Split leaf philodendron propagation

Propagating Monstera Deliciosa: Swiss Cheese Plant Cuttings And Seed Propagation

Swiss cheese plant (Monstera deliciosa) is a creeping vine that is commonly grown in tropical-like gardens. It is also a popular houseplant. While the plant’s long aerial roots, which are tentacle-like in nature, will generally take root in soil with ease, propagating Monstera deliciosa by other means can also be achieved. In fact, Swiss cheese plant can be propagated through seeds, cuttings or air layering.

How to Propagate a Swiss Cheese Plant by Seed

Monstera deliciosa propagation can be done by seeds, germinating within a few weeks. However, the seedlings are extremely slow to develop. In addition, the seeds may be difficult to come by, as it can take anywhere from a year or more before mature fruit is produced by flowers. The small, pale green seeds also have a very short shelf life, unable to dry well or handle cool

temperatures. Therefore, they must be used as soon as possible.

Seeds can be started much like any other plant, gently covering them with a thin layer of soil. They should be kept moist but don’t worry too much about light. They have an odd way of growing away from light, instead reaching towards dark areas in search of something to climb on.

Rooting Swiss Cheese Plant Cuttings

Monstera is more commonly propagated by stem cuttings. Swiss cheese plant cuttings are easy to root. With cuttings, you have the option of rooting them in water first or simply sticking them straight into the soil. Cuttings should be taken just after a leaf node, removing the bottom-most leaves.

Then either root the swiss cheese plant cuttings in water for a few weeks and transplant to a pot or partially bury the cuttings directly in the soil itself. Since they root so easily, there’s no need for rooting hormone.

Other Methods for Monstera Deliciosa Propagation

You can also propagate a Swiss cheese plant by dividing suckers into foot-long (.3 m.) sections. These can then be gently pressed into the soil. Once they sprout, you can transplant them wherever you want.

Air layering is another method for propagating Monstera deliciosa. Simply wrap some damp sphagnum moss around the stem where an aerial root and leaf axil are located. Tie a piece of string around it to secure it in place, then enclose this in a clear plastic bag with air vents and tie it off at the top. You should start seeing new roots appear within a few months. At this time, you can clip it off and replant elsewhere.

How to Propagate Monstera Deliciosa and Create Your Own Jungle!

Making more Monstera plants….

Ever wondered if you can propagate Monstera deliciosa (swiss cheese plant) and make a cheeky new plant?

Well, you can and it is surprisingly easy. In fact if you have an existing Monstera getting a bit monster-ish it is the perfect opportunity to give it a prune and grow more Monstera from the cuttings.

Mama monstera

And who doesn’t want more plants if they can get them for free!

My propagating experience…

Last week I wrote about how I inadvertently became Mother of Monsteras and created a monstera jungle.

This post distils what I learnt from that experience and focuses on how to propagate Monstera from stem cuttings.

When I pruned my Monstera plant I took around twenty cuttings:

  • Some of these I thought of as ‘junior’ plants and included the growing tip of the vine, some stem, several mature leaves and aerial roots.
  • Others were very minimal and simply were short section of stem with no leaves or aerial roots.

The propagation process for both was the same the only difference being that the ‘junior’ plants definitely established themselves more quickly. I was very surprised at how effective the basic stem cuttings were. I had an almost 100% success rate.

There is another propagation technique called air layering where you can propagate Monstera in situ using sphagnum moss wrapped in a plastic bag. GardenHat has a good explanation of this technique.

  • Monstera cutting with leaves, aerial roots and stem
  • Monstera stem cutting with 3 nodes

The 2-minute low down on how to propagate Monstera

How to propogate Monstera deliciosa.
What you need: a Monstera deliciosa plant, sharp scissors, a pot of soil or water.

  1. Take a stem cutting

    Choose a stem cutting with several nodes or leaves. Some aerial roots are helpful but not essential.

  2. Choose a growing medium

    You can propagate your cutting in water or soil. Water works just as well as soil and has the advantage of being easier to check progress.

  3. Warm and bright

    Keep your cutting in a warm, bright location.

  4. Keep fresh and moist

    If growing in water change the water out regularly. If growing in soil, give it a regular water to keep the cutting moist.

