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  Re: advice on a monsterous houseplant
From: William Perez <wpz at sprynet.com> on 1998.12.16 at 04:02:57(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

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

William Perez

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