A beautiful addition to your collection of indoor plants is a monstera plant. And even though the striking foliage of these tropical plants, which frequently has holes and splits, is what attracts most gardeners, their phenomenal growth frequently comes in second. Do you actually know how to prune a Monstera to encourage growth? With that growth, though, eventually comes the need to cut them back.
Monsteras require routine pruning. Pruning promotes growth and makes the plant healthier in general. You can regularly replenish your supply of new Monsteras by properly taking cuttings from the plant and propagating them. Before the Monstera’s growing season begins, pruning should be done in the early spring.
This article will cover all the factors you should take into account before pruning your Monstera and what to do with the cuttings afterward.
Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
Why Prune Your Monstera?
1. to Get Rid of Damaged, Dead, Or Dying Plant Parts
Getting rid of those injured, dead, or dying parts is the first reason to prune your Swiss cheese plant or other Monstera species. These include the stems, branches, and leaves that are yellow, brown, or black.
Because any leaves that are wilted, damaged, or dying, or any other part of this houseplant, do not support the plant, i.e., will not photosynthesis. They’ll still eat directly from the plant, though, so, use their energy. Your plant will be healthier if such parts are removed because they will allow it to direct its energy toward new growth.
Even worse, because they lack the same defenses as healthy ones, leaves that are dead or dying may attract pests and encourage disease. You might notice molds developing on them; these molds serve as the ideal hiding place for pests, which can then spread to healthier plants.
Last but not least, they are ugly. Nobody wants to see the yellow, brown, or black leaves on your Monstera, we bet. Anyone would want to cut them off right away for the simple reason that they do this.
2. Manage and Control Some Diseases
You must remove any diseased leaves or other parts of your plant right away to stop the spread of the illness. Isolate the infected plant first, though.
For some diseases, particularly those that have spread, pruning may not be effective. For instance, if your plant has incurable bacterial leaf spot disease and it is spread throughout your plant, we advise you to dispose of the entire plant.
On the other hand, in cases of fungal diseases, you can cut the affected area and apply fungicides to stop reinfection or spread.
3. Allow Light Penetration and Air Circulation
We would also like a Monstera that is very bushy. While some cases of a very tangled and bushy plant may prevent light from penetrating to inner leaves or reaching areas not facing the window, the plant still looks amazing. Therefore, non-lighting parts will grow leggy.
Furthermore, it might impede airflow, offer pests the ideal hiding place, and other things.
The majority of the plant might be able to receive light if a few leaves and stems are removed. Additionally, pests won’t be able to hide. You’ll have a healthier, more balanced plant if you do this.
4. Control Shape and Size
Controlling the size and shape of Monstera is a crucial additional justification for pruning. These sweet plants have the potential to grow to be enormous. In the wild, they can reach a maximum length of 70 feet.
They typically have a smaller size when inside. But some people will still grow to be very big. For instance, a Monstera deliciosa can reach heights of 8 to 15 feet and widths of over 8 feet. To keep it smaller and in the desired shape in this situation, you might need to cut a few branches.
You can train your plant to help control its shape in addition to pruning. You must, however, cut it back if it is too large.
4. Encourage a Fuller Or Bushy Growth
Pruning can encourage more and fuller growth in plants that are leggy. Just below the point where you cut the monstera, new branches sprout.
Cut the lateral branches to make it spread, and the dominant stem to make it grow taller. The upward-growing stems are the dominant stems.
6. You Want to Propagate a New Plant
The last reason to prune this houseplant is to cut a stem cutting for further propagation. It ought to have at least one node. Keep in mind that without a node, Monstera cannot propagate, Adansoniiusing leaves or aerial roots.
For greater chances of survival, choose a mature, healthy stem with at least two nodes, and cut below the lowest node.
When Should I Prune Monstera?
It depends on what you are pruning when you prune your Monstera. For minor pruning cases such as cutting dead, dying, damaged or diseased leaves, stems, or aerial roots, you can do it at any time of the year.
Early spring, just before the start of new growth, is the ideal time to prune a Monstera. By doing this, you can be sure that your plant will have the resources it needs to send out a flush of new growth after any pruning-related stress.
In the fall and winter, monstera plants go into dormancy and rest. This follows a season of active growth. Even though the plant continues to grow throughout the fall and winter, it does so very little.
Photosynthesis slows down in the winter due to reduced sunlight. The reason why new growth only starts in the spring is that your Monstera plants can’t convert as much of the sun’s energy into usable carbohydrates for active growth until the sun comes out again.
How to Prune Monstera to Encourage Growth
Your objectives will determine how to prune a Monstera plant indoors to promote growth. A different strategy than attempting to control an out-of-control plant is to prune off a few dead leaves. A little more care must also be taken when pruning your Monstera plant with the intention of propagating it.
