It Can Take A Couple Of Weeks For Monstera Leaves to Unfurl – Here’s How to Help It

This post may contain affiliate links. Read the full disclosure here.

Monstera deliciosa leaves take a couple of weeks to unfurl, and then a month or so to fully harden off.

There are things you can do to speed up unfurling, such as increase humidity, but DON’T TOUCH. New leaves are delicate and mark easily.

I tried to do one of those v popular ‘looking down the unfurling leaf camera but a combination of crap camera skills and being lazy to grab my tripod resulted in this waste of time:

You’re welcome.

Complete guide to Monstera deliciosa covering EVERYTHING I know about them here.

How long does it take Monstera leaves to unfurl?

There is no one answer to this question since it massively depends on your environment.

Don’t panic unless your leaf is browning. Nutrients, light, and humidity (and probably age/genetics) will all influence the speed of unfurling.

Why it’s taking a long time for your plant’s leaves to unfurl

As I said above, there is a whole host of factors that influence how quickly a leaf unfurls.

If you’re here purely for the deliciosa, they take far longer than my other plants do EXCEPT for my Florida green, but that thing…has its reasons.

They don’t, however, seem to get stuck like Philodendron Pink Princesses.

I need to do a time lapse of a Florida green leaf – it not only unfurls overnight but it spews out a leaf, a new stem and a new baby leaf. THEY’RE INCREDIBLE.


The most common reason for delayed leaf unfurling is lack of humidity.

If you have ANY kind of issue with the growth rate of your plants the first port of call is to check for pests. After that, increase humidity (then light and temperature if there’s still no change).

I have a post here on increasing humidity, but the easiest way is to buy a humidifier. I recommend the Levoit one – you can find it on my resources page.

How to speed up the unfurling rate of Monstera leaves

Increasing the humidity is #1.

The next thing you need to do is speed up growth.

When Monstera grow, each leaf comes out of the petiole of the previous leaf – therefore, a new leaf can’t form until the previous one is pretty much done. The petiole is still lengthening as the leaf is unfurling (though leaves still grow right up until they’ve hardened off) so a new leaf can’t emerge until it’s unfurled.

Speeding up growth just keeps everything moving forward. I’m going to give you a brief list of thing you can try BUT there is only so much impact it’ll have. In my experience, older Monstera grow slower then young ones, and some specimens grow faster than others, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

For everyone that has a Monstera throwing out a leaf every month, there’s someone with an equally healthy Monstera that refuses to grow more than a couple of leaves a year. It’s just the way things are.

Regardless, trying these things out won’t harm your plant:

  • Increasing the humidity to 65%+
  • Making sure the temperature stays between 65 – 85˚F (18 – 30˚C). Too hot/too cold can cause them to sulk
  • Keep the leaves clean
  • Increase the light (gradually)
  • Feed it regularly

These articles might be helpful:

Why is my leaf going brown before unfurling?

This can be caused by a plethora of things, but always check for pests first. The Monstera is growing happily and then thrips arrive. The plant has to recalibrate where its energy is going, so it shuts down the new growth and focuses its efforts to protecting itself from pests.

Other reasons your leaves are browning before unfurling are:

  • Overwatering
  • Lack of nutrients
  • Sunburn
  • You touched it – yeah, don’t.

Excessive guttation *could* be a factor, but it’s unlikely.

Will Monstera leaves split after unfurling?

No. If your Monstera has large, fenestrated leaves, you should be able to see the fenestrations before it starts to unfurl.

Even small leaves develop splits before they unfurl, though they may still be attached at the tip until the last minute.

This means that once the leaf has unfurled (actually, probably before then), the splits it has are the only splits it’s going to get. It won’t develop any more over time.

Why you shouldn’t physically intervene with leaf unfurling

Because they can end up looking like this:

As well as the visible damage, I think the experience stunted the leaf’s growth too.

I had to physically pull this leaf out of its petiolar sheath (which is the leaf case, kind of like a cataphyll, but more of a covering, rather than a modified leaf).

It was like the plant equivalent of a forceps delivery – I didn’t want to do it, the plant didn’t want to have it done, but we had to do it for the sake of both the plant and the new leaf.

What happened was that the new leaf stopped forming, but didn’t do anything else. It just sat there, a bump on the stem of the previous leaf.

The plant got to work on another leaf, seemingly forgetting about the half-formed leaf above it.

So I had to perform surgery.

In hindsight, using my fingernails as surgical implements probably wasn’t sensible, but hey ho, it’s done now.

Apart from the obvious damage to the edges, the leaf is fine.

This next picture is the aftermath of me trying to ‘help’ the unfurling process.

Can you see that little yellow mark along the edge of the leaf?

That’s from me ‘helping’.

When it first happened, that mark was really bright and noticeable, but it’s faded a lot over time.

Almost like the plant was trying to say ‘GEROFF’ when I er, helped.

When I did this, I was fully aware of how delicate new leaves were. I was SUPER gentle. I barely touched the leaf with my fingertip, but it was still damaged.

Leave your plants to unfurl in peace.

If you have ‘helped’ your Monstera and accidentally ripped a leaf, read this article for the next steps to take.

Can Monstera leaves get stuck in the sheath?

