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Monstera leaves have holes or fenestrations that give the plant an exotic appearance. These perforations on monstera leaves are the reason many refer to it as the Cheese plant. Fenestrations on monstera leaves are adaptive mechanisms of the plant to their natural habitat.
Some factors affect Monsteras’ plant fenestrations; your plant’s leaves will not fenestrate until the age of three. Lack of adequate exposure to sunlight also prevents its fenestration, humidity in the environment, and nutrients it gets.
However, this might not be the case with the monstera plants we grow at home since they don’t receive the ideal conditions as their natural habitat.
Why Do Monstera Plants Have Holes (Fenestrations)?
Some of the reasons these leaves have these holes are to capture maximum light, allow rainwater to drip through without causing damage to the plant, and camouflage against predators. In the rainforest, Monstera grows tall as it tries to compete against other plants for exposure to sunlight.
The split leaves increase the surface area for attracting light. Also, as a result, these slits in the leaves make the plant less resistant to the wind allowing it to blow through, which protects it from wind damage.
Different researchers have put forward their theories about the existence of fenestrations on monstera leaves, some of which don’t hold water. For instance, an earlier approach suggested that these holes helped the plant cool down (thermoregulation).
Some studies support the idea that these plant holes help the plant capture more light as they grow in areas with limited access to sunlight.
Are you still wondering why your Monstera doesn’t have holes yet? It might not be yet for the plant to attain these desired looks. Also, if your plant is of age, you need to provide proper care to your plant. In this post, I will be letting you in on why your plant might be missing these perforations and what you can do to help it attain them faster. Read on and discover these and more.
Age of your Monstera Plant
As mentioned above, the average age for fenestration in monstera plants is three years. If your plant doesn’t have these holes on its leaves, you will need to be a bit patient. Also, if your plant is older than three years, you still need to be patient as not all monstera plants will fenestrate at that age. Consequently, monstera plants you grow directly from seeds take longer to fenestrate.
As I will be mentioning later in this post, Monstera requires environmental conditions similar to those of their natural habitat. It might not be entirely possible to meet all these indoor and outdoor plants’ requirements, which may cause a delay in the development of your plants in fenestration and other areas. For instance, the monstera plants we grow at home hardly fruit, and it takes ages for those that do.
While monstera plants growing in the wild acquire fenestrations earlier, they also grow bigger. Your house plants may start fenestration at three feet, and this is a sign that your plant has reached maturity. It might, however, not bear fruit.
When this process begins, you will notice that your plant will start bearing new leaves with fenestrations. Some holes will be small on the inside part of the leaf, while others will be large, dividing the leaf entirely. The size of these holes increases as the leaf grows and ages, with older larger leaves bearing larger holes and slits.
If you are buying a monstera plant, you can judge the plant’s age based on the presence of holes. Young plants will not have fenestrations.
Adequate Exposure to Sunlight
Proper lighting is crucial for the growth of healthy monstera plants. Monstera plants require bright indirect sunlight to thrive. Like in other green plants, sunlight is an essential requirement for photosynthesis. Without sufficient exposure to sunlight, your plant will take longer to mature and fenestrate.
If you are planting your Monstera outdoors, you should place it under a shade where the leaves are not receiving direct sunlight. It is best to place indoor plants near a window with indirect bright light. East and South facing windows are ideal for your plants to get sufficient light is because when placed near a West facing window, the plant is likely to experience high levels of heat in the afternoons. On the other hand, North-facing windows may not offer the plant sufficient light.
Although not always, failure to fenestrate is a sign that your plant is not receiving sufficient light.
You will, therefore, need to consider other factors to be sure if or not lighting is the cause of the lack of fenestrations in your monster plants. For instance, if the soil on which your plant is growing takes too long to dry, it could signify that the plant is not exposed to sufficient light.
With the necessary exposure to light, the plant should take up water faster through the roots to manufacture food and provide other cellular activities. Also, light fastens the process of evaporation of water from the soil. Also, keep in mind that Monstera plants don’t thrive in too wet or saturated soils, and the plants should be thirsty every one to two weeks.
Healthy monstera plants have evergreen, thick and glossy leaves. Plants that are not receiving sufficient light will have small, weak, and thin leaves.
Also, if your plant is not receiving sufficient light, you might start noticing a black and, in other cases, yellowing coloration on the leaves. You, however, need to be careful when passing such judgment as other factors contribute to this color change, such as overwatering and attack by diseases and pests.
