How to Get Your Monstera Leaves to Split

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This post is jam-packed with my top tips for caring for your Monstera.

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I love Monsteras. The most common names for Monstera Deliciosa are Split Leaf Philodendron, Mexican Breadfruit, and (my favorite nickname) Swiss Cheese Plant.

Monsteras are super unique looking and relatively easy to care for, and I hope this post can help you feel the same. This post is jam-packed with my top tips for caring for your Monstera. If you have any questions, feel free to comment below or connect with me on Instagram. 

close up monstera leaf plant

My Care Tips to Get Your Monstera Leaves to Split

1) Let There Be Light

I have two Monsteras; one in our south-facing bedroom balcony window and one in the foyer next to the bay window. Fun Fact: Their names are Mr. and Mrs. Swiss. During the winter and fall, I use a plant light to supplement when there is less sunlight.

Monsteras love bright light. They will tolerate living in low light, but they will grow very slowly and possibly very leggy. Remember to rotate it every so often to get light on all sides.

They like the light slightly diffused because if it receives intense direct sun for several hours a day, the leaves will burn, turn brown or black, and become very brittle.

Monsteras are epiphytic. This means a plant that grows above the ground, supported non-parasitically by another plant or object, and derives its nutrients and water from rain, the air, dust, etc.

green monstera leaf

The Sill and Etsy are great places to buy plants and have them shipped directly to your home.

2) Watering Your Monstera

I water my Monsteras regularly, about once every 4-5 days. In the summer, watering is more frequent than in the winter because, as with all plants, the more light, the more watering, and the less light, the less watering it will need. Monsteras have very thick roots, so it is important not to kill them with kindness by overwatering them.

3) The Perfect Temperature for Monsteras

If your home is comfortable for you, it’ll be so for your houseplants. Monsteras prefer it on the warmer side in the growing months & cooler in the winter when it’s their rest time. Just be sure to keep them away from any cold drafts and air conditioning or heating vents.

4) Monsteras Love Humidity

Monsteras are tropical plants and love humidity, just like Jennifer Lopez’s countless music videos. haha

If you notice the tips of the Monstera leaves are turning brown, it may be trying to tell you the air in your home is too dry. If you are concerned about browning leaves, you can try misting your Monstera. I just bought the cutest gold, mister!

I have dehydrated skin, and we have two diffusers on the main level and a humidifier in our bedroom that is frequently running. I love it, and my plants do too! We live in the Midwest, so we have our heat on most of the year, so I always make sure none of my houseplants are close to the heating vents.

monstera plant

5) Fertilizing for Your Monstera

I give most of my houseplants some diluted coffee about once every two weeks. I give my Monstera more coffee during the summer than in the winter. I prefer using weak coffee as fertilizer for my plants because it is less risky than proper fertilizer, which can burn your plant and cause nutrient buildup.

giving coffee to houseplant

6) Monsteras Need Healthy Soil

I know many opinions about what makes the best soil for houseplants. However, I know what has worked well for me, so that is what I will share with you.

I fill the bottom of my planter with gravel or small pebbles. Then I pour a layer of soil, then a layer of perlite, mix, add the plant, and then more soil and perlite. My soil to perlite ratio is about 80 soil to 20 perlite. The soil I most commonly use Miracle-Gro Nature’s Care Organic. The perlite is Miracle-Gro Perlite 

7) Make More!! Propagate Your Monstera

My first plant propagation was a Monstera, and it was so easy! There are a few ways to propagate Monsteras, but I’ve only tried the water propagation method and have had success from it! I love propagating my houseplants in water because it is easy to monitor how the roots develop on the cuttings.

I have a full in-depth blog post about it, but basically, you will use a sharp, sterilized knife, pruning scissors,s or trimming shear to cut a mature leaf or stem from the plant that includes a small stem or “root node.” Then you will put it in water for several weeks and watch the roots develop. You can read my full post on propagating a Monstera here. 

how to propagate your monstera houseplant

propagating monstera glass jar

8) Monstera Pests & Other Issues

Knock on wood; I have never had any bugs invade my houseplants. Bugs are gross & nobody wants them buzzing around their home. The excellent news about houseplants and pest removal is once you know the root of the problem (pun wholly intended) it is far easier than you might think to solve!

Prolonged damp soil can create root rot or cause fungus gnats and small annoying bugs like fruit flies. Sticky traps work great, but I highly recommend re-planting your Monstera in fresh soil and inspecting for mushy roots, indicating root rot.

Monstera FAQS

Why are my Monstera leaves curling?

The tight curling of new leaves is regular before they uncurl. Newer leaves may take a few days to open completely.

The curling of mature leaves is often a result of underwatering or a lack of humidity. Water your Montsera plant and wait a day or two to see if the leaves uncurl to see if that was the problem. Other possibilities are excess watering, insect infestations, heat stress, and rootbound plants.

Can a Monstera plant recover from root rot?

It’s possible to preserve plants with root rot, but you must act quickly. It all comes down to how fast you can dry the roots and eliminate any decay. Root rot is scary; I am not going to lie. I have a few blog posts about it, but this one I think will help you if you suspect your Monstera is suffering from root rot: Root Rot: Your Houseplant’s Worst Enemy. What Is Root Rot and How to Defeat It!

Should I cut off yellow Monstera leaves?

If you suspect your leaves yellowed due to overwatering, pests, or fungal infection, then chop them off immediately.

As long as your plant has some leaves, it’ll be able to photosynthesize and hopefully recover.

Will Yellow Monstera leaves turn back to green?

In general, yellow leaves won’t go green again. They’re a burden to the plant now, so you can chop them off without hurting your plant.

How do you prune yellow Monstera leaves?

If your Monstera leaves have turned yellow due to overwatering, you can prune them off at the stem. I like to use a sharp knife or plant snips when pruning my plants.

What are the splits in Monstera leaves called?

Monsteras are famous for their natural leaf holes, hence the nickname “Swiss Cheese Plant.” The technical term for plants having holes or clear parts in their leaves is called “leaf fenestration.”

These are part of the plant’s natural growth cycle, and they will occur naturally as the plant ages and grows larger.

Join the Conversation

  1. Teresa Jones says:

    Thank you for all the excellent plant tips. I have a peace lily that’s about 3 years old and it’s on my front porch ( Florida), and it doesn’t bloom. I actually forgot it was supposed to bloom until I saw your post about it. I had just repotted it last week due to it looked like it was dying on me. Leaves turning brown and falling off. I now will be going back to repot it again, this time checking out the roots and adding peralite to my soil. Thanks again for all your excellent advice, Teresa Jones

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