Yes. I have a VERY old Monstera with a very thick stem, and I have to manually extract the leaves. If I don’t, they don’t emerge. They don’t die; I think they just give up after a while and get absorbed.

I just cut a slit near the top of the new leaf, and wait. After a while, a new leaf will emerge. There’s a 50:50 chance that it’ll have a bit of damage, but I’ve gotten pretty good at it!

I just slip a knife between the natural split in the petiole, along the white line:

Do not try this at home. I think I just got a weird Monstera that can’t do anything for itself. I shouldn’t need to do this, but I do.

Will Monstera leaves grow bigger after unfurling?

Yes. Monstera leaves are often bigger than the ones before them, so it makes sense that they grow after unfurling.

If the leaf is as long as the petiole of the previous leaf the leaf…won’t fit in the petiole and will get damaged.

I assume the plant stunts leaves that are going to be much bigger than their predecessor and then they grow more when they’ve unfurled.

Monstera leaves usually grow about a third as much again, though it does depend on the genetics of the plant and the conditions the Monstera is growing in.

The difference in size between the newly unfurled lead and that same leaf a couple of weeks later is pretty substantial, though they don’t grow as much as, say, anthurium leaves do after they’ve unfurled.

I’m pretty sure the new leaf will end up bigger than the hardened-off one though.

So whilst the newer leaf is obvs smaller, it’s not as much smaller as anthurium leaves. They’re TINY when they unfurl:

These are the two newest leaves, the newest one is a couple of weeks younger than the other one but neither is anywhere near full size yet.

Look how big they’ll get:

I actually expect them to be bigger than the oldest leaf. Weird, isn’t it?

Final thoughts

The only way you can convince your Monster to unfurl faster is to increase the humidity. Don’t mist your plants, because water droplets can get trapped between the layers of the leaf and make it go brown. Don’t dig into it with your fingers. Don’t. I know you want to; I do too.

Caroline Cocker

Caroline is the founder and writer (and plant keeper) of Planet Houseplant

14 thoughts on “It Can Take A Couple Of Weeks For Monstera Leaves to Unfurl – Here’s How to Help It”

  1. Please help:( i was told to wait until my Hoya krinkle was wrinkly until watering but I watered it thoroughly 2 days ago and its still wrinkly and getting worse! Was it wrong to wait so long before watering it?

  2. First off check the roots – Hoya roots are often wrapped in really hard coir (no idea why) so they could be constricted. My Krinkle refused to grow until I removed it. Even if your roots are fine, increase humidity, light and temperature if you can (put it in a clear box on a bright windowsill will do fine) and it should start to improve.

  3. So I had a slight scare of spider mites after purchasing an Alocasia Frydek…..I rinsed him off down to the roots, sprayed neem oil, repotted with new soil…fastforward next day,his leaves are drooping, gave shower, and he’s still dropping. Will it come back?

  4. I repotted my monstera almost 2 months ago and there is a root already shooting out of the drainage hole! Does this mean i should repot again?

  5. Repotting and spider mites can be stressful – I had the same thing happen with my alocasia zebrina. It should come back – alocasia grow from bulbs, so they can regrow even if they lose all their leaves. Often they drop their leaves over winter and then grow back in spring.

  6. Not necessarily – roots often grow vertically to reach water. I bottom water mine so they often grow roots outs of the drainage hole. Take it out of the pot and check – if there are a tonne of roots and not a lot of soil repot, but it’s probably just a wayward root that you can tuck back into the soil.

  7. Hi,

    Need advise. my thaicon juvenile is currently suffering from thrips and sad to say the unfurling leaf (was about to push our from the stem yet) has been attacked too. I only have 3 leaves left. Since all
    Of them are damaged. And the largest one is where the unfurling leaf is attached. Should i prune it all? Will it regrow? I dont have any issues with the roots since the roots are in really good condition. But the thrips has enjoyed sucking my thaicon leaves :(( would love to show you the pictures.


  8. Yeah, thrips love new growth. If the thrips are gone then it should regrow. It’s up to you whether you prune it – the leaves won’t recover, but they will still be helping the plant photosynthesise, so personally I would wait to prune until some new leaves have grown in.

    I’ve noticed that monstera don’t grow at all during the colder months, so if you live somewhere in the northern hemisphere that experiences winter, don’t expect new growth until next spring. The old growth will help sustain the roots over winter.

  9. Half of my Monstera leaf that’s unfurling is brown. I got tempted to cut it off(I had to cut it while still half close because I can see the brown) Hopefully the healthy half(that was the (95%)unfurled side) will survive!

  10. Yeah, this happened to me, but with a Calathea – I think it’s due to excess humidity, and there’s not a lot you can do about it (as far as I’m aware) bar being very precious about your watering schedule

  11. A new leaf just unfurled with half of it eaten at the bottom. What could it be, I’ve checked all leaves and the soil for mites and larvae. I have three other new leaves so don’t want them munched too!

  12. Check for obvious culprits first: do you have a cat, dog, or rabbit? Most teeny plant pests don’t so much eat the leaf as suck the juice out, so the leaves go crispy and sad, rather than disappearing altogether. It could be a caterpillar or slug though – you can stick some copper tape around the pot which should deter slugs and snails.

  13. Yeah, it’s not going to do anything. Just be careful when you do – sometimes there’s another leaf growing underneath

Leave a comment