Monstera plants tend to grow quite rapidly when they’re happy. You also can use the cuttings to propagate them. To help you learn how and see which technique is the best, I tested different methods. Here’s what I’ve gathered!
Monstera can be propagated by planting stem cuttings in soil, sphagnum moss, or rooting it in water. Experiment results show that water-propagated cuttings are the easiest and most efficient technique. Extract 5-inch cuttings with a leaf and node and cover the node with water. Roots can be seen after 1–3 months.
Not only is the monstera plant easy to take care of, it’s also easy to propagate. If you’re looking to increase your plant collection with no extra charge, then this is how to do it!
5 cuttings were collected from the bottom 12 inches of the main plant stem. Each of the cuttings was 5 inches long and had one node, leaf, and aerial root to increase propagation success. The cut end of the samples were left to dry for 3 hours to prevent rot.
For this experiment, I used a healthy juvenile monstera to take cuttings from. It is still young and has not developed splits and holes, called fenestrations, but this was fine. The best time to propagate Monstera is in the spring or summer, or when it’s at least a foot high.
The first step in this experiment was to take some cuttings. Monstera plants can easily be propagated from stem cuttings, which is the main method that will be used for this test. How you cut it will affect the success of your propagation, so keep this in mind.
For the cuttings to successfully take root, the cutting should have a node. Single monstera stems or leaves without nodes are not suitable for propagating.
Nodes are typically underneath the stem or petiole of a leaf. This is where the cuttings will be made.
Using some sterilized shears, I cut the last 12 inches (30.48 cm) off the main Monstera stem and ended up with 5 different cuttings and 6 different leaves.
The size of cuttings was all around 5 inches, each of them with healthy-sized leaves and aerial roots. If you prefer, the roots can be removed. However, I decided to keep them to see if they would continue growing.
Once the cuttings were extracted, I let the cut ends of the monstera dry to prevent them from rotting and prevent bacteria from entering the fresh cuts made during the experiment.
This drying process can be as quick as an hour. But I let them dry for at least 3 hours to be completely sure the cut ends were calloused. After drying, it was time to propagate them!
2 monstera cuttings were propagated in water, another 2 were in moist sphagnum moss, and 1 cutting was in the soil. The cuttings were left in front of an east-facing window with 6 hours of indirect sun at 50% humidity and 80–90°F. Water was given at different periods according to the growing medium.
To help you understand which method is the easiest and the most successful, I tried 3 different methods of propagation: water, soil, and sphagnum moss.
The setup for the water propagation of monstera was simple. Two monstera cuttings were placed in a plastic cup that was filled with enough water to cover their aerial roots and nodes.
For this experiment, I used tap water. Unlike the calathea ornata, monstera plants aren’t picky about their water, so this isn’t an issue.
When it came to soil propagation, I planted a single leaf cutting with its aerial root attached in a plastic cup with drainage holes and filled with soil.
I used some high-quality loam soil amended with manure for nutrients. Rooting hormone powder can also be used but this is not needed. The monstera will still be able to produce roots without it.
Some perlite was used to help increase soil aeration.
Prior to the experiment, the sphagnum moss was left to soak in warm water for 6 hours. The excess water was squeezed out until just a few drops escaped the moss.
I selected another 2 cuttings, one with 2 sets of leaves, and placed them in a plastic jar filled with the hydrated sphagnum moss. You could use anything you have on hand, however, I opted for transparent containers to monitor root growth.
The cuttings were placed together on a shelf in front of an east-facing window and given 6 hours of bright, indirect light.
The humidity levels were typically around 50% and the average temperature was around 80°F (26°C). Since these cuttings all had different substrates, they were given water at different times.
The moss stayed moist the longest and received 5 tablespoons of tap water whenever it felt dry. The specimens in soil were watered about 1–2 times a week, while the water-propagated cuttings received a weekly change of water.
Now that I finished playing Frankenstein and placed the monstera cuttings in different mediums, it was time to wait for the results!
By the 8th week of the experiment, only the water-propagated cuttings had successfully taken root. The first growth was visible by the 2nd week for the cutting in water. The cuttings in soil and moss did not grow. At the end of the experiment, the monstera cuttings in moss and soil wilted.
The monstera cuttings were monitored on a daily and weekly basis to detect any indicators of growth or potential rot. Which one will show the most success? Let’s find out!
There were no changes found in any of the cuttings in the first week. They all looked well and did not show any signs of rot or wilting.
No new growth was seen for the monstera cuttings in water. The water was still clear after a week.
No negative or positive changes have been observed in the monstera cutting being propagated in the soil so far. The leaf maintained a healthy appearance.
