Both overwatering and underwatering can cause the yellowing of monstera leaves. Underwatering causes the leaves to turn yellow with brown spots, but overwatering encourages the conditions for root rot, which causes the leaves to turn brown and yellow with a drooping aspect.
If the potting soil is too tightly packed or the pot is too big, monster leaves turn yellow after repotting.
The potting soil around the monstera’s roots dries out much more slowly in a larger pot because it can store more soil and, thus, more moisture, which causes the leaves to become yellow.
Because of nutrient deficiencies in the soil and sunburn, monstera leaves can also become yellow.
If a monstera has yellow leaves, you can save it by misting the leaves to make them more humid, letting the top inch of soil dry out in between waterings, placing the monstera in bright indirect light, and fertilizing it with regular houseplant fertilizer if the soil is deficient in nutrients.
Read on to find out why and how to save your monstera (deliciosa, also known as a “swiss cheese plant” and monstera andansonii).
Table of Contents
Monstera Leaves Turning Yellow and Drooping (Overwatering)
Overwatering and inadequate drainage are to blame for the yellowing and drooping of monstera leaves. Between waterings, the soil needs to somewhat dry out for monstera. The monstera experiences root rot if the soil is persistently moist, which results in the leaves turning yellow and drooping.
Overwatering can also cause the leaves to become yellow and brown, however only one leaf may be dying at a time and not the entire plant.
Hemi-epiphyte monstera plants have both aerial and ground roots.
In their natural rainforest setting of central America, their terrestrial roots thrive in exceptionally porous, well-draining, bright, aerated soil that holds some moisture but lets water to drain away from the roots very easily.
The proper watering cycle for monstera deliciosa is to thoroughly wet the soil, then let the top inch or two dry out before watering again in order to mimic the circumstances of their natural habitat.
This achieves the ideal mix of soil moisture to satisfy the monstera plants’ water needs while preventing overwatering, which causes the leaves to become brown, yellow, and droop.
It is impossible for roots to breathe and the ability of the monstera plant to absorb moisture and nutrients from the soil is hampered if the soil is left damp between waterings.
The leaves become stressed and turn yellow, brown, and droop if the roots cannot absorb nutrients or moisture.
The most frequent reason for a monstera plant that is yellowing and dying is root rot, which can occur if the roots are left in wet soil for an extended period of time.
The soil is also too wet for the monstera to endure due to overwatering. Yellowing of monstera leaves is also possible if
- Compacted, slow-draining soils
- Lack of drainage holes in the base of the pots, which causes water to collect around the roots
- There are beautiful outer pots, trays, and saucers under the monstera’s pot, which makes it difficult for the excess water to drain properly.
How to Save a Monstera With Yellow with Drooping Leaves
At order to treat a monstera with yellow, drooping leaves, limit the frequency of watering until the top inch of soil dries up, check the roots for root rot, make sure the monstera’s container has drainage holes in the base, and cut back any unhealthy roots.
- Water the monstera less frequently, letting the top inch or so of the soil dry up in between applications. This meets the monstera’s water needs while reducing the risk of root rot by simulating the typical circumstances of the well-draining soil in its natural environment. To determine the best watering schedule for monstera plants in your environment, use your finger to feel the soil to determine when the top inch feels dry.
- The monstera should be repotted into a clay or terracotta pot with a drainage hole in the bottom. Monstera may thrive in any container with a drainage hole, but terracotta and clay pots work best since they are porous and help the potting soil dry out more evenly, reducing the effects of overwatering and root rot.
- After watering the monstera, remove any extra water from any saucers, trays, or decorative outer pots. A pot’s bottom may collect extra water, which prevents the water from the soil from draining correctly and leads to the soggy conditions that encourage root rot and wilting leaves.
- Take the monstera out of the pot and look at the roots if the soil is draining slowly. Healthy roots should feel firm, appear white (notice that the roots may be slightly stained brown by the soil), and have no odor. Root rot is indicated by roots that are dark, mushy, and smell awful. With a clean pair of pruners, cut any sick root rots back to healthy growth. Between each snip, wipe the pruners with a cloth dipped in disinfectant to avoid possibly contaminating otherwise healthy monstera roots.
- The monstera should be repotted in fresh potting soil without the soil being compacted around the root ball. Grit or perlite can be added to the potting mix to promote drainage and reduce the danger of root rot because monstera require well-draining soil. A monstera’s leaves could turn yellow and droop if the potting soil is too tightly compacted around it. This will also prevent water from draining effectively and will drive oxygen out of the soil.
The monstera’s yellowing and drooping leaves may simply be the result of overwatering and do not always indicate that root rot has taken hold.
It might just be that the excessive soil moisture was impeding root respiration, which hinders the roots from sucking up moisture and nutrients, if the roots appear and feel strong and voluminous.
The roots can work normally once more and the monstera can be salvaged once the soil has had a chance to partially dry up.
