Can You Cut Off Monstera Aerial Roots? (Explained)

Have you ever noticed peculiar stick-like growths sprouting from your beloved Monstera Deliciosa?

Grown-up plants can develop big aerial roots, reaching several feet long, and this could change how the plant looks.
Grown-up plants can develop big aerial roots, reaching several feet long, and this could change how the plant looks.

If so, those are what botanists refer to as aerial roots.

This read’s all about Monstera aerial roots — we’ll spill all the deets and even drop some tips on whether you should give them a trim or not. Let’s dive in!

What Are Monstera Aerial Roots?

Aerial roots, also known as air roots, develop from the stem of the plant rather than from the soil. They are roots that are exposed to the open air.

Monstera Deliciosa, like many other Aroids, is a natural climbing plant.

In its quest to reach better-lit areas of the forest, it ascends taller trees and uses additional supports along the way.

In their natural habitat of tropical rainforests in Central America, Monstera plants can grow aerial roots as long as 30 meters.
In their natural habitat of tropical rainforests in Central America, Monstera plants can grow aerial roots as long as 30 meters.

In their natural habitat of tropical rainforests in Central America, Monstera plants can grow aerial roots as long as 30 meters, extending down to the ground and reaching great heights.

These aerial roots allow the plant to attach itself to surrounding tree trunks for support and access sunlight.

If your Monstera doesn’t have any aerial roots, it is likely still young. Aerial roots typically develop as the plant matures and reaches a greater height.

The Appearance and Role of Monstera Aerial Roots

These roots begin as lumps and can later grow into green branches, aging to become brown and woody.
These roots begin as lumps and can later grow into green branches, aging to become brown and woody.

Once your Monstera plant reaches maturity, you will observe aerial roots developing from the nodes.

These roots may start as lumps and eventually grow into tiny green branches. With age, some aerial roots may turn brown and become woody.

While they serve essential functions for the plant, Monstera’s aerial roots can become numerous and make the plant look untidy.

They may also attempt to climb walls or furniture, potentially damaging paint and finishes.

In such cases, you have two options: trimming the roots or supporting the plant with a moss pole.

The Functions of Monstera Aerial Roots

Monstera aerial roots serve two main purposes: anchoring and assisting in water and nutrient absorption.
Monstera aerial roots serve two main purposes: anchoring and assisting in water and nutrient absorption.

Monstera aerial roots have two primary functions: anchoring and aiding in the absorption of water and nutrients.

To prevent the plant from falling off its support, aerial roots hold it in place.

They form a non-parasitic anchor that allows the Monstera plant to grip onto surfaces.

As soon as these roots make contact with the ground, they work their mojo and become underground roots, slurping up water and nutrients.

This essential life juice then takes a trip to the plant’s summit, getting shared and spread all around.

Aerial Roots vs. Underground Roots

Underground roots are in charge of extracting moisture and nutrients from the soil, while aerial roots are designed primarily for supporting climbing habits.
Underground roots are in charge of extracting moisture and nutrients from the soil, while aerial roots are designed primarily for supporting climbing habits.

Aerial roots and underground roots differ in their development (above or below the soil) and their roles in plant growth.

Underground roots draw moisture and nutrients from the soil, promoting overall growth.

On the other hand, while aerial roots can absorb some moisture and nutrients, their role is primarily to support the plant’s climbing habits. The two root systems are not interchangeable.

Can You Cut Off Monstera Aerial Roots?

Can you cut off Monstera aerial roots? Yes, you can, if they start to get all over. Just remember to use sanitized gear.
Can you cut off Monstera aerial roots? Yes, you can, if they start to get all over. Just remember to use sanitized gear.

Ideally, you should avoid cutting off Monstera aerial roots.

Snipping these roots can stunt the growth of those lush, dark green, and fenestrated leaves we all love.

Plus, if you cut them with unsterilized tools, you’re basically rolling out the red carpet for harmful microorganisms to party on your plant.

Now, if some of these roots are acting up or just being an eyesore, go ahead and trim them with sanitized gear.

But for the love of foliage, try your best not to touch the stems in the process.

On the flip side, if these roots are on their best behavior, you can either let them hang loose or gently tuck them into the soil for a tidy look and some extra stability.

Monstera Aerial Roots in Water

Submerging aerial roots in water constantly can cause plant rot and harm, so opt for the safer method of maintaining moisture by spraying them with water.
Submerging aerial roots in water constantly can cause plant rot and harm, so opt for the safer method of maintaining moisture by spraying them with water.

While it is true that aerial roots can absorb water, constantly submerging them in water can lead to rot and harm the plant.

Spraying the aerial roots with water is a safer option to maintain moisture. However, it’s important to note that there is no scientific evidence suggesting significant benefits from this practice.

As Monsteras thrive in humid environments, it’s advisable to maintain adequate humidity levels in the room instead.

FAQs on Monstera Aerial Roots

It's recommended to provide a humid environment and mist the aerial roots rather than submerging them to maintain the desired moisture levels.
It’s recommended to provide a humid environment and mist the aerial roots rather than submerging them to maintain the desired moisture levels.

To wrap up, let’s address some frequently asked questions about Monstera aerial roots:

1. How to Grow Aerial Roots?

Increasing the plant’s moisture requirement and cultivating it in a hot, humid location with proper soil drainage can encourage aerial root growth.

2. Is it Okay to Cut Aerial Roots?

Aerial roots may be considered unsightly by some individuals. If you prefer, you can safely remove them without harming the Monstera plant.

3. Can You Propagate Monstera Aerial Roots?

Unfortunately, you cannot propagate aerial roots alone. Successful propagation of Monstera aerial roots requires a stem segment containing at least one node.

4. What to Do With Large Monstera Aerial Roots?

If you have excessive or overly long aerial roots, or if you simply dislike their appearance, you can use clean pruning scissors to carefully remove them.

5. What to Do With a Monstera Aerial Root?

You have three options: Wrap them around a moss pole to improve growing conditions. Or tuck them into the soil to produce feeder roots for a tidier look and stability. On the other hand, if you have space, let them grow freely and see where they take the plant.

6. Does Monstera Cutting Need Aerial Roots?

When propagating, a cutting or air layering requires a node rather than aerial roots. The two are connected, but aerial roots are not necessary for successful propagation.

Now that you know whether or not to trim Monstera aerial roots, you can make an informed decision for your plant. Happy gardening!