It is undoubtedly the most frequent question amongst new owners: When will my Monstera leaves split? The short answer is: Monstera leaves split over time, so you’ll just have to wait.
In fact, it takes between 2 and 3 years for Monstera leaves to split. This is because fenestration (the scientific name) only occurs when the plant has matured.
Indeed, holes start to appear on its leaves when they reach a certain height and size. We will see below a few hypotheses about the reasons why this happens.
I know that it is frustrating to just stand there and wait, not knowing if they will ever split. Luckily, you can follow a few steps to hopefully accelerate the Monstera fenestration process.
Why and How do Monstera leaves split?
There are many theories about why do Monstera leaves split.
Some believe that they developed this feature as a way to withstand heavy winds. The holes would allow the wind to go through the leaves, leaving them unharmed.
Others think that these lobes’ role is to allow water to reach the bottom leaves. Since the top leaves are usually large and tall, they would prevent rainfall from watering the roots.
There are also those who believe that they aim to prevent water from sitting for long periods on top of the leaves, which will cause fungal disease.
However, the most common and accepted view is that those splits allow the leaves to stretch as much as possible to acquire more light.
In other words, the leaves cover more space by stretching and thus raise their chances of getting light.
It is because, in the wild, they grow under tall trees that shade them from sunlight. Smart plants! Evolution, right?!
Still, provided the same light levels, a solid leaf and a fenestrated one will be equal in performance.
But, as the plant starts maturing, it will need more light because it will grow more quickly. Consequently, its mature leaves will start splitting.
Furthermore, in addition to the 2-3 years period I mentioned earlier, leaves will start developing holes when they reach approximately three feet.
Now, how does Monstera leaves split? Simple: The holes start appearing in the middle of the leaf’s blade and then develop outwards to the margins.
So, pay attention to any small holes that emerge on the top leaves. It could mean that your Monstera entered its first stage of splitting.
How to get Monstera leaves to split?
Monstera plants are flowering plants in the Araceae family (just like Neon Philodendron), which means they are native to the tropical forests of Central America.
Moreover, Monstera roots both into the soil and over trees, making it a hemiepiphyte.
All of this means that she prefers temperatures between 20°C (68°F) and 30°C (86°F) and loves bright indirect light. Indeed, since it grows under tall trees in the tropical forests, she thrives under filtered sunlight.
Another characteristic of tropical forests is lots of rainfall. So, Monstera is used to getting a lot of water and growing in slightly moist soil.
Why am I talking about what she likes? You’re asking.
Well, to make monstera leaves split, you will have to provide the best conditions for her growth. That way, she’ll grow steadily and will, therefore, start its fenestration process.
Here are the five things you can do to accelerate the process.
- You can start by moving your plant to a brighter place. Maybe it’s not getting enough light now, which holds back its growth. Indeed, the sooner it grows, the faster the leaves will start their fenestration. The best place would be on an east-facing windowsill. Otherwise, you can put it on a south-facing windowsill with a sheer curtain to filter the sunlight. Bright Indirect light means that the light must bounce on/ or go through something before landing on the plant. Therefore, you should avoid placing it in direct sunlight, or the leaves will scorch.
- Second, you can improve your watering schedule. If you leave the soil dry for too long, your plant will suffer and stagnate. The ideal condition is to keep it slightly moist. So, water it as soon as the two inches of soil are dry.
- Next, you can put it somewhere with temperate temperatures. Leaving your plant out in the cold or near a radiator or an air conditioner could stress it and curb its growth. So, you should verify if its room temperature is adequate.
- Fertilizing could also be an efficient solution. We aim to make the Monstera grow as fast as possible, and fertilizers should help with that. Once a month with a fertilizer that’s rich in magnesium is plenty.
- The final solution is slightly more radical. Still, it delivered great results for other growers. You can trim off the older, smaller leaves that grow from the base. It would nudge the plant to produce larger ones.
These solutions could be enough to make your Monstera leaves split. That being said, if all the conditions are right for its development, there isn’t much else you can do except wait.
Do all Monstera leaves split?
Yes, all Monstera leaves split. You may be fearing that yours won’t because it hasn’t done that so far. However, Monsteras are known for their fenestrated leaves.
So, if you’re having any doubts, rest assured. Given the right conditions cited above, it will eventually happen.
When young, the leaves will resemble those of other plants from the same family, such as the Philodendron Birkin.
While Monstera could reach up to 20m (66 ft) in nature, it won’t exceed 3m (9.8 ft) when grown indoors. So, as it starts growing and approaches that size, its mature top leaves will start their fenestration.
To sum up, to the question: how long until Monstera leaves split? We say about 2 to 3 years given the right conditions.
You can favor the fenestration process by following the steps above, but remember that everything needs its due time.
So, be a little patient, and the reward will be worth the wait.
I hope I have answered all of your questions. If you have any other, please don’t hesitate to comment, I’ll be happy to answer them.
Read my other post on Monstera leaves here.