Can You Cut Monstera Aerial Roots? (EXPLAINED)

Disclosure: As Amazon Associates we earn from qualifying purchases. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.

Please note that while we always strive to provide 100% up to date and accurate information, there is always the small possibility of error. Therefore, we advise conducting further research and due diligence before consuming any plants or exposing pets to anything mentioned on this site. Kindly refer to the full disclaimer for more details here.

Sharing is caring!

This article, “Can You Cut Monstera Plant’s Aerial Roots,” will cover everything you need to know about Monstera aerial roots, followed by tips on cutting them. Read on to discover:

  • An overview of what Monstera’s aerial roots are.
  • A guide on functions of aerial roots in Monstera plants.
  • A comparison between aerial vs. underground roots.
  • Answers to some questions about Monstera aerial roots.

So, without further ado, let’s get into it.

Have you ever experienced a condition where your perfectly cherished Monstera Deliciosa suddenly sprouts weird stick-looking growths? If yes, that’s what botanists call aerial roots.

Monstera growing aerial roots is perfectly normal and doesn’t indicate any trouble. To put it another way, they are merely an outward manifestation of the climbing pattern of the plant.

The question is, should you cut them, so the plant only has soil roots, or just let them be? Below, we’ll answer all your questions regarding what to do with Monstera’s aerial roots.


What Are Monstera Aerial Roots?

The aerial root, also known as the air root, develops from the plant’s stem rather than from the soil itself. Simply put, it refers to any root that is exposed to the open air.

Like many other Aroids, Monstera Deliciosa is naturally a climbing plant. To get to the better-lit parts of the forest, it climbs taller trees and uses additional supports along the way.

When found in the natural habitat of tropical rainforests in Central America, Monstera may grow aerial roots over 30m, extending down to the ground and reaching the highest points.

Monstera plants have aerial roots that allow them to attach themselves to surrounding tree trunks for support and ascend higher so that they may access the natural sunlight.

By any chance, if your Monstera doesn’t have any aerial roots, the plant is likely quite young. Aerial roots generally start to develop as the plant matures and reaches a greater height.

Monstera aerial roots

How Do Monstera Aerial Roots Look Like?

If your Monstera Deliciosa (or any other Monstera plant you own) has reached the maturity stage, you should be able to see aerial roots developing from the nodes (the same node).

Younger roots sometimes appear like sheer lumps, but as they mature, they develop into tiny green “branches.” Some older aerial roots may even turn brown and grow woody as they age.

The Monstera plant has the potential to develop a large number of aerial roots over time, which may make the plant seem untidy and also make it challenging to pot (and repot).

Thus, keeping those roots under control is advisable if your Monstera attempts to scale since they may also try climbing up the walls or furniture, which can harm the paint and finishes.

As a result, the Monstera may give the impression that it is trying to escape from its planter, which is why you have two alternatives: trimming or supporting the plant with a moss pole.

Monstera with lots of aerial roots

The Function of Monstera Aerial Roots

There are two primary functions of aerial roots on Monstera: to assist in securing the plant in place (anchoring) and contributing to the plant’s ability to absorb water and nutrients.

READ ALSO: Monstera Types

Providing Nutrients and Moisture

Firstly, if the plant (Monstera or any other plant) doesn’t have a procedure to be supported while reaching the sky, it will clearly simply fall off of the tree or rock it is growing on.

And that’s where the aerial roots come into the anchor. The Monstera plant is held in a way that isn’t parasitic by its aerial roots, which assist the plant in gripping onto the surface.

Monstera aerial roots close up


When the plant makes contact with the ground, the aerial roots on Monstera transform into the more common aerial subterranean roots, also known as aerial and underground roots.

Once it has reached the ground, the aerial roots take in water and nutrients and carry them all the way to the top of the Monstera plant, where they are dispersed throughout entirely.

Aerial Roots vs. Underground Roots

The difference between aerial roots and underground roots lies in where they develop (above the soil or below the soil) and in the roles each plays in the plant’s growth.

