How to Stop Your Monstera Leaves From Turning Yellow

yellow monstera leaf on black surface

A common issue plant lovers have with their Monsteras is the yellowing of the leaves. Many reasons can cause your Monstera's yellow leaves. This tutorial aims at helping with identifying and solving these problems!  

 

The World's Favourite House Plant 

monstera plant

Monstera Deliciosa, also known as the Swiss Cheese plant, belongs to a species of tropical plants that are named for their intricately shaped leaves. Wild seedlings grow away from direct sunlight as they prefer shade to full shade conditions, making them ideal for indoor growing. Because of their popularity as indoor tropical plants, it is common to see inquiries about monstera deliciosa leaves.


Watering Monstera Plants

watering monstera plants

Improper watering, both under-watering and overwatering, can lead to issues with Monstera plant leaves turning yellow. If the leaves feel dry and brittle, then they are likely dying due to underwatering. If the leaves are moist and almost seem to be rotting as they turn yellow, that is a strong indication of excess water, and the monstera plant is suffering from stem and root rot. Investing in a pot with a drainage hole will help with excess moisture. Adjusting watering levels and frequency up or down can often resolve watering issues.


Light

monstera light

Monstera plants prefer shade and need lower light levels to thrive. Exposing them to too much sunlight, and in particular direct sunlight, can damage the leaves. Monstera can be grown in lowlight rooms or near windows that get early morning or late afternoon sun. Too little light can also be bad as photosynthesis will be difficult, and the plant will struggle to grow. Ensuring proper lighting levels can go a long way in preventing the yellowing of your Monstera plant’s leaves.


Temperature and Humidity

monstera

When grown indoors, these plants need to be maintained at a moderate temperature and humidity level. Too cold, and they can become stunted and fail to grow and thrive. Too hot, and they can dry out and die quickly. Humidity also needs to be maintained, and while they prefer warmer conditions during winter months they cannot be allowed to dry out, which can be a concern with heating. Misting the monstera plant once a day can help during the winter when moisture in the home may be minimal.


Pests

Swiss Cheese plant

One reason the Swiss Cheese plant is popular as a houseplant is that it is hardy and fairly pest resistant. In most cases, so long as the Monstera is kept healthy and no other plants are brought into the home that can introduce pests to the environment, your plant will likely have minimal issues with pests. That being said, common pests that can attack a weakened or stressed-out plant and cause it to lose its leaves include thrips, powdery mildew, scale, spider mites, and fungus gnats. Removing dead leaves and keeping soil clean and maintaining good moisture levels can help prevent the majority of insect pests that can attack these plants.


Fertilization

monstera fertilization

While it is true that most house plants do not need a lot when it comes to fertilizer due to their slower growth habits, the Monstera plant can benefit from occasional fertilization with a nitrogen-rich mix. Nutrient deficiency can occur the longer a plant is kept in a pot indoors. As a predominantly foliage plant, it will benefit from nitrogen which helps keep the leaves nice and green and bright. However, this needs to be done minimally and with care, and over fertilizing can burn the roots and stems and lead to yellow leaves as the fertilizer burn moves through the plant. A good rule of thumb is a mild mix of nitrogen-rich fertilizer once a year just before the warmer months is ideal.


Roots

monstera roots

Sometimes potted Monstera plants can grow so fast the roots outgrow the available space in the pot. This leads to a condition known as being root bound and it can cause a variety of issues with your plants, including yellowing leaves. Plants get nutrients from the soil but when a plant is rootbound there is not enough soil to support the plant. It can lead to nutrient deficiencies and other issues that can stress the plant, cause leaves to turn yellow and die, and lead to an overall wilted looking plant. Repotting the Monstera plant is ideal, but at the least loosening the root ball and returning the plant to its pot can help improve nutrient absorption in the short term.


Seasons

monstera season

While this is more an issue with plants grown outdoors, it is important to remember that seasonal changes can affect the growth and appearance of your plants. As temperatures drop, some Monstera plants can start to drop leaves and go a bit dormant. While they should be protected against extreme cold and not be allowed to freeze, cooler weather and short-term drops in temperature can cause leaves to turn yellow and die off. So long as the main plant and the roots are protected, some yellowing of leaves in the winter should not be a cause for extreme concern, just a little closer monitoring of the predicted temperatures.


Monstera Plant's Age

Another thing to keep in mind is that as plants age, they naturally start to die out. Older leaves will eventually die out and it is simply part of the plant’s natural life cycle. Usually, it will be the larger and lower leaves on the plant that start to turn yellow and die off. They can be left until they are mostly yellow or you can clip them off as they start to fade if you feel it detracts from the plant too much. As long as the rest of the plant looks good and is thriving this should be simply seen as part of the normal growing process of your Monstera plants.


Pruning Yellow Leaves

monstera yellow

Pruning will be needed on occasion to keep your plants looking great and support new growth. While yellowing Monstera plant leaves can be removed to preserve the beauty of the plant, care must be taken if pruning is done to the rest of the plant. Occasional cutting may be needed to keep the plant size and shape. It is best to not remove more than 1/3 of the overall plant bulk at once. Aggressive pruning can stress the plant and cause other yellow leaves as nutrients are diverted from the plant and sent to the roots to ensure the plant survives the shock of the heavy pruning. So always use care and remember less is more when trimming your plant.


Plant Location

monstera plant location

Where your plant is located can also impact how well it grows and how often you are dealing with yellow leaf appearances. Indoors, plants need to be in a room that has decent lighting or that has window exposure to get some level of natural light each day through open windows. It is also important to be mindful of location in regards to AC and heating vents and direct flow of hot or cold aircan really stress out the plant and lead to yellow and dying leaves.


Repotting Tropical Plants

monstera repotting

The final aspect of Monstera growth and propagation that must be taken into account when yellow leaves are detected is whether or not repotting is needed. As touched on previously, when a plant’s root system gets too confines and there is not enough soil in the pot it can lead to issues with plant health such as root rot and poor soil moisture retention. Repotting simply involves removing the plant from its current pot, loosening the roots so they can grow in a more natural means, and putting the plant into a larger pot with fresh soil. Repotting needs to be done often with indoor plants though it can be problematic as transplant stress is common. Taking care while repotting so as not to damage the roots can help reduce stress and give your plant the best chance for recovering from any transplant stress it experiences.


Dealing With Monstera Leaves Turning Yellow

Monstera plants are unique, beautiful, easy-growing house plants. Many homeowners have fallen in love with these plants due to their dramatic leaves which are adorned with dramatic hole formations that occur naturally as the plants grow. Monsteras are vining plants and love to trail over the pot or climb along a stake or trellis and that will readily climb trees and fences when established outdoors. They are durable and easy to care for though there are some instances where the leaves may start to turn yellow and fade. Looking for a safe and efficient source of compost for enriching your Monstera’s (and other houseplants) soil? Lomi has the perfect solution for you!

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