Why is My Split Leaf Philodendron Not Splitting? Top Causes Explained

Disclosure: As Amazon Associates we earn from qualifying purchases. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.

Please note that while we always strive to provide 100% up to date and accurate information, there is always the small possibility of error. Therefore, we advise conducting further research and due diligence before consuming any plants or exposing pets to anything mentioned on this site. Kindly refer to the full disclaimer for more details here.

Split leaf philodendrons are popular houseplants known for their unique, deeply-cut leaves that give them an exotic appearance. However, sometimes the plant’s leaves might stop splitting, leaving its caretakers puzzled about the reason behind this change. This article will delve into some possible causes behind split leaf philodendron leaves not splitting and provide guidance on how to address these issues.

One of the main factors that could lead to a split leaf philodendron’s leaves not splitting is its growth direction. These plants display more pronounced leaf splitting when their stems grow upwards. However, as soon as their stems reach the top of their support and begin to hang downward, new leaves tend to revert to being full and rounded. To encourage splitting, it is essential to provide a taller support or periodically trim the plant back to maintain its upward growth.

Aside from growth direction, improper care could also contribute to a split leaf philodendron not splitting. Overwatering or underwatering, and lack of adequate light or humidity are some common care mistakes that could lead to less pronounced leaf splitting. Moreover, it is crucial to be vigilant against pests and diseases that may negatively impact the plant’s overall health. Adopting proper care techniques can help restore and maintain the desired leaf splitting appearance.

Why Split Leaf Philodendron May Not Be Splitting

Insufficient Light

One of the main reasons a split leaf philodendron may not be splitting is due to insufficient light. These plants require bright, indirect sunlight to thrive and develop their characteristic split leaves. If your split leaf philodendron is placed in a dimly lit area or does not receive enough natural light, its leaves may not split properly.

Improper Watering

Watering is another crucial factor that can affect the splitting of leaves in a split leaf philodendron. Overwatering and underwatering can both prevent the leaves from splitting. Too much water can lead to root rot, while insufficient water may cause the leaves to become dry and brittle. Ensure you maintain a consistent watering schedule and avoid letting the soil become too dry or too wet.

Lack of Nutrients

Just like any other plant, split leaf philodendrons require an adequate supply of nutrients to promote healthy growth and leaf splitting. A lack of essential nutrients can result in the plant’s inability to produce the distinctive split leaves. Fertilize your plant with a balanced liquid fertilizer every four to six weeks during its growing season to ensure proper nutrient intake.

Pot Size and Root Growth

The size of the pot and the growth of the plant’s roots can also play a role in the splitting of leaves. If the philodendron is in a pot that is too small or if the roots are becoming rootbound, the plant may struggle to take up nutrients and water, leading to the leaves not splitting. Additionally, a sturdy stake can help support the plant’s upward growth and promote proper leaf splitting by preventing the philodendron from hanging downward.

Providing the appropriate care for your split leaf philodendron, such as exposing it to sufficient light, maintaining an appropriate watering schedule, supplying it with essential nutrients, and ensuring adequate pot size and root growth, is essential for the development of its characteristic split leaves. By addressing these factors, you can help your plant thrive and achieve the stunning appearance of split foliage.

Correcting Issues for Splitting Leaves

Adjusting Sunlight Exposure

Split leaf philodendrons require adequate sunlight exposure to maintain their characteristic split leaves. Position your plant in a location where it receives ample indirect sunlight. Too much direct sunlight can scorch its leaves, while insufficient light can inhibit its growth and cause its leaves to not split. Monitor for any changes in the plant’s appearance, and adjust its position accordingly.

Watering Techniques

Proper watering techniques are essential for the health of your split leaf philodendron. Overwatering can cause root rot, leading to yellowing leaves or brown tips on the foliage. On the other hand, underwatering may lead to stress, impacting leaf development. Monitor the soil moisture regularly, ensuring it remains evenly moist but not soggy. Allow the top inch of soil to dry between waterings to avoid overwatering.

