House Plants/Overgrown Philodendron Monstera Needs Support
i started a philodendron monstera from seed bought from park seed many years ago. i had no idea how it would grow. i have staked and tried to support it as it has grown over the years. the moss pole leans as it cannot support the weight of the plant. as shown in the attached photo could you provide suggestions on how to support it going forward? the main branches have gotten thicker, curved and bent also. also, would the plant be harmed from cutting the aerial roots? your advice would be greatly appreciated. thank you.
In nature, Monsteras are vining plants that grow along the ground, sending out aerial roots that attach themselves to the damp rainforest floor. This allows them to travel long distances. In some instances, they attach themselves to the damp bark of forest trees and climb that way. This is a vining plant and not a tree or shrub. Thus, it it is not disposed to grow upright. In effect, what you are trying to do goes against its nature. (If your home was as humid as a rainforest, the walls would be constantly damp and your Monstera would probably climb your walls!)
Your Monstera is very healthy and very out of control as a houseplant. You can build elaborate frames and inserts stakes, but your Monstera will eventually outgrow all of those, as well. Frame and supports are more of an engineering than horticultural matter.
The only practical solution is to prune back your Monstera to the height and length that you prefer. The pruned off portions can be rooted in water, damp soil or in the base of your existing plant. Pruning will not harm the plant. It will only alter its appearance. Pruned stems develop new shoots just below the pruning cut and grow up from there. Thus, regular pruning is a requirement for keeping this plant from becoming unruly. Its ultimate size and shape depends on your pruning.
The aerial roots serve o purpose for Monsteras that are planted in pots. They can be cut off an discarded without harm to the plant.
I have written a detailed article on pruning that I will email for free to you (or anyone else) who emails a request to me at wcreed@HorticulturalHelp.com. I have also written an indoor plant care book in a PDF format that I can sell you if you contact me at my email address.
Please let me know if any of this is unclear or if you have any additional questions.
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Will Creed, Interior Landscaper
Horticultural Help, NYC
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