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The easiest way to propagate Monster deliciosa is in water. You can do it in soil, but I’d recommend water propagation for beginners.
Being able to see what’s going on without disturbing the roots is really helpful when you don’t know what you’re doing.
The steps for propagating Monstera in water are pretty straightforward:
- Take a cutting – you need a node, so a leaf + petiole isn’t sufficient
- Put the cutting in water
- Wait for roots to grow
- Transfer to soil (optional)
If you’d prefer to propagate your Monstera another way, check out this article:
How to propagate Monstera deliciosa in water
Let’s cover each of the steps in a little more detail:
Take a cutting
You need a piece of stem with a node to propagate Monstera. This is non-negotiable. If you just have a leaf and a petiole, you can root the cutting but it won’t grow any more leaves.
The petiole is the long, thin bit that attaches the leaf to the stem.
The easiest way to make sure you have a node is to cut the Monstera stem somewhere that ensures the bit you cut off has two leaves.
Cut the stem just below where the second leaf’s (the first leaf being the most recent one to go) petiole meets it.
Voila, you have a cutting.
- Do you need an aerial root on a cutting?
- Do top cuttings root faster?
- Can you grow a Monstera from a leaf?
Put the cutting in water
I use clear drinking glasses for my propagation. I fill them with tap water and put the cutting in.
Clear vessels do end up with algae, but it serves as a reminder to clean them so it’s not a bad thing.
Wait for roots to grow
Now we wait. There are a lot of differing opinions on how often to change the water (I’ll cover that later on) so just change it when it suits you.
It takes 2 – 3 weeks for Monstera cuttings to produce roots.
The environment can affect how fast it roots, as well as the genetics of the individual plant.
You can keep the cutting in water for as long as you like, but I wouldn’t transfer it to soil until it has a substantial root system.
Either three or more two-inch-long roots or a single root that has started branching.
You may see primordial roots on the stem that look a bit like mould. They’re perfectly normal, if not a bit weird.
Transfer to soil (optional)
Monstera are perfectly happy living in water forever, but most people prefer keeping them in soil.
The transfer from water to soil is by far the trickiest part of the propagation process.
If you make sure to use a chunky potting mix and water little and often you should be fine. There’s more information on how to do this later in the article.
Additional tips for propagating Monstera deliciosa in water
How to speed up the rooting process
Add fertiliser to your water
I use the GH Flora Series, but seaweed fertiliser is good for root stimulation
Change the water often
I find cuttings root much faster if I change the water every day HOWEVER there are a tonne of people online who say the opposite so it’s worth experimenting. In my experience if I don’t chance the water the cuttings just rot
Put your props on a heat mat – warm water depletes oxygen faster though, so it might be a good idea to add a bubbler or air stone to increase oxygen.
Add a bubbler/air stone – more oxygen = faster root growth
Add a Pothos cutting to the water – they produce a tonne of rooting hormone. I find it works MUCH better than store-bought rooting hormone.
There’s more information about these methods in these articles. I ran a LOT of experiments of speeding up propagation over the summer.
- Using fertiliser to speed up rooting
- Does adding a Pothos speed up rooting?
- How often should you change propagation water?
Does water type have an effect on Monstera propagation?
If you’re happy to water your houseplants with tap water, you’re fine to propagate cuttings in tap water. If not, you can use filtered or distilled water. Cuttings are no more fussy than plants about water quality.
Cuttings prefer to root in warm water, but the oxygen will deplete faster so both factors end up cancelling each other out unless you supplement oxygen with a bubbler. I keep my propagations at room temperature.
The best place to put your cutting
I keep mine on a bright, sunny windowsill next to my kitchen sink because it reminds me to change the water daily.
In summer the water can get pretty warm, so if you’re not planning on changing the water very often then you might be better off putting them in indirect light.
Don’t be too precious about the eaves on your cutting. The plant will be using nutrients from them to form roots and it’s perfectly normal for the leaves of the original cuttings to perish. It’s not a done deal, but it’s pretty common.
When’s the best time to propagate Monstera in water?
Spring. It’s perfectly possible to propagate Monstera year-round, but the benefit of doing it in spring is that you can get the cutting rooted and back into soil before the growing season really gets going.
I like to take my cuttings in late March/early April so that by July it’s settled into its new environment and can concentrate on growing.
Can you propagate Monstera in winter?
Yes you can, but the cold weather and shorter days mean that the process takes longer and there’s a higher chance that the cutting will fail. If you’re using grow lights and heat mats then it shouldn’t be any different to propagating in spring or summer.
How to transfer propagations from water to soil
The roots that grow in water are different to those that grow in soil. Water roots absorb oxygen from water, so when you put them in soil, they’re not very efficient and the cutting can suffocate and rot.
To combat this we have to maximise the oxygen to the roots. Water roots can absorb some oxygen from the air, so the more oxygen that’s available to them the better.
Use an airy potting mix
Use an airy soil mix. A good quality chunky Monstera soil is perfect, but if you use store-bought houseplant potting mix add some aerating ingredients like orchid bark.
Use the right size pot
Don’t go for too big of a pot. Make sure the roots fit into the pot nicely – you don’t want them to get smushed, but you also don’t want a tonne of extra soil.
I find that watering my cuttings little and often is better than watering ‘properly’ and having too much soil means that it takes longer to dry out.
Water little and often
I water recently transferred cuttings with my pressure sprayer so that I can evenly moisten the soil without soaking it. As soon as the top of the soil is dry, I spray the top again.
This isn’t necessary, but I find it easier than trying to guess when to water.
And you’re done! Don’t be tempted to dig about in the roots or repot until you have new growth (or you think there might be an issue).
If you have any tips or questions feel free to leave me a comment below. Before you go, you might find these articles interesting: