How to Prune Monstera

Monstera are beautiful houseplants that will grow large and produce huge leaves. Their size means that you’ll need to prune the plant every now and then to prevent it from outgrowing your home.

How do you prune Monstera plants? Prune your monstera by removing overgrowth, old, dead and discolored leaves. This will let you size and shape your plant.

Pruning also encourage growth and helps make the plant bushier. The best time to prune your Monstera is early spring. You can likewise use the pruned stems to propagate the plant in water or soil.

In this article, I’ll explain everything about how to prune a monstera.

How to Prune a Monstera

Below I’ll go through all the things you need to know about pruning your Monstera. This includes how to prune (where and how to make the cut), when to prune, why you should prune your Monstera and many more.

 

Should You Prune a Monstera Deliciosa?

Yes, like most houseplants Monstera will benefit from pruning.

Pruning offers a number of different advantages.

For one., it encourages new growth. This helps your plant stay healthy. And it also allows it to grow bigger, thicker and bushier.

Similarly, pruning gets rid of leaves and stems that are not in tip top shape. Old, damaged, diseases, discolored leaves should be removed from the plant.

These become areas of susceptibility when it comes to infection or other problems. Similarly, if harbor any disease or issues, it can spread.

Finally, old and dying leaves make the plant use it its resources trying to keep them around or reviving them (when it can’t). So, by removing these leaves, you make your Monstera focus all its energy and resources on new and healthy leaves.

This will help the plant grow faster and healthier.

Thus, pruning is an important part of care. And it should be done every now and then.

 

When is the Best Time to Prune Monstera Houseplants?

The best time to prune Monstera and your other houseplants is early spring.

Why?

Because spring is the time when the sun and the warm weather starts to come back.

In contrast, right before spring is winter which is darker, cooler and gloomier, especially for plants. The reason for this is that plants primarily grow on light, preferably natural light.

That’s because they rely on photosynthesis.

Photosynthesis provides the plant energy. And this occurs as the leaves absorb light from the sun, which in turn the plant turns into sugars (glucose. It is these sugars that it uses for energy.

This is why your Monstera grows faster during the sunny months while it growth slows as the weather gets cooler and there’s less sunshine come fall and winter.

In fact, some plants go dormant in the winter due to lack of light and cold weather.

But once spring comes around and the weather gets sunnier and warmer that will start bouncing back. Thus, it is a good idea to prune the plant just before or during early spring to encourage growth and remove any foliage that can slow down the growth.

Spring also allows the plant to quickly recover from the pruning you’ve done.

 

How Often Should You Prune Your Monstera?

How often you need to prune your Monstera will depend on how fast it grows. Also, whether it has gone through any issues.

The faster the plant grows, the more likely you’ll need to prune it more often.

Also, if it has gone through pest infestations, infection, yellow or brown leaves, you’ll also need to prune those. Therefore, the more issues it has, the more likely you’ll need to prune the affected leaves afterwards.

If your Monstera is healthy, the main factors for determining how often you need to prune it are:

  • The kind of Monstera it is
  • Its care and living environment
  • Its size
  • How old it is
  • How you want it to look

As with other houseplants, the variety of Monstera will affect how quickly it growths Some varieties like the Monstera Adansonii or Monstera Peru grow much faster. Others are not quite as fast like the Monstera Deliciosa.

As such, if you happen to have a few Monstera plants, try not to compare their growth rates.

Similarly, it is not a good idea to compare how fast your plant grows with other people even if both of your own the same plant.

That’s because the plants get different care and live in different surroundings.

For example, if they live in Southeast Asia which is a tropical region, their Monstera will have the advantage of growing the entire year because it is sunny, hot and humid 365 days a year there.

In contrast, your Monstera will take a breather from growing come mid fall and winter as the weather gets cold and the sun decreases.

Also, where you place the plant will affect how often you need to prune it.

A monstera that gets a lot of light in an east facng window will grow faster and produce larger leaves than one in the north. So, it needs more pruning.

Of course, the larger the plant, the more pruning you will need do to simply because it has more stems and leaves.

Aga also comes into play. Younger monstera usually only need pruning about once a year. But mature Monstera will need pruning every 1-3 months.

Finally, there’s the look you’re going for.

Some people like a taller plant, others like a shorter bushier plant. Thus, how often you trim it will vary based on how neat you want it to look as well as the size and shape you want.

 

Related

 

Important Things to Remember When Pruning a Monstera Plant

In this next section, I’ll go through some of the things to consider when pruning your Monstera plants. These go into the nitty-gritty of the pruning process.

 

Its Sap in Toxic

The first an foremost thing to keep in mind is that Monstera are toxic.

Thus, avoid letting pets and young children play on their own near your Monstera. You don’t want them to accidentally chew or eat any of the plant including parts of the leaves or stems.

If they happen to do so, immediately call your pediatrician or vet.

Similarly, when pruning you want to be careful when handing the plant, especially the sap. The sap is the toxic part. And it can irritate skin as well in some people.

Therefore, if you have sensitive skin or are pone to allergies it is a good idea to try and avoid the sap when pruning or wear gloves.

Also, make sure to wash your hands after handling so you don’t end up eating any food with sap still in your hands.

 

What Tools Do You Need When Pruning a Monstera Plant?

Another thing that helps is to have the tools you need on hand when pruning the plant.

The minimum things you’ll need are:

  • Pruning shears or a knife (make sure their blades are shape not dull)
  • Rubbing alcohol (for sanitizing the blades)
  • Gloves (if you have sensitive skin)

If you plan on propagating your Monstera by using the pruned stems, you’ll also need a pot, some soil, water and rooting hormone.

Pruning shears and a knife are the two easiest tools to use for pruning in my experience. Both work very well and it is up to you which you prefer.

Knives need more care when using. Although they are more versatile. Pruning shears are easier to use and safer as well.

Either way, make sure that you wipe down the blade of your cutting tool with rubbing alcohol first before making any cut. This will prevent any possible germs or pathogens from passing from the blade to the plant when you cut it.

Also make sure that the blades are sharp.

You want to be able to make one quick, clean cut. Dull blades sometimes require multiple tries which result in ripping and damaging the stems. This will stress the plant. The wounds will take longer to heal as well.

 

Where to Cut and Prune a Monstera

Where to cut and prune your monstera will depend on what you’re trying to achieve. Therefore, you’ll be pruning it differently depending on what you want to do.

If you are pruning to use the stems to propagate your Monstera, cut just below the node (around one inch under). The node is the bump on the stem where new leaves grow out of. When propagating in water or soil, new roots will grow from the nodes.

If you are pruning to encourage growth, cut above the node on the stem. Nodes are where the new growth emerge from. Therefore, you want to keep it with the plant and not with the parts of the stems you’ll likely be throwing away.

If you’re trying to limit your Monstera from growing or want to avoid repotting to a larger container, prune its roots. This will allow you to keep the plant in its own container so it won’t keep getting larger so fast.

If you want to remove dead or yellow leaves, prune these leaves off at the stem.

If you don’t like the look of aerial roots, you can cut off these woody roots without harming the plant.

If you want to shape the plant, prune the section with the most prolific growth. You’ll also want to trim off the parts that are getting too dense or long for your liking. However, avoid doing too much pruning at one time. I try to avoid pruning more than 25 to 33% of the plant. Instead, do more minor pruning jobs spreading them out through the months.

 

How to Prune – Making the Cut

When it comes to actually making the cut, I always make sure to sanitize by pruning shears beforehand.

To do so, I just use a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol and wipe the blades thoroughly. This is a simple step to ensure your plant does not end up getting any infection when you wound it.

The other this is to use a sharp blade.

That way one snip or slice and you’re done. If you need to force your way cut multiple times just to get a stem off, that will damage and stress the plant.

Finally, cut at a 45 degrees angle. This will give the stem a larger surface area. This is especially helpful if you are propagating since the stem will be able get more rooting hormone, soil or water because of how you cut it.

 

Pruning Monstera Underground Roots to Limit Growth & Reduce the Need to Repot

Pruning the roots of your monstera is a good way to limit its growth. And many home growers do this simply because of the plant’s size.

Most monsteras will grow to between 6 to 15 feet high indoors. As such, they’re often just too big for living rooms or any room on the home.

And while you can keep pruning the stems and leaves, this will be an endless cycle for you which increases your maintenance load.

That’s where pruning the roots come in.

Basically, if you repot a plant to a larger container, you’re giving it the license to grow bigger. The reason indoors plants end up smaller than the same species planted outdoors in the garden is because of the space.

In short, they will grow based on how much space you give them. The more limited the growing room, they less they’ll grow.

So increasing the pot size when repotting encourages the plant to get bigger.

Unfortunately, you cannot just force a plant or leave a plant in a small pot to limit its growth. If you do, it will become pot bound which causes stress and affects the overall health of the plant because the roots get overcrowded and it does not get as much moisture and nutrients as it needs.

Thus, the best way to limit overall monstera growth is to prune its roots.

 

How to Prune the Roots of a Monstera

To prune the roots of your Monstera to limit its growth, you need to unpot the plant.

Be careful when unpotting especially when the plant is big. Make sure that you gently set it down so the leaves and stems don’t get damaged.

Take your time in getting the root ball out of the pot as well. You don’t want to jar it or force it too much.

Once out, burhs off excess soil so you can have a good look at the roots. Also untangle any roots and spread them out.

This will let you clearly see where you want to cut.

It Is worth noting that you should always check for root problems, rotting, infection, pests or any abnormalities in the root system when you unpot.

Now you can begin cutting the roots.

Make sure your pruning shears or knife has been disinfected. Then, start trimming off the ends of the roots that are getting too long.

Start with the outsides. Avoid getting too close to the main stem as that’s where all the roots start growing from.

Also, avoid pruning more than a third of the root system. Just do a little bit at a time.

Once you’re done, you can repot the plant.

 

Should You Cut the Aerial Roots?

Aerial roots are roots that don’t grow underground. Instead, they grow from the stem at different points and extend outwards. Some can get really big and long.

The easiest way to differentiate terrestrial roots (those under the soil) and aerial roots besides where they grow is their looks.

Normal roots are white, delicate and slightly firm. On the other hand, aerial roots have a woody texture so they don’t look like normal roots.

Aerial rotos usually grow on epiphytes. That’s because it helps them cling onto larger plants and trees in the forest.

They also help the plant get moisture from the air since epiphytes don’t get their water from the soil in their native habitat.

As such, they don’t serve much of their function when your Monstera is grown as a houseplant.

And many home growers don’t like the look of aerial roots.

So, if they grow unruly, get too long or become unpleasant for you visually, you can prune the aerial roots with no harm. It will not damage the plant so you don’t have to worry about cutting them off.

When pruning aerial roots, cut them as close to the stem or node as you can.

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