One of my favorite parts of plant keeping is propagation. To me, there is nothing more rewarding than having a gorgeous mother plant and using the excess growth to create healthy baby plants.
Some of my favorite plants to propagate are philodendrons and monstera, but plants like spider plants and strawberry begonia are super fun too. In this article, we will be discussing monstera propagation, nodes, leaves, and roots. By the end of the article, I will have you making and growing cuttings like a pro.
Can I Propagate Monstera From a Leaf Without a Node?
This is a very commonly asked question and, unfortunately, the answer is no. When it comes to monstera plants, the node is the powerhouse of the plant.
All new growth will originate from a node. Many people do use monstera leaves as decorative pieces. They flourish when kept in water and are even known to grow roots and live for several months, but in this case, root growth is not a sign that a new plant is growing.
If you were given a monstera leaf without a node, or a particularly beautiful leaf was broken off of your mother plant, you can do some things to prolong its life and keep it as a beautiful piece of decor.
You will want to keep your leaf in a vase filled about halfway with room temperature water. I usually use water from my fish tank, but tap water can work just as well. Change the water in the vase every few days and wash the vase once a week to keep bacteria from building up.
Once your leaf has root growth it will be able to absorb water and some nutrients from the water column and should thrive for a few months. If you notice your leaf turning yellow or withering, it has likely reached the end of its natural life cycle and will need to be disposed of.
Can I propagate monstera from a node with no leaf?
While a node is necessary for propagating a new plant, a leaf is not. Some special care is needed when propagating just a node, but the plant should grow and flourish all the same in the end.
To care for a monstera node, you will want to keep it in a humid environment. This will keep it from drying out until the node is able to grow roots. I usually use a bourbon glass covered with plastic wrap, but plastic containers, ziplock bags, and terrariums can work just as well.
You will want to add sphagnum moss to whatever container you decide to use and place the node on top of the moss. Add a few small holes in the container or the plastic wrap to allow airflow and mist once a week.
You don’t want your node to get too wet while it is growing roots as this could lead to fungus or rot, so skip misting if it seems like the container is wet enough.
When growing from a node it may take longer for you to see roots or new leaves than it would if you were growing from a node and a leaf. This is completely normal as the plant isn’t able to photosynthesize and create energy. Don’t be surprised if your node takes a month or even two to put out new growth. As long as it still seems healthy, it is working on it.
How to grow monstera from a node and a leaf
The ideal method of propagation for monstera plants is to start with a leaf and a node. While this isn’t always possible when ordering expensive plants online, or when receiving cuttings as a gift, it is the method with the most success.
There are several options for growing your new cutting into an adult plant if you have a node and a leaf. I will outline them here and leave you to pick the method you like best.
This method will forever be my favorite for propagating monstera, philodendrons, and scindapsus. Simply place the cutting into a glass, or cup with the bottom inch of the cutting in the water and the top portion of the stem and the leaf out of the water.
I have had about a 98% success rate when using this method. I believe some of my success is due to the fact I use fish tank water which is full of nutrients and healthy bacteria, but I know a lot of people have equal success with tap water.
If you keep a fish tank and are able to use fish water, I would rate this as the ideal method.
At the first sign of root growth, you will want to move your monstera into soil and let the rest of its roots form in the soil mixture you plan to use once it is grown. W
hile you can allow a heavy root system to grow in the water, it will make it more difficult to acclimate it to soil later, as water roots and soil roots are slightly different.
Many growers have amazing success using sphagnum to propagate their monstera cuttings. I do currently have a monstera dubia growing this way and it seems to be thriving.
I received the cutting wrapped in moss and instead of trying to remove it to place it in water I simply left it as it was and placed it in an old plastic cookie container to keep in the humidity.
For me, this way takes more attention and more work as you can’t completely saturate the moss, but you can’t let it dry out either. However, if you aren’t a fan of water propagation, this is a great method.
LECA stands for lightweight expanded clay aggregate. This medium is great for plants like monstera that like to have aerated roots, but a lot of moisture. LECA absorbs water without placing much pressure or weight on your plant’s stems or roots.
Some of the pros of LECA are that it keeps things moist without keeping them soaking wet and it is a great medium for propagation. The cons for me are the cost and availability.
LECA isn’t available at all plant stores, and when it is it can be quite pricey. Many plant keepers rave about the use of LECA though, so if you want to give it a try, you may love it.
If you don’t want to mess with all these fancy propagation techniques, you can also place your cutting directly into the soil you will keep it in once it’s a mature plant. The ideal soil for this is about 25% coco coir, 25% orchid bark, 20% perlite, 10% activated charcoal, and 10% worm castings.
I would also dip the end of the cutting in some rooting hormone before placing it in the soil. I personally only use this method when I know I am going to be busy for the next few weeks.
It is a relatively successful method, I’m just impatient and like to be able to check for root growth. If you don’t feel the need to compulsively check root growth, this could be the perfect method for you.
Making your own monstera cuttings
If you have a mother plant that is getting too large for your space, you want cuttings for friends or family, or if you simply want more plants for yourself, knowing how to best make monstera cuttings can be a game-changer.
When I want to take cuttings from one of my monstera plants I usually choose a vine that is quite large and cut it back to 2 nodes above the soil line. This leaves plenty of room for new growth on your mother plant but should give you several nodes to work with for cuttings.
I take my vine that I’ve removed from the mother plant and gently rinse any lingering dirt from the stem and leaves. This is more for me to keep things clean, but I feel like the plants like it as well.
I then take sanitized shears and make diagonal cuttings about ½ inch to an inch above and below each node on the vine. This should leave you with several nodes and about an inch to 2 inches of the vine and a leaf for each one. The end cutting will sometimes have 2 leaves, which is completely fine.
Discard any vine pieces that are left on your counter from the cuttings and then place your cuttings in the medium of your choice. For me, it is usually either water or soil, but use what is best for you!
I find that my water cuttings usually begin to root in about 1-2 weeks and my soil cuttings usually take about a month but don’t be too worried if your cuttings take longer. Factors such as lighting, season, humidity, and temperature can also play a big part in growth rate. Since I live in Florida, where it is humid, warm, and bright, my cuttings tend to grow faster than my mom’s who lives in Indiana.