Does Monstera like to be root bound? (Check – Fix – Repot)

Monstera is a stunning plant that’s often found in tropical gardens. It’s no sweat to take care of, but does Monstera like to be root bound? Some folks think that if you don’t move your Monstera to a new pot, it will get all sad and leggy. But is that really the case? Let’s dig a bit deeper to see what being root bound means, and if Monstera really likes it or not.

What Does Root Bound Mean?

Root bound (or “pot bound”) is a way to say that the roots of Monstera plants are jam-packed in their pots. This usually goes down after monsteras have been chilling in the same pot for a long while and can cause them to stop growing so much, not flower as much, and even die if you don’t sort it out.

When a Monstera is root-bound, the roots have totally filled up the pot. The pot’s not the right fit anymore because the plant has gotten so big. The roots, all rotten and tangled, take up all the room in the pot, hogging both the water and the food.

They also get all squashed together, pushing against each other and turning into a hard, solid lump. The Monstera can’t suck up water because it either doesn’t soak in or just runs right out.

Most monsteras like to be a little bit root-bound. These plants, known as aroids, grow in a way that lets them stretch out and reach for the branches above them in the rainforest to help them climb higher.

The nooks and crannies in branches make spaces where roots can poke into tiny pockets of leaves or other stuff where they can thrive.

But there comes a point when living in a jam-packed pot just won’t cut it anymore, even if they’ve been pretty good at dealing with it. That’s because a plant can’t live without water or minerals, and being in this state messes with how the roots work.

Monstera root bound

Monstera root bound

Does monstera like to be root bound?

No, Monstera plants aren’t fans of being root bound. When they become root bound, Monstera plants will become all tangled and cramped. The roots in a packed pot can’t stretch out and find new food and water, so the plant will have a tough time growing right.

That’s why you got to move your Monstera to a new pot once a year to once every three years. Younger plants should be repotted every year, and older ones every two to three years. A cramped Monstera should be repotted into a pot that is at least two inches wider and deeper than its current pot to give its roots more room to grow. The new pot should be filled with fresh soil and have lots of holes at the bottom so excess water can drain out.

Plants that are root bound are stressed-out plants that won’t thrive as they could if they were not root bound. They have to use all their energy just to stay alive instead of new growth.

Actually, if you notice that your Monstera isn’t producing new leaves or if this continues to be the case, that your Monstera leaves are not fenestrating even after new leaves have emerged, this could be a sign that your Monstera is root bound. That’s why you should check out your Monstera plants and move them to new pots when they need it.

How Do You Know If Your Monstera Is All Squished at the Roots?

If you see that the roots are all thick and jammed together, started wrapping around themselves, or even poking out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot, these are all clues that your Monstera is root bound.

You might also notice the leaves not growing right or your monstera leaves turning yellow on the plant if it’s root bound, since the roots can’t suck up enough water and food from the soil. In really bad cases, this squishing can turn into root rot if you don’t take care of it.

The stem will also not be able to stand up straight, leaning against the pot’s side instead. If you’re not sure if your Monstera is all cramped at the roots, you can carefully yank it out of its current pot and take a good look at the roots.

How to fix monstera’s root?

One of the usual common problems with Monstera plants is when the roots get all bound up. When that happens, the roots have filled the whole pot, and they can’t soak up enough water and nutrients to keep healthy.

To fix a root-bound Monstera, first off, check if it needs a new pot—if the root ball is all wound up tight and there’s a bunch of roots going around the outside of the pot, it’s probably all squished in there.

Next, carefully tease out some of the tangled roots with your fingers. After that, grab a sharp knife or scissors to make some even cuts up and down the root ball. This’ll get the roots growing new shoots in the future.

Once you’ve done that, find a bigger pot with holes in the bottom and fill it with soil that drains well. Poke a few holes in the rootball with your fingers so the roots can spread out better. Gently put the rootball in the new pot and fill up any empty spots with soil. Give it a good watering and then move the Monstera to a spot with medium to bright light.

Repotting monstera when root bound

Repotting monstera when root bound

When should you repot Monstera?

Monstera plants are pretty chill and don’t ask for a new pot all the time since they kinda like to be a little squished at the roots. But if your Monstera has gotten too big for its current digs or you see the roots poking out of the drainage holes, you might need to give it a new home.

Here’s some signs that it might be time to move your Monstera to a bigger pot:

  • The plant’s top-heavy and tips over easily.
  • The roots are sneaking out of the drainage holes.
  • The soil’s drying out super fast after you water it.
  • The plant hasn’t seen a new pot in 1-2 years.

When you’re moving your Monstera, go for a pot that’s just one size bigger than the old one, ’cause too much extra soil might hold onto too much water and end up rotting the roots. After you’ve given it a new home, make sure to use some soil that drains well and give the plant a good drink of water.

Best Soil for Monstera

If you’re moving a root-bound plant, be easy when yanking it out of its pot, ’cause the roots might have grown all together in a tight bunch. Once you’ve untangled those roots, think about adding some extra soil so they’ve got more room. That way, your Monstera will have all the space it needs to grow its roots and get to all the water and food it wants.

When you’re picking out soil for your Monstera, make sure it’s full of good stuff like peat moss, compost, or coconut fiber. These give the plant what it needs and hang onto water without getting all soggy. If your soil’s feeling a bit too dry, throw in some perlite to make it airy and keep the roots from rotting. You’ll want a potting mix that holds onto water but still lets it drain so the roots aren’t sitting in puddles.

And don’t forget to pick a pot with holes in the bottom so the water can run out. Keep these tips in your back pocket, and you’ll be setting your Monstera up with the best soil for growing strong and staying healthy.

So you’re probably already clued into the whole “Does Monstera like to be root bound?” thing. They don’t like it. In fact, if they get too bound up, they’ll slow down growing and might even start looking sad. To dodge this, move your Monstera into a new pot every 2-3 years, but only a little bigger than the last one. Use soil that drains well, and put the plant somewhere bright but not in direct sun. Got any questions for FamiPlants about taking care of your root-bound Monstera? Just shout ’em out below.

Hi, I'm Cathleen Clemens. I graduated from Cornell University with a degree in plant science. I gained detailed knowledge about various kinds of plants and how to properly care for them. My experience has enabled me to easily detect any issues such as pest infestations, nutrient deficiencies, or signs of diseases in the plants.

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