Monstera plants are best known for their impressive evergreen leaves and distinctive fenestration. However, happy and healthy Monstera plants can also produce aerial roots. In this article, we’ll explain what you should do with Monstera aerial roots.
What are Aerial Roots?
Several plant species, such as Monsteras and Orchids, can develop aerial roots. Plants with aerial roots are usually epiphytes that inhabit warm, humid conditions in tropical rainforests. Aerial roots grow above the surface of the soil, often sprouting off from the plant’s main stem.
Aerial roots allow a plant to cling onto nearby supports, helping it access more sunlight. Some parasitic plants use aerial roots to leach nutrients from their host. Aerial roots can also absorb air or moisture.
Why is My Monstera Producing Aerial Roots?
Most types of Monstera plants grow on the forest floor in tropical rainforests across Central and South America. These plants are hemiepiphytes and rely on both subterranean and aerial roots to survive. The subterranean roots anchor the Monstera and absorb nutrients from the soil. Meanwhile, the aerial roots allow the Monstera to climb nearby trees to get more sunlight.
Monstera plants may produce aerial roots when they’re ready to start climbing. This is a positive sign that your Monstera is happy and healthy. Young Monstera plants won’t produce aerial roots straight away until they’re a few years old.
Monstera aerial roots are brown or dark green and have a woody texture – a bit like the branches of a woody shrub.
What Should I Do With Monstera Aerial Roots?
If you don’t mind the presence of aerial roots around your Monstera, you can leave them be. However, if you don’t like the look of the aerial roots, you can remove them. This won’t affect the health of your plant. Be aware that you will have to regularly remove new aerial roots.
If you want to remove aerial roots from your Monstera, ensure that your tools are clean and sharp. This helps prevent the spread of pests and diseases that could target your Monstera. Cut the aerial root close to the main stem, leaving a small length of root attached. Cutting aerial roots right back against the stem could harm your Monstera.
The best thing to do with Monstera aerial roots is to let them climb support structures like moss poles. Push the support into the soil and carefully tie the main stems and aerial roots in place. The aerial roots should start to wind and climb around the support. See our guide to Monstera plant growth expectations here.
Successfully training these aerial roots to cling to supports helps keep your Monstera looking nice and tidy. Otherwise, the aerial roots will keep spreading in all directions, looking for something to climb.
Monstera plants naturally produce aerial roots during their life cycle. It’s a welcome sign that your Monstera is healthy. However, if you don’t like the look, you can remove aerial roots without harming the plant. You can also train the aerial roots to climb a moss pole. With due care and attention, Monstera plants will happily live for years to come.
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.