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How to Prune a Monstera Deliciosa

By D.C. Winston ; Updated September 21, 2017

Monstera deliciosa is a species of tropical perennial plant belonging to the arum family. It has a large-scale vining growth habit in keeping with its native jungle origins. Commonly called the Swiss cheese plant because its large, deep-green leaves sport round and ovoid holes on either side of the main vein, Monstera deliciosa can be grown outdoors as a specimen plant or indoors as a dramatic houseplant.

Maintenance prune your Monstera deliciosa as needed throughout the year to remove dying or damaged leaves and/or stems. Monstera leaves will begin to yellow and brown around the edges and curl slightly when they are declining. Occasional frost can also damage the foliage which may necessitate removal of a leaf or two. Use clean, sharp secateurs to remove the leaf and stem all the way down to the main trunk. Cut away any leaves that have drooped to the point that they touch the ground. On very mature and large plants, powerful loppers may be required to make a single, clean cut through the thick stem.

Hard prune your Monstera deliciosa once every few years or as needed to control the shape and size of the plant. For monsters growing outdoors, conduct hard pruning in the late spring or early fall to limit stress on the plant. With its vining growth habit, Monstera deliciosa can sometimes become quite sprawling and look untidy if not staked or occasionally pruned. Pruning, however, is not required to encourage new growth or flowering, so prune only if you desire to.

Water your Monstera deeply after any pruning session. This will lessen the stress on the plant and support roots to throw forth new growth. Tidy up the soil surface as well, removing any dropped foliage or papery stem coatings. Mulch around the base of the plant with an organic material such as shredded bark or cocoa bean hulls to hold moisture in the soil and keep the plant looking tidy. Replenish the mulch each year as it degrades into the soil to keep an even layer in place.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Secateurs
  • Long-handled loppers
  • Water
  • Organic mulch

Tip

  • Do not cut your Monstera's grayish-taupe ropey vines. The plant is epiphytic and uses these vines to absorb moisture from the air as well as to climb.

Warning

  • Many parts of Monstera deliciosa are poisonous. The fruit can be consumed when completely ripe, but no part of the plant foliage is fit for consumption by humans or household pets.