  5. Forget about it!

    It may take a while for any growth to sprout especially if you have taken the cutting during the winter dormant period.

  6. Pot up

    When you observe established new growth such as some roots and an unfurled leaf, pot up into a suitable container.

The in-depth 10-minute guide on how to propagate Monstera

If you are like me and the words ‘just bung it in a pot’ spark fear in your heart and you are a certified over thinker (how deep, how long, what soil, where, when, how?????)…..don’t worry! I’ve got you too.
Make yourself comfy and settle down as I address all the little niggles and questions that you have below in detail with lots of photos.

What parts of a Monstera will propagate?

Monstera can be very easily propagated from stem cuttings. When selecting stem, you must look for sections of stem that include at least one node.

The nodes are brownish circular rings on the stem from where a leaf used to be; it is here that new leaves and roots will form. Each nodal area can support one leaf and multiple roots.

  • Monstera stem with 2 nodes
  • Monstera stem with new growth sprouting from a node
  • A section of stem around 20 cm long with 2-3 nodes offers plenty of opportunities to sprout new roots and leaves; the longer the piece the greater its energy store with which to power new shoots.
  • The smallest piece I have propagated from was probably 5 cm long with one node
  • If a piece of stem has a leaf sprouting off that is the node; further growth such as roots can spring from there. New leaves on that section will develop from your current leaf’s petiole.

What parts of Monstera won’t propagate

Not all parts of your Monstera plant will propagate to make new monstera babies. This includes:

  • Leaves with no stem attached
  • Roots or aerial roots with no stem attached
  • Stem with no nodes and no leaves

What will help a Monstera cutting establish quickly?

The more parts of the plant that the cutting includes the faster it will become established in its own right. Therefore when selecting where to cut try to include:

Monstera cutting after 6 months on with a mass of new roots

  • One or more leaves as these help increase its growth potential and the speed with which it will establish itself.
  • Roots or aerial roots. Aerial roots in water or soil will develop regular roots as offshoots and this will increase the plant’s ability to draw up water and nutrients. Don’t worry if the thick brown outer covering of the aerial roots sloughs off, this is normal.

Just remember that some portion of stem with nodes must be present, trying to plant a leaf will result in nothing!

What affects propagation success?

Overall Monstera cuttings are very tolerant of growing medium, position and conditions but there are definitely variables you can tweak to increase either the likelihood or speed of success.

Time of year

You don’t need to specifically time when you take a cutting but bear in mind that your cutting may be slower to get started in winter when plants are usually dormant.

Time frame

The first thing to say, is that patience is key. Some of cuttings will root straight away and throw out new leaves in quick succession. Others can go through a long dormancy period. Often Spring will kick start previously dormant cuttings.

See below about how to check that your cutting is still healthy despite it doing bugger all!

Light and warmth

Monstera cuttings benefit from warmth and brightness and will sprout fastest on a warm, bright windowsill. I’ve seen suggested that Monstera cuttings need a heat pad to start them off but in my experience that is not true. However, it is possible that a heat pad might speed up the propagation process.

Moisture

New leaf sprouting from existing leaf

If in soil they also need to be kept nicely moist but not wet – they don’t like wet feet and will rot. Feel their soil once a week and if it feels dry give them a light drink. There is no need to cover them with a plastic bag as is sometimes suggested.

Size of cutting

Longer or larger stem sections with more nodes tend to produce more new growth with multiple new stems sprouting. This is important as Monstera is a vine plant and grows along one long stem. If your cutting develops leaf sprouts on multiple nodes these will each develop as a stem leading to more bushy growth at a compact size.

Hormone rooting powder

In all honestly, Monstera cuttings are so incredibly easy to root that I don’t recommend using hormone rooting powder.

Growing medium

Stem cutting sprouting a new leaf underwater

The advantage to propagating in water in a glass jar is that you can see any new growth immediately. However larger cuttings that include leaves and aerial roots are probably best going straight into soil.

Water choice

You can use regular tap water but be wary if your tap water is very hard and do not use artificially softened water. Rain water or distilled water is also be fine.
Submerge most of the stem section in water, leaves and roots quite happily sprout in the water.

Soil mix

Monstera stem cuttings potted vertically in soil

Use a light, free draining potting compost and as the plants got older use a more hummus rich mix.