What You Need
1. Sharp gardening shears or scissors:
Depending on the size of the stem you’ll be cutting, decide what to use. For trimming damaged leaf parts like brown margins or tips, such as larger, mature stems, gardening shears work best. Kitchen scissors work well for trimming young, tender leaves.
2. Thick gardening gloves
We advise you to wear gardening gloves because this plant contains insoluble calcium oxalates that are sharp and resemble needles and could irritate your skin.
3. 70 to 100% rubbing alcohol
Use it to clean your shears to stop the spread of disease. It is also referred to as isopropyl alcohol.
1. Removing Yellow Or Dying Leaves
Older leaves on your Monstera plant will inevitably turn yellow and die as it develops and grows. A few yellowing leaves here and there are completely normal; however, if many Monstera leaves are yellowing, that may warrant further investigation. However, it’s crucial to regularly prune off old and discolored leaves from your Monstera plant if you want to keep it happy and healthy.
When pruning indoor Monstera, cut the leaves at the main stem using sterilized clippers (these pruning shears are ideal for the task) or a sharp knife. Make a clean cut to separate the leaf stem from the plant by following it back to the main branch. The leaves can’t be rooted as a new plant, so throw them away in the trash or compost bin.
2. Controlling Or Shaping An Overgrown Monstera Plant
If left unattended, monsters can grow quickly and get out of control. When allowed to spread out uncontrollably, aggressive lateral vines can turn disruptive and ugly. To keep your overgrown Monstera Deliciosa plant in shape, you can prune wayward vines and direct new growth in the direction you prefer.
Prior to beginning your Monstera’s pruning, note the problematic vines. Returning to the main stem, follow the vine. Make a precise cut just above the main stem. Avoid damaging or cutting the stem.
You can use these cuttings to root or propagate your Monstera plant, but you’ll need to trim them once more ½ inch below a node.
3. Root Pruning
Massive Monstera plants can be kept under control and grown more slowly by using the root pruning technique. It’s simple to do and, when done correctly, will enhance the health of your plant, despite the fact that it might sound a little frightening.
Examine the roots by taking your Monstera plant out of the pot. Smaller lateral roots will branch off of the main root system, which you will see. The lateral roots should be reduced by one-third, while the main root should remain unaffected.
If the roots are tightly wound, carefully tease them apart. Reduce the length of the lateral roots’ ends by no more than one-third. Trimming away any stained or damaged roots now will also be beneficial.
4. Pruning to Propagate Monstera
Stem cuttings can be used to multiply monsteras and are best placed in moist potting soil or a vase of water. But for the cuttings to root, at least one node is required. Therefore, when taking node cuttings, you must be cautious.
Pick a Monstera vine tip that has at least one or two strong leaves attached. To a leaf node, trace the stem back. All new growth takes place at the node. The area around the stem will appear thicker and possibly form a ring.
Make a precise cut using a sharp cutting tool ½ inch below the node. Cutting with a dull blade should be avoided as it can damage tissue and bruise the stem.
Should I Prune Aerial Roots?
It is more up to the individual whether or not to prune Monstera aerial roots. You have the option to direct them to the ground, tie them to the climbing pole, or leave them alone.
Some people submerge them in water. We don’t advise it because they run the risk of overwatering these plants even though they have a backup water source.
Other than the standard Monstera care regimen, no additional aftercare is needed. Avoid painting or applying wound dressing to the cut areas as well.
Some of the things to ensure faster regeneration include the following:
- Provide bright, indirect light: At least 12 hours a day should be devoted to giving your plants bright, indirect light.
- Maintain correct humidity: Keep the humidity at 50% or higher. With high humidity, these plants grow more quickly. Just make sure there is enough airflow.
- Feed or fertilize your plants: Feed your plant once a month during the growing seasons because they require nutrients to grow. Use a fertilizer for indoor plants that is balanced and all-purpose.
- Water your Monstera well: When the soil’s top few inches feel dry, water your Monstera. Please refrain from going overboard because doing so could cause root rot in your plant.
- Maintain optimum temperature: Between 65 and 85 degrees, Fahrenheit should be the desired temperature. Growth will be slowed by lower temperatures.
Should I Cut Back My Monstera?
Unruly or overgrown vines on your Monstera can be effectively controlled by cutting them back. A flush of new growth is also forced as a result. If your Monstera plant is unkempt or overgrown, trimming back vines and stems that cross its boundaries will make it look better.
Your Monstera plants’ leaves do not remain on the plant indefinitely. New growth always replaces old leaves, which eventually wilt and die. An efficient way to encourage the growth of healthy new foliage is to remove or prune any old growth that is yellowing or dying.