For this reason, you need to observe more than one of the factors we are looking at in this post before moving your plant. All in all, remember overwatering might occur due to insufficient exposure to light.
Plants receiving low amounts of light will show stunted growth because the plants are not manufacturing enough food to support the plant growth. If your monster is not producing new leaves every couple of months, especially during summer and spring, it could be because it is not getting sufficient light. Even when grown indoors, monstera plants should grow to a height of about ten feet with proper care.
If you can’t find the perfect lighting for your plants, you may need to consider artificial lighting or grow lights. Artificial lighting is also essential during winter.
Also, if your plants are growing in rooms within your working area, you will do better with full-spectrum white light. Although blue and red spectrum lights are uncomfortable to the eye while working, they give your plants a healthier dark growth on the plant leaves.
Humidity in the Environment
Monstera plants require sufficient water, humidity nutrients, and the correct temperatures for healthy growth. If you don’t provide these factors to your plants, they will likely show stunted growth where they develop leaves slowly and lack fenestrations.
Monstera plants thrive in areas with high humidity, and if the humidity is too low, the plant will respond with slow and stunted growth, and such plants will take a long to fenestrate or fail. In most cases, plants growing at home are not exposed to sufficient humidity.
The bathroom is the most appropriate location for your monster plant as it will continually receive the appropriate amounts of humidity. If you place your plants in the bathroom, you will also need to see that it receives the right amount of light.
Alternatively, you can use a humidifier to bring up the humidity around your plants. You can purchase one from the store or improvise around the plant by placing pebbles and water in the plant saucer. As this water evaporates, it creates the necessary humid environment for your plants.
Nutrients from the Soil
If you grow your plant in the same pot for long, it is bound to exploit all the necessary nutrients from the soil. Starved monster plants have challenges reaching maturity and attaining fenestrations.
Addressing this problem is through regular repotting, which introduces fresh nutrients to the plant. Even after repotting the plant, you might have to add fertilizer to supplement any missing nutrients.
With proper fertilization, you will be assured that your plant has all the nutrients it requires to grow. Periodically fertilize your monstera plants with a balanced fertilizer diluted to half strength. You can start small and see how your plant responds instead of putting too much fertilizer, damaging the plant roots.
Given the low amounts of soil you grow potted plants, fertilizing them is always wise. Monstera plants require a 3-1-2 N-P-K ratio, which means 3parts of nitrogen, one part of phosphorous, and two parts of potassium. All of these contribute to the plant’s general good health, including roots, stem, blooming, and splitting of leaves. To avoid excessive fertilization, make sure you reduce the fertilization intervals to a maximum of twice a year.
If you prefer natural fertilizers, you can use natural compost and worm castings that provide an environment similar to that the plant grows in the wild. Apply fertilizer half-inch to a quarter-inch deep and use your hands to mix slightly with the topsoil. Also, make sure you provide the plant with sufficient water to maintain its health and prevent root damage from the compost.
Proper Pruning of Monstera Plant
Pruning monstera plants encourages new growth, and if your plant’s growth is slow, you might consider pruning it. The best time to do so is in the spring, as this is when the plant experiences spurts of growth are also the best growing period for Monstera, and you can use the cuttings for propagation to grow new plants.
Monstera usually accelerates their growth after pruning, producing fenestrated leaves. When pruning, make sure you use a pair of sharp sanitized shears. Also, take time to carefully identify old and damaged leaves that you need to get rid of. Once you prune the old leaves, you make it easier for the plant to develop new growth as it can now direct its resources towards those areas.
If you also are interested in growing other indoor plants, you can visit this post; 25 easy to care for indoor plants even you can grow.
FAQ’s about Monstera plant
If you love growing Monstera as I do, Then check out The Complete Monstera (Swiss Cheese Plant) Care Guide
Providing your monstera plants with the necessary care provides you with the glossy green leaves that complement your interior and exterior design. The poor plant appearance of your plants can give your home a bad image. Monstera fenestrations are a sign of good health, and it will take both patience and proper care to achieve this.
As we saw above, certain factors will slow down the fenestration of your plants, including poor lighting, lack of sufficient nutrients, low humidity, and poor nutritional profile in the soil. And if you meet all these conditions and prune your plant when need be, you accelerate growth and fenestration.
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