The bold and beautiful Monstera deliciosa, also known as the Swiss cheese plant, is a showstopping houseplant well-known for its large, heart-shaped, perforated leaves resembling the unusual ‘eyes’ of Swiss cheese. Because a monstera can grow quite abundantly, propagating it can be a great way to share the love of this houseplant.
Kierslyn Kujawa, plant expert and founder of Planted in Pots, shares her best tips on the three methods to propagate a monstera: cutting, air layering, and separation.
What to know before propagating
To successfully propagate a monstera, Kujawa suggests choosing a healthy mother plant with plenty of leaves, free of any pests or diseases. She also recommends propagating a monstera during its most actively growing seasons in the spring and summer.
“Make sure your monstera is watered the day before propagating,” says Kujawa. “You don’t want to start any propagation process with a dehydrated mother plant.”
In any propagation method, things can go wrong, which is why it’s essential to keep an eye out for any signs of trouble.
What do yellow and/or brown leaves mean? Yellow and brown leaves can be a sign of root rot, which is caused by water getting trapped or the potting soil not draining well enough. Kujawa instructs to cut off any damaged or rotten roots and repot the plant. To avoid root rot, Kujawa recommends sticking your finger in the soil about two inches down — if dirt sticks, there is too much water.
What is the stuff in the jar of water during cutting propagation? Changing the water from glass jars may not seem like a big deal, but stale water can cause problems for new cuttings. “Bacteria in water can be common when the water isn’t changed every three to five days,” says Kujawa.
What if roots are brown after removing the moss ball in air layering propagation? The biggest pro of air layering propagation is that there is no harm to the mother plant if the new roots grown in the moss ball become damaged. Root rot in new roots could be caused by a lack of oxygen. Simply cut off all damaged roots and start the process over, poking a few holes in the new wrap for circulation.
To successfully propagate a monstera deliciosa via the cutting method, a healthy mother plant, a precise cutting, and a consistent after care routine are required for success.
The air layering method can reward you with a new, healthy plant using damp sphagnum moss, cling wrap, and keeping an eye out for browning roots.
Correctly identifying a healthy pup and gently removing the root system to be repotted can also make for a prosperous new monstera. Through any of the three methods, propagation can be a simple and satisfying way to grow a monstera collection.