What’s Wrong With My Monstera? Monstera Leaf Troubleshooting

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Having a Monstera plant is like having a pet, in the way that when there’s something wrong with it, it can’t tell you what it is and you have to find out in other ways what’s caused the problem and how to fix it. 

If there’s something wrong with your monstera plant, the first indication you’ll get is from its leaves.

However, the way the leaves look will indicate different things, and finding out the meaning behind those signs can be hard if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

We’ve created this guide to help you find out some of the issues people commonly face with their monstera plants and how you can overcome them. Then you and your leafy friend can be totally in tune with each other. 

Monstera leaves turning yellow

If your monstera leaves are turning yellow, it can be an indication that you are overwatering it, or it is not getting enough nutrients.

Every time you water your plant, you should put your finger a few inches into the soil and feel if it is dry or damp.

If it feels dry then you’ll want to water it, if it still feels damp, leave it another day or two, depending on how much sunlight your plant receives. 

On average, monsteras will need an even watering every 1-2 weeks. You should expect to be watering your monstera more if it is situated in brighter lights and less if it resides somewhere where there is low light.

The Ultimate Guide To Watering Your Monstera

Yellow leaves can also be an indication that you need extra nutrients which will have to come from fertilizer. We recommend fertilizing your monstera in the spring or summer months, this will encourage new growth.

One of the best options for fertilizers for a monstera is the House Plant Resource Center’s liquid fertilizer specially made for these kinds of plants.

You simply add one teaspoon into two cups of water and apply every 2 weeks (or whenever your monstera needs watering). This will help optimize the health and growth of your monstera and help you achieve big luscious leaves. 

Monstera leaves having brown spots with a yellow outline

If your monstera leaves appear to have brown spots that have a yellow outline then this means that there is fungus growing.

Fungal infections in plants occur when there has been excessive watering or that the plant has been subjected to a wet environment for a long period. 

You should remove any leaves that have these brown/yellow spots, so it doesn’t affect other leaves.

Cut the leaf off at the base of the stem. With proper care, it’ll grow back but it will take some time. You should avoid watering and misting your monstera leaves for a while. 

Dark spots appearing on your monstera leaves

Dark spots on your monstera leaves indicate that you are overwatering the plant and the roots are starting to rot.

Place a towel or sheet on the floor, or go outside and remove the plant from the pot and trim away any roots that look damaged (darker and mushy).

Try to tidy away any of the wet soil that is clinging to the roots and replace the plant with fresh, dry soil. 

You’ll now have to ensure that your monstera is getting good light and lay off watering it so much until you feel that the plant’s health has improved.

You can remove the rotten leaves using shears if you don’t want it to ruin the aesthetic of your whole plant, it’ll also prevent the damaged leaf from weighing down the plant. 

Overwatering can be prevented if you use a watering meter and by feeling how moist the soil is by sticking your finger in a few inches before watering. 

Leaves appearing with light brown spots and the edges turning crispy

If light brown spots appear on your leaves and the edges start to turn crispy, your plant is dehydrated and you need to give it more water.

You may need to consider moving your monstera elsewhere as it may be sat in direct sunlight and it will be burning the leaves and causing the plant to dry out too quickly.

If you can’t move it out of the way, then you’ll need to stay on top of your watering routine. Stick your finger into the soil every other day and if it appears dry, top it up with water. 

Monstera leaves starting to droop and look limp

If your monstera is starting to droop then it could mean that you are giving it too much water or even that you’re not giving it enough water.

Confusing right? You should frequently be checking the soil to see if it needs to be watered more.

You can buy a handy little tool called a Soil Moisture Tester to monitor how hydrated your monstera is, it also shows you the pH level and also the sunlight level that your monstera is.

There are no batteries needed, you just simply stick the probe into the soil and it should work. 

Touch the soil before you water it and if it feels too damp, you should leave it a bit longer before you water it again.

If the soil doesn’t seem to be drying out then you should consider repotting your monstera and placing it into a pot that has better drainage and also uses quick-draining soil which is perfect for indoor plants. 

