Monstera plants are famed for the fantastic fenestration on their large, beautiful leaves. This amazing ability is almost unique to Monsteras. So it can be extremely frustrating if your Monstera leaves aren’t showing any fenestration. In this article, we’ll explain why your Monstera leaves don’t show fenestration.
What is Fenestration?
Fenestration, also known as perforate leaves, refers to the splits and holes that often appear on Monstera leaves. Most types of Monstera plants, including Monstera deliciosa and Monstera adansonii, can develop fenestration.
Why Do Monsteras Have Fenestration On Their Leaves?
Although fenestration is common in Monstera plants, it’s not completely clear why these plants produce fenestrated leaves.
One possible reason is that fenestration enables more sunlight to reach the Monstera plant’s lower leaves. Monstera plants grow on the forest floor of tropical rainforests across Central and South America. The thick canopy above the Monstera blocks a lot of sunlight. Fenestration on the leaves might be a way of maximizing the amount of sunlight absorbed by the plant.
Fenestration may also allow excess water to drain from the Monstera plant’s leaves. Monsteras growing outdoors can be subjected to sudden heavy downpours in their rainforest habitats. If too much water collects on the leaves, they may start to rot.
Another theory is that the holes and splits allow the Monstera plant to survive in strong winds and inclement weather. If strong winds hit large, flat leaves, the force can uproot the plant. But with fenestration, the wind can pass through without the leaf acting like a sail.
Why Your Monstera Leaves Show No Fenestration
Your Monstera plant might not be showing any fenestration because it isn’t old enough yet. Most Monstera species don’t display any fenestration on the leaves until the plant is 2 or 3 years old. So if you’ve propagated your Monstera from a stem cutting, fenestration won’t occur until the plant is old enough.
Thankfully, once your Monstera is old enough to produce fenestration, you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy it. Monstera plants have long lifespans and can live for up to 40 years.
Lack of Sunlight
Monstera leaves may also not develop fenestration if they don’t get enough sunlight. Monstera plants need plenty of bright, indirect light to grow at their best. Ideally, your Monstera should get around 5 to 6 hours of bright, indirect sunlight every day.
If your Monstera is growing in low-light conditions, it won’t produce large leaves. The smaller leaves that are produced are unlikely to develop any fenestration. In low-light conditions, your Monstera won’t get enough light through photosynthesis to fuel the development of large fenestrated leaves (and the leaves may even start curling).
To provide lots of bright, indirect light, position your Monstera plant approximately 3 feet away from an east or south-facing window. Protect your Monstera against direct afternoon sunlight, which could scorch those incredible leaves (and may lead to them turning yellow as well).
Monstera plants won’t develop fenestration on their leaves if they aren’t mature enough or if they’re not getting enough sunlight. Most Monstera plants produce fenestration once they reach 2 or 3 years old.
For more, see our in-depth guide to the uses and benefits of Monstera plants.
Andrew is the Editorial Director at Petal Republic. He holds a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and has trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris. In amongst overseeing a global editorial team, Andrew's a passionate content creator around all things flowers, floral design, gardening, and houseplants.