How to Get Monstera Leaves to Split (7 actionable steps to do now)

four large fenestrated monstera leaf in how to get monstera leaves to split.

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I am monstera OBSESSED!

I just love how big their luscious green leaves can get. And the fenestrations on the leaves are just so unique and different. There’s nothing quite like it out there.

Now imagine a monstera plant without its holey leaves and splits?

Can you even imagine that? It’s too depressing.

The million-dollar question is, how to get monstera leaves to split?

To get Monstera leaves to split, first, check the lighting situation on your houseplant and make sure it is getting bright indirect sunlight. Secondly, make sure the plant receives the proper amount of fertilizer and water to ensure its growth. If none of these seem to be the problem, the plant may still be too young for the leaves to split.

Whether you’ve owned thousands of plants or this is your first tropical leaves with holes plant, it is extremely important to understand that the environment plays such a huge role in your indoor plant’s growth rate.

monstera deliciosa fenestration

For monsteras, fenestrated leaves are their signature looks. Besides the fact that they are also climbers with long vines.

You can’t have a monstera plant with no holes and splits. That’s like changing the name from swiss cheese plant to swiss plant.

So splitting leaves is no joke for a swiss cheese plant.

If you’re wondering what you should do if your monstera leaves won’t split, let’s first learn the conditions that are best suited for them.

You need to know what quality monstera care will look like in order for you to provide an environment that is similar to its natural habitat.

How to get monstera leaves to split

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What Causes Monstera Leaves to Split?

There are a couple of different causes for why monstera’s split. Each one will help the tropical plant thrive while growing larger leaves and longer vines.

  • Sunlight
    • Sunlight is a factor in causing the leaves to split. The splits are there to help the leaves at the lower level of the stem receive more lighting
    • The bigger leaves at the top tend to act as a tree cover for the lower leaves near the bottom of the stem
    • Leaves at the top of the plant will be larger, which causes the bottom leaves to become more shaded
      • This then forces the holes in the leaves to appear so that they can reach the lower leaves.
  • Water
    • Plants do not like getting water on their leaves because it can lead to fungus and mold developing
      • This causes them to droop and wilt
    • The splits allow the water to drip through the holes and onto the leaves that are closer to the roots as well
  • Wind
    • Monstera plants are adaptable and can grow in many different environments as long as the essentials are provided
    • The third reason for fenestrated leaves is to help the plant withstand the strong winds and stand firm in its environment

Why is my monstera leaves not splitting?

There may be a couple of reasons why your monstera leaves aren’t splitting. Either their surroundings are not resembling their natural habitat or they’re not mature enough yet.

a fenestrated leaf monstera placed on the table by following the steps on how to get monster leaves to split

A way to tell if monsteras are of age to develop fenestrations is through the shape of the leaves. If they still have solid, heart-shaped leaves, chances are, they’re still too young.

But in this case, let’s pretend that they are old enough (at least 2-3 years old).

You can do a couple of things now to help get your plants to split and help their maturity. This will also help in maintaining your plant’s ability to live for a long time.

  • How many hours of light does a monstera need?
    • A huge reason for your monstera not splitting is a lack of light
    • Monsteras love having plenty of bright indirect lighting.
      • They’ll survive with minimal lighting, like in the winter months when the days are shorter, but if you give them that window where the sun will shine constantly throughout the day, you’ll have the largest monster plant around.
    • You will have to be careful of the plant receiving direct sunlight. Their leaves will burn to be extra cautious, I would use sheer curtains if placed in front of a window
    • But if where you live doesn’t have a lot of bright lighting, whether it’s from the sun or your house, think about investing in grow lights to help
    • Insufficient lighting is one of the main factors that play into your leaves splitting. So be sure that your green friend gets plenty of it
    • Now if you don’t know whether your plant is getting enough bright lighting, check out monsteraplantresource.com for signs that you need to increase it
  • Does monstera need fertilizer?
    • The nutrients in this fertilizer will make a difference between vibrancy and dullness. 
      • This plant food has made my potted plants problem free and the smell it leaves behind is amazing. It has a bit of tea tree oil in it to prevent diseases
        • Test it out first before applying it to all plants. You never know if your plants will like this plant food
    • The rule of thumb is to fertilizer monsteras during their growing season at least once a month, and pause the fertilizer during colder months when they’re dormant
  • Do monsters like small pots or do monsteras like big pots?
    • Monsteras do not like to be root bound at all. It’ll be difficult for their roots to grow as well as their roots being able to receive the nutrients they’ll need for bigger leaves.
    • Monsteras prefer a slightly larger pot. They will still grow even if you put them in a smaller pot but remember that monstera plants are fast growers.
    • They also need space in order for their leaves to branch out
    • Using a small pot will stunt the growth and may cause a problem with drainage
    • It’s best to choose a pot that’s 1-2 inches larger when repotting every other year.
  • Monstera fenestration age
    • If your plant still has solid heart-shaped leaves, it’s probably still too young to form splits in the leaves
    • Wait until it’s 2-3 years old before stressing about the splits and holes. Until then, continue to provide the right monstera care
  • How much humidity does a monstera need?
    • For being a native plant to tropical regions, this green monstrous plant loves humidity
    • It plays a huge role in the monstera fenestration process.
      • The amount of humidity your houseplant receives can be the difference between juvenile leaves to fully grown adult leaves.
    • Monsteras will thrive when the humidity level is around 70-80% but will tolerate 60%.
    • I like to keep the temperature level at about 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit at all times for my monstera.
  • How do I know if my monstera needs watering?
    • Lack of watering is also another factor the goes into the monstera fenestration process. Since it originated from a tropical rain forest, you’ll need to ensure that you provide it plenty of water.
    • But don’t over-water it.
      • The rule of thumb is that you water a houseplant until you see the water leaking from the pot’s drainage hole
    • Water only when the top two inches of the soil is dry (use a bamboo skewer to determine when your plant is thirsty)
  • Should I prune a monstera?
    • Pruning and removing dead leaves will help your plant look bushier instead of leggy (this will also aid in a healthier and more vibrant leaf growth)

Should I cut small leaves off monstera?

