Monstera plants, with their gigantic gorgeous slit leaves, are a beauty in urban indoor gardens. These plants command all the attention with their iconic slit leaves and spell-binding bright leaves. But despite all the efforts, some plants cannot produce those huge luscious leaves, discouraging the plant owners.
Factors like the plant’s maturity, the amount of light and water it receives, fertilization schedule, humidity, and temperature affect the size of monstera leaves. The leaves will remain small if the care requirements are not correctly met. So, make sure you provide them with adequate care.
This article will cover how you can get bigger attractive leaves on your Monstera and what kind of care the plant needs to get to produce them.
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How big do the Monstera leaves grow?
Natives of the Central American rainforests, Monstera plants are climbing perennials with massive leaves and aerial roots.
The foliage of a fully grown Monstera can reach an astounding size in height and the size of leaves.
In the wild Central American rainforest regions, these plants can reach more than 50 feet high and over 2 feet in width, but indoors their growth becomes quite restricted.
Indoors if they get the proper care, they reach up to 8 feet in height, and a happy plant pushes out one or two leaves in the growing season.
Since Monstera plants are tropical, they need heat and warmth.
Thus, their growth is the fastest in the spring and summer seasons and reduces drastically in the colder months.
Young Monstera plants begin by unfolding smaller leaves first.
The initial leaves the seedlings unfold are hardly a few inches wide.
As the plant matures and establishes itself over time, it can grow bigger and bigger leaves if all of its care requirements are perfectly met.
With Monstera getting bigger and bolder, fenestration is another important part of the leaves-growing process.
As they begin to establish, the leaves begin to develop those gorgeous slits that we live them for.
How old do Monstera plants have to be to produce the huge leaves?
It isn’t easy to give a fixed time when the plant will start producing huge leaves because every plant takes its own time to mature and produce bigger leaves.
On average, a Monstera takes 2-3 years to reach maturity.
A mature Monstera plant establishes itself harder and stronger than a young plant.
A mature Monstera plant produces new leaves at every node; older leaves show signs of fenestrations.
A mature plant will also begin to produce aerial roots.
However, how long your plant will take to reach that stage depends on factors like care and the environment the plant grows in.
Tips to get massive leaves on your Monstera
If your Monstera is at least around 2-3 years old, and you find the leaves are quite small and underdeveloped, you must be careful, as this might be a sign that your plant is not getting the required care.
Let us discuss the care requirements necessary for Monstera to get luscious growth.
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1. Ensure your Monstera gets ample light
Sunlight is the most vital factor for plants to grow, but Monstera plants can get burnt if they get hot scorching sunlight, so you must get the right balance of light.
The most common barrier to Monstera plants growing gigantic leaves is a low amount of sunlight.
Monstera plants are made by nature to produce huge leaves so that they can soak in the maximum amount of sunlight.
If the plant does not get a large amount of sunlight, then the plant’s growth reduces, and the plant gets stressed.
As a result, the plant produces smaller leaves without any fenestrations, which are paler and thin than glossy and brightly colored leaves.
Too little sunlight results in uninspired, tiny leaves, so sunlight is crucial to growing gigantic leaves on plants.
So if you have noticed these problems on your plant, try shifting it to a better location where it gets more light.
East, west, and south-facing windows are ideal for your Monstera plants; however, ensure the hot afternoon sun does not fall directly on them as they might be too hot for the plant.
Monstera requires filtered, indirect bright light and can not tolerate direct sunlight.
If your home does not have sufficient natural light, grow lights are highly recommended.
2. Avoid underwatering
Going wrong with watering is another major problem with indoor plants like Monstera.
Monstera plants require consistently moist soil that is neither excessively wet nor bone dry.
An underwatered, dehydrated Monstera plant gets droopy and weak and, thus, cannot use its maximum energy to push out gigantic leaves.
You musty water Monstera whenever you see the top 2 inches of the soil has dried out.
Do not wait for the soil to get bone dry.
If you tend to forget to water the plants, invest in a self-watering pot to keep the plant hydrated.
3. Refrain from keeping the plant waterlogged
Along with underwatering, which is easier to treat, overwatering is another dangerous problem and can kill your plant in a few days.
Monstera plants dislike wet clumpy soil as they are prone to root rot and need airy and light soil where they can breathe, and an overwatered Monstera can be a breeding ground for pathogens and bugs that thrive in moisture.
You can also kill them in no time if root rot pathogens attack them.
If you have been overwatering your plant, let it dry before watering it again.
Shift the plant to where it gets more light and air circulation, so the soil dries up quickly.
If you suspect root rot has set in your plant, you need to repot the plant in fresh soil immediately.
Keep the following in mind to improve the drainage of the soil:
- Add perlite or vermiculite to the soil to improve drainage.
- Make sure the pot has drainage holes.
- Always check the soil before watering and proceed if the top soil is dry.
- Empty the cache trays where the excess water accumulates.
- If you are unsure, use a moisture meter.
4. Do not restrict the root ball.
A Monstera plant to push out huge leaves on the top also needs a lot of room inside to spread its roots.
If you grow your plant in a pot where the roots are cramped and stuffed, it might be a problem for the plant and hinder its growth.
The plant’s roots need a lot of space to spread and breathe so that the roots can support the plant.
On average, you must repot a healthy Monstera plant to a bigger pot every 2-3 years.