Underground roots draw moisture and nutrients up from the ground and transport them to the rest of the plant to promote growth.

In contrast, aerial roots absorb some moisture and potentially even some nutrients, but on a much smaller scale than underground roots.

Considering that the primary purpose of aerial roots is to support the plant as it climbs up trees in the tropical rainforest—the two root systems are not interchangeable.

Monstera aerial roots new growth

So, Should You Cut Off Monstera Aerial Roots?

In an ideal plant world, you shouldn’t cut off the Monstera plant aerial roots. If you do so, the Monstera’s dark green, fenestrated leaves will stop growing once they reach a certain size.

This is one of the reasons why it is important to maintain the Monstera’s aerial roots. That is to say, the plant won’t develop leaves to the mature stage, which is analogous to killing it.

By cutting off aerial roots, especially with blunted, dirty tools, you may make the Monstera plant more susceptible to diseases caused by bacteria, fungi, and other pathogens.

Secondly, the Monstera plant has no aerial roots to support its ascent, whether you’ve trained it to climb a moss pole (or moss poles) or any other support structure such as sphagnum moss.

The question is, what should you do if your Monstera plant develops excessive aerial roots or if some of the roots attach themselves to the surroundings? Should you cut them off?

Well, the answer is yes. You can definitely eliminate some of the unsightly aerial roots that are wreaking havoc in your space by cutting them off with a sharp blade at their point of growth.

However, there’s a significant catch here: when cutting off roots, you must use sterilized instruments and take care not to damage the stem (stems) in the process.

An unsterilized blade poses a significant risk of transmitting microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, and fungi to the plant, which is something you want to avoid at all costs.

Moreover, you can leave the aerial roots alone or tuck them into the pot if you find that they don’t present any problems and don’t bother you in any other way.

Green monstera, tropical plant on a white background.

Monstera Aerial Roots In Water

Some resources suggest you put a container of water in the planter that your Monstera Deliciosa is growing in and then trail the aerial roots of the plant into the water.

This is because an aerial root can absorb water, which is true. However, putting them in the water around the clock will cause them to rot, which could, ultimately, harm your Monstera.

Spraying the Monstera’s aerial roots is something you can do; however, there’s no scientific evidence that this can make a significant difference, but doing so certainly won’t be harmful.

Since Monsteras are indigenous to tropical rainforests of America, they prefer it when the surroundings are moist, so make sure the humidity level in the room is not too low.

Monstera Deliciosa

Frequently Asked Questions

Now that you know the answer to “Can You Cut Monstera Plant’s Aerial Roots,” this brings us to the end of this article.

To round off the article, we’ve answered some frequently asked questions that should increase your knowledge about the aerial roots of Monstera plants.

How to Grow Aerial Roots?

Increase Monstera’s requirement for moisture and cultivate it in a hot, humid location with adequate soil drainage.

Doing so will encourage growth, and you’ll see aerial roots grow.

Is it Okay to Cut Aerial Roots?

There’s no right or wrong here. Aerial roots are considered unsightly by some individuals.

If you are one of them, you’re free to cut them off without harming the Monstera plant.

Can You Propagate Monstera Aerial Roots?

If you just have an aerial root, then regrettably, it can’t be done. To successfully propagate Monstera aerial roots, you’ll need a portion of the stem that contains at least one node.

What Do I Do With Large Monstera Aerial Roots?

Whether your Monstera has too many aerial roots, very long aerial roots, or you simply don’t like them, all you have to do is take some clean pruning scissors and cut them out.


What to Do With a Monstera Aerial Root?

  • Wrap them around a moss pole to improve Monstera’s growing conditions.
  • Tuck them into the soil to produce feeder roots for a tidy look and stability.
  • If you have enough space, let them run wild and see where it takes the plant.

Does Monstera Cutting Need Aerial Root?

When propagating, the node is necessary, whether you use a cutting or air layering. Although there’s a connection between aerial roots and nodes, cutting doesn’t need aerial roots.