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Monstera deliciosa, also known as the Swiss cheese plant, is a species of flowering plant native to tropical forests of southern Mexico, south to Panama. It is an evergreen climber with thick and strong aerial roots.
The plant grows well in warmer areas. If it is placed outside, filtered sunlight in the morning and shade during the afternoon.
It can also be grown indoors in cooler areas if it is sufficiently bright. If not provided with enough light indoors, the plant tends to not flower.
The plant needs a fresh top dress of rich soil annually but will be content for several years at a time even if it is root bound. Early spring before new leaves occur is when to re-pot the Monstera for the best results.
But does a monstera have invasive roots? We will explore that in the rest of this article.
Does a Monstera have Invasive Roots?
Monstera deliciosa does not have invasive or large roots. In fact, its aerial roots form a support system for the vines as they grow larger. They grow along the ground to reach for nutrients and water. This also provides stability to the plant.
In areas with high rainfall and temperate or subtropical climates, the plant can be expected to grow very quickly. With light and organic matter rich soil it can fully grow to 20 feet tall.
Monstera grows as a climber if it has vertical support. This would mean that it clings onto tropical trees and walls as it grows. Non tropical trees cannot bear the weight of the plant and tend to get damaged by it.
Depending upon how big you would want your monstera to grow, it can either be grown outdoors, if you have large outdoors and you live in a warm subtropical area. Or it can be grown in a pot.
If you want your monstera to grow to its full size, then it would be best not to grow it in a pot. Growing a monstera in a pot keeps it contained and makes managing the roots of the plant easier.
Furthermore, if the roots grow too long, and start coming out of the drainage holes in the pot, then they can be cut off without causing any harm to the plant itself.
You might consider pruning back the main stem of the Monstera once it gets too long to support. And you can root the cut off stem to make a new plant.
You may also like: How to care for a monstera
Will a Monstera Damage Walls?
As discussed above, the monstera grows as a climber on vertical support. A type of vertical support that a monstera can grow on are walls. But will they damage the walls or not is the more important factor here.
To answer the big question, a monstera does damage walls. The reason being that as it grows it rubs onto the walls around it and as a result will leave marks on them.
But this only happens when the larger branches touch the walls. They can damage the paint and even get into crevices under shelves or other furniture if allowed to run freely.
On the other hand, larger leaves are light and do not mark the walls like stems do. Even if they are in contact with the walls, it is nothing to worry about.
The problem arises when the plant thinks that the wall is a tree and decides to climb it by attaching itself with aerial roots.
You can slice or pull the roots loose from the wall if you want to avoid damage. Any leaf stem can be pruned off where it attaches to the main stem without harm to the plant.
You can also keep trimming the vines, so they are not in contact with the surrounding walls.
How to Stop a Monstera from Being Invasive?
Your monstera can be stopped from being invasive depending on whether it is being grown in a pot or on the ground. The growth of the plant is not affected by where it is being grown.
Growing your monstera in a pot is convenient for stopping the roots from being invasive. They can be a perfect indoor plant if given the appropriate conditions required for them to grow.
These conditions include placing them in a position which receives filtered bright sunlight. Being careful about how much you water a monstera is also important. Overwatering it results in its leaves turning brown or black.
The stem of a monstera growing in a pot can simply be cut to control the plant from becoming too large. Cutting the stem does not hurt the plant or hinder its growth.
Preferably, a piece of stem with a leaf below a node should be cut. You should also try to look out for a piece with an aerial root. This helps cutting to root faster.
The cut off pieces of stem can be placed in a jar or water or in some potting soil outside. Keep its soil moist for the first few weeks until the cutting establishes roots.
Post support can also be added to pots. The climber will grow up the post support. It is another very convenient way for stopping the monstera from being invasive. This will keep the root system in the pot as small as the leaf width (or smaller).
Vertical supports help the plant grow upwards instead of spreading out too much horizontally. The horizontal spreading of the plant takes up lot of space and is more difficult to manage. It results in the roots becoming more invasive.
The pot size can then be gradually increased over every couple of years. Or you can cut the plant back to keep it happy in the same size pot.
It is crucial to refresh the potting soil every 2 years even if you are not increasing the pot size. Any excess can be shaken off and fresh soil can be added to replace the nutrients and prevent the soil from becoming compressed.
You could also use Monstera’s natural tendency to grow towards the light to keep it growing upward.
If you notice that new leaves are stretching in the direction of the light source, you can rotate the plant so that those new leaves are on the side away from the light source.
As the leaves reverse direction, they will grow toward the centre of the pot and help to balance it.
A monstera is a rather simple plant. It grows in subtropical climate areas with high rainfall. It can grow both indoors and outdoors but that depends on where you live.
The aerial roots and stem of the plant can be invasive as well as damaging to the walls. The large leaves of the plant are neither invasive nor do they damage walls in any way.
With the help of just a few easy steps both problems can be avoided. These include growing your monstera in a pot, trimming the plant often and training it to grow on a support structure like a moss pole, coco coir pole, or trellis.