However, of course, the speed, volume, and size of the plant depend on external care factors that the plant receives.
If you notice that your plant is otherwise healthy but is not producing much new growth, it is good to check the roots.
There is a chance that the plant has begun to get root bound when the root becomes tangled and fills up the entire pot, and there is hardly any soil left.
While repotting, choose a pot no more than 2 inches larger than the existing pot.
5. Feed the plant
One more hindrance for the plant to produce big leaves can be insufficient nutrient availability in the soil.
Every plant needs several micronutrients and macronutrients to grow.
Minerals like calcium, zinc, iron, potassium, phosphorous, manganese, magnesium, and nitrogen all are vital food for plants to grow and carry on their activities.
While plants growing in the wild have unlimited access to nutrients present in the soil, plants in containers have no access and solely depend on the soil present inside the pot, which is why the soil you use must have fertile nutrients and minerals.
If you are newly plating the plant, ensure that the soil has sufficient access to all the essential nutrients.
Adding compost to the soil helps to improve its quality and provides the plant with essential nutrients.
However, if your plant has been growing in soil for a long time, it is highly recommended that you fertilize the soil every year during the growing months and change the plant’s soil every two years to replenish it with minerals and nutrients.
For Monstera plants, fertilizer rich in nitrogen and phosphorous is essential for foliage growth.
Use an all-purpose fertilizer with NPK 20-20-20 once every 6-8 weeks in the growing season, and do not feed it in the winter.
Also, if you have an aquarium at home, you can use its water to water your plant, as it contains many rich natural minerals.
6. Use good-quality water
Though this is not common at certain places where tap water contains, it may compromise hard water and the plant’s health.
Tap water contains minerals like chlorine and fluoride that is extremely harmful to the plant’s health and can adversely affect the plant.
Hard water also leads to buildups in the soil over time and can lead to salt accumulation which obstructs essential minerals from seeping into the plant.
It is best to use filtered water or rainwater for your plants.
You can collect the water in a bucket if you use tap water, let it sit overnight so that the minerals fall at the bottom, and then use the water from the top to water the Monstera.
7. Maintain the correct temperature and humidity
Since Monstera plants belong to tropical regions, they have a lot of humidity around in the air, so you must mimic the plant’s natural conditions as best as possible.
The ideal temperature to grow Monstera is between 68-86°F.
It does not like too much cold and dry weather, and using a humidifier, especially in winter, is an effective option to give your Monstera the moisture that it needs around in the air.
Also, grouping your plants improves the humidity in the air and mimics the natural environment around the plant.
Misting your Monstera also helps in increasing the humidity around the plant.
8. Provide some support
Monsteras are climbers, so giving them some support is essential.
Supporting them helps the plant mimic their natural habitat as they use their aerial roots to cling to the support and climb faster.
Plants that get support can grow faster and get stronger and bigger leaves.
As the leaves begin to get bigger, they start to droop under the weight of the leaves, so supporting them helps them grow up rapidly.
Using bamboo stakes and moss poles is the most common way to support the plant.
9. Magic powder
Some Monstera owners vouch for this magic powder that gives their Monstera huge lush, healthy leaves.
The formula is to mix 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt in 1 gallon of water and spray it judiciously on your Monstera once every month.
10. Clean the leaves
Plants soak in sunlight through their leaves, so keeping them clean and free of dust accumulation is crucial.
It helps the plant absorb the maximum amount of sunlight and nutrients through the leaves, which helps to photosynthesize efficiently.
If dust covers the leaves, the sunlight is blocked on the surface and does not get absorbed fully.
Wiping the leaves with water and microfiber cloth every week is highly recommended.
It not just keeps them clan but also prevents pest attacks.
11. Get older plants
If you want a bigger and bushier plant, you should get an older plant at least 2-4 years old and 2-4 feet tall from the nursery.
New young plants take time to reach maturity, so you can instead get an older, more mature plant.
12. Prune the plant
Pruning is an important part of the plant if you want bigger leaves.
Trim off the older, sick, and smaller leaves from your plant, which unnecessarily absorb the plant’s energy to make space for new healthy growth.
Ensure the pruners you use are clean and sanitized to prevent the spread of germs.
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The process of leaf unfurling
One of the most exciting things about Monstera plants is watching the new leaf’s maturity process.
The tiny green shoots appear at the nodes, elongating over time and forming small buds.
This is a long process, so do not expect an overnight leaf unfurl; it may take several days or weeks.
Once the leaf unfurls, leaves stay thin papery, and waxy, in lighter shades of green until they harden and start growing in size and thickness and reach a more mature dark green color.
It is also important to note that all the leaves may not have fenestrations, and until they are unfurled, it is difficult to say which one will have the famous splits.
Should I cut small leaves off Monstera?
If you feel that the small leaves are using too much energy from your Monstera, you can consider pruning them.
However, do not prune too many leaves at once.
And avoid pruning the young leaves as they can grow big as they mature and provide a lot of food to your Monstera.
Remember, giant leaves are a sign of a happy and flourishing Monstera which means if your plant gets the right conditions, it might show its happiness through its huge leaves.
Right water, ample light, proper feeding, and setting up a comfortable condition for your plant is highly important, and your plant will reward you with huge happy leaves.
Sources: Leaf morphogenesis in Monstera, Monstera overview, Common insect pests and diseases
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