How To Repot Monstera With Aerial Roots

My big monstera, which I refer to as “big one,” may be the most cherished plant in my home collection. I say big because I also have a mini monstera with the same name (ingenious, right?). One of my oldest plants, “Big One,” which I raised from a young plant, is one to which I’m quite attached. It provided me with company as I wrote my PhD and has served as a Christmas tree on several occasions. It’s safe to claim that it belongs to the family.

Naturally, repotting is a necessary step in the process of growing plants. When I repotted my monstera around 18 months ago, I documented the procedure in a blog post. Now that it’s time to do so again, I wanted to share with you how I repot some more established plants.

  • WATERING: Your plant will need more water as it develops and is moved to a larger pot. Although it seems obvious, I’m rather certain that I’ve been underwatering my large monstera the past few months. Keep in mind that when a plant becomes pot-bound, it may become much more thirsty.
  • Whatever soil mixture you like to use, make sure your plant doesn’t spend an extended period of time submerged in water. I use a houseplant mix, perlite, and bark to assist aerate my monstera plants. Additionally, spend some time learning about the root structure because a plant that is pot-bound may begin to fill the top of the pot with roots, which you can watch out for (this can also be a sign of under watering).
  • FOLIAGE: When the edges of the leaves start to look a little papery and brown, your plant may need to be repotted. This may also be a symptom that the air is too dry, but I’d advise checking the roots as well to rule out the possibility that the plant has outgrown its container. Cleaning is necessary to keep monstera leaves clean and free of dust. Once a week, I try to accomplish this by using a pressure sprayer, letting it sit for 10 minutes, and then washing it down with a clean towel (I use old t-shirts for this task!).
  • ROOT PRUNING vs. TOP DRESSING vs. POTTING ON Do I want it to grow bigger? is a dilemma that comes up when potting on more established plants like monsteras. Customers frequently tell me that their family plants were moved to a corridor or another location because “they got too big!” Instead of increasing the pot size, you could root prune or top dress your plant to control its growth. Root pruning entails replanting the plant after clipping the roots while keeping the plant in its current container. Top dressing entails taking off the top inch or so of soil from the top of your pot and replacing it with new soil. If you have any queries in the meanwhile, please ask! I’ll go into more detail about this procedure in my stromanthe sanguinea repotting blog post.

NOTE REGARDING AERIAL ROOTS: Despite their peculiar appearance, aerial roots on more mature monsteras should actually be used and fed back into the soil, into a moss pole, or in a container filled with water. This enables nutrients and moisture to reach the apex of the plant, resulting in larger, more pierced leaves (providing the other conditions such as light are adequate). This is something I tried out, and I can say it does seem to make a difference. See pictures of the roots that were allowed to sprout off an aerial root in a water-filled jar at the bottom of this post.

I’ve detailed how to pot up the smaller plant in the paragraphs below. Before I moved it outside to the kitchen to handle the filthy part, here it is sitting on the table! The roots can be seen sprouting out of the pot’s bottom, and some of the aerial roots were especially lengthy. Because my mid-century plant stand couldn’t actually accommodate a larger size, I decided to bump it up only one pot size, from a 10inch to an 11inch pot. Next year, I’ll definitely conduct a significant re-potting and hunt for a different planter that I adore just as much. I chose the Ehlo pot on the left, which has housed my hydrangea up to this point, out of the two 11-inch pots I had (see photo, far right). Since there was more room for those roots because it was little less tapered, the pots were exchanged.

Repotting your plants should always be done after washing your old pots in warm, soapy water.

The roots were circling the pot’s bottom and emerging from it, as seen in the photos below, indicating that the plant was in desperate need of a pot. If the roots are extremely compacted at this point, it is very vital to loosen them up with your hands so they are prepared to grow into the soil in their new container. If you want to learn how to accomplish this, I’ve documented the process on my Instagram Stories under my “plant care/repotting” highlights with a variety of plants. In order to ensure that moisture and nutrients reached the plant’s taller sections, I also pushed the long aerial roots into the soil where I could.

As you can see from the size difference above left, “Little one” also need a newer coco coir pole, so I took out the old one and carefully placed the new one into place. This required removing the ties and beginning over, which is always a little intimidating! I moved the plant back into position after making numerous tweaks to make the final ones. This is something I’d advise because it will help the plant fit the area it is in lot better.

This was the one plant-related task I had been putting off the longest out of everything I have recently been repotting. The “Big One” has just become so big! Which indicated that repotting would be quite difficult. But after noticing last week how sad and droopy her leaves appeared and how the coir pole was beginning to sway, I realized I had to act.

Pot size: Similar to my smaller plant, my planter severely limited the size of pots I could use. Obviously, this is an aesthetic issue, but I managed to strike a compromise by using a pot that was both large enough to benefit the plant and small enough to fit back inside the cache pot. As the images above demonstrate, this isn’t ideal, but from a visual standpoint, I didn’t think it would be that obvious with the plant in the pot.

Support: Choosing the appropriate length and adding it on was quite simple because I have a variety of interlocking coir poles. This meant that, unlike with the “small one,” I didn’t have to untie the plant. The top of the plant needed to be strapped to the new pole, and some stems did need to be adjusted to accommodate for some leaf stems that were stretching outward toward the light (due to winter), but this didn’t take very long. The two photographs below show how I included a wooden chopstick to serve as support for the coir pole. Both plants were able to stand upright with its assistance. It works remarkably well and is something I always do.

