Monstera plants are easy to propagate, but if you have a Monstera cutting with no node on it, you might be wondering whether it is possible to grow your plant from it. Can you encourage a Monstera to grow without any nodes at all, or do you need to go back to the main plant and get a new cutting?
Unfortunately, a Monstera cutting with no nodes cannot grow. It must have at least one node protruding from the main stem because this is what will start to develop when you take the cutting. A Monstera leaf may manage to grow roots if you put it in water, but it can never develop into a new plant.
Can I Grow A Monstera From A Cutting Without Nodes?
You must have a cutting with nodes if you want to grow a new Monstera plant; this is crucial and non-negotiable.
If you take a cutting without and put it in water, it will stay fresh for a long time (provided you keep changing the water) and it might even develop some roots.
That looks so hopeful, but unfortunately, this plant will not grow. The node contains the genetic information that the plant needs to grow new leaves and stems, and without this, it cannot produce more of either. It will remain as it is, even if it develops healthy roots and you transfer it to soil.
It is therefore very important to ensure that your cutting has at least one leaf node on it. Without this, you are wasting your time in trying to propagate the plant, because it will never be a success. You must have one node or more to create a new Monstera plant.
What Does A Node Look Like?
To get an idea of what a node looks like, it’s worth taking the time to inspect a Monstera plant. Look at the point where a leaf, aerial root, or stem branches off from the rest of the plant. Every single one of these points happens at a node – the place that has the genetic information to grow a new leaf or stem.
This usually creates a “V” shape, a sharp angle where the node joins onto the main plant. It should be reasonably easy to locate, and as long as you have at least one of these nodes, your Monstera cutting should thrive, provided that you look after it properly.
If you have accidentally broken part of your Monstera plant off, take some time to inspect it and see if it has any nodes. If it does, that means you have a chance of getting the cutting to root and grow properly. If it doesn’t, the cutting may root, but it will not grow into a new plant.
How Do You Take A Cutting With A Node?
If you’re looking doubtfully at the “V” and wondering how close you should cut it, you aren’t alone. Many people are uncertain when it comes to taking cuttings and often end up cutting too close to the node as a result.
Taking a cutting is a 3 step process:
- Sterilize your shears – to avoid transferring any bacteria to the plant or the cutting. You can use boiling water to do this.
- Identify the area that you are going to cut – the ideal cutting will have one to three leaves, an aerial root, and a node or more. Some people do propagate these plants with just the nodes and stems, but this isn’t easy and is very much slower than if you also take a leaf, so try to find a part of your plant that makes this possible.
- Cut about three inches below the “V” point – to insure you aren’t doing any damage to the node. Cut a neat, clean line right across, and do not snap or tear the plant, as this does more damage and often invites infection.
When you have made the cut, you should be left with your main plant, and then a piece of the plant. The very best cuttings will contain multiple nodes, a few leaves, and several aerial roots, as this gives the new plant everything that it needs to grow strong.
However, if your main plant is still young, you probably won’t be able to achieve this. As long as your cutting has leaves and a node, it should take, although aerial roots give it a better chance.
Do your best to locate a possible cut that contains all three, and at the same time does not ruin the shape of your main plant.
Do I Need Aerial Roots And Leaves?
If your cutting is just a piece of stem with a node on it, you might be wondering what your chances of success are.
As long as you have a node in place you can make it, however, chances are not as good as they would be if you had the leaves and the aerial roots.
These two parts of the plant serve two very different purposes, but both will help your cutting to grow quickly. Let’s look at what they do.
The leaves help the plant to photosynthesize, which is important because photosynthesis is how it makes its food. This will help the roots to grow more quickly, and once the plant is becoming established, it won’t have to grow leaves before it can start making food.
There should be enough energy in just the node and stem to make roots, and with roots, the cutting will start to grow. However, it will be far less efficient in gathering energy, and it will take a lot longer to get going because it has a whole extra step – growing leaves.
Because it takes more time to develop, you may find that you are waiting months for your Monstera cutting to start looking like a proper plant. There is nothing you can do to speed this up, so it is best to take a cutting that has at least one leaf it can use to start photosynthesizing straight away.
If you only have a stem and a node, it’s still worth trying, but be aware from the start that it’s going to be a long road.
- Aerial roots
Why do these help a plant? They help because what your new cutting needs most is subterranean roots, and aerial roots can develop into these. When an aerial root comes into contact with soil (or another damp growing medium), it will start to develop subterranean roots from itself, and these will grow outward.
This happens much faster than if the stem must produce these subterranean roots, and reduces the amount of time during which your plant has no roots.
As soon as it has subterranean roots, the plant can start drawing in moisture and nutrients, feeding itself, growing deeper roots, and supporting foliage. The aerial root makes this process quicker and increases your chances of getting a healthy plant from your cutting.
If your cutting does not have aerial roots, don’t panic, because it should still succeed provided that it is healthy. However, it is a great idea to get at least one aerial root in your cutting if you can.
Can You Have Too Many Nodes?
Having more than one node can be useful but you don’t want so many that you are cutting off huge sections of your main Monstera plant.
The nodes are the growth points of the plant and you need at least one, but you don’t need hundreds. Your plant will start to develop its own with time. There is no disadvantage to having a lot, besides the fact that you will be significantly chopping into your main plant, but there are no major advantages either.
If you have a cutting with lots of nodes, leaves, and aerial roots, consider separating it into several cuttings instead. As long as these have some of each thing, they should grow!
Can You Have Too Many Leaves?
Yes, you can. In general, three leaves are about right for a cutting. You might be wondering why, but if you think about it, the Monstera must support these leaves and supply water and nutrients to keep them fresh and strong.
They are draining your Monstera’s resources, which will already be strained in trying to produce new roots, now that it is not attached to the main plant. You don’t want to add extra stress to that system.
Although leaves will provide energy, they also take it, so finding the right balance is key. If your cutting has too many leaves, simply remove some so that it can focus on growing roots, not supporting foliage.
Can You Have Too Many Aerial Roots?
Roots still require some support, but not nearly as much as leaves, so you don’t need to worry about aerial root numbers. However, do be aware that long, older aerial roots don’t propagate as easily as young ones.
You should remove any roots that are mushy or moldy, and only leave strong growth on the cutting. If a root cannot be submerged in water/soil, don’t worry; you can still leave it on the cutting, even though, it is the roots that can be submerged that are helpful.
Some people recommend removing aerial roots, but most cuttings will take better if they have at least one. It will produce subterranean roots much more quickly than the Monstera’s stem will, and this reduces the risk of your cutting dying before it can gather water and nutrients for itself.
On the whole, you don’t need to worry about the number of aerial roots on your cutting. As long as there is one, it should be fine – and if you can’t get a cutting with any, it’s still worth trying to see if the stem will root instead.
To propagate a Monstera plant, you must have a cutting with a node. This is the part of the plant that produces growth, and it is crucial. Without it, your cutting will be unable to produce new growth, even if it manages to root.