When Do Monstera Leaves Start To Split?

Did you know that Monstera is also known as the “Swiss Cheese Plant?” The distinct perforations split, and holes in its leaves fully justify this appellation. With that arise the questions of when do monstera leaves split and why this phenomenon occurs.

The deed of nourishing a young plant from the very beginning is a fulfilling experience. You can witness your monster-plants grow and develop fissures and splits!  If you find yourself curious about the nature of this unique plant, read ahead to find all the answers. 

When Do Monstera Leaves Split?

If you have a monstera, you must be anticipating the appearance of leaf fenestrations. If your plant has not developed the characteristic splits and holes yet, it is most likely a youngling or adolescent. Juvenile monsteras sport heart-shaped, intact leaves.

You must tend to your plant with great care, exposing it to plenty of light and following a healthy watering regimen. Moderate amounts of monstera plant fertilizer (Amazon link) is also necessary for supporting the growth of your young plant!

If you take good care of your houseplant, it will most likely begin developing natural splits when it reaches a mature age in 2 to 3 years. Patience is essential when it comes to watching your monstera leaves split. 

Why Do Monstera Leaves Split?

The splits in the leaves of monstera give it a unique character. As a plant parent, you should know why this strange phenomenon occurs. In essence, leaves split to help in boosting the growth of the plant. In this way, it grows to become stronger and bigger comparatively speedily in a shorter period. Here are the three main reasons the leaves of monstera split:


The consensus among botanists today is that monstera leaves have split so that light can travel to the lower levels. Since monsteras are tropical plants, they natively grow in dense areas where light may find difficulty reaching. The leaves of this plant grow larger and larger towards the light, needing more energy to bear its immense size. 

A solid, umbrella-like leaf of a large size will block sunlight from reaching the plant’s lower parts. The splits and holes, however, expose the innermost sections to adequate light. Light undeniably plays a crucial role in the development of fenestrations in the leaves of this mega-plant. Failure to give enough light to the plant can result in monstera black spot. I use an LED grow light (Amazon link) on my monstera plants, especially in the winter.


If a plant has continuously wet or damp leaves, it can create rot, bacterial or fungal infections. It also blocks its stomata. Monstera is a tropical plant- which means that it rains often. Unlike the undesirability of wet leaves, monstera plants require wet roots and nodes.

Hence, split leaves satisfy two needs: they prevent water from persisting on the leaves while allowing it to pass through to the roots. 


Monstera is an invasive species in many regions, and split leaves could suggest adaptation to windy areas. Their natural habitat is not too exposed, but the holes and splits could have evolved to help the plant face windy situations.

The fenestrations allow wind to pass through without knocking the monstera down. It is especially helpful in tropical areas that often invite hurricanes like the species’ natural home. 

The Causes of Monstera Leaves Splitting

Now you are aware of the reasons why monstera leaves split, take a look at the causes. The reasons for breakage define the practical logic behind it, while the causes are what catalyzes the occurrence.

The first factor is age. Monsteras naturally develop fenestrations after maturity. If you obtain a young monstera, you will have to wait for at least two or three years to witness leaf splits.

The second cause is light. Once the plant is mature enough to produce breaks and holes, it will require bright light for the process. The amount of light your monster-plant receives also dictates the size of the leaves. You can increase the split rate by using a grow LED light.

The third and final cause of splitting relies upon proper care. Even if your monstera is old enough and you expose it to adequate light, your efforts will be in vain if you tend to it improperly. Read on ahead for some tips for taking excellent care of your plant. 

How to Support the Development of Splits on Monstera Leaves?

If you have a young monstera and are seeing its entire growth process through, you must tend to it finely. Genuinely putting in time and effort is the only way you can hope for proper leaf fenestrations later. Click here to find out how to make the leaves grow faster.

While there is nothing you can do to rush the process of its leaves splitting naturally, you can encourage it by keeping these tips in mind: 

  • Give enough space to your monstera- These plants value proper space and grow to be quite big, so keep them in spacious places like your living room
  • Provide support to your plant – Monsteras develop in a semi-epiphytic and vining manner in nature, so a grow pole (Amazon link) for aid is always a good idea
  • Strike a balance between shade and sunlight – Too much direct light can harm your monstera while inadequate amounts can stunt its growth
  • Keep your plant in east-facing or north- facing light areas or windows
  • Water your plant regularly and uniformly; once a week should be enough- Stand by till the soil is relatively dry
  • Keep your Swiss Cheese Plant in a humid environment as it mimics its natural habitat in the best manner
  • Pruning is essential- You must prune the smaller, bottom-level leaves to promote excellent growth
  • Fertilize your plant in a moderate manner

Reasons Why Monstera Leaves Are Not Splitting

Do you have a mature monster whose leaves are just not splitting? There could be several reasons behind this. Here are some of the most common ones:

  • Your plant is not receiving adequate light or too much direct light – Here’s my favorite grow lights (Amazon link)
  • It does not have access to healthy amounts of resources like fertilizer and nutrients. Miracle Grow is great (Amazon link)
  • You do not follow a disciplined routine for watering your houseplant
  • You re-pot the plant too frequently
  • Your plant suffered injuries or wounds due to incorrect pruning or trimming


Monsteras have an assortment of names – Swiss Cheese Plant, Hurricane Plant, the Abnormal Houseplant – and all of them bring out its uniqueness.

They are a highly popular species to keep as houseplants and largely owe it to their beautiful leaf fenestrations or splits. These splits and holes begin appearing only once the plant matures and has ideal growing conditions.

Remember, you must be patient if you wish to witness the attractive splitting in the leaves of your monstera!  So that’s when monstera leaves split, click here to see our article on monstera aerial roots