Nutrient Requirements

Split leaf philodendrons require essential nutrients to maintain healthy growth and leaf splitting. Ensure you provide a balanced fertilizer monthly during the growing season to meet its nutrient needs. Be cautious not to overfertilize, as this may cause leaf burning or other damage. Regularly monitor your plant’s health, and adjust the fertilizer concentration as needed.


Repotting may be necessary for your split leaf philodendron if it has outgrown its current container or if root rot has occurred due to overwatering. When repotting, closely inspect the roots for any signs of rot, and trim away unhealthy sections. Choose a larger container with proper drainage, and use fresh potting soil that promotes good aeration and sufficient moisture retention.

Root Pruning

Root pruning can encourage proper root growth and overall plant health. This process involves carefully trimming back some of the larger, older roots to promote the development of smaller, finer roots. Root pruning can be done during repotting or as a separate procedure if needed. However, be cautious not to damage the plant and only prune roots when necessary, as excessive pruning can cause stress and impact the splitting of the leaves.

Common Split Leaf Philodendron Diseases and Pests

Types of Diseases and Pests

Split leaf philodendrons can encounter various diseases and pests that can affect their growth and splitting. One common disease is bacterial leaf spot caused by a pathogen named Xanthomonas campestris pv. Dieffenbachiae. This disease results in translucent spots on leaf margins that eventually turn brown with tan or yellow halos. The spots are typically irregularly shaped.

In addition to bacterial leaf spot, split leaf philodendrons might also face pest problems, such as mealybugs. Mealybugs are a common pest found on split leaf philodendrons and, if left untreated, can cause stunted growth or even prevent the plant from splitting.

Preventive Measures

To keep your philodendron healthy and protected from diseases and pests, there are several preventive measures you can take:

  1. Ensuring proper drainage: Poor drainage can cause stress factors which make the plant susceptible to diseases. Make sure your pot has good drainage holes and that the soil doesn’t hold excess water.
  2. Providing adequate light: Insufficient light can weaken your plant, making it more vulnerable to diseases and pests. Place your split leaf philodendron in a well-lit area with indirect sunlight.
  3. Watering appropriately: Both under- and overwatering can stress your philodendron. Water your plant only when the top few inches of soil are dry to touch.
  4. Temperature consistency: Substantial temperature fluctuations can also stress your plant. Maintain a consistent temperature between 60-85°F (15-29°C) for optimal growth.
  5. Regularly inspect and clean the leaves: Use a microfiber cloth to gently wipe down the leaves to remove dust and debris that can block photosynthesis or harbor pests.

By taking these preventive measures, you can help your split leaf philodendron maintain its health, encourage splitting, and minimize the risk of diseases and pests affecting its growth.


In summary, several factors can contribute to a split leaf philodendron’s leaves not splitting. One key factor is the direction in which the stems grow. If they are growing upward, the leaves will usually split. However, once they start to hang downward, the leaves may remain full and rounded. To mitigate this issue, one can provide a taller pole or trim the plant back to the top of the old pole.

Another possible reason for the lack of splitting can be the maturity of the plant. Monstera leaves may develop the characteristic windows and split edges as they mature, with some leaves not showing these features until the plant is older. This process is controlled by a genetically encoded sequence that involves programmed cell death, resulting in the distinctive shape.

Lastly, proper care and maintenance are essential for healthy split leaf philodendron growth. Ensuring adequate water, humidity, and sunlight are essential factors for the development of the characteristic split leaves. Both overwatering and underwatering can lead to unhealthy plants and, in turn, affect the leaves’ appearance. Carefully monitoring soil moisture and providing appropriate humidity levels, such as using a humidifier or misting the plant, can help maintain a healthy environment for your split leaf philodendron.

In conclusion, understanding and addressing the factors affecting a split leaf philodendron’s leaf splitting can help ensure healthy and attractive plant growth. By managing plant care and addressing directional growth, one can enjoy the mesmerizing beauty of their split leaf philodendron.

Helpful Video