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Rotating plants is one of those things that often isn’t really discussed because it’s something we kind of do subconsciously.
OR we don’t do it because the plant only really fits into it’s spot if it’s round the right way. FOr example, I don’t rotate my Monstera because if it’s not round a certain way it strokes my face whilst I’m watching TV, which is fine my me, but touching plant leaves isn’t good for them and can damage them over time.
Do I need to rotate my Monstera?
You absolutely don’t need to rotate Monstera. If your Monstera is getting the right amount of light and decent care then it doesn’t need to be rotated.
I know this is contrary to what a lot of plant people say BUT Monstera are doing VERY well for themselves. They grow wild all across the tropics, and have travelled very far from their native Mexico. Sure, humans moved them, but they’ve rooted themselves.
Aaaaand, as I’m sure you’re aware, wild Monstera cannot rotate themselves.
And they’re growing just fine.
We grow plants for aesthetic reasons (I mean, by and large). And we don’t grow them like they grow in the wild (unless you are growing it up a big tree, in which case, feel free to not rotate it).
We also like them to grow in a bushy fashion, which is actually contrary to how they want to grow, which is just up, and not out at all.
If we rotate Monstera we can make them look a bit bushier as they grow. It’s hard to dictate where the new growth points will be, but as new leaves unfurl they *tend* (not always, because that would be too easy) to grow towards the light, so by rotating new growth towards the sun, we can try to influence the shape out plant grows in.
Emphasis on the word ‘try’.
When should I rotate my Monstera?
A lot of the advice out there recommends rotating your Monstera monthly, and that’s, you know, great.
However, if you’re trying to influence how your Monstera grows, and the direction if the new growth, you’re perhaps better off rotating the Monstera when the new growth point is emerging. When you see a new leaf emerging, turn the Monstera so that the sun is shining towards where you want the new leaf to end up.
Bear in mind that you can’t really influence this that much – you might be able to convince the new leaf’s general direction, but also…leaves grow however they like. We can just take the general principle that leaves grow towards the light, and, er, hope.
Monstera front vs back
In the wild, Monstera have a front and a back. The leaves grow out of the front, and the aerial roots grow out of the back.
The reason for this is simple: they’re growing up something.
The aerial roots grow out of the back because the back is where the tree is that the Monstera is climbing up is. That the roots need to attach to.
Even in the aerial roots grow out of the front, they’ll still end up growing towards the back, because their goal is to adhere to the tree.
The leaves grow out of the front, because they can’t exactly grow through a tree.
It doesn’t always work like that when you’re keeping a Monstera at home. The need to have a clear-cut back and front isn’t really there, so they just grow however they like.
Consistency of conditions may also be a factor here. In the wild, they’re more likely to produce one leaf and one aerial root per node. In our homes, they might not bother with an aerial root if the humidity isn’t high enough and/or there’s nothing for them to climb.
Sometimes they don’t bother producing a leaf, but will start producing aerial roots from random nodes.
There IS something governing this, but we’re just not party to it.
Also, in young plants with flexible stems and nothing to climb, the stem can twist towards the sun.
I don’t think that they necessarily have to have a front and back in a physiological sense, it’s more that the way they grow in the wild means that they just kind of do. The way they grow in homes means they can grow fuller.
You can rotate your Monstera, but you don’t need to. If it’s stretching towards the light, you can rotate it, but for optimal growth you’re better off moving it to a spot where it doesn’t need to grow towards the light.
If you’re after bushy growth, rotating it so it’s full on all sides CAN help, but also plants grow how they want and convincing a vining plant to be bushy is more about going above and beyond with care than simply rotating it.