Monstera plants are a joy to cultivate indoors. It’s fun to watch them mature from baby plants to fully grown houseplants with their signature fenestrated foliage. Whether you want your monstera to reach its full potential in terms of size or keep it contained to a more manageable size, pruning will be key to keeping it healthy while you strive toward your houseplant goals.
- Pruning Monstera Plants – The Essentials
- The Role Pruning Plays in Monstera Plant Health, Growth, and Care
- Growth Expectations: How Fast, Tall, and Expansive Do Monstera Plants Grow Indoors?
- Are All Types of Monstera Plants Suitable for Pruning?
- What’s the Best Time of Year to Prune Monstera Plants?
- What Are the Essential Tools for Pruning Monstera Plants?
- How, When, and Where Should You Prune Monstera Plants?
- How Do You Shape Monstera Plants?
- Caring for Your Post-Pruning Monstera Plants
- Remember That Pruning Spurs New Growth
Pruning Monstera Plants – The Essentials
- Prune a monstera plant in the early spring, just before the growing season, to ensure it has plenty of energy, resources, and time to heal.
- Use sterile pruning shears to remove individual leaves as close to the stem as possible.
- Trim stems away by cutting just behind the nodes found near the base of the stems.
The Role Pruning Plays in Monstera Plant Health, Growth, and Care
Reasons to prune include:
Monstera plants should be pruned regularly to remove any dead, diseased, infested, or dying foliage or stems.
As a monstera plant matures, its oldest leaves and growth will eventually wilt and die back. Additionally, parts of the plant can become infected with bacteria or fungus, infested with pests, show signs of drooping, or otherwise damaged. These parts of a plant drain vital resources that could be better dedicated to healthy portions of the plant.
New Growth Encouragement
Whether you remove compromised foliage from the plant or healthy leaves and stems, pruning a monstera plant also encourages new growth.
Shape and Size Control
On a monstera, new growth will sprout in the direction of the pruned portions of the plant. So, if you want your monstera to grow taller, cut away the top part of the plant. If you want it to grow wider, prune away branches at the plant’s sides.
Monstera plants can also grow to be quite large – even when grown indoors. You can use pruning to help control the size of your fast-growing Monstera adansonii or Monstera deliciosa by trimming away leaves and stems to create the shape and size you desire.
You might also prune your plant to propagate Monstera cuttings, growing them into separate monstera plants. If this is your goal, be sure to trim leaves below the nodes. These are small root-like nubs that sprout out of the spots from which the leaf and its stem grow.
Growth Expectations: How Fast, Tall, and Expansive Do Monstera Plants Grow Indoors?
When allowed to reach their full size, indoor monstera plants can grow to be 10 to 15 feet tall and 8 feet wide with leaves that are up to 18 inches long.
Most species of monstera plants grow quickly with the potential to gain 1 to 2 feet per year. As a result, pruning is often required to keep them in proportion with their surroundings.
Are All Types of Monstera Plants Suitable for Pruning?
The common types of monstera plants grown as houseplants are suitable for pruning. However, certain less-commonly found monstera plants (such as Monstera Peru) should be pruned with more careful considerations.
For example, slow-growing species, such as the Monstera obliqua, only produce a few new leaves each year. Over-pruning this plant could shock the plant.
Additionally, variegated varieties of Monstera adansonii and Monstera deliciosa grow more slowly due to having less chlorophyll in their leaves. Be careful not to remove too many leaves from these plants when pruning.
What’s the Best Time of Year to Prune Monstera Plants?
Although pruning is healthy for monstera plants, cutting away stems, leaves, or other sections of the plant does cause damage. For this reason, pruning should be performed at a time when your monstera plant is in a growth cycle and readily able to repair and heal from pruning.
The best time to prune a monstera plant is in early summer, just as the plant is coming out of its winter dormancy. This is also the best time to consider repotting your monstera plant if needed.
What Are the Essential Tools for Pruning Monstera Plants?
- Sharp, sterile pruning shears, secateurs, or scissors that will make a clean cut and not damage the plant during pruning.
- Protective gloves will shield your skin from the monstera’s sap which can cause irritation and a rash. If you do get sap on your hands, do not touch your eyes or face, and wash right away with warm water and soap.
How, When, and Where Should You Prune Monstera Plants?
As stated above, monstera plants should be pruned in early spring before entering the growing season. This ensures the plants have enough resources and time to heal and fully recover from the pruning.
Before beginning, make sure you have gloves and sharp, clean pruning shears. Then plan your cuts by stepping back from the plant, envisioning the desired shape, and then selecting which leaves or stems to remove. Tie a string around those marked for removal.
Trimming Leaves and Pruning Small Plants
When removing leaves or other small portions from a plant, it’s best to trim the leaves away at the base of the stem. Cut the leaf stem away as close to the plant’s main stem as you can while taking care not to damage any remaining portions of the plant.
Special Considerations for Pruning Large Monstera Plants
Be extra careful when pruning a large monstera because removing too much of the plant at once could shock the plant. Additionally, making too many cuts could leave it susceptible to disease.
If your goal, with a large monstera, is to remove as much growth as possible, cut beneath nodes that have several leaves and offshoots. This way, you’ll remove more foliage while making fewer cuts, protecting the plant from disease.
When pruning away large portions of the plant, it’s essential to prune during the early spring to have ample time and resources during the growing season to heal the cuts.
How Do You Shape Monstera Plants?
Shape monstera plants can be shaped with two main methods: training and pruning.
Training a plant refers to using a stake or trellis to guide the monstera’s growth. In addition to providing your plant with optimal growing conditions, upward training growth with a stake is the best way to grow a tall monstera.
On the other hand, pruning is a more direct, active way to remove unwanted growth while intentionally encouraging new growth to help develop the desired shape and size of the monstera plant.
To create a bushier-looking plant, remove leggy stems and other foliage that’s growing farthest away from the center of the plant. When doing so, cut these stems back to the nodes closest to the main stem. Otherwise, they’ll continue producing new growth further away from the center.
To control growth and keep your monstera plant small, you can trim away new growth as it sprouts or you can control the size of the plant’s root ball. Monstera plants generally tolerate being a little root bound, and this will help prevent the plant from growing larger. You can also conservatively prune away excess root growth every two or three years to control the size of your plant.
Caring for Your Post-Pruning Monstera Plants
After pruning your plant, you do not need to provide any special care. Continue watering your monstera plant as you normally would.
Since your monstera should be entering the growing season when you prune it, you can begin, at this time, feeding yours a well-balanced fertilizer designed for tropical houseplants every 2 to 4 weeks through the summer.
Position your monstera plants in a location that receives plenty of bright, indirect light and is away from any cold drafts.
Remember That Pruning Spurs New Growth
While it’s possible to prune your monstera plant to keep it small and compact, don’t forget that pruning will encourage new growth. Where you’ve trimmed one leaf, two more are likely to sprout. So, do not get discouraged, take pleasure in pruning, and remember that caring for Monstera that live for decades can provide you with pleasure and fun for years to come!
Everything You Need to Know About Growing Monstera Plants:
For more on the famed Monstera plant and to learn more about how to grow and care for these plants at home, please see our guides to:
- The 12 Best Monstera Varieties to Grow at Home
- Monstera Plant Light Requirements
- The Best Soil Mix for Monstera Plants
- When and How to Water Monstera Plants
- When and How to Fertilize Monstera Plants
- 12 Common Reasons Your Monstera Plant Leaves are Turning Yellow
- How to Grow and Care for Variegated Monstera Plants
- Monstera Peru Ultimate Care Guide
- Monstera Plant Meaning and Symbolism
- How Fast do Monster Plants Grow?
- How Long Do Monstera Plants Live For?
- The Uses and Benefits of Monstera Plants.
- Monstera Plant Temperature & Humidity Preferences
- How to Manage Brown Spots on Monstera Plants
Andrew is the Editorial Director at Petal Republic. He holds a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and has trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris. In amongst overseeing a global editorial team, Andrew's a passionate content creator around all things flowers, floral design, gardening, and houseplants.