Houseplants forum→Monstera : from tall and hearty to long and leggy....

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emmawrong
Jun 4, 2018 10:11 AM CST
Hi all!

I've just read through a lot of the archives of helpful monstera posts from the last few months but none of them quite cover what I'm hoping to get some help with. Sorry in advance for the length of this post, but here's some background/all the info I can think of that might be relevant to the progression of my monstera.

I've had my monstera for about 2 years and have given it low to moderate attention which seemed to be great until the last few months.

When we first got it in spring 2016 from IKEA I repotted it a total of two times (first right away then again about 4 months later because it had gotten so big) and it was thriving sitting next to the west-facing windows in our apartment. It got massive very quickly and had huge dark green leaves, lots of vertical growth and required minimal attention to stay looking happy and healthy. (photo 1 - sorry about these older photos, I don't have pictures from back then specifically of the plant).

When we moved in early 2017 I relocated it to the far side (20 feet?) of our west facing bedroom where it still got decent light but less than it used to. It seemed like it was doing alright in the bedroom for a while, but looking back now this is definitely when it started to get very leggy - looking at the two photos I could find, one from June and one from September there's a marked difference in how the leaves have started to grow towards the windows. (photo 2).

During these two periods we were occasionally trimming back leaves for size management, and removing dead-ish looking leaves.

It happened so gradually that I didn't realize how bad it was getting until late 2017. I moved it to our west-facing dining room where it would be closer to the windows, first about 8 feet away. This is when I really noticed how flat and spread out and leggy it was very quickly becoming. It was growing completely horizontally at this point, so much that to get through the dining room you would need to take a wide berth walking around the whole plant. I thought if I moved it into the corner right next to the window it would encourage more vertical growth since it had done so well at our old apartment being directly in a west facing window.

As of today it has been in the corner for about 5 months but it is still growing totally horizontally; the stems are very thin and super long and the leaves are much much smaller and lighter green than they used to be. I didn't know until reading these forums that monstera is a vine so that gives me some small comfort but my plant just doesn't look as happy as it used to. The last 3 pictures were taken today.

Did I wait too long and let it go too far, or am I just worried about the aesthetics of a now differently- shaped but otherwise healthy plant? I don't know where to begin if I were to trim back leaves at this point so I would love any suggestions about how to get my once hearty plant back.

Thank you so much and my apologies again for how long this got. :-)

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Name: Lin Vosbury
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)

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plantladylin
Jun 4, 2018 12:09 PM CST
The natural growth habit of Split-Leaf Philodendron (Monstera deliciosa) is not upright; it is a vine that sprawls and crawls along the ground until it finds a tree or other structure, to which it clings and climbs.

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Name: Will Creed
NYC
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WillC
Jun 4, 2018 1:47 PM CST
Your Monstera is healthy, but in need of pruning to keep it under control. As you have learned, and as Lin has pointed out, this is a vining plant that resists growing upright. Pruning long stems is the best and only way to keep a Monstera fuller and more compact.

Any stem can be pruned at any point. New growth will then emerge at that point. So, generally, it best to prune some of the stems back to within a few inches of the pot.

The pruned off cuttings will root quite readily in water or when inserted in the existing pot.
Will Creed
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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Jun 4, 2018 2:05 PM CST
Looks like one happy and vigorous plant! I used to have that plant, quite easy to grow and always does that, so finally understanding how vining it grows and the roots such escape artists I have decided not to grow them anymore.

Too hard for me to contain its growth in a container as it seeks much brighter light.

I guess your best option is to always do frequent pruning. and turn the container around from time to time so all sides gets good light access.

emmawrong
Jun 4, 2018 5:36 PM CST
Thank you everyone! I really appreciate the advice.
Name: Gene Staver
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gasrocks
Jun 4, 2018 5:51 PM CST
I'm sorry but my initial reaction looking at the pix is pity for that poor plant that needs more light. Gene
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purpleinopp
Jun 6, 2018 8:14 AM CST
If you were hoping to get large, mature, split leaves, moving your plant to the left a bit so it's right in the window would help. Vines almost always need help to be upright entities, from a stake or trellis of some type. None of these are my pics/vids, but they should give you an idea of what a potted plant can do:
https://foter.com/explore/larg...
http://www.greenobsessions.com...
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?...
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pipkinse
Jul 30, 2018 1:45 PM CST
Hi there - I have a similar problem but before I do any cutting I want some advice! I just inherited this beauty and as you can see the vine is really long, I'd like to cut and repot it. Would it survive if I cut 8 inches or so below the lowest stem and put it in a new pot?

It has been through a bit of trauma with the move so I think I'll leave it be for a few weeks.

-Sally

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Name: Will Creed
NYC
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WillC
Jul 31, 2018 6:46 AM CST
Hi Sally - I would suggest making two cuts. The first would be an inch or two above the soil. New growth will them emerge at that point and grow upward from there. No need to repot or change the soil. This will give you plant a new start and eliminate all of the legginess.

I would then make a second cut below the third leaf from the top. This tip cutting with 2 or 3 leaves and a couple on inches of bare stem below can then be rooted in water, in the base of the existing pot, or in its own small pot filled with damp potting mix.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

pipkinse
Jul 31, 2018 2:27 PM CST
Thanks Will!

Ld101
Apr 9, 2020 4:56 PM CST
Help! I think I have the same issue. My plant doesn't have many of the holes and it just looks all over the place. Should I cut it right back to almost start again? Should I not have put the pole in? Any advice to make this a full hearty healthy plant would be greatly appreciated!
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Gina1960
Apr 9, 2020 5:12 PM CST
I am in the more light community. Mine in the greenhouse climb everywhere. But hey man look what I found on my run today? THIS. I used to run this corridor daily when my kid was in high school, her school was at the end of this road. There are a lot of older homes here, and a lot of UF student rentals too. I never recall seeing this before but it must have been here in situ a long while. Just hanging out in full sun. Its obvious they have to trim it to keep it in the limited flowerbed space. But LOOK at those leaves! One even has a small stripe of true variegation, which is too weak to last.
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And HEY YA its even BLOOMING!
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
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WillC
Apr 10, 2020 8:40 AM CST
@Ld101 - Welcome! Your Monstera is in remarkably good condition given the very minimal light it receives in that location. In reduced light, plants tend to grow quite tall and leggy, as your has.

New growth is limited to the ends of each stem so you rarely get new growth lower down to fill out the plant unless you prune back some of the stems. A pruned stem or vine will produce new growth at the point where you make the pruning cut. Tip cuttings from pruned stems can be inserted and rooted in the base of the plant. That will help fill out the bottom a bit more.

Do what you can to move it closer to and in front of an uncovered window for sturdier new growth.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

Jacquiwarha
Feb 24, 2021 12:43 AM CST
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The stairs up to our deck were removed yesterday while I was at work & didn't get a chance to save the monstera which was growing all over them. We have tied a small section of it back on the new ones, will the work? I feel I'm being optimistic๐Ÿคž

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