Monsteras being popular tropical plants ask for little care and attention. Monsteras can grow enormously tall with proper care, but they show signs of distress when unhappy. Yellowing of foliage is one of the ways of your plants telling you that they need you. But what causes yellow leaves in monstera? Let’s find out!
Inadequate watering and over or under fertilizing are root causes of yellow leaves in monstera. Apart from these environmental stress like high-temperature levels or low humidity, pests and fungal diseases are some other problems that can lead to yellow leaves on the monstera plant.
Age can also result in yellow leaves; this can be identified by checking which part of the leaves is yellowing.
If the lower part is the ones and the rest of the plant seems healthy, then it is just aging.
We are here to take your monsteras and you out of the stress. It will take some time but not forever.
All you need is patience and the proper recognition of the cause. By doing this, we can further help you to recover your monsteras completely.
Also read: Why is my monstera dying?
Causes of yellow leaves in monsteras
Yellowing of your monsteras leaves is the consequence of your plant being unhappy and unhealthy from within. There are several reasons for this condition:
- Watering issues
- Low humidity level
- Lighting problems
- Temperature stress
- Fertilizing inadequately
Let’s dive into the details of the same.
Finding those yellow leaves on your monsteras is not a good sign; it indicates they are unhappy. But why? It could be watering issues, overwatering, or under-watering. Most commonly, inadequate watering causes yellow leaves in monsteras.
If the lower leaves of your monsteras are the first ones to turn yellow, overwatering is the cause. If the edges of the leaves are getting yellow or brown, new growth turning yellow, under watering is the main culprit.
Monsteras are tolerant of watering but overwatering is a big no while taking care of them.
When you water your monsteras plant keeping long intervals that the soil is left dry for long periods, the plant will lack moisture.
As they are trying to function with the little available water, it affects the plant’s leaves and stems. Thus, some leaves will start turning brown or yellow.
Monsteras shut down internally due to under watering stress.
Underwatering can also be caused as the plant gets root-bound.
Roots might have circled the pot, accenting the plant. Even if you water right, the plant will not get sufficient water and nutrients in such a condition.
Another common cause of yellow leaves is soil draining more water than it should. This is common if you use sandy soil that is not able to hold and retain water. Using such soil leads to a lack of moisture in the soil, causing yellow leaves.
Overwatering is caused when you water your monsteras to the point that the soil remains drowned in water most of the time.
Using heavy soil mix is another common cause. Monsteras being semi-epiphytic plants, need good airflow and water flow in their soil.
When the roots of monsteras don’t get enough space, they constrict themselves making it harder for the soil to breathe and consume water. This can cause overwatering situations.
If the soil mix is poorly drained or clay-rich, the soil will remain soggy as it will not drain the excess water. For example, garden soil is too heavy for monsteras.
Don’t consider yellow leaves to be watering issues at one go. Evaluate your monsteras closely by checking the soil’s condition, whether it is validating watering issues or not.
Also read: How often should you water your monstera?
Low Humidity level
High humidity level keeps your monsteras happy, keeping them in low humidity levels makes them suffer.
The openings through which monsteras breathe start to lose their moisture due to dryness in the air even if the roots and soil are damp. Their leaves get dry, resulting in yellow leaves.
Monsteras are used to high humidity levels. They love plenty of moisture in the atmosphere.
If deprived of such an atmosphere for a long time, the monsteras will show signals through yellow leaves.
Heating systems during winters compound the condition by further removing humidity from the air.
Also read: Should you mist your monstera plant?
Lighting issues can be identified if the top part of the monsteras leaves are yellowing. They are easily stressed with too much of any conditions, too much light, or too low light.
Too much light:
Too much light dries the soil of monsteras faster, reducing the moisture in the leaves and stems.
With direct sun through glass windows and less air circulation, heat builds up tremendously, injuring monsteras.
Too much light further causes a lack of moisture in the entire plant, making it harder for leaves to retain their color.
The molecules in the plant absorb more energy than they should and produce reactive species of oxygen. This can destroy your plant.
Usually, plants sitting on west or south-facing windows get scorched due to direct sunlight.
Due to low light conditions and other environmental stress during winters, monsteras will also suffer due to unwanted stress. Chilly drafts and low light are an excellent blend for stressing monsteras.
Keeping monsteras in shady corners or an area with too low or no light can affect their functioning, especially the photosynthesis process.
Too low light will keep their soil damp for a long time. They won’t be able to function to their full potential.
Monsteras will not be able to make sufficient chlorophyll required to retain their color and shine.
Also read: How much light do monstera need?
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Fluctuation in temperature stresses monsteras as they like consistent high-temperature levels.
When the temperature drops down below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, the plant growth suffers, shown by yellow and droopy leaves.
Low temperatures can affect the monsteras foliage’s color because the chemical reactions are slowed, reducing chlorophyll production.
Hot weather can be a problem as well. During scorching weather, air conditioners sum on to the dryness in the air making leaves dry.
Temperature levels above 90 degrees Fahrenheit stress monsteras, and the plant will not function to its full potential.
