The monstera originates from the tropical rainforests of Mexico – they like bright, indirect sunlight and can tolerate average temperatures between 18-25C. Also known as a Swiss cheese plant, the monstera is recognisable for its broad, heart-shaped leaves and their distinctive perforated pattern. A monstera plant will give a room an unbeatable, bold punch of lush greenery with its sculptural, leathery fronds. The monstera shape has been used in the interiors world as a popular motif on everything from bedding to wallpaper, but it’s the real deal that does it for me.
My monstera plant has happily sat in a corner, demanding very little attention apart from a water every now and then (about once a week). It’s grown from a small pot plant to a lush, sprawling tangle of stems and glossy foliage in a matter of two years or so. It was getting a bit out of hand – if you were sitting on the end of the sofa nearest the monstera it felt a little like you were hiding under a jungle canopy. No wonder its Latin name translates as ‘monstrous’ (the ‘deliciosa’ bit refers to the edible fruit it can make). These guys grow fast – over 9m in height in the right conditions.
A monstera’s rapid growth and resilience makes them it the ideal plant to propagate from – that means taking cuttings from a mature, mother plant to create smaller, new plants. It has allowed me to fill the house with even more beautiful greenery and it’s given a new lease of life to the older plant.
The best time to propagate a monstera plant is in the spring and summer months when it’s actively growing. You will know when your monstera plant is ready for propagation when the gnarly roots start growing outside the pot from the stems. It may be that your monstera is growing too much in one direction and is looking a little lopsided, or maybe it’s getting too tall and can’t support itself anymore – propagation can help rebalance it, just like you might prune a hedge. You can also use a moss pole to keep a monstera plant upright, but it’s always nice to share the green joy around the house right?
Propagating a monstera plant starts by taking a stem cutting. Don’t just chop at random – make sure to cut your stem below an aerial root or leaf node (you’ll see the one above has a long root that was in the soil and a smaller little nodule where another root is starting to take shape).
Cut the stem at an angle to increase the amount of water it can uptake in the next step.
Then simply place your cutting in a clean vase with water. I used a transparent vase, like this small rounded vase (*aff), so I could see the growth but I’m not sure if that is necessary. Fill the water so the aerial root or node is covered. Then leave it in a light position, out of direct sunshine, and watch and wait…
It will take a few weeks for the first shoots to come out. Remember be patient – propagating can be a slow process but the rewards are so worth it. In the meantime, a monstera in a vase makes a beautiful display – I didn’t need to buy fresh flowers for months!
Someone on Instagram advised me not to change the water – I guess the cutting needs to retain some of the nutrients in there. If the water was looking a little low I just topped it up with some fresh water.
Once there was a lovely tangle of pale coloured roots, the monstera cutting was ready to be repotted into soil. The cutting had even grown a new, bright green leaf while it was in water!
Caro and Rose from my favourite book ‘The House of Plants’ suggest using a compost with coir to retain moisture and rock dust and worm castings for essential minerals. I didn’t really know where to start with any of that, so I just used some compost from the garden, but anything that gives your cutting the best start is a good idea. The Kent & Stowe gardening trowel (*aff) helps me look the part at least!
Plant your cutting in compost – you can add a bit of liquid fertiliser to help it on its way. Make sure to choose a pot with a hole at the bottom – like this grey terracotta plant pot from Arket (*aff) – as this helps with drainage. If your plant pot doesn’t have a drainage hole, you can layer up stones, gravel or potting grit at the bottom before adding your soil. But in my experience any plant I’ve had in a pot without a hole hasn’t lasted very well…
Pat down the top of the soil and make sure the monstera plant is positioned upright. Give the plant a water and voilá you’re done!
Now I’ve just got to cross my fingers that this one survives and thrives, just like the mummy plant.
To look after your monstera plant, water about once a week when the top layer of soil has dried out. You can also add some water to the saucer to allow the roots to collect it from there or mist it every now and then to keep the leaves healthy and shiny. Sometimes I give the leaves a wipe if they’re looking a bit dusty.
And there we go – I couldn’t believe how easy it was to propagate a monstera plant! What’s even better is it’s practically free – you don’t have to spend any money or buy something new to create an instant impact. If you’ve got one that’s looking a little overgrown why not give it a go?
I’m thoroughly enjoying bringing more greenery into my home and slowly nurturing something. It’s so satisfying seeing a plant thrive and evolve, rather than wither and die just by looking at it. Plants fill a house with life and a sense of vibrance; not only do they help purify the air, for me, they also make me feel good in a space just by looking at them. And once you have success with one plant, it’s oh so addictive!