It’s beneficial for your Monstera plant to be kept pruned to maintain the desired shape because it encourages new growth. After all, even if you remove the leaves from your Monstera plant, they will regrow.
Where Can I Cut Monstera?
It depends on the reason you are pruning your Monstera where you cut it. Simply cut off the old leaves from the main stem to remove them. However, the cutting must have at least one node if you plan to use the Monstera sections that you have cut for propagation. Cut the stem a half-inch below the node in that situation.
Yellowed leaves cannot be used to root or spread your Monstera because they are past saving. After all, Monstera cannot spread without a node. That’s because the area between nodes, known as internodes, will not root or sprout new growth, making nodes the only location on the stem where new growth can be produced.
Look for a node where leaves or the aerial roots of your Monstera grow. The region around the stem has grown thicker and could even take the form of a raised ring. Following that, root the cutting in a glass of water or a moist potting mixture after making a cut just below the node.
Make sure to only cut the lateral roots when pruning your Monstera plant’s roots to control its size and growth. It is best to avoid trimming or pruning the main root, which is stronger and thicker. When pruning the roots, trim the lateral roots by one-third of their length.
Should I Cut Off Small Monstera Leaves?
Small Monstera leaves can be removed if you want to promote growth and are concerned that they are utilizing too many resources for your plant. However, small leaves on your Monstera plant typically indicate that its nutritional requirements are not being met, so pruning small Monstera leaves won’t address the underlying issues causing this.
Instead, a change in location, sparingly watering your Monstera plant, and giving it the right nutrients will encourage it to grow bigger leaves. Make sure your Monstera plant’s growing requirements are met to solve the problem of small leaves. Here is a quick rundown of everything a Monstera plant requires to develop large, lush leaves and strong growth.
- Light – Bright light from a sunny window is ideal for monster plants. They can tolerate direct sunlight from an eastern window, but not from a western or southern window. Make sure your Monstera plant gets at least 6 hours per day of bright, indirect light.
- Water – The amount of water that monsters require to flourish can be particular. When the top 2 to 3 inches of the pot are allowed to dry out between waterings, they thrive in evenly moist soil. Making it a habit to regularly check the soil’s moisture level and water your Monstera plant when the top inch or two are dry will help you avoid overwatering or underwatering it.
- Fertilizing – Monstera plants require nutrients from the soil to grow and are frequently harmed by either too little or too much fertilizer. During the spring and summer, give your Monstera plant a monthly or bimonthly feeding of a balanced houseplant fertilizer. However, there’s no need to fertilize your Monstera in the fall and winter when you have A dormant and resting monstera plant.
- Humidity – As a tropical plant, Monstera needs high humidity levels to thrive. When your home’s air is dry in the winter, this is most frequently a problem. To increase the humidity level close to your Monstera plants, use a humidifier or pebble trays.
How to Cut Yellow Leaves Off Monstera
Follow the stem of the yellow leaf back to the main branch or stem to cut the yellow leaves off of Monstera. The leaf stem should be cut close to the main stem or vine. Then discard the old leaves or put them in the compost bin because yellow leaves cannot root and won’t produce new growth.
Monstera should have its yellow leaves regularly pruned to maintain its aesthetic appeal. Older leaves turn yellow and die naturally as new growth takes its place. It is straightforward to cut them off from the plant.
What Happens If You Cut a Monstera Leaf?
Especially if they are beginning to turn yellow, cutting Monstera leaves should be a regular part of your plant care routine. This is beneficial for your houseplant. However, if the plant is healthy, a cut Monstera leaf should more than likely regrow.
Many gardeners are eager to root and propagate their plants by saving cuttings from their plants. Some plants, such as begonias and African violets, can have their leaves used to make new plants, but Monsteras cannot.
Monstera leaves are unable to grow new roots or shoots. A Monstera node is the only component of the plant that can generate new plant tissues. The plant’s leaf stems do not have nodes; instead, nodes are found on the main or lateral vines.
Throw a leaf you unintentionally cut off your Monstera plant in the trash or the compost bin.
How Do I Shape My Monstera?
By judiciously pruning stems and vines, you can shape your Monstera plant. To maintain the general shape of the plant, you may occasionally want to trim off vines that have become unruly. Sometimes you may want to force new growth in a specific area of the plant.
Removing Wayward Vines
By selectively pruning off errant lateral vines, you can control your Monstera if it starts to resemble the jungle it was born in. Examine the vines carefully to decide which can be saved and directed up your Monstera pole and which are better removed from the plant.
With a pair of precise garden shears or other cutters, trim the vines to the desired length. The vine may be cut anywhere along its length, or you may choose to cut it back to the main stem. To promote new growth along the vine, make the cut above a leaf node.
