If you’re a first-time Monstera owner, you’re undoubtedly excited about your new plant, but you may be wondering when its leaves will split. Wonder no more!
This blog post will tell you all about when Monstera leaves split and why. Keep reading for more information on proper Monstera care, which is one of the keys to producing split leaves.
When do Monstera leaves split?
Let’s start with the main question.
Monstera leaves typically split when the plant is mature enough and has been properly cared for.
Generally, we’re talking two to three years of age before a Monstera leaves will split. However, this is just a general guideline; your plant may differ.
What exactly do we mean by “splits”?
The iconic splits in Monstera plants are called fenestrations.
Sometimes the splits extend all the way to the edge of the leaf, which is what we see in Monstera deliciosa. Other varieties, like Monstera adansonii and obliqua, develop large leaf holes.
The leaf fenestration is why Monsteras are also called Swiss Cheese Plants.
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Why do Monstera leaves split?
So why do Monstera leaves split? There are a few reasons. First, it’s due to the plant’s genetics. Some types of Monstera develop fenestration, and some don’t. For the types that do develop holes in their leaves, the reason is that they evolved that way.
The main reason why Monstera leaves split is to allow more light to reach the plant’s lower leaves. These plants are native to the tropical rainforest. In their natural habitat, they grow under the canopy of taller trees. Therefore, the only way to get sunlight is to grow up towards it.
But then the larger leaves block out the light for those lower down. So the fenestrations are nature’s solution for that problem.
Why aren’t the leaves splitting on my Monstera?
Since you are reading this post, there’s a good chance that you have a Monstera plant, but the leaves aren’t splitting, and you want to know why. Don’t fret. You’re not alone!
Most new owners of a Monstera plant are eager to see their leaves split open, but sometimes it just doesn’t happen. Here’s why.
Monstera leaves only split open under certain conditions.
First is the age of the plant. Monstera leaves only split once they reach a certain age. For most varieties of Monstera, that age is around 2 years old. So, if your plant is younger than 2 years, don’t expect to see any leaf-splitting just yet!
And while It’s common for young Monstera plants to have leaves that don’t split, there are a few other possible causes too.
If your plant isn’t getting enough light, or if the temperature or humidity levels in its environment are too low, that could be why the leaves aren’t splitting.
Luckily, all these problems are easy to fix – just move your plant to a brighter spot or ensure the temperature and humidity levels are where they should be. If you give your Monstera proper care, it will develop beautiful leaf fenestrations in no time!
Not all Monstera varieties have leaves that split
It’s also important to note that not all Monstera plants will produce leaves that split.
For example, the Monstera tuberculata and Monstera Peru are varieties that never split. Others, such as Monstera dubia, seldom develop fenestrations when grown as houseplants (although they do in the wild).
What to do if your Monstera’s leaves won’t split
If you want your Monstera to grow fenestrated leaves sooner, there are some things you can do to encourage it. First, make sure it’s growing in optimal conditions.
The most important factors are proper light and the correct amount of water. However, there are other conditions you can optimize as well.
Let’s break it down.
Monsteras need bright, indirect sunlight. If your Monstera isn’t getting enough light, its leaves will stay small and won’t split.
To help your plant get enough light, place it near a window where it will get indirect light throughout the day. Avoid placing it in direct sunlight, or it may get burned.
You can also use grow lights if you don’t have a spot with good indirect light in your home.
Too much or too little water can prevent your Monstera from growing fenestrated leaves. Generally, water it every week or two during the growing season.
Be careful not to overwater as that can lead to root rot. To avoid overwatering, ensure the pot has drainage holes and only water when the top inch of soil is dry.
Giving your Monstera a boost of nutrients can also help it grow faster (leading to fenestrated leaves).
To fertilize, use a balanced fertilizer once a month during the growing season.
You can also use a slow-release fertilizer like the one below at the beginning of the season. That’s my preferred method.
- Outdoor & Indoor
- Feeds up to 6 full months
- Easy-to-use pellets
Monsteras prefer warm temperatures and won’t do well if it’s too cold.
Ideal temperatures are between 65-85 degrees Fahrenheit. If it’s too cold, the plant will go into shock and stop growing.
Like most tropical plants, Monsteras like high humidity, so if the air in your home is dry, it’s a good idea to mist the plant daily or use a humidifier.
You can also place the pot on a tray of pebbles and water to increase humidity.
Use a well-draining potting mix that’s high in organic matter.
Provide climbing support
As your Monstera grows, it will start to climb.
To give it something to climb on, you can use a moss pole, trellis, or even just a piece of string.
Pruning your Monstera can also encourage growth, which will in turn help lead to fenestrations.
Here’s what to know before you start pruning your Monstera.
Start by identifying the leaves that need to be taken off. Next, remove any old leaves that are yellow, brown, or visibly scarred with a pair of sharp, clean pruning shears.
- Rust-resistant stainless steel blades
- Shears have locking mechanism to keep blades securely closed when not in use
- 3 different blade styles for a variety of tasks
The plant will be more able to devote its resources to new growth once you remove the old, damaged leaves.
How long does it take for a Monstera to mature?
Under ideal growing conditions, Monstera plants mature in two to three years. However, if conditions aren’t right, they make take longer to reach maturity. Things like inadequate light, incorrect watering, or allowing the plant to become rootbound, will affect how long it takes to reach maturity. And that means it will take longer to start producing leaves with fenestrations.
How often does a Monstera grow new leaves?
Under ideal conditions, Monsteras can produce new leaves every month or two. However, if the plant isn’t getting enough light or water, it may produce new leaves less often.
If you notice that your plant isn’t producing new leaves this often during the growing season, make sure it’s getting enough light and add some fertilizer.
Repotting it in a larger pot with fresh potting mix may also help. This is especially true if it’s root-bound (i.e., the roots are circling the pot or growing out of the drainage holes).
I recently repotted my Monstera deliciosa, and three new leaves appeared in the first week. Notice that the new growth is light green, thin, and looks delicate. Mature leaves are darker and thicker.
How do you encourage Monstera growth?
The best way to encourage new growth is to provide optimal growing conditions.
Make sure your Monstera is getting enough light and water. You can also fertilize it monthly during the growing season. If the air in your home is dry, mist the plant daily or use a humidifier. Pruning your plant can also encourage new growth.
Monstera leaves splitting is a sign that the plant is healthy and mature.
If you have a young plant (i.e., less than 2-3 years old), then be patient. It will eventually start to produce fenestrated leaves if you provide optimal growing conditions.
However, if your Monstera is older than three years, be sure the growing conditions are right – including plenty of bright light and regular watering. Doing so can encourage healthy growth and help your Monstera produce those beautiful fenestrations.
The leaf of a young Monstera is typically smooth and unlobed. However, as the plant matures, the leaves will develop lobes or indentations. These indentations will eventually deepen and split, forming the characteristic fenestrations of a mature Monstera leaf.
If your Monstera is happy, you’ll see new growth in the form of leaves and stems. The plant will also be a deep green color. If it isn’t happy, the leaves may turn yellow or brown, and new growth may be stunted.
No, not all Monstera leaves split. The fenestrated leaves are characteristic of M. deliciosa, M. adansonii, and others. However, other species of Monstera don’t produce split leaves.