When the plant is healthy, the splitting of the monstera leaves often starts between the ages of 2 and 3. Age is not the only determinant, though, and you must make sure the plant is given the right care to promote leaf splitting.
Why aren’t the leaves on my Monstera splitting?
Age and sufficient light are the two main causes of the fenestrations that some members of the monstera genus develop.
As a monstera matures, its leaves become fenestrated, and no amount of wishful thinking will cause the plant’s leaves to split before it is ready. Monsteras are born with small, sturdy, heart-shaped leaves that gradually get larger as the plant matures. Once a monstera has grown to a width and height of at least 3 feet, it typically starts to develop the distinctive deep cuts. As a juvenile monstera develops fenestrations, you’ll also observe that it happens gradually and that each leaf’s number of splits grows with time. Therefore, patience is essential if you recently bought a little monstera and are waiting for your first split-leaf. Maybe the plant needs more time.
If your monstera has been growing without producing split leaves for a while, it might not be getting enough light. As they mature, monsteras require a steady supply of strong, indirect light in order to develop split leaves. In order to save energy, a monstera grown in low light settings will not develop fenestrations and will instead push out tiny leaves. Consider using a grow light if there isn’t enough natural light for your plant.
Option 1: Wait
Depending on how young and little your monstera plant is, you might just need to give it some time.
Young monsteras almost resemble a distinct plant because of their sturdy, heart-shaped leaves. Your monstera should grow and finally form those lovely holes and splits on its own when it is between two and three years old with adequate light, the proper quantity of water, and a little fertilizer. Be tolerant!
Option 2: More light!
This is typically the most crucial thing you can do to encourage your monstera leaves to split. However, without plenty of bright, indirect sunlight, monsteras won’t grow much or produce many splits (or numerous rows of splits), even though they can survive in reduced light. Your monstera leaves might not split even if you follow all other instructions to the letter without the proper light.
If you buy a mature monstera with split leaves, lower light may work, especially if you don’t want it to grow much bigger and take over your house (since monsteras often do!).
However, you’ll need good lighting if you have a young plant that you want to observe develop and flourish. The best windows are those that face east or south, while north can still be used. Just be extremely careful around windows that face west since they often receive a lot of direct, scorching afternoon light that might burn the leaves.
Don’t worry if your home lacks excellent illumination. A grow light can always be used as a supplement. To replace greenhouse-style lights that you may get from nurseries, you can either purchase ready-made grow lights or install grow bulbs in standard light fixtures.
When do the leaves of a monstera split?
To begin with, the age of the plant affects the shape of Monstera leaves. You might observe that the splits emerge on the newest leaves if your monstera has some leaves with fenestrations and some leaves without. When the Monstera is old and content enough to produce mature leaves with splits, fenestrations start to form.
When a Monstera matures and forms its first fenestrations, it will be between one and three years old. When my Monsteras, which thrive in strong light conditions, generate 5–6 tiny leaves on the same stem, they usually obtain their initial split leaves. The precise quantity will change depending on your growing environment. In our article, you can read more about the ideal lighting for Monstera.
Last but not least, huge Monsteras that are 3 years or older to a few decades old can produce massive leaves. Even more fenestrations, which appear as extra rows of holes inside the splits, may arise.
It was probably propagated from a top cutting if you notice a monstera plant with enormous split leaves and no tiny baby leaves (learn more about propagating monstera in our ultimate guide). By doing this, the new plant was able to advance the maturity of its leaves.
Why do the leaves of Monstera split?
Scientists disagree on the purpose of these leaves. Although it is generally accepted that Monstera have splits to control light, I believe all three hypotheses are as plausible and share the same overarching cause:
To aid in the plant’s faster growth and development of strength and size, monsteras have splits in their leaves.
Reason #1 that Monstera have splits: light
Currently, it is widely accepted that Monstera plants have splits in their leaves so that light can pass through them and reach the lower leaves.
As monstera move closer to the light, their leaves get bigger because they need more energy to support their expanding size.