The moss was still moist so the monstera cuttings did not need extra water this week. No negative or positive changes were found in this specimen either.
While the other cuttings still looked the same as the week before, the monstera cuttings placed in the water had just started to form new growth!
New roots were starting to grow on the nodes and aerial roots of the monstera cuttings in water! This is the first specimen to establish growth and develop roots.
There were no changes found in monstera cutting placed in the soil during the second week. It was watered as usual to encourage growth.
For the monstera cuttings in the sphagnum moss, no change was seen. The top layer of the moss had dried during this week. I gave it about a few tablespoons of distilled water to rehydrate it and made sure there was no excess water inside the jar.
The water cuttings continued to grow. However, the other monstera samples remained the same.
The water-propagated monstera cuttings continued to grow! The roots from earlier had now gotten significantly longer.
The monstera cutting in the soil set-up remained the same at a single glance.
Because I couldn’t see any new roots through the plastic, I carefully uprooted it for investigation. The aerial root had darkened and there was no new growth seen.
Growth was still not visible in sphagnum-propagated cuttings by the third week. Unlike the soil cutting, I decided not to uproot these samples. Sphagnum moss has a habit of clinging to plant roots and I did not want to risk disturbing anything.
The moss was still moist, so there was no need to give it extra water. The leaves, however, felt slightly softer than before and showed yellowing at the tips.
While the monstera cuttings propagated in water and soil remained the same, one of the leaves of the cuttings in the sphagnum moss jar had turned yellow.
The roots of the monstera cuttings continued to grow in water during the fourth week.
No significant changes were observed in the soil-propagated monstera cutting. The leaf was still green, indicating it had not rotted or died, but there was no growth.
Despite an increase in temperature this week—more than 90°F (32°C)—the sphagnum moss remained moist. One of the leaves of the monstera cuttings in this set-up, however, turned yellow.
I suspect that this was due to excess moisture but there was no water sitting at the bottom of the jar. So I continued to monitor the specimen for other changes.
There was very little change during these 3 weeks but I continued to water them as needed.
However, the sphagnum moss cuttings had continued to wilt—I eventually understood why though.
The water-propagated monstera cuttings I had cultivated continued to grow after the 4th week of the experiment. The other specimens, however, had stunted or wilted completely. It’s uncertain why exactly this happened, but I have some guesses.
The water-propagated cuttings had rooted quite nicely and were the only method that showed success.
Take a look at the new leaf and roots one of the cuttings had grown at the end of the experiment!
Both of the water cuttings had multiple roots and a single leaf. They continued to grow after this experiment.
But what about the soil specimens? The cut end of the specimen showed signs of rotting, and the aerial root had disappeared.
I suspected this had also died due to overwatering, but the drainage holes were kept clear during the entire test, so the water was allowed to run out.
Additionally, the soil was allowed to dry out before each watering session, so this one’s a mystery to me.
Upon further examination, I realized the sphagnum moss was packed too tightly in the jar. As a result, the sphagnum moss held excessive moisture and suffocated the monstera cuttings.
This would explain why it displayed signs of overwatering despite the infrequent watering.
This is also the reason why it’s recommended to never pack sphagnum moss! It should always remain fluffy to avoid excessive water retention.
The drawback to propagating with sphagnum moss is that it can easily retain too much water. Monstera cuttings in the soil can also be challenging to work with, as it is difficult to evaluate root growth.
The mother plant was still healthy and had grown another 5–6 leaves to replace the ones it had lost.
The mother plant continued to grow as I did the experiment. This is great if you’re worried about the monstera losing too much length or potentially dying after it is cut back.
However, there is still a disadvantage to this—you will need to trim it back again!
The most common mistakes that gardeners make when propagating monstera plants include overwatering their cuttings, underwatering them, providing insufficient light, and not propagating cuttings with nodes.
Now that we’ve gone over my experience and how my experiment went, what are some things you should avoid?
Here are some things I’ll share with you to help you successfully propagate your monstera!
Monstera cuttings will be suffocated because of excess water as they will not be able to extract the oxygen they need to generate new growth for propagation.
Yellowing leaves, rotting stems, and wilting are all signs that the monstera propagation has failed. Oftentimes, this is due to overwatering.
This is what I discovered when I learned that sphagnum moss absorbed too much water. Substrates that are constantly saturated contain very little oxygen and can become anaerobic.
Because plants require oxygen to survive, the cutting will quickly starve when it can’t get enough.
Monstera cuttings cannot form new roots and propagate if they are not at least most all the time. This is because, for root development, having a soil that is constant moist (but not soggy) is key.
