Pruning your monstera plant is a good way to keep it healthy. In this article, you will learn:
- The right way to prune your Monstera plant
- Why you should prune your Monstera plant
- When you should prune your Monstera plant
Why Should You Prune Your Monstera?
To Control Size & Shape
One of the reasons why Monstera plants are referred to as monsters is their outrageous size! Some can grow rapidly, almost 30 feet outdoors and 8- feet indoors.
You cannot keep fast-growing species (like Monstera Deliciosa and Monstera Adasoni) in small apartments without reducing their size. Pruning helps you control their rapid growth, prevent them from becoming messy, and maintain an aesthetic appearance.
To Encourage Growth
You can make planned cuts to grow a Monstera deliciosa plant in your desired direction. Removing the top part encourages the plant to grow higher, while the cuts on either side of the plant allow the branches and leaves to spread out.
To Keep Your Plant Healthy
Pruning helps your Monstera deliciosa plant get rid of the dry and dead leaves that can’t perform photosynthesis but still consume water and nutrients.
You also need to cut away the drooping leaves infested with diseases and pests to prevent the damage from spreading to other parts.
Trimming dry, dead, and diseased leaves frees up the blocked energy inside them to facilitate the growth of new and healthy leaves.
To Enable Light and Air Circulation
Excessive thickness and the massive length of a Monstera make it difficult for light and air to reach inner leaves or areas facing away from the light source (primarily windows). Consequently, you end up with a leggy Monstera plant featuring long and thin stems without enough full leaves.
Moreover, tangled leaves and branches don’t let air circulate and become good hiding places for pests and bacteria. Trimming a few leaves and stems every now and then is vital to enhance light penetration and air circulation.
To Propagate New Monstera
Do you want a brand new Monstera plant? You can grow one by cutting the leaves from your existing Monstera below their node! Leave the cuttings in the water bottle and see the small roots sprout from the node where the leaf grows.
When to Prune Your Monstera?
The best time to prune Monstera plants is near the end of their dormant period. In this period, a Swiss cheese plant does not produce much energy due to the lack of sunlight in winter. Their growth is minimal during this period, and they need less water to stay alive.
The dormant period lasts the whole winter and ends in early spring when temperatures slowly rise and the days get longer.
Early spring is the best time to trim plants as they prepare themselves for high growth activity and can quickly repair themselves from any pruning stress or damage during this period.
How to Prune Monstera Deliciosa the Right Way?
The pruning method differs according to your reason for pruning. Reshaping a Monstera is different than just trimming a few dead leaves. Similarly, a Monstera has to be pruned in another way if you want to encourage new growth or remove diseased parts of the plant.
Here is a detailed guide on how to prune Monstera plants the right way.
Select the Right Tools
You can use any gardening shears, scissors, knife, or a handheld pruner to prune your Monstera. The important thing here is to make sure the tool is sharp and sterilized.
Choosing a sharp tool is vital to make clean, accurate cuts. Plus, you can damage the plant if the tool is not sharp enough. A sharp tool also helps you cut large mature stems effortlessly.
Before pruning, you should also sterilize the tool because Monsteras are prone to bacteria and other pathogens. Saving a Monstera becomes difficult once the bacteria or fungus on an unsterilized device attack your Monstera plant because they spread quickly and are hard to treat. You can rub the tool with dish soap or alcohol to sterilize it.
Gardening gloves are another pruning essential you must have. Protecting your hands while pruning is crucial because all parts of a Swiss cheese plant are toxic, thanks to their calcium oxalates. You will likely develop skin irritation if you don’t use gloves when handling your plant.
Note: Wash your hands immediately with soap and water if you get some sap on your hands
Determine Why You Want to Prune Your Monstera
Is the size of your Monstera getting out of control? Do you want to reshape your plant? Do you want to encourage the new growth of a healthy plant or eliminate those diseased leaves?
Removing yellow or dying leaves
Like other plants, some leaves of an indoor Monstera plant may turn yellow and dry out over time. This happens especially when your Monstera is old. You don’t have to worry about pruning away those few yellow leaves on an old Monstera.
However, many leaves suddenly turning yellow or drying up is a cause of concern (especially if your plant isn’t that old). In fact, it may be a sign that your plant is suffering from rot or overwatering.
In such cases, pruning away the leaves might do more damage than good. You must first investigate the root cause and address that before pruning.
Regularly pruning off the old, yellow leaves from a Monstera keeps it healthy. So, wear your gloves and take a sharp tool to get started.
Trace the yellow, dying leaves back to their branch and trim them away without cutting off their main stem. Dispose of those leaves in a compost pile or trash bin because you can’t use them to propagate a new Monstera.
Trimming Leaves to Manage Shape and Size or Encourage Growth
Pruning a Monstera plant to control its growth and shape depends upon its current size and condition.
- If your plant has not overgrown much, you can prevent it from growing wild and unruly with just a few selective cuts close to the parent stem.
- On the other hand, large and unruly Monstera plants are a little more complex to prune.
The lateral vines of Monstera often get out of control because of their wild growth. Your plant will look unattractive if you don’t trim or shape it at some point. You can keep your Monstera in good shape by pruning away any haphazard leaves and encouraging healthy growth in the direction you prefer.
