It’s understandable why Monsteras are famous for their natural leaf holes. The holey look of the leaves is distinct and alluring. We here at Angus & celeste just love ‘em!
The technical term for the natural occurrence of these holes is ‘leaf fenestration.’
There has been much debate as to how and why Monsteras have adapted to grow such leaves. Some suggest that Monsteras create holes in their leaves to resist strong winds. Others believe that they have the holes to allow a better flow of water to their roots. Christopher Muir, Ph. D student of Evolutionary Biology at Indiana University, suggests that Montseras have developed holes because of the lighting conditions they naturally live in. Monsteras grow from the forest floor, vining up to capture the light that enters through the overhead canopy. The only way plants can survive in such environments is by catching as much of the small rays of sunlight that make their way through the canopy.
By producing leaves with holes, Monsteras, it is suggested, produce foliage that can cover a greater area and thus capture more sunlight.
With this leafy structure, even though some sunshine will go through the holes, the chance that the leaf will capture sunlight is significantly increased. How incredible is that? Plants are geniuses!
As you may be able to tell though, it’s not totally agreed upon why Monstera leaves have holes. Maybe the holes are for wind-resistance or to help capture water and light. Perhaps it’s all or none of these things. What is certain, however, is the leaves of Monsteras are a sight to behold and will add a splash of spectacle to any space.
If you have a Monstera that has yet to produce fenestrated leaves, there’s one sure-fire trick to help create holey leaves: let it grow.
Pretty simple. Monsteras will produce fenestrated leaves as they age and grow. As it ages, your Monstera’s leaf shape will change. When young, a Monstera plant generally has heart-shaped green leaves. Once your Monstera plant reaches around three feet in size, the fenestration of the leaves will begin.
Trimming off any old leaves from the base will encourage your Monstera to produce larger leaves, and facilitate fenestration.
Have you got a secret tip or some insider knowledge on leaf fenestration? Let us know in a comment below! We’d love to learn more.