Why are my Monstera Leaves not Splitting – 5 Possible Reasons


A monstera on the article Why are my Monstera Leaves not Splitting

Most people choose the Monstera because of its split leaves, also referred to as fenestrations. They are a unique aspect of this plant, setting them apart from the rest of the herd.

So, of course, it can be pretty frustrating when your Monstera leaves do not split. But before you start worrying that something could be amiss with your plant, read the guide below.

We get into why the monstera leaves split (yes, there is a reason) when they split and what could keep them from splitting. So, rest assured that you will have found the solution to your problem in the end.

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Why are my Monstera Leaves not Splitting?

A monsteraLet’s start with the most significant pain point – your monstera leaves are not splitting. There could be many reasons behind this. But let’s make it easy by understanding why leaves split in the first place. Ready?

The Monstera’s natural habitat lies within rainforest canopies. And in the wild, plants must adapt if they are to survive the competition. How do Monsteras do this? – By developing splits in their leaves. These splits are thought to:

1) Enable them to withstand the harsh winds in the wild. With heavy rains and possible hurricanes in tow, these leaves enable the plant to survive by providing a minimal surface area.

You may have noticed that the Monstera has relatively large leaves. And in the wild, their flapping and flailing around could weaken the plant’s stability. Hence, the splits!

2) Help monsteras gain more access to water: A theory suggests that the fenestrations are ideal in allowing water to trickle down to the roots.

Rather than holding the water on the leaf surface, the splits make it possible for the rainwater to move down the levels. Thus, their roots get enough water to support the plant.

3) Aid in the absorption of sunlight: How so? Well, the fenestrations allow the plant leaves to cover more area. That allows them to get enough sunlight to support the plant’s growth.

See? Those splits do have a purpose. Now, let’s figure out why your monstera leaves are not splitting.

Reason 1: Your Plant is Too Young

You might think that fenestrations start showing immediately the plant roots. However, that could not be further from the truth. Fenestration starts presenting from the age of two years.

So, if your plant is younger than this, there is a good reason for your monstera leaves not splitting.

Reason 2: Your Monstera Does Not Get Enough Sunlight

Your Monstera requires sunlight for photosynthesis to take place. But in the absence of enough light, it cannot make enough food to support its growth. How can you tell that your plant does not receive enough light? Look out for:

  • Thin leaves,
  • Small leaves (the Monstera generally has broader leaves than most house plants),
  • Pale and yellowish leaves,
  • No fenestrations, and
  • Leaves that lack thickness and glossiness.

Have you noticed such signs in your plant? Then you might have found the problem.

Reason 3: Underwatering

Are you giving your plant enough water? The lack of splitting could owe to overall dehydration.

When a Monstera does not have enough water, its growth slows. And if you do not act fast enough, the plant can start dying back.

Reason 4: The Humidity is Not Optimal

Once again, we are back to the Monstera’s natural habitat – it thrives in canopies, surrounded by other species. So, it’s only natural that it would enjoy humidity.

If you notice your plant looking dehydrated yet it gets enough water, the conditions in your home might not be ideal.

Reason 5: The Monstera is Underfed

When was the last time you fed your Monstera? To produce leaves that can split, it must have the proper nutrients to support this process.

If you are enjoying this article, check out our article on the monstera vs pothos.

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How Long does it take for Monstera Leaves to Split?

Multiple monsteras Each plant differs. But the general rule is that a Monstera’s leaves can start splitting from the age of 2. However, there is a caveat to this.

The plant must be in optimal conditions. That means it should get enough lighting, watering, and feeding. Also, the temperature and humidity must be favorable to its growth.

So, when should you start worrying about your plant? – if it’s been more than three years and you still haven’t seen any splits.

In that case, you might be growing a plant other than the Monstera (yes, that’s possible. At a young age and without the fenestrations, you could mistake other species for this plant.)

