The best part about monstera plants (and the reason why they’re so popular on the houseplant market right now) is those giant, beautiful leaves with their characteristic holes!
A monstera plant without the holes just feels wrong. It’s just not the same!
And leaves that won’t split is among the top complaints from new monstera owners.
So what happens if your leaves aren’t splitting? Are you doomed to a boring, hole-less monstera forever?
Of course not!
Here’s what to do if your leaves aren’t splitting.
What to Do if Your Monstera Leaves Won’t Split
Option 1: Wait
If your monstera plant is still fairly young and small, you may just need to give it time.
Young monsteras have solid, heart-shaped leaves, and they almost look like a different plant! With good light, the right amount of water, and a little fertilizer, your monstera should grow and eventually develop those beautiful holes and splits on its own when it’s 2-3 years old. Be patient!
Option 2: More light!
In most cases, this is the most important thing you can do to get your monstera leaves to split. While monsteras can definitely get by in lower light, they won’t grow much or develop many splits (or multiple rows of splits) without lots of bright, indirect sunlight. Even if you’re doing everything else right, your monstera leaves may not split without the right light.
Lower light can work if you acquire a mature monstera with split leaves, especially if you don’t want it to get any bigger and take over your home (because monsteras tend to do that!).
But if you have a young plant that you want to watch grow and mature, you’ll need good lighting. An east-facing or south-facing window is best, but north can work as well. Just be very careful with west-facing windows because they tend to get a lot of direct, hot afternoon light, which can scorch the leaves.
If you live in a home without great lighting, don’t worry! You can always supplement with a grow light. You can buy ready-made grow lights or put grow bulbs in regular light fixtures, which can be an attractive alternative to greenhouse-style lights you can get from nurseries.
Here’s a grow bulb we like that works in most standard lamps and light fixtures.
Option 3: Check your watering and fertilizing routine
While light is by far the most important factor in leaf-splitting, water and nutrients (aka fertilizer) also play a role. In addition to making sure your monstera has an abundance of bright, indirect light, make sure you’re giving it the correct amount of water and fertilizing regularly, especially during the spring and summer when monsteras are most likely to experience growth spurts.
Read our guide to monstera care here to dial in your watering routine here, and check out this article to help you pick the best fertilizer to support your monstera’s growth.
Cover the basics first
It comes down to this: The better you can recreate your plant’s natural habitat, the healthier your plant will be, the more your plant will grow, and the more your leaves will split like they do in the wild.
With lots of sunlight, plenty of water, and adequate nutrients, you’ll have a beautiful monstera! If your leaves aren’t splitting, don’t despair. Just see this as a sign that your plant is asking for something, and do your best to provide.
Plant parenthood is a journey, and learning to read your plant’s signals is just part of the adventure!
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