Are you worried because your beautiful green monstera leaves have turned yellow? There are various reasons why this might happen. This comprehensive guide explains why your monstera leaves might turn yellow and how to tackle the issue effectively.
I’ll also share tips on how to care for your monstera to prevent yellowing. When you finish reading, you’ll be equipped to dispel all your anxieties!
- What Does It Mean When Monstera Leaves Turn Yellow?
- What Kind of Houseplant Is a Monstera?
- What Happens When the Leaves Turn Yellow?
- Why Are Monstera Leaves Turning Yellow?
- Avoid Yellowing! The Correct Way to Care for Your Monstera
- Key Take Aways
What Does It Mean When Monstera Leaves Turn Yellow?
Monstera plants are fashionable houseplants with distinctive large leaves full of slits and holes. A healthy monstera leaf displays a deep green color and has a shiny and taut surface.
However, if a monstera plant is stressed, the leaves turn yellow and lose their shine and tautness. It may risk dying if you do nothing about monstera with yellow leaves.
But don’t worry! Monsteras are robust plants with a strong will to live. Once you identify and remove the source of stress, your monstera will return to total health.
What Kind of Houseplant Is a Monstera?
Monsteras, hailing from the arum family, are climber plants native to Mexico and South America. They first swept into popularity back in the 1950s and are currently making a stylish comeback, riding the wave of the vintage interior design resurgence.
Their ability to adapt to indoor conditions and relatively easy care – watering included – make them a favorite among plant lovers.
On top of that, these sturdy plants are winter warriors, providing a much-needed splash of green during those sparse winter months.
Monstera leaves are recognized by their deep slits. The way light filters through these openings has long symbolized guiding hope and good fortune.
In feng shui, they’re even believed to offer protective properties, enhancing their appeal as a thoughtful gift.
Their “flower language” includes uplifting expressions like “joyful news” and “deep relationships,” adding another layer to their charm.
The iconic monstera leaf motif is a favorite in various art and products, from fabric designs to decorative items, further elevating this plant’s appeal.
What Happens When the Leaves Turn Yellow?
Normally, deep green monstera leaves turn yellow when the plant is stressed. It’s not just a visual concern – if you don’t remove the stressor, not only do the leaves continue yellowing, but the plant may eventually wilt.
When your monstera’s leaves turn yellow, it’s an SOS signal. It’s crucial to determine what’s happening to your plant.
To do this, observing your monstera regularly is a good habit. Make it a part of your daily care routine to check if anything seems off with your plant.
Why Are Monstera Leaves Turning Yellow?
Monstera is a popular houseplant that’s easy to grow, but it can be alarming to find its leaves turning yellow, signaling that it’s at risk of dying.
Like many plants, Monsteras can wilt if they lack or have an excess of any of these four elements: water, light, soil, and air (temperature).
Even the robust Monstera is no exception. Let’s examine these factors to uncover the causes of yellowing leaves.
1- Too Much Water! Root Rot
The top cause of yellowing leaves is water management. First, check the moisture level in the potting soil to ensure correct watering. You can do this by using your finger or a bamboo stick.
While a stick can help confirm the moisture level, be careful not to damage the Monstera’s roots. If the soil is damp, hold off on watering.
Roots can rot if the soil is constantly wet, so always wait until the soil has dried before watering. Water the entire pot slowly, enough to flow out of the bottom.
After watering, remember to discard any water collected in the pot’s saucer. If your Monstera’s leaves are yellow and the stem is wobbly, it may be a sign of advanced root rot.
If root rot is progressing, changing the potting soil can be effective. Repotting allows you to assess the extent of root decay directly.
If the roots of your Monstera are severely decayed, try cutting a healthy stem that isn’t yellow and does a simple cutting or layering. These methods can be effective when root recovery is unlikely.
2- Not Enough Water! Dehydration
When the plant doesn’t get enough water, its leaves can turn yellow and wilt. If dehydration is causing the leaves to turn yellow, the potting soil will be completely dry.
First, carefully check the dryness of the soil with your finger or a bamboo stick to avoid damaging Monstera’s roots. If the soil is bone-dry, water it immediately.
Water the entire pot slowly, enough to flow out of the bottom. After watering, don’t forget to discard any water collected in the pot’s saucer.
Repeat this watering process whenever the soil dries out, and observe the Monstera for a while. If dehydration is the cause, the leaves should stop turning yellow.
If the roots are damaged due to dehydration, the Monstera may take some time to recover. Watch the plant for a while as you maintain the basic watering method when the soil is dry.
3- Too Much Sunlight? Leaf Burn
Too much sunlight can damage the tissue of the Monstera’s leaves, causing them to change color, often to yellow.
If your monstera is exposed to harsh direct sun will cause turn to fade and be yellowish. This phenomenon is called leaf burn and is caused by strong sunlight, such as direct sunlight.