If you have kept your monsteras near windows, vents, furnaces, air conditioners, or even anywhere they get exposed to cold drafts; their foliage starts turning yellow, pale, and droopy.
Many hobbyists tend to repot their plant when they sense something kosher in their plant, expecting a super growth boost. Though it’s not true. Monstera plant likes repotting every few years, not every time you want more growth.
Due to transplant shock monsteras, roots will not absorb sufficient water for their growth and become weak and susceptible to bugs, diseases, or environmental change.
Transplanting monsteras stress them as they have to go through a process. Mostly, they cannot tolerate the sudden shift when repotting monsteras is done at the wrong time of the year.
Changing the growing medium or changing location causes yellow leaves, brown leaves, etc. Thus, avoid repotting them frequently.
Also read: How often should you repot your houseplants?
Mealybugs, spider mites, scales, aphids, etc., these irritating tiny bugs with huge potential to destroy any plant can be the reason for the yellow leaves of your monsteras.
They hide in the foliage, making it harder to identify them, which most of the time, planters sense only while the plants begin to show stress signals.
Let’s learn more about how they look and what they do, which damages are planted to the extent that they can even die.
Small pear-shaped yellow, red, or black colored sucking insects coated with wax.
|–Feed on the sap of the plant.|
–Act as vectors
–Stresses the plant
–Secrete honeydew feed on tissues.
Inconspicuous insects with shell-like waxy covering concealing their bodies.
|–Feed on sap with their piercing-sucking mouths|
–Causes plant to lose vigor
–Encourages fungus called sooty mold
Pink, soft-bodied insects coated with a waxy, cottony material
|–Remove plants sap from stem tips, leaf joints, and new growth.|
–Injects a toxin while feeding causing plant malformation.
–Excrete honeydew, which allows for the growth of sooty mold
–Feed on root hairs.
Spins a silk webbing on the leaves.Yellow-orange in colour.
|–Eggs stick beneath the leaves.|
–Feeds on the underside of the foliage scrapes the leaves tissue, and suck the plant juices
Both over and under fertilizing disturbs the function and growth of monsteras due to the below-discussed reasons. They are both responsible for the yellowing of monsteras leaves.
We will study more about their roles and importance in keeping our monsteras healthy.
|Nitrogen: Mobile nutrients required to build monsteras.Essential to make protein, amino acids, and even DNA.||–Not be able to carry photosynthesis.|
–Will not be able to create food for plants.
|–Explode the growth of foliage and roots will not develop.|
|Phosphorus: Involved in metabolic processes.|
Transfers energy from one part to another.
|–Not be able to move through the soil. |
–Root development will suffer..
|–Reduces the plant’s ability to take up required micronutrients.|
|Potassium: Regulate metabolism.|
Affects water pressure outside and inside the plant cells.
|–Immune system gets weak.|
–Not be able to balance water.
|–Lead to chlorosis.|
–Disturbs plant’s absorption of iron, manganese and zinc.
–Veins will have red tint.
|Calcium: Regulate nutrients transport.|
Support enzyme functions
|–Not able to supply nutrients and water.||–Makes soil too alkaline.|
–Hinders the absorption of other nutrients.
|Magnesium: Important to the photosynthetic process.||–Ionic shortcoming.|
–Lack of chlorophyll.
|–Inhibits the uptake of calcium.|
In addition to macronutrients, various other elements (micronutrients) are required for different functions:
- Assists metabolic regulations
- Essential for osmosis and ionic balance
- Vital role in photosynthesis
- Plants use them to reduce nitrates into usable forms
- Activates many enzymes
- Participates in chlorophyll formation
All these micro and macronutrients should be balanced to avoid any tension on your monsteras. Fertilizing too much can also result in yellow leaves.
Using chemical fertilizers can also harm your monsteras in the long term. This will even stunt the new growth in monsteras.
Also read: Do monstera need fertilizer?
How to fix yellow leaves on monsteras?
For all the problems we have discussed earlier, here are some quick fixes:
Watering right is very important. The right amount and right frequency both need to be regulated.
Right amount: Water your monsteras by making sure excess water has drenched from the drainage holes. This secures the right amount of water for your monsteras every time you water them.
You can also opt for a bottom watering method by placing the pot on the tray filled with water to the level it meets the bottom of the pot and not the roots. Let it be for an hour. Through capillary action, the soil and roots will absorb water.
Right frequency: You need to water your monsteras only when they need to and not by practicing any schedule. This can cause watering issues.
Different seasons, locations affect the watering needs of monsteras. This can be determined by checking the soil by digging fingers in the top few inches of the soil to make sure it is dry and needs water.
Also read: All about root rot in monstera?
Monsteras require a humidity of 60% or more to stay healthy and lustrous. You can quickly fix humidity issues by spraying water in the air. It has to be repeated several times a day for an efficient rise in humidity.
Room humidifiers these days are very popular and do wonders in raising air humidity. Do fill it up regularly.