Conversely, too little moisture can stop a monstera cutting from growing entirely. Just as the plant needs oxygen to survive, it requires water as well.
To help the plant develop roots, maintain a steady watering schedule.
How often you water will depend on the lighting and substrate, however, as my soil-propagated cuttings did not grow despite being watered twice a week.
Can Plants Survive Without Roots? Find out in our article.
Lack of proper lighting when propagating monstera can result in less prolific root growth and stunted development. Place monstera cuttings in 6 hours of indirect sun, ideally near an east-facing window.
Although the plant will not die, any new growth it manages to make will be reduced significantly. Without sufficient light, the cutting might even face stunted growth and propagation may not succeed.
Not only will it take longer for the plant to create new roots, but the growth will also be less vigorous than other cuttings exposed to more sunlight.
In other words, providing enough light—that’s also strong enough—will help establish monstera cuttings quickly!
For optimum success, place your monstera cuttings in 6 hours of bright but indirect light.
Growing indoors? We tested out grow lights vs sunlight. See which one is better!
Monstera cuttings must have a node to successfully propagate. A monstera cutting without any node will not show signs of growth and will die after 2 months.
Some plants, like succulents, can be propagated using leaves only. But as mentioned previously, if the monstera cutting does not contain a node, it will not be able to take root.
Because monstera leaves and stems cannot generate new growth on their own, it’s important to make sure the cuttings have at least a single node when you propagate them.
A cutting might stay green for a couple of months without a node, but it will not grow any new roots or leaves—even if you use rooting hormone powder. Eventually, the cutting will die.
Monstera cuttings grown in soil can be placed into pots after they have grown new roots. Cuttings propagated in moss and water must be planted in soil that’s kept moist for 2 weeks to help them adjust gradually. Transplant cuttings after 1–3 months and supply them with bright, indirect sun, and water weekly.
After a few months, your cuttings should have plenty of roots. If you propagated your monstera in soil, you can carefully uproot it and put it into its more permanent home.
Water and moss propagated monstera, however, must be kept moist once they’re switched over. For transplanting, make sure their soil is damp before the cuttings are placed. This will help lessen the shock.
Remember, the roots that plants grow in water are different from the ones grown in soil and will need extra care in their first couple of weeks.
Read more about it here in the 5 differences between soil roots and water roots.
Keep an eye for any signs of stress on these transplanted cuttings and keep the soil damp for about a week or two to help it adjust. Afterward, they can be watered normally—like the soil-propagated cuttings just once a week and allowed to dry between each session.
Monstera grows best with 6+ hours of bright but indirect light. It can thrive in low light more than 10 feet (3.05 m) away from a window but it grows better with more sun, so long as it’s not direct.
Pro Tip: Leave the transplanted cuttings in one spot to help them adjust to the light. Many gardeners get excited when they transplant new cuttings and move the plant frequently, but this constant change can stress the plant further.
When it’s young, the newly potted monstera cutting will make an attractive plant to have on top of tables or desks. Once it matures, the plant is best placed in a corner or a hallway, allowing it to grow as big as possible!
Can you grow monstera from a leaf?
Monstera plants cannot be propagated with a single leaf. They can only be propagated from stem-and-leaf cuttings containing at least one node. Cuttings that do not have any nodes will be unable to form new roots or leaves and will eventually die.
Can you grow monstera from just the stem or aerial root?
Aerial roots cannot grow on their own and must be attached to a cutting with a node. Monstera stems with nodes but without leaves can be propagated but will take up to 1 year to develop any new growth. It is easier to use cuttings with leaves so they can capture more light to generate new growth.
What parts of the monstera can be propagated?
Monstera can be propagated using their leaves and stems, so long as they have a node. The parts of monstera that cannot be propagated are single leaves, aerial roots, and stems without nodes.
Can I cut a monstera’s aerial roots?
The aerial roots of monstera plants can be cut off without harming the whole plant. However, leaving the aerial roots on cuttings will help them propagate and increase the chances of new root development.
Monstera cuttings with nodes can be propagated in sphagnum moss, soil, and water. To successfully and easily propagate monstera, place 5-inch cuttings in a jar and fill it with water until the nodes are fully covered. After 1–3 months, newly rooted monstera cuttings can be transplanted.
To help the root systems adjust, ensure that the soil is damp before planting the cutting and keep the soil moist for 2 weeks. Afterward, the transplanted monstera can be watered only once a week and given 6 hours of bright filtered light. Cuttings not given sufficient oxygen, water, and light, will not produce roots and will die.