You Can’t Grow A Monstera From A Leaf – Here’s Why

This post may contain affiliate links. Read the full disclosure here.

No. You can’t grow a Monstera plant from a single leaf in water or soil (or moss or perlite or whatever substrate) without a node BUT you can root a leaf and have it live its happy zombie leaf life.

If a Monstera produces a new leaf, it has a node - you can't grow a new plant without a node, because there's nowhere for it to have come from. 

They technically only need a few node cells to produce a leaf, though it is much easier if they have a whole node and an axillary bud.

(Beginner’s guide to Monstera deliciosa here).

How do you grow a Monstera from a leaf cutting?

If you take a leaf off a Monstera with no node, it’ll look like this:

Without getting a closer look, it’s difficult to tell if there is any node but it looks to be just a leaf.

Now, it MIGHT root.

We can’t tell by looking if there are any node cells.

However, if you bought this and the seller said it had a node, you’d be well within your rights to get a refund. It may be POSSIBLE that it could grow another leaf, but it’s highly unlikely.

You can still buy propagatable single leaves, they just need a bit of stem attached. 

Since the leaf comes out of the stem, you only need a bit of stem to get a node, but it's preferable to have a couple of inches. 

If you buy a top cutting, you will likely get two leaves, because the node of the top cutting is covered by the next leaf down like this:

The node isn’t fully developed yet, so you won’t be able to get the leaf and node out from the petiole of the previous leaf without damaging at least one party.

If you cut below the node of the previous leaf (below the line on the stem, where that bit of corking is, right at the bottom), you’d get two nodes.

If you get a single leaf cutting, it’s usually a mid-cutting, and the leaf’s petiole is likely at a 90% angle to the stem, so there will be a T-shape at the end of the petiole, or a big lump at least.

Can you grow Monstera leaves in water?

You can, and I think it looks pretty cool. Monstera leaves can root without a node, but it does take AGES. It’s a great way to ease your guilt if you’ve had to prune your Monstera back for whatever reason.

These leaves can last months in a vase, and make a really nice table display, so are a great alternative to cut flowers. They are just unlikely to produce any more growth.

this is a stock image, and I suspect its AI…

How long does it take a Monstera leaf to grow roots?

It takes a lot longer for a single leaf to produce roots because that’s not what they’re designed to do. The whole point of nodes is to provide growth, whether that’s leaves, roots, fruits or axillary buds, but leaves aren’t meant to root at all.

I can’t find any information on why they would grow roots at all – I assume the cells in the plant’s petiole have enough information to grow roots when they’re in contact with a substrate, but not enough to grow leaves.

I suppose it could be useful in the event of a petiole getting damaged, but the plant was still attached to the main plant.

It can take weeks for a leaf to produce roots. 

Keep the water fresh (the more often you change it, the faster roots will form), and add bubbler if you like. 

Keep the leaf away from bright light - it doesn't have the same sun protection a full plant would have.

I have an article here on how to root cuttings faster, but I don’t know if the same things (such as adding fertiliser) would help a leaf root faster, or would kill it quicker.

How many leaves does it take to propagate Monstera?

You only need one, as long as there’s a stem, but as I explained before if you’re taking a top cutting* you’ll almost always end up with at least two, just because of how they grow.

You don’t need an aerial root, but it does help.

In my experience, Cuttings with multiple leaves take longer to root, and you’re more likely to lose leaves BUT once you do have roots, the roots grow in quicker and new growth comes in faster.

*The top cutting is just the most recent node. Since Monstera typically only have one growth point per plant, it’s the first cutting you’d take – the one with the active growth point.

Propagating Monstera without a node is it possible?

Yes, it is.

Which I know is confusing, because I said you can’t propagate a Monstera leaf without a node.

I’m being facetious, but the most prolific way (and probably the way most Monstera in the world started) to propagate Monstera is by tissue culture.

When you propagate a plant by tissue culture you only need a few cells of any part of the plant (though node cells yield the best results) but you also need a sterile environment, and a load of other stuff to do this at home.

You can tissue culture at home (I have an article on it here), but it’s a LOT more involved than whacking a cutting in a water glass.

Final thoughts

Unless you’re going to go through the rigmarole of tissue culturing your Monstera leaf in order to get a new plant, you need a node to propagate a Monstera leaf.

There are occasions when it looks like a plant doesn't have a node, but a few cells were hanging on and managed to produce new growth, so don't give up if you only have a leaf but also...don't buy a cutting with no visible node.

If you do go down the tissue culture route with your single, node-less Monstera, you have the potential to get hundreds of plantlets, which is great, but…still not really worth the hassle.

Caroline Cocker

Caroline is the founder and writer (and plant keeper) of Planet Houseplant

Leave a comment