Did you know that the Monstera, a popular houseplant, can double in size within just a few months under optimal conditions?
As an experienced horticulturist with a passion for indoor plants, I’ve observed the remarkable journey of the Monstera from a sprouting seedling to a magnificent, room-filling spectacle.
Many plant enthusiasts struggle to understand the distinct stages of its growth. This article demystifies the Monstera’s developmental phases, offering valuable insights to ensure your green companion thrives.
Get ready to unlock the secrets of nurturing your Monstera through each transformative stage
6 Monstera Growth Stages
Like all other plants, monsteras grow in stages: germination, seedlings/baby stage, juvenile/young, adult/mature, senescent, and the Monstera leave fenestration stages.
Let’s detail the six monstera growth stages so you know what to expect in the months ahead.
One of the wonders of nature is seeing a tiny seed transform into a mature plant over time. Call it germination or sprouting; it’s simply the process by which a seed begins to grow into a plant after a period of dormancy.
So, how do you get your monstera seeds to bloom the first time? Here are a few rich tips to follow:
- First, make sure your seeds are fresh and of high quality. These kinds of seeds can be sourced from a reputable dealer locally or online.
- Secondly, soak the seeds in lukewarm water for about 24-48 hours before you plant them.
- Next, fill a small pot or container with a well-aerated potting mix. The container or planting pot should have drainage holes at the bottom to ensure soil moisture.
- Place the soaked seeds on top of the Monstera potting mix before lightly covering it with some more potting mix.
- Using a spray bottle, water the soil until it’s moist but not soggy.
- Finally, place the pot or container in a bright, warm spot away from direct sunlight.
- Wait for the monster seeds to sprout. This may take anywhere between 1-2 weeks.
2. Seedlings/Baby Stage
When your Monstera gets enough light, warmth and humidity, experience a beautiful, vibrant seedling stage with tons of leaves every other day.
The seedling/baby stage is when your Monsteras sprout from the seeds but still rely on the seeds for some nutrients and water. Your plants are tiny and delicate at this phase and develop into terrestrial creepers.
You must keep the soil well moist (not wet). Provide adequate light without placing the newly germinated seedlings in direct sunlight, which could scorch the young monstera plant.
It’s also at this stage that monsteras form new roots on their nodes. The roots are usually thin, about 3 inches long and short-lived in that they don’t grow beyond 8 inches.
The seedling stage features two key categories:
Stolon growing seedlings
This category consists of monstera deliciosa species that fall under the Marcgraviopsis division (the Monstera dubia, Monstera acuminata and Monstera spruceana), and the Echinospadix is Monstera tuberculate that develop into green runners or stolons without leaves.
Interestingly, these seedlings develop cataphylls instead of leaves on their nodes.
The stolons can grow between 3.2 and 6.6 feet while still being supported by the more pumper seeds.
These can photosynthesize and have longer internodes of about 1.5-4 inches. Without adequate lighting, they become pale or whitish.
Non-distinctive baby Monstera
Seedlings of Tornelia and section Monstera species do not grow stolons. Since their seeds are smaller, they wither quickly if not provided with the right conditions. The plant develops larger stems and leaves as it enters the juvenile stage.
The most popular species under section monstera are:
- Monstera adansonii
- Monstera obliqua
- Monstera lechleriana
- Monstera acacoyaguensis
- Monstera siltepecana
- Monstera adansonii var. laniata
- Monstera epipremnoides
- Monstera subpinnata
- Monstera standleyana
- Monstera pinnatipartita
For Tornelia, monstera deliciosa is its most common species producing edible fruits. Remember to feast on the fruits only when they are fully ripe.
3. Juvenile/Young Stage
At this stage, your monstera plant will start forming its first set of iconic split leaves often used in art and design. For most species, this stage of a monstera plant begins about three months after sprouting. During the juvenile stage, the monstera grows rapidly, demanding more water than in the previous growth stages. But even then, be careful not to excessively water the plant because its delicate roots are susceptible to decay.
Remember that these young plants will require plenty of sunshine to grow well through this stage. Ultimately, leaves’ shape, size and color will depend on the monstera species.
During this stage, your young monster plant will start to form aerial roots that grow out of the Monstera’s stem, unlike the regular roots that grow into the ground. The aerial roots enable the plant to absorb enough nutrients and moisture from the air to help it thrive.