The roots are shown below in their pre-repotting form, where they had already begun to resemble the pot’s base. Next is a picture of the roots after they have been “worked out” and just before planting (don’t skip this step!). The aerial root from the plant’s top is shown in the following two pictures. I placed it in a jar of water and then seated it back in the pot’s base. Now that it is long enough, you can replant it in the pot. As I briefly indicated previously, keeping your aerial roots “active” can help to maintain proper nutrition and hydration for all portions of the plant. The stem from which this aerial root sprang has consequently displayed higher leaf size in its fresh growth.

Here is the completed project, which shows how the plant’s top was tied to its new support. As a result, it appears to be much more stable:

Finally, I hydrated both plants before brewing myself a cup of tea. I also recorded this procedure multiple times, and I’ll save the videos in the “repotting” highlights section of my Instagram stories.

UPDATE: Since publishing this article, I’ve compiled some other blogposts about Monstera you might find interesting to read:

Can you plant aerial roots of Monstera in soil?

A gentle, damp cloth or a fast shower with lukewarm water can be used to clean your monstera’s leaves, especially the oldest ones on the plant, to eliminate any dust accumulation.

Only two fertilizer applications will be required for your monstera throughout the entire year: one in early spring and one in late summer.

Your monstera plant will eventually develop aerial roots from its stem. These aerial roots are there to support the plant; do not cut them off. If any aerial roots are too short to support a climbing plant, train them back into the soil to absorb more nutrients when they are long enough.

How do I handle the aerial roots on my Monstera when I repot it?

The aerial roots of your Monstera can be used for a few different reasons as they grow. Although they won’t harm your plant and are actually a sign that your Monstera is growing very well, they can become sloppy, lengthy, and stringy, which may not be to your taste.

You might think about pruning back your Monstera’s aerial roots if they start to develop wild-appearing roots that are growing out of the pot and onto the ground. The plant won’t suffer if the aerial roots are cut close to where they connect to the stem. Be prepared for them to regrow, though.

As climbers, monsteras will always look for ways to support themselves. If the aerial roots disturb you, you might want to look at other plants that can survive without supports, such pothos, which can trail or climb a support.

Giving your Monstera something to cling onto is an excellent alternative if you don’t mind the aerial roots but want to encourage it. The most suggested option is a moss totem or pole, a support coated with coco coir or sphagnum moss where the Monstera can cling and eventually grow up. These can be made or bought.

Once everything is in place, all that needs to be done to assist the plant’s aerial roots to adhere is to identify the thickest, most mature stems and gently tie them to the pole. To keep the pole moist, you’ll need to spray it from time to time. This will replicate the search the Monstera would make while climbing a tree in the wild.

Additionally, some Monstera owners weave the strongest aerial roots through the brand-new moss pole. It is possible to do this, but it is not necessary and most likely won’t have a significant impact on how quickly your Monstera adapts to its new support system.

You might also just disregard the aerial roots. They are a sign that your Monstera is most likely ready to begin climbing, and your plant won’t suffer if you let it. Many people who possess Monsteras simply tuck stray aerial roots around the plant to prevent it from appearing too wild. In the end, how you grow your Monstera will depend on your personal preferences and long-term objectives.

Can I remove the air roots from Monstera?

Your Monstera naturally has aerial roots. No need to chop them off, please. As long as you use a clean, sharp blade and cut them back if they are blocking the path, it is acceptable.

The main plant of your Monstera won’t suffer if the aerial roots are cut off. These roots are designed to ascend, not to absorb nourishment.

For additional information on what to do with the aerial roots of your Monstera, keep reading!

How can one determine when to repotted Monstera?

You might be asking what you should do to maintain the health of your Monstera deliciosa if you’ve had it for a long. The solution (in part) is to periodically repot it into a bigger container to give it the space it needs to grow. Long-term storage of monsteras in small containers prevents them from ever reaching their “monster potential.”

Every two years, a Monstera deliciosa should be replanted, ideally in the spring as it starts to grow. Overgrown roots, a lack of new growth, and poor water retention are indications that a Monstera needs to be transplanted sooner rather than later.

This article will discuss some of these signals’ meanings and physical characteristics. It will be simpler to determine when a plant is prepared to go up to the next size of planter once you are aware of how a Monstera responds to being left in a pot that is too tiny.

Can aerial roots regenerate?

You can, indeed. Your Monstera Deliciosa won’t suffer any harm if the aerial roots are cut, and they will quickly regrow. Although some individuals may find it an eyesore, you can also leave them alone. These air roots have a tendency to grow out of control and resemble wild cables. When cutting the air roots, take care not to harm the Monstera root node. However, remain composed and cut them off.

When Monstera develops aerial roots, what does that mean?

The presence of aerial roots on your monstera plant is natural and not a sign that anything is wrong. The monstera plant is a climbing plant in its natural environment.

The plant’s climbing behavior is only partially manifested in the form of aerial roots. They are there to aid in its expansion. They may be an aesthetic nightmare, but they’re not dangerous.

Should you remove your monstera plant’s aerial roots? or just let them be? I’ll address all of your concerns about what to do with the aerial roots of the monstera plant below.