Wondering how to propagate monstera deliciosa? I’m sharing six propagation methods in this article.
How to propagate monstera deliciosa from a cutting
Monstera deliciosa plants are beautiful and easy. They can bring a lush tropical vibe to even the most suburban of living rooms (I would know). And while the monstera deliciosa—also called a Swiss cheese plant—is very much a trendy plant these days, it’s also a timeless plant!
It was around before it became famous on Instagram, and it will be around when the masses move on. Why? Because it is just stunning, especially when its leaves reach maturity. And in addition to being easy to care for, it’s also pretty easy to propagate. So let’s chat about that.
Monstera deliciosa propagation overview
- In the spring or summer, take a cutting with 2-3 small leaves that includes a growth point; aerial roots are beneficial but not essential.
- Water: Put the cutting in water and refresh the water weekly; when roots develop, transfer to soil and keep it moist as the plant transitions.
- Moss: Mix lightly damp sphagnum moss and perlite; nestle the cutting in the mixture and keep humidity high with a plastic bag; don’t let the moss dry completely.
- LECA: Add a cutting to a jar with LECA balls; add water to the bottom inch or so, coming up to just below the cutting; refresh as necessary.
- Soil: Plant cutting in well-draining soil and keep moist.
- Air layering: Wrap moist sphagnum moss around a node and securing it with plastic wrap; keep moist and monitor for root development.
- Division: Can be done only if there are multiple plants in a pot; take the plant out and separate at the root level, planting separately.
- No matter the propagation method, minor for rot on the stem and roots; can show itself with mushy brown or black patches.
How to take a monstera deliciosa cutting
Timing is important. The best time to propagate monstera deliciosa cuttings is during its active growing season—spring and summer. That said, I propagate my plants all year long.
I have a little seed-starting heat mat that I put in the bottom of my Ikea greenhouse cabinet. The cabinet has some strip grow lights. It’s a great way to raise the heat and humidity while boosting light levels as well.
When taking your cutting, you can’t simply snip off a stem from the plant and give it a go. It won’t develop any roots if it doesn’t have any growth points. Growth points are nodes on a plant stem where leaves, buds, or branches grow.
They are typically located at regular intervals along the stem. If you look at a stem on your plant, you’ll see what I mean. Each new leaf is a growth point.
You can take a cutting with a few small leaves—generally 2-3 is good. Make sure to cut just below a growth point/node. You can also take a cutting with more leaves and remove the bottom 1-2 leaves to expose growth points.
I recommend using smaller plants for propagation. If the leaves on your plant are large and mature, it will take it much longer to root. Below is an example of one smaller cutting. And the second pic shows two areas you could cut on a monstera.
Do you need an aerial root to propagate monstera?
No, you don’t need an aerial root to propagate a monstera deliciosa. Aerial roots are the chunky brown things that grow from your monstera deliciosa and stay above the soil surface. They help the plant climb things when it is mature.
However, you can take a cutting with an aerial root, and it will help with the rooting process. If your plant already has little aerial root nubs sprouting from the cutting, this is a perfectly fine place to snip! Below is an example of a great cutting with the start of an aerial root included.
Is it better to propagate monstera in water or soil?
Now that you have a great cutting to root, let’s talk about the propagation medium you’ll use. I will cover a number of different ways to prop your monstera deliciosa cutting in this guide, including in water and soil.
Water and soil are the most common methods of propagation, so you may be trying to decide which method to use. I personally recommend rooting monstera cuttings in water first—then transferring to soil. Why? Because I like to monitor the cutting for rot and for healthy root development.
Plus it’s just so easy. Not all cuttings respond well to water rooting, but this plant does. I pop cuttings into one of my cool little thrifted glass containers and set them in a windowsill or on a table. It looks really nice—like fresh cut flowers. But if you’d like to skip water rooting and propagate directly in soil, that is perfectly fine! I’ll outline the steps for that option in this guide.
Method #1: Rooting monstera cuttings in water
Let’s chat about water propagation first. Water propagation is when you root a plant in water. Then, when the roots are several inches long, you can move the plant to soil.
I have propagated many monstera deliciosa cuttings in water, and this method works great! It’s also a great method for beginners to use because you don’t have to buy anything else. I don’t typically favor water propping for plants, but I break that rule for easy plants like this one.
Water roots vs. soil roots
When you propagate a plant in water, it grows a different type of root. Have you ever wondered why overwatering a plant will lead to root rot, but that same plant can live and grow just fine in water?
Water roots are typically white or translucent, and they are thin and fibrous. These roots are adapted to absorb oxygen from the air that dissolved in the water. They are less efficient at absorbing water and nutrients than soil roots are.