Forcing New Growth for Dense Foliage
Pruning your Monstera plant will encourage new growth if it appears spindly or lacks the lush foliage you desire. Selective pruning can force new growth and make your Monstera more compact if its growing requirements are being met.
- Determine where you want new growth to appear on your Monstera plant by carefully inspecting it.
- Choose the branch or vine from which you want new leaves to grow.
- Make a clean cut just above the leaf node you found on the stem. By doing this, the vine will be forced to produce new foliage.
How Do I Fix My Leggy Monstera?
When your Monstera plant doesn’t receive enough light to properly perform photosynthesis and produce the carbohydrates the plant needs for healthy growth, legginess sets in. As a result, to correct a leggy Monstera, make sure the light shining on its leaves is bright enough to cast a fuzzy shadow.
Monsteras thrive in bright light from a sunny window and struggle in dim light. Leggy Monsteras are doing just that, which is why they appear to be reaching for the sky. This is in part due to the possibility that the light problem is caused by a too-weak light source.
A Monstera is not only concerned with the brightness of the light. It matters as well how long the light is. Checking that your Monstera receives bright light for at least six hours a day will help you determine whether it receives enough light.
Should You Prune a Leggy Monstera Plant?
A leggy Monstera plant should be pruned. This can force new growth along the stem and will enhance the appearance of the plant because cutting or pruning a vine or stem just above a node forces new growth along the stem.
But take note: New growth will only sprout at nodes and not from internodes, so be sure to prune Monstera above the node.
But trimming a leggy Monstera won’t make it stop being leggy. Making sure your Monstera plant is receiving the light it needs to thrive is the first step in resolving legginess problems. In the meantime, some careful pruning of your leggy Monstera plant might also help it look better.
The long stem segments located in between the nodes are known as internodes. The internodes of plants grow longer as they reach for the light, as your Monstera climbs. By forcing new growth through pruning, your Monstera plant will look better overall, but some areas of the vine or stem may still appear sparse.
What Do You Do When Monstera Gets Too Big?
Monsteras are renowned for their quick development and propensity to grow to impressive heights. There are a number of things you can do to control your Monstera if it has outgrown your available space.
1. Prune the Lateral Vine
Your Monstera’s lateral vines can be easily pruned if your primary concern with a Monstera that has grown too large is how widely it has spread.
From the plant’s main stem, lateral vines branch off, producing new growth as they go. These vines can either be cut at any point along the vine or back to the main stem. Making your cut just above a node will yield the best results.
2. Cut It Back
If a Monstera has become too tall and is causing you concern, topping it off or cutting it back might be the best course of action. Trim the main vine or stem just above a node after returning it to the desired height.
3. Prune the Roots
Effective root pruning can slightly slow down the excessively vigorous growth of a Monstera plant. Trim the lateral roots on your Monstera plant by one-third of their length after removing it from the pot. As they spread out in all directions, lateral roots are smaller than the main root.
This can significantly lessen the likelihood of your Monstera developing root rot.
4. Move Your Monstera
Moving your overgrown Monstera plant to a different location might be a workable solution for you if you are hesitant to prune it severely. Maybe that monstera plant in your living room that has outgrown its space would do better in the office where there is more room for growth.
Although it may initially seem intimidating to prune your Monstera plant to promote growth, there is really nothing to worry about. Starting out slowly and taking a few cuttings for germination before moving on to pruning will help you keep your Monstera’s shape and height over time if you are uncomfortable with the task.
Consider pruning as a regular task similar to getting a quick trim at the hairdresser. Maintaining your plant’s appearance is important, but it doesn’t have to be a difficult task.
Final Thoughts on How to Prune Monstera
Your Monstera will benefit from pruning. You’ll be able to maintain the appearance of your living space and observe new growth. Additionally, it is a great way to prevent the disease from spreading from a sick leaf.
It is best to prune Monstera in the early spring if you wish to do so. Avoid the dormant season because it might cause more harm than good to the plant.
Can You Completely Cut Back a Monstera?
While it is a good idea to remove any dry or dead leaves throughout the year, major pruning should be saved for the spring and summer. When pruning your Monstera, use sharp, clean shears and cut any excessive growth at the base of the stem.
How Do I Know If My Monstera is Healthy?
A mature and healthy Monstera will have beautiful, deep green leaves. But if it’s a new leaf or if your plant is young, don’t worry if the color is a little lighter. However, yellow hues are not a good indication. Like many other issues with Monstera health, the yellowing of leaves can be for many reasons.
How Often Should You Water a Monstera?
every 1-2 weeks
Water every 1-2 weeks, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings. In brighter light, water more frequently, and in less-bright light, less frequently. Using filtered water or water that has been left out overnight before use is recommended for monsteras.
Related Reading: Black Spots On Monstera Leaves: Why And How To Avoid