It is possible that the monstera’s roots are decaying if it begins to appear progressively worse, at which point it may be quite challenging to save the plant.
If the monstera’s roots are rotting, the only way to save it is to grow leaf cuttings by propagating leaves from any healthy growth that is still there.
To save your monstera, learn how to grow new plants from leaf cuttings by watching this YouTube video:
(Read how to water monstera deliciosa plants in my article.)
Can a Monstera Leaf Turn Yellow Again?
Monstera leaves that become yellow individually do not revert to green. A yellow leaf cannot become green again, therefore when the conditions are more favourable, the monstera puts its energy into growing new green leaves.
Should I Yellow Leaves Off a Monstera?
Use a good set of pruners to trim any yellow monstera leaves back to healthy growth. Once the leaf has turned yellow, it does not go back to being green. Removing the dead leaves encourages the growth of fresh, healthy, green leaves.
Monstera Leaves Turning Yellow and Brown (Underwatering)
Underwatering is the cause of the yellowing and browning of monstera leaves. When the first inch of the soil feels dry, monstera plants need a good soak in water. If the soil surrounding the roots fully dries out, drought-related brown patches and fading leaves appear on the leaves.
For monstera, having well-draining soil that maintains moisture is ideal; however, the top inch should be let to dry before additional watering.
The potting soil has likely dried up completely if the leaves are turning yellow with brown or black patches.
This results in the soil shrinking away from the pot’s side, leaving a gap, and the surface of the dried-out soil becoming hydrophobic (repelling water), which prevents water from penetrating the roots and causes water to run off the surface and down the pot’s side instead, turning the leaves yellow and developing brown spots.
Therefore, even with a good soak of water, the soil will not be adequately moistened to allow the hydration to permeate and reach the roots, leading to drought-stressed, yellowing leaves with brown spots.
As watering too lightly only moistens the top inch or so of the potting soil without reaching the roots and causes the leaves to turn yellow, it is also best practice to water with a generous soak, with the aim of ensuring that the potting soil is evenly saturated after watering.
It is crucial to stress that underwatering might cause the leaves to just become yellow, and that it may take some time before any brown or black patches appear or the leaves begin to curl.
In addition to drought stress, there are a few other things that might cause monstera leaves to turn yellow with brown spots.
- Internal heating (monstera grow well at room temperature, but if they are place too near the source of heat then this can dry the soil too quickly before the roots have drawn up enough moisture).
- Monstera are tropical plants that thrive in humid forests when the humidity is low. Dry air from indoor heating and cooling systems can rob leaves of moisture and exacerbate any drought stress.
- Too much sun (monstera should be shielded from direct sunlight while they grow beneath the forest canopy. The optimal lighting for monstera plants is bright indirect light.
How To Save Monstera with Yellow and Brown Leaves due to Underwatering
- Make sure the root ball is submerged when you submerge the monstera in water for ten minutes. Any compost containing peat has the ability to refract water if it has dried out too much. The soil can be fully rehydrated by submerging the root ball in water, allowing the roots to receive the moisture they require. Make sure that any saucers or trays that are underneath the monstera’s pot when you remove it from the basin are suitably empty so that any extra water that is trickling from the drainage holes can drain away.
- To raise the humidity and stop water loss, mist the monstera leaves. Tropical plants called monstera are indigenous to humid regions. The leaves can be misted to assist produce a humid microclimate that resembles the humidity of their native environment. This should help address the drought stress and produce more hospitable conditions so that the leaves do not continue to turn yellow. It also minimizes the amount of water loss from the leaves.
- Keep the monstera in a space that is between 60 and 85 degrees. Although monstera plants thrive at room temperature, I would advise keeping them away from any sources of interior heating while they are under stress from a drought.
- Thoroughly water the monstera, letting extra water drip from the pot’s bottom. Always use a lot of water when watering the monstera to ensure that the potting soil is evenly hydrated because using less water can create drought.
- To achieve the ideal watering cycle for the monstera, let the top inch of the soil dry out in between waterings. Typically, this entails watering once every seven days, but to determine the proper watering schedule for your monstera in your environment, I advise examining the soil to feel when the top inch has dried.
Use a potting mix that is peat-free and modified with grit or perlite the next time you repot the monstera (only do so if the roots are visibly pot bound).
Perlite or grit serves to strengthen the soil’s structure so that it maintains its porosity even as it dries up. This makes sure that after watering, the soil is evenly saturated and that the moisture can get to the roots where it is needed.
Normally, the monstera plant bounces back nicely from being submerged, but if the leaves have severely gone yellow, they do not.
Your monstera will grow a lot of new leaves in the spring and summer if you provide it the proper humidity and watering conditions. You can cut the leaf back to restore it to its original color when the leaf has fully turned yellow as a result of drought.
Monstera Leaves Turning Yellow After Repotting
Because they are replanted in a much larger pot that holds too much moisture, monstera leaves start to turn yellow following repotting. Larger pots hold more dirt and dry out more slowly, which results in the moist soil conditions that make monstera leaves droop and become yellow.