Soil roots are typically thicker and more fibrous than water roots. They are adapted to absorb water and nutrients from the soil, and they also anchor the plant in the ground. Soil roots are typically more efficient at absorbing water and nutrients
Because they have different types of roots, cuttings rooted in water may suffer some shock when you transplant them into soil. But don’t freak out! Monstera deliciosa is a hardy plant that can bounce back really quickly when moving from water to soil 🙂
Growing monstera cuttings in water
When you’re ready to give it a go, ]pop your cutting in a clear container with water. I recommend refreshing the water every week or so or whenever you notice that it’s becoming cloudy. This is best practice whenever propagating any plant in water.
Also make sure your little experiment is getting a good amount of indirect sunlight. Humidity is also a big bonus. If you live in a hot, humid area that happens to have a covered deck, that is the best spot! Otherwise, it isn’t terribly necessary when water rooting.
How long does it take monstera cuttings to root in water?
Well, it depends. Generally 2-4 weeks depending on the growing conditions. And if your cutting already had some aerial root growth on it, the process could be much faster. Think of it as a head start.
If there were only nodes and no aerial roots, just monitor the root growth in the water. It’s always fun for me to check the progress. You should start seeing growth after a few weeks, but give it some more time before transplanting it.
I like to wait until the water roots are several inches long before transplanting the cutting into soil. When it’s time, I simply plant the cutting in a small container with drainage holes and fresh, well-draining soil.
Then keep the soil lightly moist for a few weeks while the plant is getting used to its new home. Have some patience and continuing babying your plant; it may wilt or show some signs of transplant shock, but it will rebound. When you notice new growth, it’s time to back off watering and treat the plant as normal.
Method #2: Rooting monstera cuttings in moss
Propagating monstera cuttings in moss is another option. Using sphagnum moss as your main medium helps your plant develop stronger roots than it would in water.
That’s because you just keep the moss moist—the cuttings aren’t completely submerged in water. There is much more room for oxygen flow to the roots, so they suffer less shock when transplanting to soil.
I love using sphagnum moss and perlite propagation for my hoya cuttings. I find they suffer more transplant shock if I root them in water. But because monstera deliciosa plants are so resilient, it isn’t always necessary.
What you’ll need for this method
You’ll need a small container, some moss, some chunky perlite, and something like a plastic baggie or clear propagation box. That’s because the moss dries out quickly, and keeping it in an enclosed environment helps to keep humidity high.
Steps for rooting in sphagnum moss
Dampen the moss and squeeze out all of the excess water. Mix in some chunky perlite, then nest the cutting inside this mixture. Put a plastic baggie over top or add to your prop box.
Make sure you don’t keep the moss too wet—this will lead to stem rot, which will sabotage your propagation. I have definitely had this happen with my monstera props. Air the plant out by removing the baggie every few days, and check the soil moisture.
Once you have roots that are several inches long, I recommend transferring to well-draining soil in a fresh pot. Water the plant thoroughly and don’t water again until the top few inches of soil dry out.
With this method, you should notice that the roots look stronger and not as wispy as water roots. Because of this, the plant will probably suffer less transplant shock.
Method #3: Rooting monstera cuttings in LECA
Another method I really like using for monstera cuttings is propagating them in LECA! If you’re new to LECA, check out my tutorial about How to propagate cuttings in LECA. LECA are small clay balls that retain moisture.
I love propagating plants in LECA because I find that it provides all the benefits of water rooting—meaning I have an easy visual on the roots while they grow. But it also provides the benefits of moss rooting, meaning more oxygen flow and stronger root development.
What you’ll need for this method
All you need for this method is a clear glass container—I like mason jars for LECA—and some LECA! LECA is much more widely available than it used to be, but my favorite source remains Ikea.
Why? Because you can get a big bag for cheap! And LECA is reusable forever as long as you sanitize it by boiling it between uses. I haven’t had to buy anymore LECA since 2018. If you aren’t close to an IKEA, you can of course order a bag online.
Steps for rooting in LECA
To propagate your cutting in LECA, put about an inch or two of LECA into the bottom of your mason jar. Then put the cutting in on top of that LECA and fill in around it to stabilize the cutting in place.
Add water so that it fills up that bottom 1-2 inches of LECA. You want the water to come just up to the bottom of the cutting. Don’t submerge the cutting in water.
Refresh the water every week or so as it evaporates. After several weeks, you’ll notice roots beginning to grow around the LECA. You might even see them through the glass if they are getting long enough. You can now plant in well-draining soil, give the plant a thorough watering, and call it a day!