The easiest way and most space efficient way to pot cuttings in soil is to plant stems vertically with just the top inch above the soil.

I worried that some stem nodes needed to be above the surface in order to sprout new leaves but that wasn’t the case at all. New leaves sprouted under the soil level and had no problem pushing to the surface before unfurling.

Potting up

If you have multiple stem cuttings sharing a pot, then as soon as they start developing new growth you should pot them up on their own. My experiences suggest that Monstera are fairly robust and don’t not object to being disturbed if you handle them carefully.
You don’t need to leave any of the original stem cutting above the soil level and can bury it all for a neater look.

Baby Monstera plant propagated from a stem cutting

Trouble shooting

Being me, I couldn’t let well alone and kept digging up my cuttings – hence why water works better for me! I was like an enthusiastic puppy worrying a bone…. What I noticed was that I could tell which cuttings were doing OK because they remained firm and a bright green colour.

Signs your so far entirely dormant cutting is actually doing well

Monstera stem just before a new sprout emerges

You will be able to see when your cuttings are getting close to sprouting because the stem will look increasingly swollen and bumps around the nodes will look more pronounced.

Signs that your cutting is not happy

Cuttings not doing well may start to rot and go black and squishy. In which case trim off the black until you have firm flesh and repot in fresh soil and don’t let it get as damp – if the cutting is only small you may need to throw it all away.

  • A blackened stem section just starting to feel ‘squishy’
  • Same stem section trimmed back to healthy plant material.

Alternatively, rinse and repot in water as this will let you monitor them more closely. You may find that switching mediums is effective at halting rot.

Cuttings that lose their fresh green colour and start to go wrinkled are drying out from not enough moisture. To resolve this, water well, place in a well lit position and consider repotting in water rather than soil.

My monstera family

Mama Monstera, my original plant, is so large she can’t be moved for pictures however here is a picture of all her babies in various stages of propagation from juniors, to babies, to fresh cuttings.

My monstera family

Your Monstera Family

I’d love to see pictures of your progress and to hear how you propagate your Monstera. What has or has hasn’t worked for you. Do you have any questions, did I miss anything out?
Post pictures on Facebook, twitter or insta and tag us to let us know how you are getting on! #MakingMonsters.

When I was a kid I used to dream about the house I’d eventually live in.

It would have a mirrored hallway filled on either side with a tangle of greenery – Boston ferns, spider plants, palms and that 80s staple, the Monstera (which we knew in New Zealand as fruit salad plants – don’t ask me why).

But, by the time I left home at in the 1990s, something terrible had happened. Bar the ubiquitous ficus, plants had gone out of fashion.

Though, to be honest, by that stage I was too busy drinking Coruba rum and Coke (or suffering from Coruba rum and Coke-induced hangovers) to keep plants alive anyway.

Fast forward to the next millennium, and – hurrah – the urban jungle look is back with a vengeance. Once again it’s cool to surround yourself with ferns and foliage, petals and props, and this time I was NOT missing out.

I had a lovely Monstera plant before our building work started last year, but after all the craziness of the renovations she was in a sad state – battered and bruised and smothered in builders’ dust, the leaves burned where they’d been pressed up against our hall radiator.

I tried to nurse her back to life, but it was clear she’d seen better days.

Then I remembered what I used to do ‘back in the day’, when Mum taught me how to take cuttings of plants, propagate them in water until they sprouted roots, then plant them in soil.

I knew that some plants were better at growing from cuttings than others so I did a quick search and – according to Google – Monstera were one of the easiest plants to grow hydroponically (in water alone).

I selected a few of the newer, undamaged stems and cut them an inch below a node (the lumpy join where a new shoot comes off from). I put the stems in a vase of water, popped in by a sunny window, and waited…

With two weeks, white roots began to bud on the stems (I meant to take a photo, but totally forgot to do it before I replanted them, grrrr!). I let them grow for a few more weeks, topping the water up every few days until the roots were a few inches long and looked nice and strong.

I bought a cheap plastic flower pot and some indoor plant potting soil. I started with some pebbles on the base of the pot for drainage, then added a couple of inches of soil.

Next, I carefully removed the Monstera stems from the vase of water in one big bunch, and placed them into the pot. Holding the stems upright, I sprinkled soil around the roots, then pressed the soil down to compact it and hold the plant firmly in place.

