How to Tell If Your Monstera Is Growing A New Leaf

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Working out whether your Monstera is growing a new leaf isn’t as easy as it is with, say, Pothos, because Monsteras prepare a new leaf as soon as the most recent leaf has emerged, but it’s anyone’s guess how long it’s going to take to emerge.

(Beginner’s guide to Monstera deliciosa here).

It often looks like a new leaf is coming WAY before it’s actually going to, due to the shape of Monstera deliciosa’s petiolar sheath.

A petiolar sheath, by the way, is just the bit that covers the new leaf as it grows. It’s similar to cataphyll, but not as developed. A cataphyll is a modified leaf, and a petiolar sheath is just a covering.

How often do Monstera grow new leaves?

I have a whole article on this here so you can read that to work out how to encourage your Monster to grow a bit faster.


Some Monstera just…grow slowly. One of mine is painfully slow to grow, for no discernable reason. The Thai next to it grows way faster, which is a bit unusual for variegated vs green plants.

I’ve actually dug around in the petiole with a knife to get the new leaf out before, because…nothing was happening. I am NOT recommending you do that, but also…I don’t know if it would ever have emerged on its own.

Monstera can grow as quickly as a new leaf every month, or as slowly as the ONE leaf mine has produced this year. it gets great light, has awesome roots, has 65% humidity and gets fed regularly. It’s just a dick.

Where do new Monstera leaves grow?

New Monstera leaves grow out of the petiole of the previous leaf. Occasionally, a second growth point will pop up from the stem, but in general, Monstera grow on one long vine.

The petiole is the stalk that attaches the leaf to the stem.

Like so:

What are the stages of Monstera leaf growth?

Stage 1

The first stage is before it starts to emerge. You’ll be able to see where the new leaf is going to come from on the petiole of the newest leaf. Here is the petiole of the newest leaf on the Monstera above:

This is just the petiolar sheath – it’s NOT the new leaf. I know the bit right at the top looks like the end of a new leaf, but it isn’t. Here’s the one on my Thai:

The one on my Thai isn’t nearly as pronounced as one the green one. I also have another green Monstera that doesn’t have a very pronounced petiolar sheath.

Just because you can see this on your plant doesn’t mean a new leaf is imminent. It just means there’s a fresh leaf cookin’ under there somewhere.

Stage 2

The next stage looks like this:

new leaf on monstera thai constellation

I’m not sure if I’m just not very observant or if it really does happen super quickly, but in my experience, it can go from stage one to stage two literally overnight.

Once the whole leaf is out – you’ll be able to see the petiole at the base of the leaf – we’ll move onto stage 3. It usually takes a week or two.

Stage 3

Stage three is unfurling, and various things can impact how long this takes.

Increase humidity if you can, but try to avoid touching the leaf. When the leaf is light green it hasn’t yet hardened off and is very susceptible to damage. Even spraying it with water can leave black marks.

Stage 4

The final stage is when it’s unfurled but still hardening off. When it’s finished (as it were) it’ll look like all the other leaves, but cleaner because it hasn’t had time to gather dust yet.

If you follow the new leaf (circled) down the petiole, you can tell it’s the newest lef because the petiolar sheath is still green. Over time that’ll go brown and crisp up because it’s served its purpose.

How long does it take for a Monstera to grow a new leaf?

From stage 2 to stage four usually takes about a month. The unfurling and hardening process can take a bit longer depending on your conditions but it varies a lot.

However, if you include stage 1, it can take several months. There are things you can do to speed up Monstera growth but some are just slower than others.

My older specimens put out fewer leaves than my younger ones.

My baby monstera is super quick at moving through all the stages and has produced about ten leaves.

This is probs twice what the other three have produced added together BUT the leaves are 1/20th of the size and are presumably easier to grow.

Final thoughts

If you’re wondering where your Monstera’s next leaf will emerge from, look at the most recent leaf. Each leaf comes out of the petiole of the previous leaf. Spent petioles look like this:

You can clearly see where the leaf was growing – there’s a trench, so the petiole looks a bit like a stick of celery.

Find the leaf with a nice cylindrical petiole, and that’s where the next leaf will emerge (in its own sweet time).

Caroline Cocker

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

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