It can be detrimental to the monstera’s ability to absorb moisture and nutrients if the soil is compacted too tightly around the roots. This can force oxygen out of the soil.
Another factor in the leaves turning yellow and brown is compacted soil after repotting, which dramatically reduces the pace at which the soil drains.
How to Save Monstera with Yellow Leaves After Repotting
Reducing watering as soon as possible is the best strategy to save a monstera plant with yellowing leaves after repotting, especially if the soil is already wet.
It’s possible that the earth is drying too slowly for the monstera to accept if you recently replanted the monstera in a much larger pot.
If so, repot the monstera into a pot that is only somewhat bigger than its previous container.
Root rot is less likely to occur if the pot is only one size larger than the original pot because it should dry out at a similar rate in between waterings.
Repot the monstera in a potting mixture that has been improved with grit or perlite to make the soil more pore- and air-filled and well-draining.
Check the roots of the monstera for evidence of root rot before repotting it (brown rotting roots, that are mushy with a bad smell).
Repot your monstera if the roots feel firm and have no noticeable odor.
However, if the roots are exhibiting symptoms of root rot, try taking leaf cuttings from any remaining healthy growth and following the guidelines at the top of this article regarding overwatering to rescue the plant.
Before you water the monster once again, make sure the top inch of the potting soil is completely dry.
Monstera Leaves Turning Yellow due to a lack of Nutrients
The most likely reason for the monstera leaves turning yellow is a shortage of nutrients in the soil if they have done so over the growing season and the rate of yellowing is gradual rather than sudden.
Monstera is a plant with thick foliage, big leaves, and climbing vines.
Compared to other houseplants, the big leaves demand more resources to promote their growth.
The roots may deplete the potting soil of all nutrients, which could restrict growth, cause the leaves to become yellow, and prevent some leaves from developing the distinctive holes.
For this reason, it is recommended to apply a liquid general-purpose houseplant fertilizer, which aids in the growth of the monstera plant and prevents the yellowing of the leaves.
During the spring and summer, when the monstera is actively growing, use a liquid fertilizer.
Since monstera plants often have a “rest” period in Winter when growth slows down in accordance with the seasonal cycle in their native environment, I typically advise against applying any more fertilizer after the middle of August as this can promote growth when the monstera should be preparing for Winter.
After fertilizer applications, some of the slightly yellow leaves may begin to regain their look, but any monstera leaves that have severely yellowed frequently do not recover and finally fall off.
The monstera plant will produce substantially more leaves and longer vines with more fertilizer applied in the Spring and Summer, allowing the plant to survive even if some of the leaves fall off.
Monstera Leaves Turning Yellow and Brown due to too Much Sun
In densely forested jungles, monstera plants grow beneath a canopy, with their leaves typically shielded from direct sunlight.
The monstera climbs trees to find bright light and avoid being overly shadowed and being outcompeted by neighboring plants.
Therefore, when cultivated indoors, monstera plants prefer intense indirect light.
Depending on the amount of time spent in the sun and the intensity of the exposure, monster leaves might become light yellow, even whitish, or brown.
If your monstera is in direct sunlight and on a window sill, transfer it to a brighter, more advantageous place.
This stops the leaves from suffering any additional harm.
Given that the sunlight has likely dried the leaves to some extent, mist the foliage and give the monstera plenty of water.
When the top inch of the soil is dry, water the monstera and mist it frequently to maintain high humidity.
Avoid fertilizer use for the time being because the monstera is under too much stress to focus on growth.
However, the individual damaged leaves should die back. At that time, you can trim them back to healthy growth, with a sharp pair of pruners, which should assist to encourage new development. If some of the leaves have remained fairly green, then it is likely that the monstera can recover.
(Read my post on how to save a monstera plant from extinction.)
- Overwatering is typically the cause of monstera plants becoming yellow and brown. Too much moisture around the roots encourages root rot, which makes the leaves turn yellow and droop and give the plant a dead appearance.
- Because of low humidity and underwatering, monstera leaves turn yellow. Monstera prefers high humidity and requires well-draining, evenly moist soil. The leaves turn yellow with brown or black patches when the soil surrounding the roots becomes very dry.
- If replanted into a significantly larger pot, monstera leaves become yellow following repotting. Larger pots take much longer to dry out because they keep more soil and moisture. Long-term soil saturation around the monstera roots causes the leaves to turn yellow and droop.
- Due to a shortage of nutrients in the soil, monstera leaves begin to yellow. Large leaves on monstera plants increase their need for fertilizers. The leaves can turn yellow as a result of the roots depleting the nutrition supply in the potting soil.
- If exposed to too much direct sunshine, monstera plants might become pale yellow or brown. The leaves of monstera plants turn yellow in direct sunlight and are not tolerant of it; they prefer to grow in the shade on a forest floor.