Finally, I topped up the soil until it reached the rim of the pot, gave it another light press down, and gave it a good soaking of water.

So, there it is! How to grow a Swiss Cheese plant from a cutting.

It’s been a week now since Monstera 2.0 went live, and she’s looking absolutely fabulous, with big, green, healthy looking leaves. I’m so inspired by her success that I’m now attempting to propagate my Ceropegia (chain of hearts), which has started looking a little stringy.

I’ll let you know how it goes (or should that be… how it grows?!).

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Monstera deliciosa (Swiss Cheese Plant / Hurricane Plant)

Swiss Cheese Plant Care Guide

Light

Gentle sunlight is fine for the Swiss Cheese Plant, but harsh sun needs to be avoided as it will scorch and possibly yellow the leaves.

On the other side of things, dark gloomy corners need to be avoided too in order to prevent loss of the Swiss Cheese effect in the leaves and the annoying spreading effect that occurs in these conditions.

Watering

Only moderate levels of watering are required here. When you do water make sure you aim to get all of the compost evenly moist, then wait until it has almost dried out before watering again.

You’ll need to wait less time between watering’s during the warmer months of the year. Or if the plant has been positioned in a very warm and dry space because all of these things will increase the thirst of your Swiss Cheese Plant.

Humidity

It will take average to high humidity levels well, but will start to suffer if things are very dry for prolonged periods. Find ways that work for you to increase humidity if this is likely to be an issue in the spot you have chosen for it.

Feeding

Feeding is essential if you want new, lush green growth. Use any houseplant feed and use it it at normal strength no more than once a month during periods of active growth. Reduce the amount and frequency of feed if you’re finding your plant is becoming a monster and outgrowing its home too fast!

Temperature

Visible new growth will show whenever temperatures are regularly at 18°C / 65°F or above.

Although it will survive easily between 10°C / 50°F – 30°C / 86°F try to keep in the middle of this where possible to avoid temperature related problems.

Repotting

A young plant in its first pot will need to be repotted shortly after purchase. As is usual with most houseplants, find a pot which is a bit bigger than the existing one and using new compost pot it up into its new home. Don’t feed newly repotted plants for at least three months.

A small warning – think really carefully before you decide to upsize the pot of an established and mature plant. Because – Bigger Pots = A MONSTER Monstera deliciosa. You’ve been warned!

Propagation

You normally won’t want more than one of these in your home for obvious reasons, but if you really want to give it a go or want to take cuttings for friends, you can remove the growing tips from stems just below an aerial root node.

Once you’ve done this, plant the cutting (including the aerial root node) in a similar compost mix to what the parent was growing in and maintain similar conditions until established, before moving on to its new home.

You can also root the cutting in water. If you do this, then the roots should start to form after a few weeks, and after about a month or two they should be extensive enough for you to pot up into soil.

With these things, sometimes it’s better to see what we’re describing visually. So below is a great video by Crazy Plant Guy who shows you how to do it.

Speed of Growth

When the plant is in active growth (depending on temperature this is usually, during the Spring and Summer months) it puts out quite a few new shoots and leaves, especially if properly fed and watered with good light levels.

Height / Spread

With time comes a humongous beast. Up to 20m / 65ft high and the leaves can often reach between 25–90cm / 9-35 inches both in width and length.

Flowers

The Swiss Cheese Plant belongs to the arum family, so the flowers it produces is typical in appearance to the many other plants within this family i.e. pretty unremarkable as flowers go.

Unremarkable, except for two points. Firstly if fruits are produced on your Monstera (rare indoors) you can eat them once ripe! Do some research first though, because eating the fruit before it’s fully ripe isn’t good for you (at all!).

But what does it taste like you ask? Well it’s supposed to be a (delicious) cross between banana and pineapple mixed with hints of various other tropical fruits.

Secondly a large Monstera will produce a proportionally large flower which can be a fun talking point if not something overly pretty to look at.

Is the Swiss Cheese Plant Poisonous?

Monstera leaves and roots are toxic to people, cats and dogs. This is a result of the calcium oxalates found in the plants sap.

Fortunately the purpose of calcium oxalates is to make the plant taste unpleasant to stop people or animals from eating it, so most of the side effects of eating Monstera are superficial at worst, such as a sore mouth, lips or tongue.

