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Do Monstera Like To Be Root Bound? (+When To Repot)

It can be challenging to know if your monstera plant needs a repotting or not. Monstera grows pretty fast, and repotting them at the right stage could help with their growth as it prevents the plant from being root-bound.

Some people often suggest leaving their monstera in small pots can promote growth as they beleive the plant likes to be root bound. But do monstera like to be root bounded? Let’s find out!

Monstera plant doesn’t like to be root bound. A root-bound plant doesn’t have enough soil and space to grow, leading to a deficiency of oxygen, water, and nutrients. It can slow the growth and lead to droopy leaves and root rot in them. Thus, it is ideal to repot your monstera in a slightly larger pot every two years.

Monstera plants can grow huge even if they are kept in a comparatively smaller size pot. But that does affect the strength and health of your monstera.

It is ideal to move your monstera plant to a larger pot every two years so that they have enough space to expand their roots and grow healthy foliage.

Now that you know it is crucial to repot your monstera before they become root-bound, you must be wondering what are the signs that tell you if your monstera is root bound? And how can you fix a monstera plant that is root bound? Let’s dive into all the details.

Monstera root bound

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Can monstera be root bound?

No, the Monstera plant should not be root bound. In fact, no plant should be kept in a smaller pot that restricts the growth. 

As a plant grows, its root expands to absorb more water and nutrients from the soil. But if we keep our monstera in a small pot and its root keeps expanding, what will happen eventually?

  1. The roots will break down and displace the soil forming a complex, tangled root ball.
  2. The roots will have no longer space to expand, and as a result, it will start getting damaged.
  3. The pot will break down due to the pressure of the roots.

Since the roots are tangled, and there is not enough soil in the container, all the water and fertilizer we add quickly sip out of drainage holes. 

As a result, the plant cannot absorb enough nutrients and water. It will lead to some severe problems in your monstera plant. 

All plants, including monstera, need nutrients from the soil to thrive, and once they become root bound, they don’t have access to those nutrients and water, then it could be a perfect recipe for disaster. 

You need to fix the issue immediately, or your monstera will suffer heavily.

Also read: Root Rot In Monstera: Signs, Causes, and Treatment

Looking for a readymade indoor plant soil mix that you can open and pour? Check out rePotme. They offer a wide range of readymade soil premixes for all your indoor plants.

How do you know if Monstera is rootbound?

There are two ways to check if your monstera plant is root bounded or not. 

  1. Take the plant out of the pot and examine the root ball of the plant. If the root ball is heavily tangled and there is too little soil left, your monstera is root-bound.
  2. Look for the visual signs and determine if your monstera plant is root bounded.

I would suggest beginning with the visual signs. Some of the common signs that your monstera is root bound are:

If you see any of these signs and conclude that all other cultural conditions are balanced, then root bound could be possible.

You need to investigate the root of your monstera further to conclude if its root bounded or not. To do so, you can follow the following steps:

  1. Lay the container on its side.
  2. Try to loosen up the soil and get the plant out of the container.
  3. Do not tug on your monstera if it’s not coming out. Attempt to slide them out.
  4. Use a long thin serrated knife and run it around the soil’s edges to loosen it up.
  5. Gently slide the plant out once it loosens up.
  6. You might have to break the container if the plant is stuck.
  7. Once out, examine the root ball of the plant.

If your monstera plant’s root is all tangled up and takes the container’s shape leaving only a small amount of soil in there, then your plant is definitely root-bound. There are various stages to this conditions:

root bound
Root ConditionStatus
Root just began wrapping around the root ballSlightly root bounded
Roots started forming mats around the root ballRoot bounded
Roots have formed a solid mat and no soil can be seenSeverely root bounded

Depending upon the condition of your monstera’s roots, you might need to take a call whether your monstera needs to be repotted or not.

How to fix root bound monstera?

Once you have identified that your monstera is root bound, you have two options available with you.

  1. Repot your monstera plant into a larger size pot
  2. Split your monstera

However, before we dive into the details of each of these, you need to keep a note regarding the toxicity of your monstera. 

Most houseplants, including monstera, produce a chemical compound known as calcium oxalate. This sap can be harmful to pets as well as a human being. 

If ingested, it could lead to poisoning, and if it comes in contact with skin, it can lead to skin irritation and an allergic reaction as well. 

Thus, to minimize the risk, I recommend you wash your hands properly after handling the monstera plant. 

You must also wear gloves so that the sap doesn’t come in contact with your skin. 

Repotting A Monstera

Repotting my Monstera + Plant Care Tips

Moving your monstera into a larger pot is the most obvious solution, especially if your pothos is root-bound.

