Swiss Cheese Plants, also known as Monsteras are famous for their luscious green, split leaves. However, there are some instances where your monstera may not be producing any splits or holes in its leaves.
Whilst not always the case, this often suggests that your monstera is struggling in its environment. If you find that your monstera is not producing split leaves, we’ve found that these are the most common issues; Maturity of the plant, Insufficient light levels, Seasonal changes or Incorrect watering.
Your Monstera Might Be Too Young.
If you own a relatively young monstera, don’t be disheartened if the leaves don’t have any holes or splits in them yet. It can take up to 2-3 years before the plant matures enough to develop splits in the leaves. Young monsteras will have solid, heart-shaped leaves with thinner stems. Just make sure that you are looking after your monstera well and it should start to develop the split leaves that monsteras are known for. You’re just going need a little patience.
Insufficient Light Levels
If your monstera is a few years old, and is mature enough to have once had split leaves, but is no longer producing them, the problem is most likely a lack of light. Whilst monsteras can survive in lower light areas, they will not thrive. They require several hours a day of bright, indirect light to develop their infamous split leaves.
An east or south-facing window is the most ideal spot for your monstera, though a north-facing window can work too if this is your only option. Be careful with west-facing windows as they will receive a lot of direct sunlight in the afternoon which may damage the leaves. You want to find a nice balance between a bright spot, but without direct light as this will burn the leaves. You can also use a light meter to determine how much sunlight your plant is getting throughout the day.
If your home doesn’t have sufficient natural lighting, or you don’t have a nice spot for your monstera close to a window, there is another option. You can use a grow light to help supplement light to your monstera. You can buy grow lights as a fixture, but also as a light bulb to put into a lamp you already own. We recommend this LED grow light available on Amazon.
It May Be Seasonal
Although monstera growth is largely stalled in the darker months, any new leaves that do grow in winter will tend to have few, if any, holes. This is simply down to the adjustment in light levels in comparison to the sunnier months. Don’t be alarmed if your monstera grows solid leaves in winter, or even if it doesn’t grow any new leaves at all. This is completely normal and will, with the right care, start to thrive again in spring and summer.
If you’re concerned that light levels are dropping too low in winter, an LED grow light is a good option to supplement, though it certainly isn’t necessary.
You May Not Be Watering Correctly
Whilst insufficient light tends to be the most common reason why your monstera won’t produce split leaves, incorrect watering or fertilisation may also be a contributing factor. Make sure that you are watering your monstera enough so that the soil is never dry for long periods of time, but also be aware that they don’t like sitting in water for too long. You should only be fertilising your swiss cheese plant over the warmer growth period, as too much fertilisation in the winter months can harm your monstera’s natural growth.
There are a few things you can do to make sure your Monstera is being watered correctly:
Self watering pots
If you want a perfect, set it and forget it solution to making sure your Monstera is getting the right amount water then consider a good self watering pot. We really like this one from Amazon and use it all the time, especially if we’re going away for a while and won’t be around to keep things in order!
Monitor the moisture
You only want to water your Monstera when it’s time to do so. Too much or too little water can be damaging to your plant and mean it doesn’t mature enough to get split leaves. Using a water monitor will really help you know when to water your Monstera. We love using this moisture meter available on Amazon.
Use terracotta pots
Clay and terracotta pots are much better for your Monstera’s health than plastic pots as they allow some of the moisture to escape from the sides. Plastic pots keep all of the moisture in the soil. We love these terracotta pots from Amazon.
If you make sure to cover all of the bases outlined above, your monstera should start to thrive again. You want to be replicating its natural environment as much as possible so that the overall plant is happy and healthy, encouraging new growth.
The main thing is just to be patient with your monstera, even though moving it to a different spot may only take minutes, the plant might need a few months to adapt to the new light levels before producing split leaves. So as long as your plant is healthy and growing, try not to be too concerned.
Written by Billy Dawson