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  advice on a monsterous houseplant
From: William Perez <wpz at sprynet.com> on 1998.12.15 at 20:02:57(2827)
I have come across a monstera that needs desperate help, and I'm not
sure what to do so I'm seeking advice from all the experts.

A friend of mine has had a monstera for a little over twenty years in
the same ten inch pot. It has never been fertilized and has never been
repotted. The soil mix is grey concrete! I don't know what was used
(the plant came with the house), but it looks to me like whoever owned
this plant before my friend used garden soil. It is grey and
impenetrable, I can't even believe that water makes it through this
thing.

It's a sad little thing, but remarkable for having the tenacity to hold
on to life. It actually does not look like it's suffering, but it is
the runtiest thing you ever did see. I want to help it reach its full
glory but am afraid that in my efforts to bring it back it will die.
After all, if it ain't broke....

I had three thoughts. One would be to put the whole thing in a bigger
pot with brand new soil and let the roots brave the new world. I'm
afraid though that when watered, and my friend is in the habit of
watering it when she vaguely remembers that there is a plant in the
house, the water will percolate around the old soil and not into it. My
second thought would be to venture into a long term project in which
over the course of over a few months, maybe even a year, I slowly
reintroduce some new soil. Third, is air layering. Can monsteras be
air-layered? I figured I would try that and, if roots were produced, I
could repot that portion without severing it from the parent plant.
That way there would be two pots and one monstera. This is because
traditional propagation is out of the question as far as my friend is
concerned. Even though it would be identical she feels that after
twenty years the plant has built up enough of a soul that a clone would
just be an empty twin. Don't ask.

So what is the best course of action?

And I thank you all for taking the time to answer my amateurish
questions.

William Perez

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From: "Julius Boos" <ju-bo at email.msn.com> on 1998.12.16 at 07:10:42(2830)
>>It's a sad little thing, but remarkable for having the tenacity to hold
on to life. It actually does not look like it's suffering, but it is
the runtiest thing you ever did see. I want to help it reach its full
glory but am afraid that in my efforts to bring it back it will die.
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From: plantnut at macconnect.com (Dewey Fisk) on 1998.12.16 at 07:42:41(2831)
William,
I think I might take the simple approach... Take some wet spaghnum moss in
a small soup bowl. Place next to the plant with at least one node laying
on the moss. The plant will root in the moss. The bowl should hold enough
water to hold over with infrequent waterings. After it is rooted in the
spaghnum, it can be cut and a second plant should flourish.

The rooted cutting may not have a soul but it should grow better....
Dewey

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From: PHILSCHERER <71211.2545 at compuserve.com> on 1998.12.16 at 07:53:18(2832)
Hi William Perez -- Another thought regarding your monstera. You might ju=
st
soak the whole pot in a large tub of water to loosen the soil and them wa=
sh
it off and repot. I believe Monsteras are secondary hemi-epiphite which
essentially means that they start on the ground, climb trees, and sever
contact with the ground at times as they clamber through the canopy. l>

From: goroff at idcnet.com (Iza & Carol Goroff) on 1998.12.16 at 11:07:01(2833)
Monsteras are easily air layered. However, my suggestion is to place the
rootball (with plant attached) in a bucket of water in the hope that the
soil will eventually fall off of the roots and repot into a larger pot with
a peat perlite based compost. Perhaps one of the commercial root
stimulating products could be used, although that probably is not
necessary.

Iza Goroff

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From: Piabinha at aol.com on 1998.12.16 at 11:14:15(2834)
william,

since you asked an "amateurish" question, here goes an amateur's answer :-)

since monstera is an epiphyte, you can try to get it to climb up a pole of
osmunda fiber, sphagnum-covered branch etc. once it establishes by growing
roots up this pole, you can sever the potted portion and voila, a rejuvenated
plant with new roots with a more "natural" habit. btw, a kind soul (kevin
martyn) in this list sent me cuttings of the variegated monstera a few months
ago. it's still growing very well in water. another option, if there is
aereal growth with roots, is to cut it off and root it in moist sphagnum or
water.

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From: William Perez <wpz at sprynet.com> on 1998.12.18 at 21:53:17(2846)
> Thank you all for the advice. It seems to me that monstera is just another
> aspidistra or snake plant but, of course, with a little more character.

So, it being the indestructible little monster that it is I think I will try a
few of the suggestions, all at the same time. I'm going to play with this plant
and see what I can come up with. I can't wait!

Stay tuned...

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From: hermine <hermine at endangeredspecies.com> on 1998.12.19 at 09:12:26(2847)
At 11:53 PM 12/18/98 -0600, William Perez wrote:
>> Thank you all for the advice. It seems to me that monstera is just another
>> aspidistra or snake plant but, of course, with a little more character.
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From: William Perez <wpz at sprynet.com> on 1998.12.19 at 17:31:29(2849)
hermine wrote:

> At 11:53 PM 12/18/98 -0600, William Perez wrote:
> >> Thank you all for the advice. It seems to me that monstera is just another
> >> aspidistra or snake plant but, of course, with a little more character.

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From: hermine <hermine at endangeredspecies.com> on 1998.12.19 at 19:19:50(2850)
>> >
>> Did somebody say SNAKE PLANT? The Sansevieria, to which I have pledged my
>> life? and perceives it to be a plant of little character? aye, there will
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