Aerial roots are those roots growing on top of the surface of the soil. Monstera plants use their aerial roots for collecting more nutrients, oxygen, and water because the soil surface tends to be rich in these elements. This means that your plant will lack in many ways if these aerial roots don’t exist.
Thus, it is only normal for you to worry once you notice some issues with the aerial roots of your Monstera. Why are my Monstera aerial roots shriveling, then?
Monstera aerial roots shrivel if they suffered from damage, the plant lacks water and nutrients, or there is a fungal or pest attack. Monsteras have hardy roots that will continue growing long and large if the plant is well-watered and well-feed. Monsteras will start growing aerial roots as they grow older and search for water and food.
You can snip off the aerial roots of your Monstera if they are damaged, large, or in the way. These aerial roots grow on the nodes of your Monstera and support it to grow up vines and poles and absorb additional water.
Young Monstera plants won’t grow strong aerial roots until they become a bit older with an established main stem. The plant will start growing aerial roots if it gets the water and nutrients it needs.
Below are the most common reasons why Monstera aerial roots shrivel up:
The first and number one reason why the aerial roots of your Monstera dry and shrivel up is none other than physical damage. If the roots are bent, broken, or knocked can make them turn black and start dying off. Broken aerial roots won’t be able to send nutrients and water to the tip of the root and start shriveling up.
Damaged Monstera aerial roots can serve as entry points for pests or diseases. Once roots get damaged and started shriveling up, make sure you use clean and sharp secateurs to snip them off. It will help the plant health the cut point fast and stop any bacteria or pests from entering.
Fungal attack can also make the aerial roots of your Monstera shrivel up and die off eventually. The roots of Monsteras can suffer from fungal growth that can cause them to turn black, rot, and die in the end. It is often the result of overwatering that can make the fungus grow.
When the soil of the plant is kept excessively wet, the water sits on the roots and leaves, or the humidity is very high, the aerial roots of your Monstera might shrivel up as a result.
The aerial roots of your Monster can also shrivel up because of a pest attack. Insects that suck on sap like scale or spider mites can cause root damage and make it shrivel up. The insects can attach themselves to the stem or roots of the plant and suck the Monstera’s sap.
You can treat these insects using horticultural oils like neem oil. Place the plant outdoors and spray the affected spot with neem oil. Let it dry before bringing it back indoors. Repeat the process after one week if you notice that the bugs are still on your plant.
Although the scale might not be directly attached to the aerial roots, it can still make the plant struggle with its growth, causing the aerial root to wilt. The scale mites usually attach themselves to the leaf joint near the aerial root or node.
You can mix detergent and water to spray these bugs before they even get the chance to attach to the stems. Neem oil will work much better if the bugs are already attached and formed a dark scale over their bodies.
Lack of Nutrients
Monsteras grow their strong aerial roots from the node points if they get all the nutrients they require. Plants that suffer from a lack of nutrients may end up developing shriveled aerial roots. The leaves of the plant will wilt and turn yellow, with the roots having a hard time growing. For your Monstera plant to stay happy, you need to plant it in top-quality potting soil and use a slow-release fertilizer.
The slow-release fertilizer should be added during spring to support faster growth during the warmer months. Your Monstera will grow lots of aerial roots and leaves if it gets all the nutrients it requires.
Lack of Water
The leaves of your Monstera will start wilting if they require more water. Monsteras that lack water will start to wilt, which also includes their aerial roots. Even if these are hardy plants, they will start to shrivel and wilt if they don’t get the water they need. These plants love deep watering regularly without keeping the soil excessively wet.
You might want to consider giving your Monstera deep watering every week during the summer months and cut it down to once every two weeks in fall and spring during cooler weather. Monsteras will grow just fine with water once a month during summer.
Too Young Plant
Monstera plants will only develop aerial roots once they get older, typically more than two years. Young Monsteras won’t grow their strong aerial roots until they become older. Their top priority is leaf growth before growing aerial roots so these plants might not establish well.
The moment your Monstera turns two to three years old, it will start growing more aerial roots. The aerial roots will look for nutrients and water while the plant grows. These can also reach into the ground or potting soil to help the Monstera stabilize during its growth. The moment the aerial roots reach the soil, they will remain strong and won’t shrivel up as long as the plant gets enough water.
Wrapping It Up
Monstera aerial roots shrivel up when the plant suffers from excessive water, fungus, pest attack, dries out too much or doesn’t get enough nutrients. Monsteras prefer a location that receives filtered light. They also like deep watering with drying out in between as well as good quality indoor plant fertilizer.