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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 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 to 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 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 old, you must provide proper care. In this post, I will let you know 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 must 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 mention later in this post, Monstera requires environmental conditions similar to their natural habitat. It might not be entirely possible to meet all these indoor and outdoor plant 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 have 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, which signifies 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, 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 because when placed near a West facing window, the plant will likely experience high heat levels 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 in which your plant is growing takes too long to dry, it could signify that it 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, remember that Monstera plants don’t thrive in too wet or saturated soils and should be thirsty every one to two weeks.
Healthy monstera plants have evergreen, thick and glossy leaves. Plants 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, yellow coloration on the leaves. You, however, must 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. Remember that 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 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 about ten feet with proper care.
If you can’t find the perfect lighting for your plants, you may need to consider artificial or grow lights. Artificial lighting is also essential during winter.
Also, if your plants grow 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 temperatures for healthy growth. If you don’t provide these factors to your plants, they will likely show stunted growth, developing leaves slowly and lacking 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. Most 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 proper humidity. If you place your plants in the bathroom, you must also see that it gets the right amount of light.
Alternatively, you can use a humidifier to increase your plants’ humidity. 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 a long, it will exploit all the necessary nutrients from the soil. Starved monster plants have challenges reaching maturity and attaining fenestrations.
Regular repotting introduces fresh nutrients to the plant by addressing this problem. 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 three parts of nitrogen, one of phosphorous, and two of potassium.
All of these contribute to the plant’s general good health, including roots, stem, blooming, and leaf splitting. To avoid excessive fertilization, 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 the plant’s wild growth. Apply fertilizer half-inch to quarter-inch deep and use your hands to mix slightly with the topsoil. Also, ensure you provide the plant with sufficient water to maintain 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 when the plant experiences growth spurts and is 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, use a pair of sharp, sanitized shears. Also, carefully identify old and damaged leaves you need to eliminate. Once you prune the old leaves, it is easier for the plant to develop new growth as it can 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is unique about the Monstera plant?
Monstera fruit exists, and it is delicious. In the wild, Monstera Deliciosa has vibrant fruit that tastes like a combination of strawberries, passion fruit, mango, and pineapple. It is so delicious that the Monstera Deliciosa owes its name to it.
What should you not do with Monstera?
Never allow your plant to sit in water or soggy soil, as this can lead to root rot and the eventual death of your plant. Your Monstera Adansonii will do well in average household humidity but will benefit from a boost in humidity.
Why is Monstera so expensive?
Variegated Monsteras are so expensive because of their rarity and popularity. The lack of chlorophyll in the leaves means it needs more light and grows slower, which means slower propagation and fewer new plants. Gardeners have discovered that people will pay a lot for a variegated Monstera.
What kind of pots do Monsteras like?
Concrete pots are the best for very big, mature Monsteras, as they are cumbersome and will keep your plant from falling over. Concrete pots are used indoors or outside, but you don’t want to move them often due to their weight. When using concrete pots, make sure it has drainage holes.
What nutrients do Monsteras need?
Monstera plants need a 3-1-2 N-P-K ratio, which means three parts nitrogen, one part phosphorus, to two parts potassium. These three macronutrients contribute to your plant’s leaves, stem, and root health, helping it bloom and get split leaves.
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; it will take 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 necessary, you accelerate growth and fenestration.