Do Some Monstera Leaves Not Have Holes?

The monstera, with its characteristic split leaves, is the star of any indoor plant collection. So, it is frustrating when your prized monstera does not grow leaves with holes and just sits in one corner of your living room, looking ordinary like any other plant.

The leaves of some monstera species like Monstera peru and Monstera standleyana never develop holes. The Monstera adansonii and Monstera deliciosa grow split leaves. However, sometimes the leaves may not split if the growing conditions are not ideal or the plant is less than 2-3 years old.

With its split leaves, the monstera is as alluring as it is enigmatic. In this article, I will explain why some monsteras have split leaves, and others do not. I will also explain how to care for your monstera and make it grow more split leaves. 

Why Monsteras Have Holes?

Monstera species like Monstera adansonii and Monstera deliciosa have holes in their leaves as part of nature’s design. The holes promote air circulation and keep the leaves dry. Improved light penetration, airflow, and drainage keep the plant healthy, so these holes serve an evolutionary purpose.

Read on as I explain how the holes on monstera leaves help the plant thrive.

Split Leaves Let in Sunlight 

Monsteras grow up to two feet wide in their natural habitat. They develop huge leaves, and the leaves on the top branches shade the ones below. The leaves on the lower branches do not receive light.

Without sunlight, monstera leaves cannot photosynthesize or create the nutrients the plant needs to remain healthy and thrive

To fix this issue, Mother Nature programmed monstera leaves to split and let in sunlight. 

Biologist Christopher Muir of Indiana University, Bloomington, explains why the monstera leaves on the upper branches of the plant have holes while those on the lower branches don’t. 

According to him, monstera plants remain shaded by the dense canopies of the tall trees in tropical rainforests. As the monstera grows, the stems and the branches trail up the tree trunks. Up here, more sunlight hits the leaves of the monstera. 

However, the sun’s rays hit the foliage and get scattered by the wind. So, it is difficult to predict which leaf will catch the light.

Muir calculated and proved that split leaves catch more sun rays than solid leaves with the same surface area. Mother Nature knew already!

Very little sunlight reaches the leaves at the bottom of the plant. So, these leaves do not develop holes. It would be useless to split these leaves, so nature didn’t.

Split Leaves Improve Drainage

Tropical rainforests receive copious amounts of rainfall. The leaves of the plants here collect the rain. The humid environment, too, creates a buildup of water on the leaves. 

When there is too much water buildup, the leaves remain wet. Consistently wet leaves attract pests, mold, and fungus. 

Wet leaves can also cause root rot, which eventually kills the plant. The holes in the monstera leaves prevent the water from collecting and remaining stagnant and keep the leaves dry. 

Split Leaves Promote Air Circulation

A dense canopy of leaves can prevent fresh air from reaching the leaves on the lower branches of a plant. Lack of airflow around a plan creates an excessively humid environment. This keeps the leaves soggy and invites pests.

The split leaves of the monstera let in air that eventually reaches the lower portions of the plant. 

Why Do My Monstera Leaves Not Have Holes?

Your monstera will not have holes if it belongs to a species not programmed by nature to produce split leaves. Other species do not produce split leaves till the plant is 2-3 years old and has grown at least three feet tall and wide.

Mature monstera plants do not grow holes if the growing conditions are not ideal.

The following conditions prevent mature monsteras that belong to a species that produces split leaves from developing leaves with holes:

  • Insufficient Light. Monsteras need at least 5-8 hours of bright, indirect light to thrive and develop split leaves. The plant produces small leaves with no holes to conserve energy in low-light conditions.
  • Low Humidity. Monsteras originate in the warm and humid rainforests of the world. They love humidity levels between 60-80%, although they can tolerate slightly lower levels. They do not thrive in dry air, which is common inside our homes in winter.
  • Low Temperature. Monsteras are tropical plants. They thrive when the temperature is between 65° F and 85° F (18° C-29° C). A temperature below 55° F (13° C) slows its growth.
  • Insufficient Watering. Monsteras need consistently moist soil but cannot tolerate waterlogged conditions. They do not thrive in dry soils either. 
  • Inadequate Feeding. Monstera leaves do not split if the plant is malnourished and is not growing vigorously. 

How Long Does It Take for a Monstera Leaf To Get Holes?

Monstera leaves usually split when the plant is 2-3 years old. Monstera leaves can grow up to two feet wide, so leaves on the upper branches split to let in light and air. The leaves don’t split if they are not wide enough or if the canopy is sparse because there is no need to.

You can force the leaves on your monstera to split only by making the plant grow faster and sprouting more leaves. Read on as I explain how you can get more holes in your monstera plant.

How Do You Get More Holes in Monstera?

The monsteras programmed by Mother Nature to develop holes in their leaves do so only when they mature and have reached a certain height and width.

You can get more holes in a monstera plant by creating an ideal growing environment that encourages the plant to grow, thrive, and produce more leaves. Provide it with consistent but diffused light, a humid microclimate, adequate water, and nutrients. 

Here are some tips on how to get more holes in a monstera:

  • Provide at least six hours of bright, indirect light. The holes in the leaves of a monstera develop in response to light. Monsteras may survive in low-light conditions but will not produce split leaves.
  • Increase humidity around the plant. You can increase humidity by keeping the planter just above a layer of pebbles in a saucer of water. Or, group the monstera with other plants to create a humid microclimate. My article here contains more tips on increasing humidity around your monstera: How to Get Your Monstera Leaves to Split
  • Keep the soil moist. Water only when the top few inches of the soil feel dry to the touch. Poke your finger a few inches into the soil to gauge wetness. Read more about how to keep indoor soil moist in my article here: How to Keep Indoor Soil Moist
  • Feed your monstera. Feed your monstera a fertilizer containing a balanced mix of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. You can use homemade compost too. Fertilize regularly during spring and summer when the plant is growing actively.
  • Train the plant to climb up. Provide the plant with a trellis or a moss pole to climb and reach toward the light. As the plant receives more light, it will grow more healthy leaves with holes. This trick mimics the monstera’s natural habitat.
  • Prune old growth. Pruning encourages new growth. Snip away old and small leaves, and you will soon see a profusion of new leaves. As the foliage becomes bushier, the leaves will develop holes. 

A monstera plant with large, glossy, split leaves is a showstopper wherever you place it. Gift yourself another showstopper by creating another monstera plant from a top cutting. 

Top cuttings regrow faster than cuttings taken from the mid-section of the plant or the stem. The monstera that grows from a top cutting has leaves almost as mature as those of the mother plant. So, these leaves will develop holes quickly. 


Not all monstera plants have holes in their leaves. Most plantophiles love the split-leaf look of the monstera. So, make sure you buy a species from the nursery that will develop holes. 

Remember, a young monstera won’t grow split leaves. Wait for it to mature. However, if a mature monstera is not sprouting split leaves, check if it is receiving adequate light, water, and fertilizer.

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the principal creator of, a website dedicated to gardening tips. Inspired by his mother’s love of gardening, Alex has a passion for taking care of plants and turning backyards into feel-good places and loves to share his experience with the rest of the world.

Recent Posts