Also known as the Swiss Cheese Plant, Monstera has taken the world by storm as plant lovers everywhere seek out new varieties to add to their houseplant collection. But as people share cuttings of their favorite plants, this inevitably leads to questions on which of these are going to work – and which, well, won’t. And one of the main questions that potential new plant owners have is whether you can propagate Monstera without a node.
It’s understandable why this is such a hot topic of discussion among houseplant enthusiasts. After all, in case you haven’t heard, Monsteras are tropical vining plants known for their delightful foliage. These plants develop dramatic holes and splits, called fenestrations, in the foliage as they mature. Some varieties like the much sought-after Monstera Thai Constellation produce heavenly variegated foliage in creamy white and green.
Safe to say, Monstera plants look amazing and there’s a reason why questions on how to propagate them are all over the internet these days.
Fortunately, as you’ll see, learning how to propagate Monstera plants is relatively simple once you understand how to do this. Spoiler alert: make sure you take a cutting that contains a node necessary to spur new Monstera growth.
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Can you propagate Monstera without a node?
Propagating Monstera without a node isn’t possible. This is because nodes are the area on the stem or vine of a plant that contains the cells necessary for growing new leaves, lateral branches, and aerial roots. Because this spot on the vine produces rapid cell growth, it is the birthplace of any new plant parts.
This means that you need a node to propagate a new Monstera plant – but don’t worry, there are plenty of nodes along the stem of your plant.
All plant stems or vines are made up of two sections: nodes and internodes. Each section serves a different role in keeping your plants healthy and productive. Understanding the difference between nodes and internodes and the function they serve is important if you want to propagate your Monstera plants.
And while I’ve just covered what nodes are, it’s important to know what internodes are too.
That is, internodes are the sections of the vine or stem between the nodes. Importantly, internodes cannot produce new plant parts and can’t be used to propagate your Monstera plants. The internode is simply the main stem or vine that grows and stretches as your Monstera plant grows taller.
Basically, if you’re asking whether you can propagate Monstera without a node, you probably are in possession of an internode. Unfortunately, internodes will not produce roots and cannot be used to propagate a new Monstera plant.
Why does my Monstera not have nodes?
All plants have nodes. If your Monstera plant has leaves and aerial roots, it has nodes. The node is simply the area on the stem or vine that produces new plant parts like leaves, branches, and aerial roots.
Some sections of the vine or stem do not have nodes and that is exactly how it should be. Your plant needs some areas without nodes (called internodes) to provide support for the foliage and for your plant to grow properly.
How to check for nodes?
Look closely at the stem or vine, and you will notice slightly thickened spots where the new leaves or aerial roots sprout. Not all nodes will have new vegetation sprouting from them, but they are the area on the plant that can produce new shoots.
A node generally looks like a slightly knobby ring around the stem and is usually brown. It may have a leaf or aerial root sprouting from it, or it may show signs that an older leaf was attached here and has since fallen from the plant.
A node may also have tiny white bumps. These are aerial roots that are just beginning to grow.
How do you get a node in Monstera?
Nodes are part of the natural development of your Monstera plant. If your Monstera plant receives proper care and is growing as it normally would, it will produce nodes along the stems and branches on its own.
Keeping your Monstera plant healthy will ensure that it produces plenty of nodes to sprout new foliage and aerial roots. Sometimes, however, your Monstera plant may produce elongated internodes which naturally result in fewer nodes spaced farther apart for new plant growth.
What causes elongated internodes on a Monstera?
If your Monstera plant is producing elongated internodes and fewer nodes, it is time to check that you are giving it the care it needs, particularly relating to its light, nutrient and heat needs. Insufficient quantities of these can cause elongated internodes, with plants that have these often being referred to as “leggy”.
This means that there is a lot of space between sets of leaves and the stems or vines become stretched and thin.
Here are some reasons your Monstera plant may become leggy and appear to have fewer nodes for new plant growth.
A Monstera plant that needs more light reacts by stretching towards the light source to meet its lighting requirements. Stretching for light is one of the most common reasons a Monstera plant becomes leggy and has elongated internodes.
To fix this, move your Monstera plant to an area that receives more light. Monsteras thrive in bright light but suffer in direct sunlight, especially if it is the afternoon sun. In particular, your Monstera plant may thrive in direct light in the morning from an eastern window.
Aim for placing your Monstera in an area that is brightly lit from a sunny window, but where the rays of the sun do not shine directly on the plant.
To test this, hold your hand (with your fingers spread) about 12 inches from the plant between the plant and the light source. A shadowy outline of your hand with fuzzy edges means your plant is receiving bright light.
