Monstera Roots: Types and What to Do About Aerial Roots

monstera roots closeup
Jones M/

Written by August Croft

Published: November 8, 2022

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What do you know about monstera roots? These iconic houseplants are of tropical origins and have unique vining methods of growing. The monstera deliciosa plant can reach huge heights outdoors, but even inside it can grow up to 10 feet tall. But have you ever noticed the unique roots that grow from your plant? Are there different types, and what do you do about roots that are growing above the soil? 

In this article, we will go over everything you need to know about monstera plants and how they grow. There are a few different types of roots found on the monstera plants and you can use this guide so that you know how to best take care of them and your plant as a whole. Let’s get started and talk all about these unique plants now! 

Types of Monstera Roots

Monstera Roots

Monstera plants have three different types of roots.

Monstera plants are unique in that they have multiple types of roots found in a single plant or species. But what are those different types, and what exactly do they do for the plant? Let’s talk about that now! 

1. Lateral-Subterranean 

The most common type of root on any type of plant has to be lateral-subterranean. These roots grow laterally from the plant, which often means vertically, into the soil or whatever the plant happens to be grown in. They remain underground, giving them their name of subterranean. Monsteras have lateral-subterranean roots and these are the roots that receive the most nutrients from water, fertilizer, and sunlight. 

2. Aerial-Subterranean

Another root type that monsteras grow has to be aerial-subterranean roots. This is the perfect combination of both aerial and subterranean roots, given the fact that this is a type of root that transitions from an aerial growing pattern into a subterranean one. Many people choose to train their monsteras to grow in this fashion, as aerial roots can be redirected underground. 

3. Aerial

The root type that causes the most concern for houseplant owners has to be aerial roots. These look like large ropes or fibers draping and hanging from your monstera plant, often brown in color rather than green. These roots do not need soil in order to thrive and many monstera aerials reach multiple feet in length. They will either attach to structures around it, such as a wall or trellis. Or aerial monstera roots will simply drape down from their pots, unstructured.

Why Do Monsteras Grow Aerial Roots?

Monstera Roots

You may have already noticed some aerial roots growing on your monster plant.

Monsteras grow aerial roots because they are vining plants. Aerial roots are useful for monstera plants because they provide structural support for outdoor-grown monstera plants. However, indoor-grown monsteras will also grow aerial roots because of their inherent nature and origin. Some indoor-grown monsteras will need their aerial roots so that they don’t fall down, especially plants over four feet tall!

Another reason why monsteras grow aerial roots is that they often grow in shady locations. Some monstera species are known as understory species, which means they live in the undergrowth and canopy of larger plants and trees. While monsteras can reach terrifying heights (some over 50 feet tall!), they still need aerial roots for proper nutrition and resource access.

Aerials are key for monstera plants to get the necessary moisture and other nutrients from their environment. Constantly in search of sunlight, water, and other nutrient sources, monstera aerial roots grow long and strong. They are a necessary survival tool for wild monsteras in their natural environment, but aerials are not really paramount to an indoor monstera’s survival.

Can I Prune My Monstera’s Aerial Roots?

Monstera Roots

You will need to repot your monstera once the roots start growing out of the bottom of the pot.

Yes, you can absolutely trim the aerial roots from your monstera plant. No matter the species or cultivar, an indoor-grown monstera doesn’t necessarily need its aerials. Given the fact that they can grow quite long and often obstruct the space around your monstera plant, you may be inclined to prune these roots frequently.

Contrary to popular belief, you won’t harm or damage your monstera plant if you trim its aerial roots. Remember that it has subterranean roots as well, and these are responsible for feeding your monstera plant… so long as you are giving it adequate water and sunlight in the first place!

Some monstera plant owners take the time to reroute their aerial roots into the soil. Another option is to use your monstera’s aerial roots as support or structural vines as it grows larger. This is something you could do, but it is often easier to simply trim any aerials and give your monstera another means of support.

Can I Propagate a Monstera From Aerial Roots?

Monstera Roots

You can easily propagate monstera cuttings, but not monstera roots.

While you won’t be harming your monstera plant if you choose to cut its roots, the aerial roots of the monstera plant also won’t be of any use to you once they are cut. You can’t propagate a new monstera plant from aerial roots, though it’s incredibly easy to propagate a monstera in other ways. Leaf cuttings are the most common way to grow a healthy new monstera plant!

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About the Author

August Croft is a writer at A-Z Animals where their primary focus is on astrology, symbolism, and gardening. August has been writing a variety of content for over 4 years and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Theater from Southern Oregon University, which they earned in 2014. They are currently working toward a professional certification in astrology and chart reading. A resident of Oregon, August enjoys playwriting, craft beer, and cooking seasonal recipes for their friends and high school sweetheart.

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