Method #4: Rooting monstera cuttings directly in soil
If you’d like to skip all of the water rooting, moss rooting, or LECA rooting steps, you can choose to propagate your monstera cuttings directly in soil. I personally loathe this method because I can’t see what is going on under the surface. I’m a control freak!
This method is basically the same as rooting a monstera cutting in water. You have all the same requirements for where to take the cutting off a plant. A node is essential, an aerial root is fab if you can grab it.
What you’ll need for this method
For this method, you need a small pot and some well-draining soil (let’s stay away from root rot!). You can use a rooting hormone powder or something like Clone-X rooting gel, which I started using recently. This isn’t absolutely necessary, but it’s a nice extra boost for the plant’s roots.
Steps for rooting in soil
Plant in your well-draining soil and water when the top few inches of soil dries out. Keep the plant in bright, indirect light. If you can keep it in a hot, humid area with bright, indirect light, you’ll be cookin’ with gas. It might help it grow a bit quicker.
However, propagating a monstera deliciosa cutting in soil does take a lot more patience. That’s because you can’t see any of the root development as it’s happening—the suspense! Is it working? WHEN WILL WE KNOW? Well, you’ll know when new growth sprouts. Yep, it will be like Christmas morning one day.
A few weeks after the first photo below was taken, I cut this plant down to about 1 inch above the soil line as an experiment. I told you I was impatient…I continued to water and wait, giving this guy plenty of bright, indirect light.
After a few weeks or so, a new sprout emerged, and I was SO excited! Below is a documentation of its daily progress over the next week. It really did sprout quickly, and the day the new leaf unwound was so exciting.
Method #5: Rooting monstera cuttings using air layering
This is a neat method that I wrote about in my guide on propagating rubber plants from cuttings. It’s a pretty simple approach. Here’s a basic overview of how to use the air layering technique:
- Pick up some sphagnum moss. You probably already have plastic wrap and something to tie it off with in your home.
- Find the spot you’d take a cutting from if you were using the previous two propagation methods (water and soil), but don’t cut it! Just make a slice where you’d cut it. Below a node.
- Wrap this whole area—including the cut, the node, and the stem around it—with moist sphagnum moss. Then wrap that in plastic wrap and secure in place. You’ll have to remove the wrap to remoisten the moss when it dries.
- After a while, probably a few months, roots will begin to grow. Cut the stem off at the original cut you made and plant!
Method #6: Separating monstera deliciosa babies off of a mother plant
And the last method I’ll outline is propagating by division. You can separate monstera deliciosa babies from a mother plant easily. This isn’t propagation so much as it is just splitting up a plant…but it’s a great way to make more plants quickly!
This is also a great way to help a big monstera plant thrive. When you buy a monstera deliciosa plant at a big box store (and many times this is the case in nurseries as well), there are usually a TON of plants in there.
Here’s a look. This was a clearance monstera I picked up at Lowe’s. If you can believe it, this was $6! I’d already cut off all of the dead and ugly foliage when I snapped this pic.
The first thing I did was take the plant out of the pot in my garage. Then, with my gardening gloves on, I started gently pulling the soil off the root structure so I could untangled things.
Don’t worry if you rip some roots off. As long as some of the root structure remains for each plant, it will bounce back. I also find it’s easy to look for where plants separate at the surface of the soil.
Then I gently begin pulling that stem and its leaves away from the main root ball. Make sure to pull at the roots, too, to make sure you take some of them with you.
I think I harvested something like 13 plants from this one $6 monstera. Amazing isn’t it? I kept one for myself and re-homed the others. So rewarding to save them all from clearance shelf death!
Why is my monstera propagation turning black?
Before I wrap up, I want to address one issue that can affect all propagations. If you notice an area on your cutting turning black—usually either near the cut point or on the stem—it’s rotting. Below is an example of a Monstera Thai Constellation plant I had that suffered some rot.
Generally rot is a result of too much moisture and too little air circulation, so keep that in mind no matter what method you choose. Letting your cutting callus over for 1-2 days before adding it to your medium can definitely help prevent this.
Not all propagations are successful. All you can do is try your best and figure out which method works for you and the plant you’re working on. Good luck!!
Want to see this in video format?
If you want to see some of this in video format, I made a YouTube vide all about some of the different ways to propagate monstera deliciosa cuttings. You can view that here—enjoy!
Propagating monstera deliciosa is fun and easy! Whether you choose water, moss, LECA, soil, air layering, or division, each method is worth experimenting with. Happy propagating!