Will existing leaves of Monstera deliciosa split?
Monstera deliciosa leaves change in appearance as the plant matures. Young plants have leaves that may be entirely unbroken. As they develop, they acquire the characteristic perforations and split edges which lend it the nickname of Swiss cheese plant. The reason for this adaptation is not fully understood but it is accomplished through a genetically encoded process, unusual in the plant world, in which cells organize their own destruction through programmed cell death.
In the home, the interesting leaf perforations won't develop if the light is too low. During active growth (spring and summer), monsteras should be protected from direct sunlight, and placed in a position of bright, filtered light or slight shade. The leaves of trees outside the window or a sheer curtain will give your plant the protection it would have from a tropical tree canopy in its native rainforest. Alternatively, a position away from the window in a bright room will do.
In late fall and winter, the plant needs more direct, bright light. Providing that additional light exposure is essential to the health and attractive qualities of monsteras -- large, glossy leaves with well developed divisions.
You can find complete information on caring for a Monstera deliciosa houseplant in our Monstera Guide.
Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service
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