If you feel like you’re watering your monstera just the right amount and the soil doesn’t seem to be the issue, then you could consider putting it in a place where it’ll receive more sunlight.

Some of these recommendations should perk your monstera back up in no time, it’s just a process of working out what needs to be done. 

Monstera leaves are not splitting

Monsteras are known for their well-defined leaves which give them their signature look and distinguish them from other house plants.

It can be frustrating when you’ve bought a monstera plant particularly for their leaves to find that they’re not splitting. This may be at no fault of your own though. 

Monstera (or commonly known as Swiss cheese plants) leaves won’t start to split until they’re about 2-3 years old. So if you bought it whilst it was still a young plant, you’ll have to stay patient and its time will soon come.

If you’ve had your monstera plant for a few years and there still seems to be no sign of progress, then it may be something that you’re doing wrong. 

What To Do If Your Monstera Leaves Won’t Split

One of the main reasons for your monstera leaves not splitting is that they may not be getting enough sunlight. Monstera plants thrive when directly in the window.

You should try to keep your Monstera as close to a window as possible, preferably without the leaves touching the window. 

In the wilderness, these monstera plants thrive in and grow in filtered light and even shady conditions.

How To Tell If Your Monstera Needs More Light

However, we don’t recommend you sitting them in direct sunlight all day as it could burn the leaves.

If your monstera is exposed to a lot of sun during the day, check the soil and if 50-75% of it is dry, you’ll need to top it up with water to make sure it stays nourished.

If you have blinds, you could shut them slightly to reduce the amount of sunlight your monstera receives. 

If you’re unfortunate enough to have accommodation that does receive adequate daylight or can’t situate your monstera in the window.

You could invest in some LED grow lights to keep in your home over your plant to make sure it gets enough light to keep thriving.

We recommend this budget-friendly LED floor light for plants here. This is especially good if you live in areas of the world that don’t have very good weather. 

Your monstera will grow a lot quicker when positioned in optimum lighting and ideally, in a position where it’s in warm temperatures. 

Regular maintenance & care

Good things come to those who wait, so don’t expect dramatic changes in your monstera plant straight away. You’ll need to maintain regular maintenance and care of your monstera so that it truly thrives and doesn’t encounter any issues.  

To summarize, here are the major things to check if you run into a problem with monstera:

  • Check your soil: If it’s too wet, you’ll need to move it somewhere where it can receive more sunlight or take a look if there’s a draining issue. If your soil is constantly dry, you’ll need to give it more water and get into a routine where you water it more regularly. If it’s dry, reevaluate your light situation and move it deeper into the room away from the windows. 
  • Reevaluate your lighting situation: Your monstera thrives in bright yet not direct sunlight. Direct sunlight will dry out and damage your plant. 
  • Check the temperature of your accommodation: Your monstera might be too close to an air conditioner or heating vent, these rapid fluctuations in temperature can have big effects on your plant. Monstera’s are originally from the tropical rainforest, so will thrive in a more humid environment in your home. The room temperature should be around 68 F to 86 F. 
  • Make sure your plant pot is not too small for your monstera: As your monstera grows, the roots will move and become bigger and can sometimes outgrow the pot. This can lead to issues with watering and undernourishment. When your monstera is juvenile, you should aim to repot it every year when new leaves grow in. After that, every two years will be enough time between each repotting, and every time you should go for a larger-sized pot. 
  • Keeping tabs on when you last fertilized: If you’re encountering issues with your monstera, it could be a sign that it is undernourished and needs fertilizing. Find a fertilizer that is mild enough to use every time you water your plant so you won’t have to remember a schedule. 
  • Check for any infestations of bugs on your monstera: Insects are attracted to overly moist areas so will be more prone to house themselves on your monstera after watering so make sure you inspect your leaves and soil every so often to check there aren’t any infestations. Swap out your soil and plant pot regularly, to make sure insect eggs aren’t hiding in the soil. You can use a mild insecticidal spray on your monstera to prevent any unwanted critters. 

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