What To Do if Your Monstera’s Leaves Don’t Split

  • Time to read: 5 min.

Monstera and its well-known variants, such as the Swiss Cheese Plant or split-leaf philodendrons, are famous and valued for their natural holes or splits on the leaves. However, some Monstera plants fail to exhibit the feature. It may be disturbing for some plant collectors, but thankfully, there are ways to resolve this issue.

If your Monstera’s leaves don’t split, you’ll need to provide the plant with an appropriate amount of dappled or bright, filtered sunlight, a good water supply with well-draining soil, warm temperature ranging from 60-85 °F (15.55-29.444 °C), and fertilizer with higher nitrogen content.

When you plant Monstera meeting all these factors, its leaves will likely split naturally. However, if you miss any of them, there may be some delay in forming leaves with fenestrations, or the splits won’t appear at all. This article will discuss this common but troublesome phenomenon.

When Do Monstera Leaves Split?

Some gardeners who are new to collecting Monstera may expect the plant to produce leaves with splits immediately. Some may even fail to recognize a Monstera seedling when they see one at the botanical store due to the absence of the characteristic fenestrations.

Monstera leaves split after 2-3 years of appropriate care but, already existing and mature leaves cannot form new splits and holes. Young Monstera seedlings do not instantly produce leaves with holes.

When you buy and take care of Monstera seedlings, you need to be patient and wait until the fermented leaves start to show. In most instances, fenestrations appear after two years. However, you may hear some sellers at garden stores say their plants produced split leaves much earlier than that.

In that case, you may ask them for some tips. Note that there may be several factors at play that are available in their areas but not in yours, such as suitable weather conditions, soil quality, and amount of sunlight or rain.

What Causes Monstera Leaves Not To Split?

Monstera plant collectors like this plant due to its attractive fenestrated leaves, but they patiently wait for a while for the holes and splits to appear. If your Monstera is over three years old but still has no splits, then there might be a problem.

Here’s what causes Monstera leaves not to split:

  • There may be too much or not enough sunlight.
  • There is not enough or too much water.
  • The plant does not receive enough nutrients from the soil.
  • The environment may be too cold, too dry, or too hot.

How Do You Identify and Fix Each of These Problems?

Monstera plants need a warm environment from 60-85 °C (140-185 °F), high humidity, and bright, indirect sunlight. In addition, the plant also needs enough moisture and nutrients from the soil. But how do you identify what the problem is, and how do you fix it?

Here are some clues to recognize the problem and how to solve it.

1. The Uppermost Leaves Have Burn Marks

When you see your Monstera leaves turning brown in many areas besides the edges, it may indicate that there is too much sunlight. As a result, the leaves are burning. 

In this case, you may try to move the pot into an area with less sunlight.

Remember that Monstera plants need bright, filtered sunlight or dappled sun. You’ll want to place the pot next to an east-facing window to receive morning light or under the shade of a tree that can block direct sunlight but provide dappled light through the gaps in the leaves.

2. The Leaves Are Turning Yellow

If you have a dark-green variant of Monstera, the entire leaf must be dark green. 

Only variegated types have yellow or lighter pigmentations on their leaves. So if you notice your dark-green variant having yellow spots, that could be a cause of concern.

This means that the plant is not getting enough sunlight. Be sure to move the pot so it can get enough sunlight. You may even put it outside in the morning under the bright morning sun between 7 AM and 10 AM and put it back indoors for the rest of the day.

Another possible reason why the Monstera leaves turn yellow is when there is too much water. 

This plant prefers moist soil with good drainage. In addition, your pot must have drainage holes to flush out excess water.

A sufficient amount of sunlight can also dry up the soil to remove excess water. Dry soil doesn’t always mean you need to water the plant immediately. Try to poke through the soil for 2”-3”(5.08-7.62 cm) with your finger. If the layer beyond 2” (5.08 cm) is dry, then it’s time to water the plant again.

3. The Edges of the Leaves Are Turning Brown or Yellow

If the browning or yellowing occurs on the edges of the leaves, it may be an indication that the plant is not getting enough humidity.

When the weather is too cold and too dry, the plant cannot get enough moisture from the air. In such a case, you may spray some water on the leaves or into the air. You may also switch on a humidifier if your plant is indoors.

4. The Topmost Leaves Are Small

If your Monstera is over two years old, it must already be an adult with pretty broad leaves. The increase in size is why the splits and holes naturally appear, which is to allow the sunlight to reach the bottom leaves.

The small size and absence of splits are a sign that your plant doesn’t get enough sunlight. You may try to change the plant’s location and prune the bottom leaves to encourage new growth, and hopefully, bigger leaves.

It is also a sign that the plant is not getting enough nitrogen, which helps the plant produce healthy foliage. 

Ideally, you must select a fertilizer with higher nitrogen content. Check out the Monstera Plant Food (available on Amazon.com). It’s easy to apply and can help the leaves grow bigger more quickly.

Final Thoughts

Monstera plants are becoming popular, and there are plenty of ways to ensure that they grow well. Just remember that it takes sufficient knowledge about your area’s climate patterns and some experimenting to make the most suitable adjustments for your Monstera plant’s optimum health, growth, and production of the sought-after split leaves.


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