In this stage, expect your Monstera to develop new sets of bright green leaves that will darken over time.
And note it will take approximately 4 to 6 years for your healthy Monstera to form a new leaf, so be patient.
4. Adult/Mature Fruition Growth Stage
If you’ve done everything right, including providing your monstera plant with proper growing conditions, your plant should have no problem reaching this stage. The adult stage is when the plant skyrockets to its full size, besides producing flowers and fruits.
Normally, the flowers grow in clusters that are whitish and small. It’s the flowers that eventually grow into fruits.
Monstera fruits produce seeds that are often used to propagate new monsteras. Fruits from a mature monstera plant are similar to the shape and size of a banana though they feature a green outer cover and a whitish, fleshy interior. They are edible when completely ripe.
While a monstera’s flowers and fruition have nothing to do with its survival, they signify a healthy plant. These developments occur about 8 to 10 years after germination.
At this stage also, your houseplant will require less water than it did at the juvenile stage. Again, monsteras thrive in soils with enough moisture, so don’t let the soil dry out completely. Dimming the light will also be necessary since monsteras only require a little light in adulthood.
Here, your pet plant will start showing signs of ageing. Your Monstera will require less light and water during the senescent stage than at the mature fruition stage.
As the Monstera goes through this stage, you’ll likely notice its mature or adult leaves changing to brown or yellow—this is normal and shouldn’t scare you. At this stage, enhance your TLC (Tender loving Care) to keep your monstera happy and healthy.
6. Monstera Fenestration
As the name insinuates, this stage features large, gaping holes (fenestrations) in leaves, signifying fully mature plants.
Before forming the side slits at 6-12 months, a monstera plant develops solid-shaped leaves.
If the plant stays healthy and receives adequate light, it will produce new fenestrated leaves that eventually develop into see-through midrib holes. This unique feature is what has earned Monstera the Swiss cheese plant nickname.
If your Monstera seems to be taking longer than normal to form fenestrations, keep your cool and ensure it’s getting all it requires to thrive. Adequate water, natural lighting, and fertilizer should help your plant produce healthy fenestrated leaves.
The main reason why monstera plants have fenestrations is to help the plant survive strong winds and heavy rainfall. The holes filter wind and water through the leaves without causing harm.
Fenestration in a mature plant is a fabulous feature you should look forward to as you nurture your plant.
Now let’s take a closer look at what to expect in each of the 4 monstera fenestration growth stages:
i. Solid growth phase
The solid growth fenestration stage presents little of a show. Here, the leaves of your Monstera are solid without any holes or splits. While there isn’t much to look out for at this phase, the plant does the groundwork to enable fenestrations to develop later.
ii. Side slit growth phase
In this second stage, the slits start forming on the sides of the leaves. At first, the fenestrations measure an inch or two and don’t extend into the leaf but usher in the whole fenestration process. It’s certainly a fantastic phase to watch your Monstera grow.
iii. Midrib growth phase
During this stage, the primary, secondary and tertiary perforations start forming within the midribs of your monstera leaves. The holes are wider than the side slits and extent into the leaf.
iv. Full growth phase
The full growth phase is the last and final phase, where fenestrations fully develop, and the gaps in leaves appear like punched holes.
This is a visually fascinating stage when the Monstera leaves also reach maturity.
Caring For Monstera Through Each Phase
Ensuring proper care for your monstera plant at every phase of its growth for a long, healthy life is essential.
Here are a few tips for effectively caring for Monstera:
During the Germination phase:
- Keep the soil well moist but not soggy
- Place the plant in a bright and warm place away from direct sunlight and wait for it to sprout.
During the Seedling phase:
- Keep the soil moist but not wet
- Put the Monstera in a place with bright indirect light
- Dilute your liquid formulation of Monstera Plant Food by half until your Monstera plant reaches the maturity stage.
During the Juvenile/Baby Phase:
- Gradually increase the frequency of watering your plant as it grows through this phase. Be sure to water the soil when the top one-inch layer of soil is dry.
- Provide your Monstera with bright, indirect light
- Keep diluting by half your monstera plant food during each watering.
- At this phase, your Monstera will start climbing as you gently shape it using a trellis or moss pole.
