing Season
To ensure successful Monstera propagation, propagate cuttings during the plant’s growing season: spring, summer, and fall.
You can still propagate during winter, but the cuttings will take longer to sprout roots.
Ensure Proper Drainage
When growing Monstera in soil, ensure the pot you’re using comes with proper drainage holes to prevent root rot.
If the pot doesn’t come with drainage holes, create some yourself by drilling the bottom of the pot.
Provide the Right Amount of Indirect Sunlight
Monstera cuttings need at least 10 to 12 hours of indirect sunlight a day.
If unable to provide the plant with this much sunlight, use a grow light. With a grow light, you can provide the cuttings with a full 24 hours of light a day.
Once the cuttings begin rooting, cut the light down to 18 hours a day to provide them with a solid six hours of nighttime.
Use Rooting Hormone to Boost Growth
Apply rooting hormone, also known as Auxin, to the node cutting to speed up root growth and increase the propagation success rate.
When using rooting hormones, dip the end of the cutting into the product for only a second or two, not more. If left longer, the plant may absorb too much of the hormone and stunt its growth.
The hormone may also be added directly to water to encourage new rooting, but only once.
Rooting hormone comes in three forms: liquid, gel, and powder.
Products in liquid and gel form are more powerful than those in powder form, but the dosage can be a bit tricky to get right. If you’re a beginner, it’s best that you use the powder variant to minimize mistakes.
Be Aware of the Humidity
New cuttings dry out easily, so pay close attention to the humidity of your room.
If your area has low humidity, consider investing in a humidifier. You could also spray the cuttings with a fine mist of water every so often. Try to use rainwater if possible and make sure the water is tepid before spraying.
Alternatively, you can cover the cuttings until they’re rooted in a plastic bag to maintain consistent humidity.
Use the Right Container
When propagating Monstera, you can use ceramic pots, plastic pots, resin pots, or even plastic food containers.
Regardless of what you use, make sure the container wasn’t previously used for storing chemicals. This includes gasoline cans, oil cans, buckets that previously stored asphalt sealant, and the like.
Choose a heavy container to prevent it from tipping over as cuttings from Monsteras are top-heavy.
The container should be at least five inches deep and four inches in diameter. A one-quart nursery pot is a good alternative, too.
Avoid large containers as they can easily cause underwatering or overwatering.
If you’re propagating Monstera in water, use a transparent glass or plastic container.
Small containers are preferred because you don’t want to dilute the cuttings’ hormones in a large container with lots of water.
Provide Support for Cuttings
Until the roots are formed, you must add support for your cuttings.
You can stake a cutting with a popsicle stick or bamboo stick. Once transplanted into a long-term container, you can build or buy a trellis to encourage the plant to climb.
Check the Roots Every Two to Four Weeks
When propagating in soil, check the cuttings’ roots every two to four weeks to ensure it’s healthy and growing properly.
Use a spatula, trowel, or plant label to check the roots, gently lifting the cutting out of the soil.
The roots should be firm and light in color: white, light green, or yellow.
If the roots are dark or mushy, the cutting might have been infected with root rot due to overwatering or improper drainage.
Chances of survival are minimal, so you might need to start with a new cutting if this occurs.
Monstera deliciosa can be propagated through three methods: water propagation, soil propagation (stem cuttings and division), and air layering.
Water propagation allows you to keep an eye on the rooting process so you can tell whether or not it’s a success. However, you’ll have to change the plant’s water every week or so to prevent the development of bacteria, mold, and rot.
Soil propagation is the easiest, but the chances of success are less guaranteed because you won’t be able to keep track of the roots’ progress.
As for air layering, it’s the safest option for cuttings because it has the lowest risk of root rot, infection, and leaf loss. It’s much gentler on the parent plant, too.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.