Monstera plants prefer temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees. When temperatures climb above 80, the plant may react with rapid growth and get ahead of itself. If it grows too rapidly, the stems may elongate and become thin creating a leggy plant.
Avoid placing your Monstera plant in a location where it overheats in the afternoon sun.
Too much nitrogen
Plants need nitrogen to grow, but too much nitrogen can cause the plant to grow faster than it should. This often results in long, spindly stems or vines with elongated internodes.
Use care when fertilizing your Monstera plant to avoid over-fertilizing it. Use a balanced fertilizer and avoid high nitrogen formulas.
Your Monstera plant relies on a healthy root system to support lush growth. When the roots become overcrowded in the pot, they cannot perform their key role of carrying water and nutrients to the plant.
Root bound Monstera plants may react by developing abnormal growth patterns and become leggy with elongated internodes.
An overcrowded pot is definitely a good indicator of when it’s time to repot your Monstera. To do so, put it in a plant pot that is 1 to 2 inches larger than its current pot. A pot that is too large can lead to waterlogged soil that encourages root rot in Monsteras.
Can you propagate a leaf without a node?
You cannot propagate a leaf without a node. This is because a node is the only place on your plant that is able to produce new growth. Although a leaf originally grew from a node, the leaf (and its stem) does not contain a node. That means there is no place for new growth to start.
Given that you cannot propagate a Monstera without a node, you also can’t propagate a Monstera plant from a leaf alone. This means that if you accidentally break a leaf off your Monstera plant, toss it in the compost as it will not develop roots no matter what you do.
However, if your leaf also contains a section of the stem and there is a node on the stem, it can be rooted in a glass or vase of water or in a pot of moist soil.
Can a Monstera cutting without a node grow roots?
A Monstera cutting without a node can grow roots if placed in water or moist soil. However, the cutting needs at least one node to grow. As such, while roots may grow, the plant itself will not grow any further.
For example, take a look at this Reddit thread for a picture of someone’s Monstera cutting that they say they left in water for nine months. As you’ll see, it’s sprouted roots but hasn’t (and won’t) become a full plant.
You can find out more about growing a Monstera in water here.
How to take a proper node cutting
Because your cutting needs a node in order to sprout new roots and grow into a new Monstera plant, it is important to learn how to take a proper node cutting. Here’s what you need to do.
- Select a healthy, green stem with at least one or two leaves. The cutting needs the leaves to perform photosynthesis and help the new plant grow.
- Locate a node on the stem. The node is thickened and may have a brown or dark green ring around the stem. A node may have one or more aerial roots forming or growing at the site. Likewise, the node may have evidence of an old leaf that has been removed or fallen from the plant.
- Make a clean cut with sterilized clippers or a clean, sharp knife about ½ inch below the node. Cutting slightly below the node leaves plenty of room for roots to grow.
- Place the node cutting in a glass or vase of fresh water, so that the node is submerged in the water. If your node has aerial roots, they can be put under the water, too.
- Change the water every 3 to 5 days or whenever it becomes cloudy or discolored.
- Watch for new roots to sprout from the node within a few weeks.
- Plant the cutting in quality Monstera soil mix when the roots are 2 to 4 inches long.
How do you propagate a single Monstera leaf?
You cannot propagate a single Monstera leaf as neither the leaf nor its stem will have a node that is necessary for new growth. Because of this, it will not form roots and will not sprout new leaves or transform into a new plant.
Of course, it’s natural to want to save a gorgeous Monstera leaf if it gets broken off the plant. You may even think you can root it and create a whole new plant. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
If you can’t bear to discard a beautiful Monstera leaf that has broken off your plant, put it in a vase of water. The leaf will be attractive and can survive for weeks in the vase.
Do you need an aerial root to propagate Monstera?
An aerial root is not necessary for propagating a Monstera plant. All the stem cutting needs is a leaf or two and at least one node. It does not matter if the plant node has an existing aerial root or not.
A Monstera’s aerial roots help them cling to trees and climb to the canopy in the rainforest. Your plant will do the same inside your home, particularly if you’re using a Monstera moss pole to help it grow.
Aerial roots sprout and grow from nodes along the stem or vine of your Monstera plant for climbing purposes. If your cutting for propagating your Monstera plant contains an aerial root, the aerial root will often sprout tiny roots, too.
While propagating a Monstera without a node unfortunately isn’t possible, locating and selecting a node when making a cutting is not difficult. This is especially the case when you understand the difference between nodes and internodes.
And once you have mastered the art of identifying a healthy plant node, you will soon be on your way to propagating new Monstera plants whenever you like.