Anything Else?

The Swiss Cheese Plant looks fantastic with shiny, polished leaves. Make sure you clean it regularly to keep this attractive look.

How to Care for a Monstera Plant Summary

  1. Average Light Levels An adaptable houseplant that will do well in moderately lit spaces.

  2. Moderate Watering Water well and then wait until the soil is almost dry before watering again.

  3. Temperature Average room temperatures are fine.

  4. Feeding Feed once a month.

Swiss Cheese Plant Problems

Leaves and stems growing into dark places

This is often a confusing thing to see, as almost all plants will grow towards the light, not away from it. However if light levels are quite low the young leaves and shoots on Swiss Cheese Plant’s will often grow towards even darker areas, which is known as negative phototropism.

Basically they’re seeking the really dark spots because out in the wild of the tropical rainforest this is where the tall trees are standing. Once reached the shoots will clamber up them to get to the top of the open and much brighter canopy (clever no?).

In our homes the dark spots are obviously going to stay dark. So if the creeping and spreading is really bad, either fold them back into the main stem, remove these shoots completely or consider a brighter spot for the plant in general.

Dripping / Crying leaves (guttation)

After it has been well watered, you may find water droplets have formed and collected at the leaf tips. This is know scientifically as guttation and is typically harmless. If the plant is very large with many leaves it may get a bit messy.

It’s caused by a lot of water being available around the roots so the cure for this is to ease up a little on the watering.

Yellowing lower leaves

In 80% of cases this is caused by it either being too cold, too much watering or a combination of both. Keep above the minimum recommended temperature and reduce the amount of water you give, or wait longer before giving it some more. In the other 20% of cases, the yellowing leaves are just the natural shedding of old leaves and is nothing to worry about.

Yellowing leaves elsewhere

If the yellow appears in random patches the culprit is likely harsh sunlight. Another possibility is if the yellow is appearing with brown spots then it could be underwatering.

The final most likely cause of yellow leaves is underfeeding. Small pots with no fertiliser, while restricting the growth, will eventually cause the Swiss Cheese Plant to suffer. If you don’t want to (or can’t) repot your plant, then feed sparingly every couple of months and you should start to see an improvement.

Aerial roots

In general the only beautiful roots you find on houseplants that you actually want to see, are those of the Moth Orchid. So having brown creeping roots appearing higher up on Monstera stems might not be your cup of tea.

In the wild they function to help anchor the long weak stem to nearby structures such as trees and provide additional access to water and nutrients. Indoors, under your careful care and attention, this isn’t such a big issue so you have three choices:

  • One you can leave them as they are.
  • Two you can cut them off.
  • Three you can try to guide and tuck them into either the soil if they’re long enough, or into a moss stick.

Of the options, number three is probably the best for the plants health. However the Swiss Cheese Plant is robust and removing the aerial roots is unlikely to do long term harm.

My Monstera is too big!

Yes it does that I’m afraid! Pruning doesn’t really give a neat and tidy look, so the only real solution is to restrict it’s growth by only feeding sparingly and keeping it in a smallish pot. Keep the roots restricted and you will limit the amount of green leaf growth.

No holes in my Swiss Cheese Plant

The leaves of young plants or on very new stems are usually uncut with little or no perforation. The cut effect will come with age. If you have a mature Swiss Cheese Plant then the most common cause is too little light and possibly underfeeding. You may also not have a genuine Monstera and perhaps been sold / given a Philodendron, which looks very similar when young.

Brown leaf edges / Papery tips

Brown tips can be a sign of overwatering, but if this is indicated you’ll get yellow leaves too.

If the brown effect appears on its own then it’s almost certainly caused by very dry air, cut the dead brown bits off and increase humidity to prevent further damage. Check your choice of placement too, for example. if it’s next to a radiator think about moving it while the radiator is in use over Winter.

About the Author

Tom Knight

Over the last 20 years Tom has successfully owned hundreds of houseplants and is always happy to share knowledge and lend his horticulture skills to those in need. He is the main content writer for the Ourhouseplants Team.

Also on Ourhouseplants.com

Credit for the ripped leaved Monstera deliciosa close up – Article / Gallery – 1:1

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