Monstera plants have become a very popular house plant over the last few years, with one of its attractions being its ability to provide a sizable jungle-esque interior in your own home. However, this can quickly turn into a problem, as Monsteras can soon become too big for your space.
Unlike other large houseplants that follow a tree-like upward growth pattern, Monsteras grow outward. But the good news is that Monsteras are built to climb, and training your Monstera to grow upwards can actually produce a healthier plant.
But how do you encourage Monsteras to climb? Although Monsteras can climb naturally, one of the best ways to get your Monstera to climb is to use some form of support. The best support structures are usually moss poles, coco coir poles, trellises and stakes.
However, you don’t have to exclusively use any of these, as Monsteras can adapt to all sorts of supports.
Does My Monstera Need Support?
When Monsteras are young, they usually grow vertically, but as they get older and heavier this causes the leaves to trail and the plant to grow sideways.
In the wild Monsteras exhibit epiphytic growth, which means they can attach themselves to trees and other vertical surfaces to climb.
However, domesticated Monsteras can’t behave the same way, so if you’re looking to train your Monstera to climb, there are some tools you’ll need to use.
Most poles are perhaps the most popular and common means of supporting your Monstera. Since a moss pole has a natural texture, it is easy for the aerial roots to latch on to the pole.
Their natural finishes are popular with houseplant owners, as they blend in with the plant and can provide excess moisture in between waterings.
Coco Coir Pole
Coco coir poles are very similar to moss poles. They also feature a natural finish that can provide excess moisture – just be sure to mist the pole regularly to encourage climbing. In addition, coco coir poles can be stacked to accommodate an increasingly growing plant.
Trellises can also be an effective way to stake your Monstera, but be wary that even the most full and lush Monsteras can show the support stake.
Most trellises are made of either wood or metal, and can be found in different colours to accommodate your own preferences/interior design.
When staking your Monstera, it’s important you consider the anticipated height of your plant. If you want your plant to grow to the ceiling height, a moss pole won’t be a suitable long term solution.
A good alternative is bamboo stakes, which are rather inexpensive and easy to get hold of. Just keep in mind that slimmer bamboo stakes won’t be able to support the weight of a heavy Monstera.
It is also worth noting that if you’re using moss or coco coir poles, the aerial roots will bind to the pole quickly, but wooden/metal poles will take longer.
How Do I Attach My Monstera to a Moss Pole?
There are two points at which you want to anchor your Monstera stems to your moss pole.
Firstly, you’ll want to anchor the larger heavier stems. You can do this by using garden ties, which will need to be applied with the right tension – you don’t want it too tight as it will damage the plant, but it needs to be firmly secured.
Secondly, you’ll want to anchor the aerial roots towards the moss pole. You can guide them in a couple of different ways. If the roots are long enough, you can wrap or drape them around the support structure.
Once again you can use garden ties to keep the roots bound to the support – any new roots that grow will naturally latch on to the support structure.
When Should I Support My Plant?
Although you don’t have to provide any support to grow a healthy Monstera, many people prefer their plants to grow in a tree-like fashion, rather than a trailing vine.
It can be difficult to know when to introduce support poles to your Monstera, but luckily there are some telltale signs as to when you should start supporting the plant.
Sign 1: Aerial Roots Appear
When aerial roots appear, it’s a good sign that your plant is old enough and should be supported soon. As a Monstera ages, aerial roots emerge from the stems and dangle over the edge of the pot.
Some people dislike the look of aerial roots so they cut them, however, they’re a sign of a healthy Monstera.
The purpose of aerial roots is to act as an anchor for the stem to attach itself to the support system, which encourages the plant to climb. If you’re using a moss pole, the aerial roots will also absorb moisture from the air and pole to keep the plant hydrated between waterings.
Sign 2: Bent/Arching Stems
As Monstera matures, it produces larger, heavier leaves. Without support, these heavy leaves will cause the stems to start bending, and gravity will pull the plant down.
The Monstera will continue growing downwards, in a sort of vine-like notion. Heavier leaves can also cause the stems to snap, or topple the plant. To prevent this it’s worth staking your Monstera.
Sign 3: New Growth Appears Horizontally
There’s nothing wrong with a Monstera that grows horizontally. However, people usually prefer to train their plant to grow vertically as it will take up less room and follow a tree-like growth. If you start to see your plant growing outwards, it will be time to add a stake to your plant.
Sign 4: You’re Repotting Your Monstera
This isn’t a sign directly from the plants, but it is best to start staking your Monstera when you’re repotting. This is because it can be tricky to get the roots and stems to attach to a pole in an already established pot.
When repotting you can reposition the roots to ensure that there will be vertical growth, and avoid damaging the roots when adding the pole to the soil.