Monstera leaves can be small because of a lack of sunlight and nutrients. Small leaves can be cut off the Monstera, and if it has the right sunlight and nutrients, the leaves will grow bigger. Pruning your plant is part of healthy plant life, so cutting off dead leaves is also essential to your plant’s healthiness.

grouping split leaf monsteras together along with other tropical houseplants

Do monstera leaves split after unfurling?

Leaves on a Monstera plant will not split after unfurling. The leaves’ splits will already be created before they are unfurled, and they will not do any more splits after they are unfurled.

If plant leaves are unfurled manually, they will not be split anymore, and their leaves will be stunted. So keep your hands off of the leaves.

How long before my monstera leaves split?

When you first get your plant, you may be wondering how long until the leaves split. This depends on the age of your plant and how you are taking care of it.

If you are making sure you have placed the plant in indirect sunlight and adequately caring for your plant, the leaves will split on their own time. As tempting as it may be to unfurl it yourself, allow the leaves to split on their own.

What do you do with broken monstera leaves?

Broken Monstera leaves contain a sap on the inside that can be toxic if not handled correctly. If your plants have damaged leaves or you are pruning your plant, it is crucial to wear gloves. This will help mitigate the risk of the toxin.

a close up of a splitting monstera by following the steps on how to get monster leaves to split

If you don’t want to prune your plant, you can leave the broken leaves on the plant and let the other leaves grow around it. This can help your plant remain healthy and help you avoid pruning. But keep a careful watch on your plant, and if you notice leaves are dying, then it is a must to prune your plant and get rid of the dying leaves.

How to get monstera leaves to split

Encouraging split leaves on a Monstera plant requires you to pay close attention to your plant. It is essential to know the necessary plant procedures to keep your plant healthy.

Monstera plants will typically grow new leaves every 4-6 weeks. This will help you figure out what methods will work and what you will need to change in order to make a more suitable environment that resembles the rainforest.

Here are the 3 things you can do today to encourage split leaves on a monstera.

a close of monstera adansonii leaf splitting by following the steps on how to get monster leaves to split
  1. Sunlight – How much light does a monstera need
    1. The Monstera plant is a hardy plant that can be grown in multiple different environments. Monstera plants do require a hearty amount of bright light, but not direct lighting. If you want to have your plant leaves split, you need to make sure it receives lots of bright lighting.
    2. Too much direct sunlight can cause burns on your leaves, but the right amount of sunlight can help your leaves split.
    3. If you’re placing it near a window that has plenty of lighting coming through, consider investing in a sheer curtain to prevent leave damage.
      1. I love using sheer curtains because I hate worrying throughout the week if the leaves are going to get damaged because there’s too much sun. I know it may be impossible but hey, what can I say. As a plant parent, I tend to over-worry about the littlest of things. And I enjoy making life simple.
  2. Water – How to water a monstera
    1. Monstera plants don’t always do well on a watering schedule. It’s best to wait until the top 2 inches of the soil dry out.  
      1. Also, it would be so helpful to have a pot with drainage holes. 
      2. And well-draining soil. You need those roots after all. 
    2. Ideally, the well-draining soil should consist of one part soil, one part sand, and one part peat moss.
      1. This mixture is perfect for drainage and allows aeration to the roots and leaves to get the nutrients they need to thrive.
    3. They do not need to be watered daily but you need to pay attention to the soil’s moisture.
      1. Use a moisture probe once a week to help determine if your plant will need watering for the week.
    4. The best way to water your plant is from the bottom.
      1. This helps ensure your plant receives the amount of water it needs.
    5. To bottom water plants, you can either use a bathtub, a sink, or even a shallow saucer or any other container that will fit the pot.
      1. Fill it up with water.
      2. Place your plant in it.
      3. Allow it to sit for about 10 minutes or so.
      4. Drain the water and allow it to dry up before moving it back to its location.
      5. Check on the saucer later to remove any sitting water that may have escaped from the pot. 
      6. Allowing it to sit in excess water for a long period of time will lead to root rot. So avoid it at all costs.
  3. Nutrients – How often should you fertilize monstera?
    1. Another way to ensure your plant’s leaves are splitting is to get proper nutrients.
      1. I love using this monstera plant food.
      2. I’m one of those people who forget often to fertilize their plants in the summer, but with this plant food, I can do it whenever I water my plants.
      3. And don’t worry, it may sound like I’m overfertilizing it, but I’m not.
      4. The key is to dilute it enough where you’re only giving the bare minimum each time. Easy peasy right?

Final thoughts

Monsteras are so easy to love. With their aerial roots and climbing vines, what’s not to like about them?

a close up of a fenestrated monstera leaf splitting

They have such a tropical and calming vibe to them that it’s hard not to place one or three in every room.

Now that you know how to get them to split their leaves when they’re mature with just sunlight, water, and the right nutrients, you should consider yourself proud monstera plant owners. 

Now all you need to do is train them to grow upward (when you start seeing aerial roots) and your monstera plant will grow up to 10 feet tall by next year. 

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