Known as a “Swiss Cheese” plant, the monstera plant has leaves that split over time. In fact, this is why we love them so much!
In this article, we discuss when you can expect your monstera to split, along with why this happens. Keep reading to find out…
When Do Monstera Leaves Split?
Monstera leaves split when the plant reaches the age of 2-3 years old. If your monstera has leaves that haven’t split yet, then you have a juvenile monstera.
To encourage your monstera plant to split, you should follow the standard monstera plant care practices, such as giving it plenty of in-direct sunlight and keeping the soil moist.
You may also want to use someÂ miracle grow fertilizer (Amazon link)Â to supercharge the growth rate of your young monstera plant.
Why Do Monstera Leaves Split?
As a lover of monstera plants, it’s interesting to know why monstera leaves have splits. In short, monstera leaves split to encourage long-term plant growth and health. Here is how split leaves benefit monstera plants:
Recent research has shown that a plant is a risk of fungal growth if the leaves are consistently wet. As monstera plants are from tropical environments where it rains often, they have been forced to adapt.
Rain easily falls from the split leaves, instead of remaining stagnant on top. These holes also allow the rain to fall to the bottom of the plant, where the water can then be sucked in by the roots.
The splits allow sunlight to penetrate to the rest of the plant, rather than being blocked by the top leaves. As we earlier mentioned, monstera plants grow in tropical forests where there is a lot of coverage from big plants.
Light is incredibly important when it comes to split leaves on a monstera. Not giving your plant enough light can result in black spots, wilting, drooping, or discoloration.
Some believe that the splits in a monstera plant allow the plant to thrive in windy areas. The wind is able to pass through the holes, rather than hit the plant with full force. This adaptation helps in regions that are susceptible to storms and hurricanes.
How to Encourage Splits on Monstera Leaves?
You have to be patient when it comes to monstera splits, but you can encourage leaf fenestrations by caring for your plant in the correct way. I will now go through a list of ways to speed up the leaf-splitting process.
Watering – Water your plant uniformly and according to its specific needs. Once a week should be enough, but you can use your finger to check if the top inch of the soil is dry.
Humidity – Monstera plants need a humid environment, so misting the leaves regularly can be a good idea. You can also use a humidifier to humidify your home.
Light – Monstera plants do not like direct sunlight, and they thrive in places where there are indirect sun rays or natural light (such as by windows). So make sure you place it somewhere that has those conditions.
Give support â€“ Monstera plants grow in a vine-like way, so using aÂ grow pole (Amazon link)Â will encourage general plant growth.
Pest control – There are many pests that can bother the monstera plant. I recommend using some neem oil to get rid of them.
Space to grow – Monstera plants need plenty of room to thrive and grow, so they usually work best if you keep them in the largest rooms of your house.
Fertilizer – You can give your plant some extra energy to encourage growth. I recommend Miracle Grow, which is a great fertilizer for houseplants.
The Scientific Triggers for Monstera Leaf Split
If you now understand why your monstera plant splits, it’s time to examine the various causes/triggers. Knowing this will help you to gain an understanding of when the leaves are likely to split.
Age â€“ Monstera plants naturally create fenestrations when they are old enough. If you buy a juvenile monstera, you must a few years for the leaves to split.
Light â€“ With the plant being “of age”, it will now need sufficient light to trigger the splitting process. The size of a monster plant’s leaves depends on the amount of light it receives, which means grow LED lights can be used to increase leaf size and splits.
Care â€“ Don’t expect your monstera plant to split if you don’t follow the recommended care instructions. Below you will find out how to take care of your monstera plant and support splits.
Why Are My Monstera Leaves Not Splitting?
The most common reason why the leaves aren’t splitting is due to the plant being too young. But there are situations where a mature monstera plant doesn’t split either. If you’re a green thumb, it’s possible that you know the answer to this question. And if not, read on for some hints from the experts:
- It needs more light
- It needs an accurate watering schedule
- It needs more fertilizer and nutrients
- It is injured from transport or pruning
Care Tips for Happy Monsteras
Before you go, let’s briefly cover how to care for your monstera plant. Keep in mind that each variety of plant has slightly different planting instructions, so it’s best to refer to care guidelines from the store where you purchase your plants.
Monsteras need to be taken care of just like any other plant. However, there are a few special things that you should know for boosting the health of monstera plants:
Watering â€“ A lot of people make the mistake of watering their plants too much or not enough. Monstera plants need to be watered on a regular basis – but usually only once every two weeks during winter and once per week when they’re actively growing.
Fertilizer – The soil mix for most houseplants includes peat moss, composts, and fertilizer. However, this is generally not necessary for monsteras because they prefer light feedings over time, instead of single heavy doses.
Light â€“ Monsteras prefer a location with indirect light. They also do best when they are not in direct sunlight or artificial lights that emit heat, which can dry out the leaves.
Temperature – The ideal temperature for your monstera is between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit during winter. It should be around 80 to 85 degrees from late spring until early fall.
Humidity – Humidity levels range anywhere from 30% up to 60%. Most people find humidity at 50% (especially if there’s plenty of fresh air) works well for their plants without causing any damage.
Soil â€“ There are several different types of soil that you could use, such as coco coir, bark mulch, or crushed pine needles. If you are using a pot, you should put about an inch of soil at the bottom of the pot, and then surround it with your chosen material.
Browning – If the leaf’s edges are turning yellow, try moving your plant into another location where it’ll get more sunlight. Just make sure there isn’t any artificial heat nearby – like lamps with bulbs that emit heat!
Monstera plants are great plants to have in your home or office. Theyâ€™re easy-going and versatile, but they are also sensitive when it comes to environmental factors that affect their growth.
Be sure you plant them where there is enough light for the entirety of the day â€“ and be careful of overwatering!
The reason why many of us some monstera plants is due to their unique leaf splits. With that face in mind, it’s great to know how these splits benefit your plant.
To conclude, you can expect the first monstera leave to split after 2-3 years. Be mindful that it takes patience in order to enjoy the monstera’s decorative leaf splitting.
Tim is an avid gardener from the UK. He was the founder of PlantCarer.com from 2021 to Sep 2023. He sold PlantCarer.com to Aaron. He has since started his own business called Seed To Supper, which provides new gardeners all the materials you need in a box (pots, seeds, compost and instructions) to grow your own delicious and nutritious vegetables and herbs from start to finish – no garden required.