Aerial Roots on Monstera: Detailed Care Guide

When most people think of Monstera plants, they envision their big, beautiful leaves and easy care requirements, but not about the aerial roots on Monstera plants which they develop as they mature. These roots can be shocking to some, so what are they, and what are their functions?

Aerial roots are roots that develop above ground from the nodes of the Monstera plant. These roots provide support for the plant as they grow and begin their climb on the nearby trees to reach more sunlight. These roots will not damage your home, but you can prune them off if you wish.

What are the differences between aerial roots and underground roots? Can you use the aerial roots from your Monstera plant to propagate the plant? Do the Aerial roots need moisture? Let’s find out!

Are Aerial Roots on Monstera Plants Healthy?

Monstera (Monstera deliciosa) plants are from the Araceae plant family, meaning Monstera plants are natural climbers. These plants are indigenous to the tropical forests of Southern Mexico and germinate in the ground, which is a shady environment.

So, Monstera plants use the trees that surround them for support as they try to make their way up to a higher area with more light.

To help them climb their way up other plants and trees, Monstera plants will grow aerial roots that will anchor the plants to the tree as they climb up it towards the light and give them some support as they grow.

These roots can also help the plant absorb nutrients and water as they can hang down to the forest floor and convert into normal roots under the soil. These aerial roots are woody and can be brown or green.

These roots generally sprout from the plant’s nodes the same way the leaves would, but they can sprout from other locations too. Aerial roots are natural and indicate that your plant is healthy and growing well.

If your Monstera plant starts sprouting aerial roots, you may need to provide a trellis or a moss pole for your plant to climb on, or the aerial roots can become annoying as they jot out from the plant looking for a place to anchor themselves.

These roots can become troublesome if you do not provide the plant with a trellis or moss pole, as they can grow fast and become pretty long and thick. These aerial roots can grow to 100ft in length if they are left alone and about 0.4 inches thick. So, aerial roots can start getting in the way if you do not deal with them accordingly.

Under Ground Roots Vs. Aerial Roots

Underground roots

Many people wonder what the difference is between aerial roots and regular underground roots. After all, aren’t aerial roots just regular roots that happen to grow above ground?

The distinction between regular underground roots of the Monstera plants and the aerial roots that they develop later in life is not only a matter of whether they grow above or under the soil, as they both have vastly different functions.

The normal underground roots of the Monstera plant are there to absorb nutrients and water from the soil they are in and then deliver these nutrients and water to the rest of the plant to ensure that the plant has everything it needs to survive.

While the main function that aerial roots have is to physically support the Monstera plant as it begins to climb the trees and plants around it to reach more sunlight.

Aerial roots can absorb some moisture for the plant and maybe some nutrients, as mentioned above, but the rate of absorption and the amount the roots can absorb is significantly lower than the regular underground roots of the plant.

This means that these two root systems are not interchangeable as they have different functions and are not the same type of root.

Read more: Climbing Monstera

Can Aerial Roots Be Used To Propagate Monstera Plants?

As aerial roots from Monstera plants are still technically roots, you may be wondering if you can propagate your Monstera plant using an aerial root or two. Unfortunately, if you only have an aerial root, it is impossible to propagate your Monstera plant with only this one plant structure.

If you want to propagate your Monstera plant successfully, you will need a piece of your Monstera plant’s stem that contains one node or more and should preferably have one or two healthy leaves growing on it too.

If your Monstera stem cutting contains an aerial root, then this will not affect the growth of the Monstera plant cutting; in fact, regular roots may even begin to sprout from the node that the aerial root is growing from.

You cannot only use an aerial root to propagate your Monstera plant because plants require more than a few roots to survive; they also need parts that have chlorophyll in them so they can photosynthesize and grow.

Aerial roots do not have this, so if you try to propagate with only an aerial root, the root will most likely die without any growth occurring.

Should Monstera Aerial Roots Be Pruned?

Aerial roots can be an alarming sight for new Monstera owners, and some may even consider them a nuisance and an eyesore that affects their home’s aesthetics. But should you prune off these aerial roots from your Monstera plant?

The answer to this is it depends on your personal preference as there is no reason you need to prune them as they will not damage your home or the plant, but you can if you do not like the look of them.

One good thing about aerial roots is that they will not damage your home, even if you are growing along a wall in your home, as they do not bore into structures as ivy plants can.

So, the only real reason to prune them is for aesthetic purposes or if they begin to grow out of control. Let’s see how to prune off the aerial roots safely and correctly from your Monstera plant.

Also Check: Growing Monstera In Water

How To Remove Aerial Roots From Monstera Plants

If you want to prune the aerial roots off your Monstera plant, you need to do this properly to not damage the plant during the process. To correctly prune off the aerial root, you need to use a sharp knife, hand shears, or a sharp pair of scissors.

You need to disinfect the cutting apparatus you chose to ensure that there is nothing on the tool like fungal spores or disease from other plants the tool may have been used on recently. If you do not disinfect the tool, the disease or fungus can spread to your Monstera plant and affect the plant’s health.

Once the cutting tool you have chosen has been cleaned, you can now carefully trim the aerial root off your Monstera plant, ensuring you cut as close to the plant node as possible without cutting the node.

Do Monstera Aerial Roots Need Moisture?

Aerial Roots on Monstera

A few people recommend placing the aerial roots of your Monstera plant into a jar or bowl of water as they can absorb moisture. This is true; they can absorb moisture, but this is not their main function, and placing the aerial roots in water 24/7 can cause more problems for your plant than you realize.

These aerial roots help support the plant, and submerging them in water stops them from doing this as you keep moving them away from the support that they have found to place them in water.

Placing the aerial roots of your Monstera plant in water and continuously leaving them there can cause the aerial roots to start rotting, which can endanger your plant. So, if you wish to place the aerial roots in water, ensure you only keep them there for an hour or two and do not do this every day.

Should You Place Monstera Aerial Roots In Soil?

This is a common mistake that Monstera plant owners make when they first notice the plant’s aerial roots; they immediately place them under its soil. This should not be done as aerial roots are designed to be in the air and not in the soil.

But if you catch the aerial root when it is still young, and it’s not woody yet, then you may be able to convince the root to become a regular root by placing it in the soil.

There are times when the aerial roots make their way into the plant’s pot on their own, this is fine, and you can leave them there as the plant wanted them there for extra support. However, placing the aerial roots into the soil yourself can cause the aerial root to begin rotting, which could harm the plant.

Conclusion

Aerial roots are important for Monstera plants as they help support the plant’s heavy leaves as the plant tries to climb. These roots are natural and indicate that your plant is happy and healthy and has reached maturity. These roots will not damage your home or other plants, but you can prune them off if you don’t like how they look. Good luck with your Monstera plant!

References

https://www.plantindex.com/monstera-aerial-roots/

https://houseplantcentral.com/monstera-aerial-roots/

https://planethouseplant.com/what-do-you-do-with-aerial-roots-on-monstera/

https://www.thespruce.com/what-is-a-node-2539765

https://www.succulentsandsunshine.com/aerial-roots-succulents-normal/

https://bloomsprouts.com/monstera-aerial-roots/