If your monstera is still growing but has a tight root structure, you can either leave them in the cramped space, and they will forgive you for a while.

However, I would recommend not to stress your monstera and provide them with a larger space to grow.

Their roots will appreciate more space to expand and grow, and your plant will grow tremendously in the time to come.

Repotting them to a larger pot will also allow space for fresh soil, which will provide the plant with more nutrients to grow.

But how big of a container should you choose? It is recommended to repot your monstera into a pot one size larger than the current one.

Which means go with a container 2-3″ bigger in diameter than the current one. Never move the plant to a too big of a pot as it can lead to various issues.

How do I repot rootbound Monstera?

Once you have picked an appropriate sized pot and prepared the monstera for repotting, then there is nothing much left. 

You can follow these simple steps to repot your monstera plant successfully.

  1. Move the plant to a work area or a sink.
  2. Remove the plant from its existing pot.
  3. Scrape off old soil from the root ball.
  4. Trim and part of the roots that look damaged.
  5. Fill the new pot with fresh potting mix up to 1/3 of the pot.
  6. Transplant the monstera into the pot and refill the edges with fresh soil. Leave a gap of an inch or two from the top for watering and fertilization.

You must never wait for your monstera to get root bounded before you repot them. 

Instead, be proactive and keep checking on their roots to identify early signs. 

You can also proactively repot your monstera every two years to prevent damage to the roots. However, you must not repot your monstera too frequently as it can hurt the plant’s growth.

Also read: What happens if you repot a plant in a pot too big?

Splitting a monstera plant

Dividing and re-potting our Monstera Deliciosa!!

If you don’t want to repot your monstera or you don’t have space for a larger size pot, then you can split your monstera as well. 

Splitting a monstera is quick and easy. You can follow these simple steps to do so:

  1. Water your monstera thoroughly a day or two before splitting to loosen up the soil and root ball.
  2. Take your monstera out of the pot.
  3. Use a sterile knife or clippers to divide the roots and stems. Make sure you look for natural divisions and use the same as your guideline. 
  4. Make sure each splitted plant has enough roots and leaves to grow.
  5. Prepare 2-3 fresh pot filled with potting mix.
  6. You can dip the monstera plants into rooting hormones(optional) and then replant them into a new pot.
  7. Fill the pot edges with soil and water the plant thoroughly.

You will start noticing new growth within a few weeks.

When should I repot my Monstera?

It is recommended to repot your monstera every two years. However, it also depends upon the growth of your plant. If your plant outgrows the current size pot, then you might need to repot them early.

It is also recommended to wait till spring or early summer before repotting your monstera.

Monstera plant lies in the dormant stage during the winter months. Thus, repotting them at that stage will only add to their stress.

Wait till their growing season and repot them at the right time to see healthy growth.

Also read: How Do I Know If My Plant Needs Repotting? (Signs & How to Do)

Best soil and container for monstera

Pot size

Choosing an appropriate size container for your monstera is crucial for their healthy growth. An ideal choice will be a container 2-3″ larger in diameter than the current one.

For example: If your monstera plant is in an 8-inch container, you must move them to a 10-inch container. You can use a ceramic, metal, or terracotta planter for your monstera plant.

If you are looking for some suitable container picks for your monstera plant, you can try any of these planter boxes from ETSY.

Providing an appropriate mix of soil is also crucial for the healthy growth of your monstera plant.

A well-draining soil that can retain moisture long enough is essential. You can either buy a potting mix or create your own. Either way, here is a blend you must go with:

  • 1 part of garden soil
  • 1 part of cocopeat/ peat moss
  • 1 part of perlite/pumice

This mix will provide appropriate nutrients to your pothos along with aeration and moisture. I personally love this custom potting mix, which you can get on ETSY.

Final Thoughts

No plants like to be root bound, but whether your monstera has reached to the point where you need to repot them or not will depend on each plant individually.

You need to look out for the roots of your monstera and decide if you want to repot them or not.

Growing your monstera on a cramped space might not make a difference now, but it will indeed affect the plant’s future growth.

If your monstera roots have grown significantly and there is not enough soil left in the container, then you might need to repot them sooner.

However, if their roots have just started curling at the bottom and there is still a lot of space left to grow, then you can skip the repotting for a season.

It is essential to monitor the growth of your monstera and make an appropriate call whether you want to repot your monstera or not.

Source: Anthracnose disease of Swiss cheese plant, Common insect pests and diseasesUniversity of Florida ResearchMonstera Growing in the Florida Home Landscape.

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