People often mistake the appearance of brown holes on Monstera leaves as the common exotic holes and splits the plant is famous for.
Generally, holes in Monstera leaves called fenestration is a natural occurrence when it reaches a height of 3 feet. The fenestration is a distinctive transparent area in Monstera that appears to adapt them to their natural habitat, as leaves on top can hamper the lower growth.
The Monstera’s tiny holes make the leaves look like Swiss cheese (also called the “Swiss Cheese plant.”) Learn more about it from the article below.
Why Does Monstera Have Holes In Leaves?
Monstera deliciosa, a native of the tropical rainforest of southern Mexico, needed an adaptation feature to survive.
As a survival instinct, the leaves of Monstera developed holes known as fenestration and split the edges to perform air circulation and regulate the plant’s temperature.
Also, Monstera grew beneath tall trees canopy in the wilderness. The trees shade the leaves, letting them receive only dappled sun.
A single leaf of Monstera can reach up to 24 inches wide. So if the upper leaves spread this wide, lower leaves will surely suffer.
Hence, Monstera has holes in leaves to capture more light and pass the sunlight to lower leaves.
Also, a research article said the Monstera having fenestration had increased water uptake efficiency and greater biomass production.
Moreover, these holes provide wind resistance to Monstera by letting the wind pass through it and reduce wind damage.
Thus, the Monstera holes are essential, forming in the leaves to attain full growth and perform photosynthesis.
How Long Does It Take For Monstera To Get Holes?
Fenestration formation is a natural phenomenon that Monstera shows as it reaches maturity.
Generally, Monstera takes about 2 to 3 years to attain a height of 3 feet and width of the same to start having these holes as tiny spots.
Initially, the holes are not so giant as Monsteras get more holes with age and grow bigger.
This is because Monstera has a moderate growth rate and takes time to reach a mature size. Also, the holes are for penetrating light and wind, so it appears with time.
However, if you have waited over 3 years to relish larger fenestration, move on and change the variety or care tips.
As there are different types of Monstera without holes, including Monstera Peru. Even BabyMonstera has no holes.
Meanwhile, there are types of Monstera having small and delicate holes, like Monstera adansonii. So do not expect it to have giant splits and fenestration.
How Do You Encourage Holes In Monstera?
Fenestration is aesthetic to watch and gives an exotic ambience to your indoors. So it would be best if you did not cut off Monstera leaves with holes.
Instead, if your monstrous Monstera deliciosa has tiny holes instead of giant splits, check for any errors in the growing condition.
Here are some care tips you can look out for to encourage fenestration in Monstera.
- Provide the plant with at least 6 hours of bright indirect light, as lack of light causes solid leaves.
- Maintain moist but not soggy soil. To do so, you should water a Monstera every 1 to 2 weeks during summer.
- Keep the humidity within the range of 60 to 80%.
- Maintain temperatures of 65 to 85ºF even if it can tolerate temperatures up to 50ºF.
- Use a balanced fertilizer (20-20-20) or phosphorous-rich fertilizer (6-12-6) monthly during the active growing season.
- Also, the Monstera needs well-draining soil (pH 5.5-7) with peat moss free from bark and compost.
- Snip off any older leaves without any holes as it may support new growth to give holes.
- Meanwhile, Monstera needs repotting yearly into a 2 to 3 inches wider pot to encourage fenestration from new growth.
- Also, the holes can be home for pests like mealybugs and spider mites. So wipe the leaves frequently with water and spray neem oil or insecticidal soap.
From Editorial Team
The deeply cut leaves of Monstera make it resemble a split-leaf Philodendron. But Monstera has more deep-lobed and larger leaves than the closely spaced split leaf.
Also, do not lose hope and enjoy the fenestration at least once, as the lifespan of a Monstera plant is more than 40 years.