If yours is a Monstera, then the delay owes to something you’re doing wrong. But don’t fret – we’ve compiled some of the ways you could get your Monstera to split. There is light at the end of this tunnel!

You may also like: How to care for a monstera

How do I get my Monstera Leaves to Split?

We have covered why the leaves split and why yours may not have split. Are you ready for the solutions? We’ll cover them per cause:

Reason 1: Your Plant is Too Young

If age is the factor behind the delay, patience is a simple answer to it. You cannot hasten the process. All you can do is provide the plant with optimal growing conditions.

Then wait until it’s two years old to see the yield of this hard work. You should only start worrying if the plant does not show signs of fenestration at age 3.

In that case, your care practices may not be sufficient to promote the splitting. Keep reading for the other possible solutions.

Reason 2: Your Monstera Does Not Get Enough Sunlight

Your aha moment, in this case, would be to provide the plant with enough sunlight, right? Keep in mind that you must mimic its natural growing habitat.

In canopies, the Monstera does not get direct sunlight. Instead, it receives filtered light cascading from the plants above. Aim to give it the same sunlight by placing it near bright yet indirect sunlight at least six hours a day.

Opt for east-facing or south-facing windows and add sheers to protect the leaves.

Note that if the leaves receive direct sunlight, they burn, which also puts an end to photosynthesis. So, aim for balance, and you should be good.

What if natural light is not adequate in your home? Well, you can always use a grow light.

Reason 3: Underwatering

Giving any plant adequate water is often a hassle. You give it too little, and it dries out.

Yet if you give it too much, it drowns. If you’ve noticed wilting and general dehydration signs in your plant, then it’s time for a new watering schedule.

Thoroughly wet your potting soil and allow the excess water to run through the drain holes. Then allow the soil to slightly dry out before watering again.

Depending on where you live, watering could be necessary every one or two weeks. Just don’t give the plant water unless the soil has slightly dried out – test this by digging into the topsoil layer.

Is overwatering as bad? Yes, if you notice signs such as yellowing leaves, then you could be using too much water on the plant.

That can also kill the plant, so you must be careful with this too. If you have trouble gauging the water levels in the soil, you can always buy a meter to help you out.

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Reason 4: The Humidity is Not Optimal

So, how do you increase humidity in your home? You can invest in a humidifier. But if you want cheaper options, leave your bathroom and kitchen doors open.

The moisture will spread through the home. Also, add some bowls of water near the plant so that the evaporating water increases humidity in the room. It never hurts to mist the plant too.

Reason 5: The Monstera is Underfed

Amend your soil to include a balance of phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium. Monsteras are fast growers and need to be constantly fed to accommodate their growth spurts.

You may also like: How do you save a damaged monstera

Why do Some of my Monstera Leaves not Split?

A monstera plantYou may notice that some of the leaves on your plant have not split despite being aged 3 and above. How is this possible?

Well, let’s cover why leaves split in the first place. We have already made headway on the theories, but you should know one more thing.

Monstera leaves usually need to be at least five to six inches wide to split. That’s when the passage of air, sunlight, and water becomes crucial – again, it comes down to their natural habitat.

Also, fenestrations are only possible in older plants. If your plant meets the above criteria and still won’t split, the problem lies in the care practices.

That’s what keeps the plant from completing its photosynthesis and will hinder its growth. So, you start noticing that its leaf production has reduced.

Please go through why your plant may not split, as we covered earlier. And if you notice something you can resonate with, that’s your culprit.

Final Thoughts

If your Monstera is aged 2-3 years and is in optimal conditions, you can expect it to start showing fenestrations soon.

But if that’s not happening and it’s now aged 3 and above, you must investigate what you could be doing wrong.

Remember, your plant needs enough light, water, fertilizer, and optimal humidity and temperatures. Happy Gardening!

If you enjoyed this article, check out our article on why is my monstera adansonii hanging and how to get rid of thrips on your monstera.

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