However, a large leaf will block the light that can be absorbed generally by the leaves below it. Therefore, the cracks and holes allow light to pass through.
This is reasonable.
Compared to Monstera deliciosa, Monstera adansonii tends to be bushier and have shorter petioles, which results in more obvious holes from the start.
Reason #2 that Monstera have splits: water
Getting wet leaves is unpleasant for plants. At the very least it blocks their stomata, and at worst, it can cause them to rot and allow fungal and bacterial infections to gain a foot hold.
The nodes and roots of plants do enjoy being wet. They are able to swiftly absorb nutrients and water.
By allowing rain to easily pass through the leaves without sitting on them and allowing the rain to easily reach the ground where the roots may absorb the water, having fenestrated leaves kills two birds with one stone.
Reason #3 that Monstera have splits: wind
This seems less probable to be the reason that Monstera developed to have fenestrated leaves because they don’t often reside in exposed regions (though they’ll try any conditions), but it’s still worth mentioning because Monstera will adapt to any situations.
It is most likely one of the causes for Monstera Deliciosa’s reputation as an invasive species.
The plant can receive wind through the perforations in the leaves without being knocked over. It seems logical, doesn’t it?
By the way, it’s believed that the split leaves of Bird of Paradise plants are a wind defense mechanism. Compared to Monstera, they often reside in regions that are more exposed and have easier access to light.
However, due to Monstera’s adaptability, their holey leaves have undoubtedly allowed them to flourish in exposed locations for which they weren’t *technically* intended.
I believe fenestrated leaves serve multiple functions, whether or not that is what they are intended to do.
How do you induce leaf splitting in Monstera?
Light. In addition to being essential for the plant’s health, indirect or filtered bright light is also necessary for it to develop split leaves. Without enough light, the Monstera may not grow well and the leaves won’t form the desired splits.
How can I tell whether my Monstera is content?
How can you prevent your Monstera from drowning? We’ve discussed a little bit about how to avoid overwatering it. Once you get to know your Monstera and understand all of its behaviors, you’ll notice lots of indicators that it needs water. Some of them may not come as a surprise because the indications that a Monstera needs watering are also quite similar to those that other plants exhibit.
Your Monstera’s Soil Is Dry
The primary indication that a Monstera needs watering is dry soil. A Monstera deliciosa shouldn’t thrive in arid conditions, despite the fact that it’s vital to allow the soil dry up a little bit between waterings. Although too-dry soil won’t immediately kill a plant, it will hinder its capacity to grow effectively.
Since every plant and indoor environment is unique and can necessitate a different amount of time between waterings, routinely testing the soil will enable you to determine when your Monstera needs to be watered. Using your finger is the simplest method for doing this!
If the soil is dry after sticking your finger in it for about an inch, water the plant. Don’t water your Monstera just yet if it’s moist or still wet.
Your Monstera is Leaning Over
Although it is an unusual indicator, I have observed a leaning Monstera in my collection. An underwatered Monstera will begin to sag in a manner that causes the leaves to droop, which is similar to wilting. On a little Monstera, this is much simpler to see, although it can be seen on bigger plants as well.
Always examine the soil before watering because leaning plants might occasionally be an indication of a different problem, such as overwatering. Never add more water when the earth is damp; dry soil indicates that it is time to water.
Your Monstera should bounce back within a few days after receiving a thorough watering if the cause of drooping is too little water. As much stress as possible should be avoided allowing the Monstera to become this dry as it will stunt the plant’s growth.
Your Monstera’s Leaves are Curling
Leaf curling is just another sign that a Monstera needs watering. The leaves of a Monstera that needs water will start to curl inward, making them appear smaller and less wide.
This is a temporary problem that almost always goes away with some time and some good watering! If the soil is dry, check it and give it a nice, thorough watering. The leaves should return to normal within a few days.
If they don’t, there might be another problem going on. Before watering once more, take some time to run a diagnostic.
Your Monstera’s Leaves are Brown, Yellow, or Dead
An alarming sign may be the yellowing of your Monstera’s leaves. Dark green, waxy leaves are present on a healthy, happy Monstera (though younger plants or new leaves may be lighter green).
