Learn What To Do With A Leggy Monstera

(Image credit: Kseniia Soloveva)

Monstera is an aptly named plant that can grow up to 70 feet (221 m.) tall in its native habitat of tropical North and South America. In the home environment, it typically doesn't surmount 6 feet (2 m.), but the plant can tend to get leggy. Leggy Monstera can be rehabilitated with a little know how. Pruning leggy Monstera isn't difficult, but the sap can be irritating, so gloves are recommended. 

Leggy Monstera deliciosa is a common occurrence. Houseplant growers may wonder, "why is my Monstera leggy?" The plant has a rapid growth rate and low light requirements. In severely dim rooms, the plant will naturally stretch to get some light. It may also have an excess of nitrogen, fueling vegetative growth. Fortunately, fixing a leggy Monstera is as simple as arming oneself with nice, sharp pruners and a little know how. 

Why is My Monstera Leggy?

Monstera is native to warm, tropical jungles where it climbs up trees that provide support. So, it is normal to have a very stretched out plant. When the plant doesn't produce a thick canopy of leaves though, it is putting too much energy into stem growth and not enough into foliage production. 

In this instance, rehabilitation pruning is necessary to help the plant produce a thicker stand of leaves and a stronger stem. When stem growth is too fast, this important support is not adept at holding the weight of the plant. 

Pruning a leggy Monstera deliciosa will also help control its size and get rid of old leaves that may be yellowing. 

Tips on Pruning Leggy Monstera

This jungle dweller is quite stoic and not prey to many diseases or pests. It does grow rapidly and will hit your ceiling if unchecked. The best time to prune most plants is when they are dormant. For many houseplants, such as Monstera, winter is the time the plant is resting and not actively growing. 

As it begins to warm, the plant starts to grow again. So, pruning in late winter to early spring will create the least damage and stress to the plant. Make sure you have sharp, clean pruners to avoid introducing any disease or extra damage. 

How to Prune a Monstera

If you want to check the plant's growth and encourage thicker foliage, start by cutting off any dead or damaged material. Then decide how tall you want your plant to be. 

Remove no more than one third of the plant for best results. Cut below a growth node to save propagation material. The node is just below the leaf axil and will appear as a little bump. Remove leggy growth from all the stems for a better, finished look.

In time, aerial roots will grow from the cuts and new shoots will form, resulting in a more densely leafed plant. Save your cuttings and place them in water to develop roots, and you will have new Monstera plants. 

Bonnie L. Grant

Bonnie Grant is a professional landscaper with a Certification in Urban Gardening. She has been gardening and writing for 15 years. A former professional chef, she has a passion for edible landscaping.