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Monstera are epiphytes, so they’re designed to grow up something, attaching as they go using their aerial roots. Without support (even i it’s just their own aerial roots) they’ll fall over and you risk the stem snapping.
Repot your Monstera so the stem is pointing up
This sounds absolutely ridiculous, but it’s what I had to do.
I recently repotted my Monstera because the stem was basically lying on the soil, not helping anyone. It was too much weight on one side and made it lean. So I repotted and now the stem is upright:
I’m so glad she stopped growing ridiculously long petioles (they’re three times as long as the entire stem, and for what?). See that ridiculously long aerial root that I’ve planted? That only had a couple of inches above the soil before. I hope it’s ok!
I know it sounds obvious, but try replanting your plant so that the weight is distributed more evenly. If your plant has been growing in a certain direction (without being rotated) for a while, it could really help, and take like five minutes.
Add a moss pole
I’m not that big of a fan of moss poles, because they only look good if the plant is growing in a nice shape.
(Also, if your plant has 10 cm of stem and a metre of petiole it won’t help much at all)
Look at Smaug:
Technically he’s a Philodendron golden dragon, not a Monstera, but you’ll see that a moss pole does indeed keep him upright.
But that’s it. He’s still feral.
Golden dragons have a bizarre growth pattern, reminiscent of the numbers round on Countdown: ‘I’ll have one big leaf and four little leaves please, growing on any node you fancy’
Moss poles keep plants upright, but they do not keep them tidy.
Add a trellis
Trellises can be an amazing addition to a home, especially if you want to make your Monstera into a feature and grow it up a wall. Ideally, if they’re being used to anchor your Monstera and keep it upright, you’re better off attaching it to a wall rather than keeping it in the pot.
For one thing, trellises are usually wood and if it hasn’t been treated they might rot in soil, and for another, Monstera are HEAVY. A trellis small enough to fit in a pot may not take the weight.
THAT BEING SAID
A DIY trellis made from bamboo canes and string can work pretty well, because you can distribute the canes evenly around the pot.
Secure it by planting the aerial roots
This is my preferred method. As your aerial roots grow, direct them down into the soil (they are quite brittle, so don’t force them if they won’t bend).
Once in contact with the soil, they’ll start to root themselves, not only providing an extra leg (as it were) for the Monstera to stand on, but the roots will grip the soil, giving both stability and energy to the plant.
Some people swear that planting the aerial roots makes the plant grow more leaves, but the Monstera in the photo above has literally more planted aerial roots than it does leaves. Never mind.
How to attach Monstera to a moss pole
There are a few different ways, and a few ways that you, er, shouldn’t do:
1 – Greening pins
These are best used with those coir moss poles – they’re actually my preferred method for those because if you do it properly they’re the most invisible.
These things are super cheap and come in variety of different sizes. I got mine from my local garden centre but you can get them from Amazon.
I didn’t know they were called greening pins until I looked them up. We truly do learn something every day.
Yesterday I learned something amazing and hilarious - there's a stray cat that lives in a cemetery near my parents - it was abandoned and is a MENACE. He comes over purring, gets a couple of strokes and then bites you - he's got everyone in town, and my dad twice. Anyway, some lady just went and grabbed it, and he's called Scout and they're best mates. I know it doesn't sound that funny, but the comments were full of traumatised victims who couldn't believe she'd just gone and got it. Made my day.
These don’t work in anything that isn’t solid enough to jab with a metal pin, and they do sometimes need pushing back in, but they work pretty well.
2 – Rubber-covered wire
Another solid option, but I find it a wee bit bulky – great for heavy stems though. it also comes on a roll and you cut it to size, so good if you need to tie a thick trunk
3 – Plant ties
These are basically pipe cleaners. They can bear less weight than the rubbery wire BUT you can twist them together so they’re more, er, reusable. Sure, you can cut the wire to size, but you can’t stick it back together again.
These come in fairly short lengths but you can twist them together to make longer ones.
You can also use those little twist ties that you can use to secure plastic bags:
These work best on plastic moss poles or trellis, because they’re not long enough to go all the way around a coir one BUT you could twist a load together if you fancy.
4 – it’s own aerial roots
This only works if you have high enough humidity to get the aerial roots to grow all fuzzy, because that’s how they adhere.
If you have SUPER high humidity, aerial roots will stick to just about anything. If you have anything lower than that, then aerial roots will only stick to something they deem worthy – walls are a favourite, but they quite like wood.
They don’t tend to like to adhere to coir moss poles, but they could be convinced to wind around a trellis (again, humidity is key to keeping the roots supple and stopping them from hardening off and becoming inflexible).
They will grow into moss if it’s kept moist*.
*Not easy to do, but I find misting them every day avoiding the leaves) is the least hassle.
5 – Zipties
Don’t discount the classics! Just make sure they’re quite wide/flat – we don’t want them cutting into the stem.
A lot of people swear by plant tape, which is like a roll of velcro, but I’ve not personally tried it.
Ribbon is an option, because it’s nice and wide and won’t cut into the plants, but it won’t last long getting wet all the time. Don’t use string – it can cut into plants.
I’ve also seen people using sellotape to tape aerial roots to planks of wood, and it’s my preferred way to train my Dubia (she has some leafless stems – don’t tape over your leaves).
Add weight to the pot
A lovely reader once left a comment making an excellent point on an article about why you shouldn’t put gravel in the bottom of pots.
If your pots keep falling over, make them heavier. Add rocks (in the bottom or on top), put the plant in a heavier pot, whatever. Just make it heavier.
This is especially important for those of us that like to put our Monstera outside in the summer.
Reduce the internodal spacing
This is just a fancy way of saying ‘get it to grow more leaves’.
Having a more compact, bushier Monstera, will give it stability at the bottom, whereas leggy Monstera get top-heavy quickly. As Monstera grow up, their leaves get bigger, and they can bend and break the stem or petioles if you’re not careful.
So, how do we grow a bushier Monstera?
Increase the light
Light = energy. The more light you give a plant, the faster they grow. Be sure to rotate your Monstera so it grows evenly.
Increase the humidity
Humidity can encourage larger and better conditioned leaves. They’re less likely to be plagued by crispy edges too.
Keep the Monstera warm
It doesn’t want to overheat, but keep it at tropical temperatures (this will also help with humidity). A grow tent is ideal, but a heat mat will work too.
Keep it well watered
By which I mean, don’t under or over water. A Monstera growing quickly will through a lot of water. Ideally, I would aim to keep the soil damp all the time, but use a really airy soil mix so there’s plenty of airflow and we don’t get root rot. Add in some worm castings for food as well.
Chop n prop
If your Monstera has gotten very unwieldy, then you may be better off chopping off the top-heavy top growth, rooting it, and starting again. You can pot the cutting back in with the mother, but Monstera roots are BIG and you may find yourself needing an enormous pot.
One of my Monstera is three cuttings in one and the pot is gonna need to be huge (I’d separate them, but I don’t need another two Monstera).
It may seem like you’re wasting a lot of good growth if you chop of a large section BUT the plant will grow back quickly (if you care for it well) because it already has the root system to support fast growth.
I hope that was helpful – if anyone has any tips and tricks for keeping Monstera upright, we’d love to hear about them, so please leave a comment.
Any OG readers remember when I was growing my Thai in the aquarium and I pegged her up?
Don’t worry, she doesn’t have to endure such nonsense anymore.
I hope that helps in your quest to keep your Monstera upright. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments.
Before you go, you might find these articles useful: