Have you ever seen roots growing out of pot on your Monstera? Don’t worry; the plant’s primary root system isn’t coming out of the soil. Those are Monstera aerial roots.
Aerial roots are a normal and healthy component of a growing Monstera deliciosa. If you want to learn the purpose of aerial roots and how to manage them, keep reading.
What are Aerial Roots?
Aerial roots are visible above-ground roots. That often provide anchoring for vining plants, including Monsteras. These roots also collect moisture and nutrients for the plant they are attached to. But for plants like mangroves, the roots provide aeration instead of moisture. 
When growing outdoors, the aerial roots will attach themselves to trees. So, the Monstera can vine up the trunks. A moss pole is put in place to achieve the same effect indoors. So that the roots have something to attach themselves to.
Despite their abilities to collect nutrients and moisture for a plant. They aren’t necessary for growth and can be pruned back.
Monstera Aerial Root Propagation
One of the first questions many people have when learning about a Monstera plant’s aerial roots, is if you can use them to propagate the plant. And the short answer is no because you need more than just the aerial roots.
Propagating a Monstera plant through aerial roots also requires having a stem with leaves and nodes attached.
- In water: If you wish to propagate the plant using aerial roots in water, you will need to cut a stem .5″ below a leaf node. With the aerial root attached. Submerge both the Monstera node and aerial root in water. More aerial roots should produce in a few weeks along with plant growth.
- In soil: Like water, you will also need a Monstera node to propagate the plant with aerial roots attached. Cut a stem with two leaves attached .5″ below a node. Ensure the node is submerged in the soil and water as needed. You can also place the aerial root in the soil if you would like, but it is unnecessary.
How to Cut Monstera Aerial Roots
Managing unruly Monstera aerial roots is simple. If you don’t like the sight of the roots or they are growing out of the pot, you can cut or trim them.
Trimming your Monstera deliciosa aerial roots requires using clean and sharp pruning shears. To remove a root, you will want to cut them close to the base from where they are growing. Try to avoid snipping any stems.
Frequently Asked Questions
Aerial roots are a normal part of a growing Monstera. Although they are not necessary for a healthy Monstera. They provide moisture and nutrients to the plant as well as providing stability. Particularly when vining up trees or moss poles. If they get too long, you can trim them.
Monstera aerial roots are a natural part of the plant. Although, when they don’t have anything to attach themselves to, such as moss poles, they can become long and unruly. In those instances, you can opt to trim them back to where they attach to the stems. Although beware, they will regrow.
Despite aerial roots being a way for the plant to absorb moisture, they should only be placed in water for a short period of time outside of propagation. Leaving the roots in water for too long can lead to root rot – overwatering and underwatering are detrimental to the roots.
You can place Monstera aerial roots in soil to help them grow in that direction. But a new plant will not form by placing the aerial roots in soil alone; the roots must be attached to a cutting with a node.
In the wild, Monstera plants grow aerial roots to help anchor themselves to trees and grow as vines. They can do the same indoors and become unruly when they have nothing to attach themselves to. If you have a surplus of aerial roots, you can trim them or place a moss pole in the soil for them to adhere to in the future.
Apart from providing stability in vining plants, aerial roots also supply moisture and nutrients to plants. Such as Monsteras. Mangroves don’t use their aerial roots to absorb water. Instead they use them for aeration.
Wikimedia Foundation. (2022, July 8). Aerial root. Wikipedia. Retrieved October 25, 2022, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aerial_root