Why does Monstera have holes? Everything you need to know

Welcome to the FamiPlants blog, where we discuss anything and everything to do with plants! In recent years, monstera plants have grown in popularity, and their distinctive, lovely leaves with holes have come to be recognized. Have you ever considered the reason for the holes in Monstera leaves, though? Why do Monstera plants have holes? That’s exactly what we’re gonna tackle in this post, taking a deep dive into the super cool world of Monstera plants.

We’re gonna chew over the benefits and how-tos of taking care of these wild beauties, and we’re gonna get to the bottom of the science and history behind those unique holes. So, if you’re keen to find out more about Monstera plants and their holes, no matter if you’re an old hand at plant parenting or just starting out, stick around and keep reading.

Why does Monstera have holes?

The “Swiss cheese plant”, or Monstera deliciosa as it’s officially known, is famous for having leaves with natural holes. But these holes aren’t just for show. It is a result of evolutionary adaptation that enhances the plant’s survival in its native tropical rainforest habitats.

The leading theory, proposed by researcher Christopher Muir at Indiana University, suggests these holes are an adaptation to the plant’s challenging lighting conditions. Monsteras typically grow from the forest floor, then climb up trees sort of like a vine to get closer to the light. In these thick forests, plants like the Monstera have to grab any bits of sunlight, or ‘sun flecks’, they can get.

By developing fenestrations, It develops these holes in its leaves, which lets it spread out its leaf surface over a bigger area. This means it’s got more chance of catching these sunflecks. Sure, some light might sneak through the holes, but the plant is catching more light overall thanks to the bigger leaf coverage.

This adaptation is particularly beneficial under scattered light conditions where fenestrated leaves can capture more sunlight than whole leaves. As mature Monsteras grow more rapidly, the efficient use of all available light becomes crucial, making fenestrations advantageous.

Some folks reckon these holes might help with stuff like resisting hurricane winds or soaking up water, but there’s not much proof to back that up. The leaf fenestration theory rooted in light optimization is currently the most supported by scientific research.

So, in the end, those cool holes in Monstera leaves aren’t just there to look good. They are a testament to the plant’s adaptation to its environment, enhancing its ability to survive and thrive under variable light conditions.

Holes in Monstera leaves

Holes in Monstera leaves

Factors That Cause Splits/Holes in Monstera Deliciosa Plant

Monstera deliciosa plants are known for their unique and striking leaves that are full of splits and holes. These interesting bits, often called fenestrations, happen naturally as the plant grows and depends on a bunch of stuff. Here’s a rundown of what can make your Monstera deliciosa sport those cool cuts and gaps:

  1. Age: Monstera deliciosa plants usually start showing fenestrations when they’re fully grown, and that might take a few years.
  2. Light: How much light, and how intense that light is, can change how fenestrations form. Monstera deliciosa plants that get a lot of bright, indirect light are more likely to have clear cuts and gaps.
  3. Humidity: Monstera deliciosa plants love moist surroundings. If the air is too dry, the plant might not have as many or as big fenestrations.
  4. Genetics: Some Monstera deliciosa plants naturally tend to have more or bigger fenestrations, thanks to their genetics.
  5. Watering: Giving too much water or too little can stress the plant and stop fenestrations from forming. It’s key to find the sweet spot and water the plant only when the top bit of soil feels dry.
  6. Nutrients: Having enough nutrients is super important for the plant to grow healthy, including developing fenestrations. During the growing season, make sure to feed your Monstera deliciosa plant regularly with good, balanced fertilizer.

Understanding these factors can help you create the ideal growing conditions for your Monstera deliciosa plant, encouraging the development of those beautiful and iconic fenestrations.

Monstera Deliciosa with beautiful holes

Monstera Deliciosa with beautiful holes

Maybe you are interested: If you don’t know how much light is enough for monstera plants, please read the article about Monstera light requirements

How do you make your Monstera Deliciosa plant’s leaves holey?

Do you want to know how to cut holes in your Monstera Deliciosa? Making those fancy holes in the leaves of your Monstera deliciosa isn’t rocket science, here’s a few easy peasy tips.

  • Give your plant exposure to the sun: Put your plant next to a big window if you’re growing it inside. Make sure your plant gets plenty of sunlight.
  • You should properly water: This plant does best with a consistent amount of water and moisture. Keep an eye on the soil and make sure it’s always a bit damp but not overly wet. Allowing the soil to dry out between waterings can cause your leaves to become damaged and make it difficult for new ones to form.
  • Prune away any dead or damaged foliage as soon as you notice it on your Monstera deliciosa plant: Doing this will give a thumbs up to healthy, new growth and make it more likely to get those unique holes in your leaves.
  • Maintain good plant care: Follow the advice of an expert when watering your plant. Positive outcomes are guaranteed if you stick to your regular habit of checking on your plant!

Frequently Asked Questions about Monstera Leaves And Holes

Why does monstera have no holes?

Monstera does not develop holes in its leaves until it is older. Their shape changes as they grow, and usually people only spot the holes once the leaf’s all grown up.

How long does it take for a Monstera leaf to get holes?

Well, Monstera plants usually take around 2-3 years before a leaf is grown up enough to start showing these funky holes. Once they’re at this stage, each new leaf that comes out will slowly have more and more of these cool cutouts – giving you a whole bunch of leaves that look like they’re playing peek-a-boo.

There you have it! Now you’re in the know about why Monstera leaves have holes and why Monsteras have holes at all. For more information on caring for your monstera plant, be sure to visit Famiplants.

Hi, I'm Cathleen Clemens. I graduated from Cornell University with a degree in plant science. I gained detailed knowledge about various kinds of plants and how to properly care for them. My experience has enabled me to easily detect any issues such as pest infestations, nutrient deficiencies, or signs of diseases in the plants.

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