Monstera Deliciosa, also known as the Swiss Cheese Plant, is a popular houseplant with its large, glossy leaves and iconic splits. However, have you ever wondered why and when Monstera leaves split? Some people believe it’s due to the plant’s water intake, while others believe it’s because of the amount of light it receives.

In this article, we will explore both theories and provide tips on how to encourage leaf splitting in your Monstera. So buckle up and let’s dive into the world of Monstera leaves!Creative Hook: Do you have a Monstera Deliciosa at home that seems to be lacking in its signature leaf splits? Or are you just curious about what makes these plants unique? Whatever your reason may be, get ready to discover the secrets behind when and why Monstera leaves split.

What are splits?

Monstera plants have impressive and striking foliage. Leaf splits are a sign of healthy growth and indicate that the plant is thriving. Split leaves can be fenestrations or leaf holes. Different Monstera varieties tend to produce different types of splits.

The process of splitting begins as new leaves emerge. Each leaf unfurls with all of the fenestrations it will ever have. Adequate light exposure, humidity, and fertilizer are key to healthy growth. Proper care, including well-draining soil and not overwatering, is important. Splits are a defining feature of Monstera plants that signify healthy growth and thriving.

Why do Monstera leaves split?

Why do Monstera leaves split? While scientists don’t fully agree, there are leading theories on why this happens. One theory suggests that the splits aid in the plant’s survival by allowing wind and rain to pass through, reducing the risk of damage or mold growth. Another theory is that the splits allow for more efficient photosynthesis, as they increase surface area and light exposure.

Additionally, some believe that it’s simply a genetic trait passed down from wild varieties. Regardless of the reason, Monstera leaves splitting is a beautiful and unique characteristic that adds to their appeal as houseplants. If you want to encourage leaf splitting in your Monstera, make sure it gets enough light and humidity, along with proper watering and fertilization. Age is the most important determinant of splitting. Monsteras will only develop holes in their leaves when they are at least a year old, usually closer to two or three. Before that time, the leaves will appear small and solid, slowly increasing in size over time as the plant grows.

The water theory

One leading theory on why Monstera leaves split is related to water uptake. In a 2012 study, it was found that fenestration allows for better water absorption in the wild where rain is already partially blocked by taller trees. The holes and slits in Monstera leaves allow rain droplets to pass through without being blocked by the plant’s foliage.

This could explain why some indoor Monstera plants may not have as much leaf splitting if they are not receiving enough water or humidity. Ensuring your Monstera gets adequate moisture could encourage more splits in its leaves, adding to its unique beauty.

The light theory

Another theory on why Monstera leaves split is related to light uptake. The holes and splits in the leaves allow for better light penetration, which is crucial for photosynthesis. A 2013 study found that the leaf holes on Monstera plants allow for more overall indirect sunlight absorption, despite some flecks passing through the holes.

This is because increased leaf size allows for more surface area to catch the sunlight, leading to a higher growth rate. So, if you want your Monstera plant to have more splits in its leaves, it’s important to ensure it’s receiving adequate amounts of bright light. Placing it near a window or providing artificial lighting can help promote more leaf splitting and overall plant health.

What methods promote the splitting of Monstera leaves?

When Do Monstera Leaves Split

Encouraging Monstera leaf splitting is all about providing the right growing conditions. This includes ensuring your plant receives enough light. Place your Monstera near a window that gets bright, indirect light, or provides artificial lighting if necessary. You can also rotate your plant regularly to ensure all leaves receive equal amounts of light.

Humidity is another important factor in promoting leaf splitting. Monstera plants thrive in humid environments, so consider using a humidifier or placing a tray of water near your plant to increase moisture levels. Proper watering and fertilization are also key in maintaining healthy and happy Monstera plants.

Make sure you’re not overwatering, as this can lead to root rot and other issues. Use a balanced fertilizer every few months to provide essential nutrients for growth. With consistent care and patience, you’ll soon see new leaves with beautiful splits forming on your Monstera plant.


Fertilizer is an important aspect of Monstera care, but it’s important to use it correctly. Over-fertilizing can damage your plant, so it’s best to stick to a biweekly or monthly schedule during the summer months. Use a balanced fertilizer that contains equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. It’s also important to choose the right type of fertilizer for your Monstera plant.

Organic fertilizers are a great option as they provide slow-release nutrients without harming the environment. You can also use liquid fertilizers or slow-release pellets, depending on your preference. When applying fertilizer, make sure you’re not getting any on the leaves or stems. This can cause burning and other issues. Instead, apply the fertilizer directly to the soil around the base of your plant.

Remember that while fertilizer is important, it’s not a magic solution for all Monstera problems. Make sure you’re providing proper light, humidity, soil, and water in addition to using fertilizer for optimal growth and health.

Things to keep in mind

The splitting of Monstera leaves is a common phenomenon, but there are a few things to keep in mind. Firstly, make sure you’re providing the right amount of light and humidity for your plant. Direct sunlight can cause burning and dryness, while low humidity levels can lead to crispy leaves. Secondly, avoid over-fertilizing your plant as this can damage it.

To care for your Monstera plant during summer, use a balanced fertilizer every two weeks or month. Organic options are best. Apply the fertilizer to the soil around the base of the plant, not the leaves or stems. Remember to also water and provide proper soil conditions for optimal growth.


Stress can play a significant role in the growth and development of Monstera leaves. Factors such as rough repotting or propagation can cause stress to the plant, resulting in a halt in fenestration. It’s important to make sure your Monstera is receiving proper care, including adequate light and humidity levels, as well as avoiding over-fertilization.

Additionally, monitoring watering and soil conditions can help reduce stress on the plant. By taking steps to reduce stress and provide optimal care, you can promote healthy growth and continued splitting of Monstera leaves.


Variegation is a unique characteristic that makes certain Monstera varieties stand out. Variegated Monstera plants have leaves with splashes or stripes of white, yellow, or light green contrasting against the dark green base color.

A genetic mutation affects chlorophyll production in variegated plant cells. Variegated plants need more care than regular Monstera plants. They require brighter light for their variegated leaves and may grow slower. These plants are rare and expensive, but owning one can be rewarding for plant lovers. Variegated Monstera plants are unique and impressive specimens.

Final Thoughts

Monstera plants begin splitting as new leaves emerge and grow larger over time. Different varieties produce different types of splits, with Monstera deliciosa known for fenestrations. Splits indicate healthy growth, but proper care is crucial for vibrant leaves.

Adequate light exposure, humidity levels, and balanced fertilizer promote beautiful foliage. Use well-draining soil and avoid overwatering to prevent root rot. Share your Monstera plant care tips or growth questions in the comments below.

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