When you’re looking to prune a Monstera, remember that randomly cutting off too much growth can shock the plant and inhibit its growth. Hence, if your plant is too large, you should only cut at the base of the stems or offshoots with multiple leaves. A few pre-determined cuts impose a lower risk of infection and damage than numerous cuts all over the plant.
You can use these cuttings to root or propagate your Monstera plant, but only if you cut them 1/2 inch below a node. Please place them in a fresh pot of soil or water to get new Monstera plants instead of a single gigantic one.
Pruning Lateral Roots to Slow Down Growth
Lateral roots are the roots growing underground in the soil. The word lateral here refers to the fact that they generally branch off the main root stem. Their job is to absorb water and nutrients from the soil to keep the plant growing.
These roots keep growing until they have enough space, providing the plant with enough water and nutrients to produce new leaves and stems. However, it’s better to slow down the growth by pruning off the roots rather than repotting the Monstera plant frequently or letting it remain root bound.
Root-bound plants do not have enough soil to absorb water and nutrients, so they die out eventually if left untreated. So, prune back the roots of your Monstera periodically to avoid problems like root rot and stunted growth.
Roots are the most fragile part of a plant, so pruning them may sound like a scary thing to do. However, trimming away a few roots won’t hurt the plant as long as you do it the right way.
Remember that it’s critical to thoroughly sterilize the pruning shears before using them. Failure to do so may result in attacks by pests and illnesses brought in by other plants.
Here are the root pruning steps you must follow:
- Remove your plant from the pot. Loosen the soil by tapping the sides of the pot or run a butter knife around its inside edge if the plant doesn’t come out easily.
- Examine the roots for signs of damage like browning or mushy parts.
- Untangle the roots gently to make pruning easier.
- Cut only 1/3rd of the total root volume to avoid damaging the main stem root, which is thicker and larger than others.
- Re-pot your Monstera plant in fresh soil and check the plant for signs of shock like wilting or yellowing leaves.
Pruning Aerial Roots
Monstera has roots that grow above the ground to absorb more atmospheric nutrients and support its structural growth. These roots don’t look pretty and often grow too long.
Pruning aerial roots is just like pruning the rest of the plant; you have to cut close to their stem or node without damaging it. Be careful because crushing or bruising the stems can weaken the plant, making it more prone to catch pest infections and diseases.
Pruning for Propagation
Propagation refers to growing a new plant using a part of an already existing plant. If you want to prune your Monstera to grow a new plant from the cuttings, ensure that those cuttings include a node. Monstera nodes are little nubs in the areas where leaves or Monstera aerial roots grow.
Check out for a thickened area which usually forms a raised ring around the stem. Cut just below the node from that area and plant the cutting in a glass of water or moist potting mixture. The cutting will sprout into aerial roots after a while.
Important Mistakes to Avoid While Pruning
Pruning Swiss Cheese Plant in Wong Season
If you prune near fall, the new growth stimulated by pruning will be killed by dropping temperatures. If you prune in the growing season, it will interrupt your plant’s growth cycle, resulting in shock. Early spring is the best time to prune Monstera because the plant will recover from pruning wounds quickly once its growth spurts start.
Any cuts you make to the plant result in open wounds. Although your Monstera can recover from these wounds quickly, they still make your plant vulnerable to pathogens and damage. Hence, it’s advisable to prune large Monstera plants in stages, and not at once.
Using Dirty or Blunt Tools
You will likely crush or bruise the stems if you use blunt tools to prune them. Similarly, dirty tools expose your plants to bacteria, fungi, and pest invasions.
Pruning without a Goal
There are various reasons to prune, and each may require a different approach. People who want to reduce the size and those who want to encourage growth will have to use entirely different techniques. If you prune without a plan or purpose, your Monstera may grow unevenly or become stressed.
Making Incorrect Cuts
Cutting at the wrong place, such as too close or far from a tree’s trunk, can hinder healing and leave the tree susceptible to rot and disease.
Frequently Asked Questions about Pruning Monstera Plant
Should you cut back a Monstera?
Yes, you can effectively manage the growth of your Monstera by pruning back any unruly or excessive vines and leaves. Pruning encourages growth in your plant too. Trimming down vines and stems from your unkempt or overgrown plant will make it look better.
Should I Cut the Small Leaves on my Monstera?
Yes, you can prune off small leaves on your Monstera plants if you are concerned that they are not very useful to your plant but take up a significant amount of the plant’s energy. Cutting off those few small leaves will encourage new, bigger leaves to grow.
Should I cut off Brown Monstera leaves?
Yes, you should remove the brown leaves on your Monstera. This is because they can no longer photosynthesize and provide energy to your plant but still need to consume some water and nutrients to stay alive. Trimming away such brown and diseased leaves frees up the space and resources for new and healthy leaves.
Where can I cut Monstera?
Remove any outdated or diseased leaves by cutting near the base of their stem. You can do the same when pruning to manage your Monstera’s size.
Remember that pruning can promote growth, so choose where to make your cuts. If you want to encourage new growth, cut in the direction you want the plant to grow. Make a top cut if you want to grow your plant higher.
If you want to propagate new plants from stem cuttings, make sure you cut below the node.
My name is Daniel Elrod, and I have been houseplant love ever since I was 17. I love how much joy they bring to any room in the home. I’ve always been amazed at how a few pots of flowing leaves can turn a drab and sterile office into an inviting place where people love to work at.