Monstera plants make for gorgeous decorations, but their desire to spread can lead to massive, unruly plants. Luckily, it’s easy to propagate cuttings from your Monstera into new plants by rooting them in either water or soil.
To root monstera cuttings, you want to make a 45 degree cut directly below a node on your monstera. Your cutting should have a few leaves and 1 or more nodes. Place your cutting in a cup with water until it grows fine roots that are several inches long. Once this happens, it can be planted.
I’ll go over each method in detail, so stick around and keep reading. You’ll learn how to care for your Monstera plant and create new plants.
1. Prepare Cuttings For Water
Trimming your Monstera correctly will ensure your cuttings take root. Let’s look at how this process works.
How and Where To Cut
Monstera can’t propagate from leaves alone, so you’ll need to cut beneath a node, which is the bump where a leaf attaches to the stem. Cut below the node as close as possible, as any extra stem left under it may rot rather than grow roots.
Use a pair of gardening shears to make a 45-degree cut. This angle will allow for the best coverage for roots to develop.
A Note on Aerial Roots
As a climbing plant, Monstera has aerial roots that do double-duty as arms to grapple surfaces. If your cutting has an aerial root attached, it may help it gather moisture as the normal roots grow. If not, you can still propagate your cutting by either method.
Though your Monstera can still root without it, the rooting hormone helps stimulate root development and can make the process faster. It comes in the form of a powder or liquid and you can find it at garden supply stores. Some brands also contain a fungicide to prevent root rot.
When applying rooting hormone:
- Follow the instructions on the packaging to know how much to use.
- Dip the tip of your cutting into the hormone, tap off any excess, then immediately move on with the propagating process.
- Throw out any unused rooting hormone from the cup to avoid contaminating what’s left in the container.
2. Submerge Cuttings
Propagating your Monstera in water is the fastest, easiest, and lowest-cost method. However, cuttings rooted in water may struggle to take hold in soil, and you can’t strengthen the roots in advance without just propagating in soil instead.
You can, of course, grow your cutting hydroponically instead of planting it in soil, though, if you want.
A Monstera rooted in water can still be viable for transplant, but keep in mind that this route has its risks.
How To Submerge Cuttings
Fill a cup, jar, or vase (for an especially long cutting) with water.
Tap water generally works fine, though exposure to too much fluoride can poison plants. You can check if your local water system is fluoridated with the CDC’s lookup tool, take your chances, or simply use rainwater instead.
After submerging your cutting, place it in a spot with indirect light and look for root development over the next few weeks.
3. Move To the Soil
When you see your cutting has developed roots 1”-2” (2.5 to 5 cm) long, you can plant it in whatever soil you already use for your mature plants. Moisten the soil first before planting and then water as usual. Roots should develop in about three weeks.
4. Prepare Cuttings For Soil
Rooting your cuttings in soil takes a bit more preparation and time, but their roots will be stronger and more likely to thrive once they get transplanted.
While it may be tempting to use dirt from your yard, unsterile soil can lead to diseases in your delicate young cuttings. In fact, you don’t want to use plain soil at all, as they need a lot more moisture than a mature plant, and soil alone can’t provide that.
Instead, you’ll need to start with a mixed planting medium.
5. Choose a Planting Medium
Roots need both water and air, so you need a mix of material that absorbs water without suffocating your plant, as field soil can, while also providing good drainage to avoid root rot.
Choose a combination of planting media, such as:
- Potting soil
- Peat moss
Whichever media you choose, a general rule is to aim for 50% of each material by volume.
6. Plant Your Cuttings
First, you’ll need a small, clean pot with drainage holes. To clean a pot that’s been used before, soak it in a solution of 9 parts water to 1 part bleach for ten minutes. Rinse well and dry fully before adding your planting medium.
Fill your pot with your planting medium of choice. Then make an indentation deep enough that the node of your cutting will sit below the surface—probably no more than a few inches or centimeters.
It’s best to give each cutting its own pot to prevent competition for water and to make the next step easier.
7. Cover for Moisture
Unlike cuttings propagated in water, cuttings in the soil can struggle to retain moisture as they develop their roots. Covering your cuttings in a clear plastic bag will help retain moisture while allowing their leaves access to light.
Leave some space between the bag and pot for airflow.
Since Monsteras tend to be unwieldy, you may need to prop up your bag with gardening stakes, a small trellis, or sticks to prevent your cutting from being bent out of shape.
Monsteras don’t need much direct light in general, but it’s crucial to keep your bagged cuttings out of the sunlight. Like a greenhouse, the plastic bag will trap heat from direct light and can burn your plants.
8. Uncover and Repot
How do you know when your cutting has rooted when you can’t see it? It may sound counterintuitive, but the best way is to gently pull on the stem. If it’s put down roots, you’ll feel some resistance. Test for roots after about three weeks.
Alternatively, check for new growth, as your cutting can’t do that without roots.
While you might like to replant your Monstera immediately, it needs to acclimate to the dry air first. Create an opening in the bag and gradually widen it every day for about two weeks to prevent shock.
Once your Monstera has acclimated to your home environment, you can move it to a larger pot filled with your standard potting soil mix. Remember to moisten the soil first before planting.
Each propagation method for Monstera cuttings has its pros and cons. Whether you choose the cheaper water propagation or the more reliable soil method, the reward remains the same: a new big, beautiful plant for your home.
Here’s how to root Monstera cuttings:
- Prepare cuttings for water.
- Submerge cuttings.
- Move to the soil.
- Prepare cuttings for soil.
- Choose a planting medium.
- Plant your cuttings.
- Cover for moisture.
- Uncover and repot.
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Rooting Cuttings in Water
- Chicago Botanic Garden: Propagation: Multiplying Your New Plant Family
- New York Botanical Garden: Monstera (Monstera deliciosa): Home
- University of New Hampshire Extension: Will You Give Me Some Tips on How to Propagate Houseplants from Cuttings?
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Pesticides: Rooting Hormone
- Purdue University: New Plants From Cuttings (HO-37-W) (HO-37-W)
- Texas A&M Agrilife Extension: Propagating Foliage & Flowering Plants
- Michigan State University Extension: Fluoride toxicity in plants irrigated with city water
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: My Water’s Fluoride
- South Dakota State University Extension: Propagating Houseplants
- University of Missouri Extension: Home Propagation of Houseplants
- University of Wisconsin-Madison: Wisconsin Horticulture: Root Rots on Houseplants
- University of Arkansas: Plant Propagation for Home Gardeners
- University of New Hampshire Extension: Chapter 7: Plant Propagation