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7 Popular Houseplants with Fenestration – GIY Plants

Close up of a monstera double fenestrated leaf

If you are new to collecting houseplants you may have come across the word fenestration. If you are wondering, what is fenestration in plants, we can help. Houseplants with fenestration are plants with holes or splits along or in their foliage.

Perforations or splits are often on plants of the monstera variety. The fenestrations are natural and are a part of the plants’ growing process. Another name for fenestrated leaves is split leaves or perforated leaves.

Seven Popular House Plants with Fenestration

Houseplants with fenestration or holes add a unique touch to any houseplant collection. And many plants feature the desirable effect.

If you’re interested in adding plants with fenestrated leaves to your collection, consider the seven found below. Whether you like the perforated or split-style fenestration, there is a houseplant for you.

  • Monstera deliciosa

Young Monstera deliciosa in a white pot sitting on small wooden stand.

Monstera deliciosa, commonly known as the swiss cheese plant or split-leaf philodendron, is an evergreen plant. It has split-style fenestrated leaves, and it’s a flowering plant. The plant is from the tropical forests of southern Mexico. It can grow from 10ft to 15ft or 3.48m to 4.72m and flourishes in a warm and moist environment.

  • Monstera thai constellation

Young Monstera thai constellation in wicker pot sitting on floor.

Monstera thai constellation is a house plant from the Araceae family and Monstera genus. A unique fact about this plant is that it is actually a lab creation from Thailand. The Thai constellation has wide splits along the variegated green and white leaves sides. It grows to 19ft tall or 6m and thrives when kept in tropical-like conditions.

  • Monstera adansonii

Small monstera adansonii in white pot sitting on a white counter.

Adanson’s monstera, or Monstera adansonii, is another one of the houseplants with fenestration. It is also a flowering plant from the Araceae family. Adansonii is one of the plants with holes in its foliage and has bright green coloring. It can grow from 6ft to 8ft or 1.88m to 2.43m and does best when kept in a warm climate with moist conditions. Adanson’s monstera is native to Central America.

  • Rhaphidophora tetrasperma

Potted Rhaphidophora tetrasperma sitting on plant stand.

The Rhaphidophora tetrasperma is a plant from the Araceae family. And it’s also known as the mini monstera. It originates from Southern Thailand and Malaysia and enjoys tropical conditions. The fenestration on this plant has a wide split style and has deep green coloring, and it can grow to 12ft or 3.65m tall.

  • Monstera obliqua

Small Monstera obliqua in black pot sitting on wooden bench.

Monstera obliqua is a fenestrated plant from the Araceae family. It also goes by the name Philodendron obliqua. This plant has large holes in its leaves and green coloring; they can grow up to 10ft or 3.48m tall. Some may even say that there are more holes than leaves. The plant comes from Central and South America and grows best in warm and overly humid conditions.

  • Monstera esqueleto

Large Monstera esqueleto growing outside.

Philodendron epipremnoides, scientifically known as Monstera esqueleto, is a houseplant from the Araceae family. It has large perforated green leaves and grows to 2ft or 60.96cm tall. The plant is native to Costa Rica. And flourishes in tropical temperatures and high humidity.

Close up of a Monstera obliqua peru leaf with fenestration.

The Monstera obliqua peru is from Peru and is a part of the Araceae family. Like Monstera obliqua, Monstera obliqua peru has green leaves with holes in them that are rather large. There are more holes than leaves in this plant. The plant is smaller than the traditional Monster obliqua. Only reaching a few feet or meters tall. It thrives in warm temperatures and high humidity.

Frequently Asked Questions

What causes fenestration in plants?

Plants with split leaves or holes have what is known as fenestration. The fenestrations occur in plants when parts of the foliage cease to have cell growth[1]. Botanists are still conflicted about why the plants do this. Particularly the monstera variety. Some claim it’s for filtering light and water. While others claim it’s for wind-related purposes.

How do you encourage leaf fenestration?

Proper lighting is the key to encouraging leaf fenestration in plants. Bright filtered light is best for the plants. Low lighting can inhibit perforations or splits from occurring [2]. Cebu Blue pothos typically only fenestrates if it climbs. Monstera delicosa may only start showing fenestration once they reach around 3ft or .9144m tall.

What is double fenestration?

Double fenestration is when a plant, particularly monsteras, exhibits perforated holes and splits along the sides. You can encourage double fenestration through proper lighting, which is indirect but bright.

What are the holes in monstera leaves called?

The holes in monstera leaves are fenestrations. They occur when cell growth dissipates in the part of the leaf. Botanists believe that plants with split leaves or holes have them to help filter water and light or combat wind damage.

How long does it take for monstera to fenestrate?

A monstera plant may not fenestrate until reaching at least 3ft or .9144m in height. If your monstera plant continues to grow without fenestration, you may need to change its lighting environment. Bright but filtered lighting is best for the plant. Low or minimal lighting can inhibit the development of fenestrated leaves.

Do all Monsteras Fenestrate?

All monstera plants fenestrate. But it is important to note that many will not fenestrate until reaching a particular size or age. Many houseplant growers find that their monstera will not fenestrate until reaching 3ft or .9144m in height.


[1]Perforate leaf. Wikipedia . (2020, January 22). Retrieved October 11, 2022, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perforate_leaf

[2]Coleman, L. (2022, February 4). NYBG. Retrieved October 11, 2022, from https://libanswers.nybg.org/faq/222874

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