During the Adult/Maturity Phase:
- Increase the watering frequency—every other day or when the 2-inch topsoil layer is dry
- Ensure the plant stays in a spot with bright, indirect sunshine. The Monstera will need more light at this stage because it’s fully grown.
- Feed the Monstera with its plant food more regularly, carefully following instructions provided by the manufacturer.
- Keep shaping the monstera plant accordingly as it continues to grow.
During the Senescent phase
- Reduce the amount of light and water in the plant
- Give your Monstera plant more tender care to enable it to thrive through this stage.
During the Fenestration phase:
- Keep providing proper care and regular maintenance to your monstera plant
- Avoid watering newly formed leaves as this may fill the leaf coil with moisture which could cause black spots on the leaves.
- Provide enough water, light, and monstera fertilizer to enhance the fenestration process.
From germination to the fenestration monstera growth stage, it may be a while before you see your plant’s magnificent characteristics, particularly its fenestrated leaves. So if you are impatient like me, don’t hesitate to speed up things with fertilizer.
Monstera Growth Rate
Monstera plants are naturally climbing perennials that grow big with distinctive leaves and aerial root systems, whether outdoors or indoors.
Surprisingly, the Monstera family has 49 different plant varieties, each with unique growth rates. The two main species are Monstera deliciosa (Also known as Swiss Cheese Plants) and the Monstera Adansonii (popularly referred to as Swiss Cheese Vines); when taken good care of, they grow to an average height of 1-2 feet (approximately 30.5cm-61cm) annually.
It’s worth noting that most monster species grow horizontally instead of vertically, with big, wide leaves.
Generally, monsteras produce a leaf in about 4-6 weeks. The plant develops more leaves as it matures and grows larger. Their aerial root system also grows big.
It’s important to know that monsteras have a leaf for every node and no multiple growth points.
If you want to grow your monsteras faster, provide them with the right growth conditions. Taking time to stake and support your monsteras can promote vertical growth more than their horizontally spread.
How Tall Can Monsteras Grow?
The rate at which your monstera plant will grow highly depends on its species. The following table will give you an idea of what to look forward to with estimates of the expected lengths.
|Maximum of 66ft (20m)
|Maximum of 13ft (4m)
|Maximum of 10ft (3m)
|M. Epipremnoides (Esqueleto)
|(tinier than outdoors)
|Around 7-13ft (2.1-4m)
|(tinier than outdoors)
|7-10 ft (2.1-3m)
|Maximum of 50ft (Around 15.2m)
|(tinier than outdoors)
|About 6-8 ft (1.8-2.4m)
|2-5 ft (0.6-1.5m)
|Maximum of 20 ft (About 6.1m)
|4-6 ft (1.2-1.8m)
|Maximum of 66 ft (20m)
|(tinier than outdoors)
|Depends on your species.
|(no data available)
How can I speed up the growth of my Monstera?
The best way to accelerate the speed at which your Monstera plant grows is by providing the ideal growth conditions. This includes enough humidity, food (fertilizer), water, light (indirect sunlight), and a porous and well-aerated potting mix. You might also have to repot your monstera plant once it forms its rooting system.
How long do monsteras live?
Monsteras can live for up to 40 years! That’s right. As perennial plants that bloom annually, Monsteras are considered heirloom plants meaning they can live longer given the right growth conditions.
You can also read about how long do monsteras live.
What do my Monstera plants need for growth?
Naturally, monsteras thrive in tropical climates, so when you grow them indoors, you must provide abundant but indirect sunlight, as direct sunshine will scorch the leaves.
Unfortunately, without light, your variegated monsteras won’t get variegated. It would be best to use grow lights to cushion your plant against low-light problems. You’ll also require high humidity that you can get from a quality monstera plant humidifier.
Watering your plant is equally essential. Avoid wetting the soil because excess water in the soil causes root rot and can make the leaves of your plant turn yellow. Again, don’t deny the plant water, as this may cause your green leaves to wilt and droop.
I advise waiting until the top one or two inches of soil are dry before watering your Monstera. You can also promote your Monstera’s growth by training it to climb a moss pole.
Watching your plant evolve through your home’s various monstera growth stages can be super-fascinating, especially when you are on a budget.
Yes, a monstera plant goes through a lot during its lifetime, but the journey can also be exciting with amazing results when you provide the right conditions and follow the right monstera care guide.