Some discoloration is expected because older Monstera leaves gradually turn yellow and drop off as they become older. However, you have an issue if you notice many sections of the plant with yellow, brown, or dead leaves or new leaves.
In addition to underwatering, additional issues that might cause leaf discoloration include overwatering, excessive or insufficient sunshine, or parasites. Don’t water the plant right away; instead, take the time to inspect it for any signs of these issues.
Although older growth will occasionally die off, you should take immediate action if any leaf loss is accompanied by other symptoms like drooping or discolouration. The soil’s moisture content should always be checked as the initial step. Water the soil deeply if it is dry. Look for indications that your plant may have been overwatered if the soil is wet.
Your Monstera Isn’t Putting Out Fenestrated Leaves
With adult Monsteras that haven’t started fenestrating or that produce leaves with holes in them, a lack of fenestration can become a problem. Fenestrations are nearly always a sign that the plant is not receiving enough light.
This can occasionally be brought on by inadequate sunlight. Examine the surroundings of the plant to rule that out. Monsteras require six to twelve hours a day of bright indirect sunlight. Try transplanting the plant to a brighter location if it isn’t receiving this much light.
Set a smart alarm to remind you to inspect the soil if lighting isn’t the issue and you think your Monstera needs extra water. This will assist you in forming the practice of routine plant maintenance. You can establish the ideal watering balance by making sure the soil is moist enough many times per week. Be careful not to overwater, though!
When Monstera leaves unfold, will they split?
No. You should be able to see the fenestrations before your Monstera begins to unfold if it has large, fenestrated leaves.
Before they unfold, even the smallest leaves break, though they may still be linked at the tip.
This implies that the splits the leaf currently possesses are the only splits it will have once it has unfolded (indeed, probably before then). It won’t continue to grow with time.
How frequently do Monstera leaves reappear?
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gorgeous foliage The gorgeous dark-green fenestrated leaves of monstera are the distinguishing feature that makes them stand out. Their breathtaking appearance varies from variety to variety, with the variegated ones raising the bar for beauty. In addition to the basic shade of green, this cultivar features white, yellow, or cream markings that provide a beautiful contrast of hues. In fact, the first thing you notice about any monstera variety are the leaves.
New leaves appear on healthy Monstera plants every four to six weeks. If your plants don’t produce new leaves within this time frame, you can hasten growth by giving them more attention, such as fertilizing and putting them in indirect, bright light.
Others are happy with just the right amount of leaves that continue to develop steadily, while some are interested in having a monstera with numerous leaves that eventually give it a bushy appearance. How frequently should monstera develop new leaves? We’ve answered that question in this incredibly comprehensive essay, and we’ll also explain how to hasten the process.
How much time does Monstera require to fenestrate?
There could be a few reasons why your Monstera isn’t producing leaves with holes if you’re concerned about its lack of fenestrations. However, it almost usually stems from your Monstera’s requirements not being fully being addressed.
Let’s fast review the photosynthesis process to help you better comprehend this. A plant employs photosynthesis to transform water and carbon dioxide into glucose and oxygen. The plant uses the generated glucose to carry out its many tasks, such as growth and reproduction.
A Monstera won’t be able to properly complete photosynthesis and won’t have enough glucose to support further growth if any of these requirements aren’t satisfied. When this occurs, one of the first processes that any plant will stop doing is making new leaves.
A Monstera will frequently produce small, thin, and feeble leaves without fenestrations when it is lacking sunlight. If any leaves are produced, they will not be thick and lustrous, which makes it quite simple to pinpoint the issue.
Both a lack of moisture and low humidity can have an impact. A Monstera that doesn’t get enough water frequently stops growing entirely and, if left unattended for too long, starts to die back.
Additionally, keep in mind that a young Monstera won’t fenestrate. A Monstera typically needs two to three years before it begins to produce fenestrated leaves. Your Monstera may require more or less time to start producing fenestrations as this is merely a suggestion.