You can also construct your very own humidifier. Take a waterproof tray, fill it with stones, perlite, or gravel, and pour water on them to the point the upper ones remain dry.
Set your monsteras pot on this tray to benefit from the additional humidity in the air as the air evaporates.
Group moisture-loving plants together during hot weather are one of the most straightforward solutions to raise humidity levels. Through transpiration, each plant raises the humidity in the surroundings.
Move your monsteras to the spot that can provide them with the best light. They prefer morning sun, gentlest direct sun, and indirect light.
To fix too much light exposure, move your monsteras from the current spot or use a sheer curtain to shield from direct rays.
If you are moving your monsteras to a whole another space that is stranger for them, go slow as they might not like this sudden shift.
In low light situations, usually, north-facing windows are the ones with the least light show, leading to low light.
Either you shift your monsteras to better light conditions or install artificial light sources such as grow lights and LED lights.
You can use a mirror to reflect the light to the darker areas to lift them.
White pots, walls, furniture, and shiny finishes also increase the amount of light in the space.
Protect your monsteras from damage by placing them away from adverse conditions.
Keep them away from cold drafts such as from open windows, air conditioner vents.
Place your plant a few inches away from glass windows to avoid touching the glass.
Monsteras don’t enjoy high temperatures too. Keep them away from radiators, furnaces, and vents. The hot air due to high heat damages monsteras and takes away the moisture in the atmosphere.
Damage is done. Repotting has already stressed your monsteras. All you can do to fix it is by pampering your monsteras.
Ensure enough drainage holes in the pot you have repotted your monsteras.
Move them back to the spot they used to inhabit. This will save them from temperature and lighting stress.
Dose your monsteras with water-soluble ( all-purpose plant food).
Clip off any damaged leaves and also give them a cut to reduce stress on the roots and soil to maintain the plant’s health.
Don’t fertilize them for a month, at least. Otherwise, this will add to the stress.
Also read: Do monstera like to be root bounded?
You can get relieved of pests by some natural and effective cures for your monsteras.
Neem oil makes a natural insecticide and anti-fungicide. Mix 2 tsp to a gallon of water and spray all over the plant. Repeat every week till the problem persists.
The pyrethrum is made from dried chrysanthemum flowers. Mix the pyrethrum powder with dish soap and water and pour it into a spray bottle.
Spray all over, making sure they come in touch with the pests. This spray will paralyze these bugs in contact.
Mix Two tablespoons of red pepper, eight drops of dish soap, and a water tun to prepare the spray. Spray all over and repeat till complete cure.
Black pepper, dill, ginger, paprika chili, and pepper works too, as they contain capsaicin, which deflects these insects.
Add five tablespoons of mild dish soap to 4 cups of water and spray monsteras with the solution. They will desiccate the pests with continuous application.
Stick garlic cloves into your infected monsteras’ soil to keep bugs away and detract bugs in the plant.
Rubbing alcohol spray:
Take 1-2 cups of isopropyl alcohol, add in a quarter of water, spray on the infected monsters. They will repel bugs from the plant and foliage to a large extent.
Herbal water spray:
Sage, thyme, rosemary, mint, lavender, and basil-infused essential oils also help to repel insects.
If you have fresh leaves from any of these plants, take leaves and crush them and soak in a water bucket the whole night.
Strain the solution the next day. You can also dilute store-bought oil with water and spray the solution to your monsteras.
Soak 1 cup of crushed tobacco dried leaves in 1 gallon of warm lukewarm water and 1 tsp of dish wash.
Strain after half an hour and spray this nicotine tea directly on the leaves, making sure you spray undersides of the leaves too.
Proper fertilization is essential, as overfeeding can not only harm your monsteras but can also kill them. Fixing over-fertilization immediately is necessary.
You might be fertilizing your monsteras during winters. This is a big NO. fertilize them only in spring through summers.
Start fertilizing at the end of winter. This will boost the growth of your monsteras during the growing season.
Feed your monstera plant with a balanced fertilizer with a 20:20:20 ratio of N:P:K every two months will be sufficient.
Also, inspect your soil medium, what kind it is alkaline or acidic, and if it is rich in nutrients or not. High nutritional soil will require less fertilizer.
How do you keep monsteras from turning yellow?
You don’t know what conditions they were in before getting them home. Always isolate newly bought monsteras and inspect them thoroughly before clubbing them with other plants.
Keep the right equilibrium between sun and shade, neither too much light nor too shady spot. This will keep monsteras growing healthy.
Go through your watering practice before watering next. Are you checking monsteras soil moistness before watering them or not?
Use your finger or moisture meter to check the soil’s need for water. Leach out excess water from the soil to avoid sogginess.
Always keep your monsteras in areas with excellent air circulation and not in tight and dark corners.
Add poles, small trellis, or any kind of support for optimum growth of monsteras.
Keep trimming them as you see uneven foliage shape and reduce too much pressure in the soil and roots.
Note: Remember that plant care is all about trial and error. So don’t overthink before trying various things while figuring out your monsteras’ best possible care needs.
Also read: 9 tips to grow your houseplant faster?