A mature Monstera plant displaying its extensive aerial roots reaching out for support.
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Thriving Monstera Aerial Roots in Water

Monstera aerial roots have always been a topic of fascination for plant enthusiasts. These unique roots, which grow above the soil, play a crucial role in the plant’s survival and growth.

But how do they thrive when placed in water? Let’s delve into the world of Monstera aerial roots and uncover the mysteries behind their affinity for water.

Key Takeaways:

  • Monstera aerial roots are not harmful and provide support to the plant.
  • These roots can be trained to grow back into the soil or directed towards a support structure.
  • It’s essential to understand their natural function to provide optimal care.
  • Submerging aerial roots in water can be detrimental if not done correctly.

Understanding Monstera Aerial Roots

What are Aerial Roots?

Aerial roots grow above ground and are classified as adventitious roots since they emerge from the stem.

These roots offer anchoring support, reach for light, and absorb moisture and nutrients from the air. They are commonly found in epiphytes, tropical swamp trees, and vining plants, including the Monstera.

Why Do Monsteras Have Aerial Roots?

In their natural habitat, Monstera deliciosa plants use their aerial roots to attach to tree trunks for support, allowing them to grow higher and access brighter light. These roots also absorb moisture and nutrients, providing the plant with essential resources for growth.

Caring for Aerial Roots in Water

The Benefits and Drawbacks

While some plant enthusiasts believe that submerging Monstera aerial roots in water can boost their growth, it’s essential to approach this with caution.

The theory is that the roots can absorb more moisture, promoting a healthier plant. However, these roots are not designed to be permanently submerged. Doing so can lead to root rot, which can harm or even kill the plant.

For optimal care, it’s best to focus on maintaining the right moisture levels by watering the soil. Monsteras have moderate moisture needs, so always ensure the top few inches of soil are dry before watering deeply.

Watch this video to learn more about Monstera Aerial Roots in Water.

Close-up of Monstera aerial roots delicately submerged in water within a transparent vase.

Training and Trimming Aerial Roots

Directing Roots Back into the Soil

If you’re not fond of the appearance of aerial roots, you can train them to grow back into the potting medium. This allows the roots to continue absorbing nutrients and offers support without the need for external structures.

Trimming Aerial Roots

Monstera aerial roots grow rapidly and can become quite long. If you prefer a neater appearance, it’s perfectly fine to trim these roots. Ensure you use sterilized, sharp shears to prevent the spread of diseases.

Remember, more roots will grow back over time, so occasional trimming might be necessary.

Incorporating Support Structures

Monsteras naturally climb, and their aerial roots can be trained to grow against walls, shelves, moss poles, and other trellises.

Young roots are flexible but mature, woodier roots might need some encouragement. Trellises make it easy to guide the roots, while moss poles might require misting to promote attachment.

Here’s another insightful video on Monstera Aerial Roots.

The Science Behind Aerial Roots

How Aerial Roots Function

Aerial roots are specialized structures that have evolved to serve multiple purposes. Here’s a breakdown of their primary functions:

AnchoringAerial roots provide stability by anchoring the plant to a support structure, such as a tree or trellis.
Nutrient AbsorptionThese roots can absorb nutrients from the air, especially in humid environments.
Moisture CollectionAerial roots can collect moisture from the surrounding environment, aiding in hydration.
Monstera plant with aerial roots in water

Benefits of Submerging Aerial Roots in Water

While it’s not a common practice, some plant enthusiasts have found benefits in submerging Monstera aerial roots in water:

  • Increased Moisture Absorption: The roots can absorb additional moisture, which can be beneficial in drier environments.
  • Stimulated Growth: Some believe that the added moisture can stimulate faster growth in the plant.
  • Aesthetic Appeal: For some, the sight of aerial roots in a clear vase or container filled with water can be visually appealing.

However, it’s essential to monitor the roots closely for any signs of rot or distress.

Challenges and Solutions

Submerging aerial roots in water is not without its challenges. Here are some common issues and their solutions:

Root RotEnsure the water is clean and change it regularly. Avoid submerging the roots permanently.
Algae GrowthUse filtered water and keep the container out of direct sunlight.
Limited OxygenConsider using a water aerator to increase oxygen levels in the water.
Monstera aerial roots showing signs of distress and discoloration, indicative of root rot.

Tips for Healthy Aerial Roots

  • Regular Inspection: Check the roots regularly for any signs of disease or distress.
  • Clean Water: If you choose to submerge the roots, use clean, filtered water and change it regularly.
  • Avoid Overcrowding: Ensure the roots have enough space and aren’t tangled or overcrowded.
  • Provide Humidity: Monsteras thrive in humid environments. Consider using a humidifier or placing the plant in a naturally humid area.

For more advanced care tips, check out this video.


While the practice of submerging Monstera aerial roots in water is still a topic of debate among plant enthusiasts, it’s clear that these unique roots play a vital role in the plant’s overall health and well-being.

By understanding their functions and providing the right care, you can ensure your Monstera thrives for years to come!

Common Questions About Monstera Aerial Roots

Can You Propagate from Aerial Roots?

Unfortunately, you cannot propagate a new Monstera plant from just an aerial root. For propagation, a cutting containing a node (where the leaf meets the vine) is required.

Why Doesn’t My Monstera Have Aerial Roots?

Young Monstera plants might not have developed aerial roots yet. As the plant grows and matures, these roots will start to appear.

Why Are My Aerial Roots Shriveling?

If your Monstera’s aerial roots are shriveling, it could be due to physical damage or inadequate care. Ensure you’re providing the right growing conditions for your plant.

For more insights on Monstera care, check out this article and this helpful guide.

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