Therefore, check if your Monstera is exposed to direct sunlight throughout the day; it is not healthy for your Monstera to get long hours of direct sun exposure.
If you keep your monstera near a sunny window and notice the above symptoms, move it to a shadier location, and you will notice the color change to natural shiny green.
In most cases, indirect sunlight through a window benefits your Monstera. Also, some morning sunlight through the window on your monstera leaves is beneficial for thriving and producing food for the monstera itself via photosynthesis.
If leaf burn is the cause of the yellow leaves, move the plant to a bright but shady spot with good air circulation. However, frequent location changes can stress your Monstera.
Therefore, choosing a spot that doesn’t require frequent changes is best. Cut off any yellow leaves and wait for new ones to grow.
4- Overfeeding with Nutrients? Over-Fertilization
One crucial aspect when feeding your monstera plant is the amount and timing of the fertilizer.
If you notice yellow leaves on your monstera immediately after fertilizing, it might be experiencing fertilizer burn.
Fertilizer burn happens when the soil nutrients exceed the plant’s needs, causing the roots’ moisture to be drawn out due to a phenomenon called ‘osmotic pressure,’ leading the plant to wilt.
As a result, the leaves turn yellow. The best way to handle fertilizer burn is to wash away the excess nutrients with lots of water.
First, move your monstera pot to where it gets less sunlight and wind than usual. Then, for three days, water it with about three times the amount you usually would every morning.
Minimize any disruptions to its growing environment and let your monstera rest sufficiently. Then, let’s patiently watch your monstera recover.
5- Don’t Overlook The Signs! Root-Bound
If water doesn’t penetrate the soil and you see roots sticking out from the bottom of the pot, your monstera might be root-bound.
This condition, where the monstera’s roots are tightly packed in the pot, might cause your leaves to turn yellow because the plant can’t absorb enough nutrients and moisture.
If left unaddressed, root-bound conditions can lead to root rot, so it’s important to replant correctly. The best time to repot a monstera is during its growing season, May to September.
Choose a pot that is one size larger. If you go for a pot significantly larger, it might take too long for the soil to dry due to the small size of the roots, which can result in root rot.
Be careful about this. Repotting stresses the monstera’s roots, so refrain from fertilizing during repotting and let the roots rest for a while afterward.
If root-bound conditions were causing the yellow leaves, you shouldn’t see new ones after treating them this way.
6- Beware in Winter! Cold Damage
If your monstera’s leaves turn yellow during the winter, it might be because the temperature where your monstera is placed is too low or you’re watering it too frequently.
First, check the temperature of the space where your monstera is placed. If the area is constantly below 41°F (5°C), it’s too cold for your monstera.
Maintain a temperature of at least 41°F (5°C) throughout the day for your monstera. However, don’t put your plant directly before a heater, as it can cause the leaves and stem to dry out severely.
This dryness can make your plant more susceptible to pests and diseases. If you must place your monstera in a dry area, regularly mist it with a spray bottle to maintain humidity.
It’s also important to check whether the potting soil is constantly damp.
The metabolism of the monstera decreases during winter, so you should water it less often. To prevent root rot, even if the top third of the soil dries out, wait a few days before watering it again. Let’s keep this in mind.
7- Monstera Diseases
Anthracnose is one common disease that often causes yellowing leaves in a monstera plant, typically due to fungal infection by ascomycetes.
The standout symptom of anthracnose is yellow spots surrounded by black or dark brown rings.
When I spotted signs of anthracnose, I swiftly removed all the disease-affected areas.
I treated my plant with copper-containing fungicides, like Captain Jack’s Copper Fungicide, making sure to spray both sides of the leaves and the soil. I repeated this treatment three times, maintaining a two-week interval between applications.
It’s worth noting that other fungal diseases, such as fusarium and gray mold, can also plague monstera plants, but brown and gray spots primarily characterize them.
Monstera, being an evergreen vine, regularly needs to renew its crown. This natural process sometimes leads to leaves turning yellow, and I do not need to intervene.
I tend not to fret if just one or two lower leaves turn yellow, especially during the fall-winter period. This uniform yellowing doesn’t come with the appearance of dark spots or decay.
In instances where improper care leads to my monstera’s leaves yellowing, you should refrain from cutting them off.
Instead, to bring back the plant’s decorative charm, merely trim the yellowed section, leaving the unaffected part of the leaf intact.
However, when a fungal disease causes the yellowing, I must act swiftly and cut off the affected areas, stepping back approximately an inch to ensure a clean cut.
8- Inappropriate Soil
If your Monstera’s leaves begin to yellow shortly after repotting, the soil might not be suitable. This vine thrives in soil that’s rich in nutrients and well-draining.
A common mistake I often encounter is using a substrate that’s too dense and heavy without enough soil conditioners.
The soil for Monstera should certainly contain perlite or vermiculite. Adding coconut chips or pine bark is also a good idea.
The leaves will start to yellow without proper aeration of the Monstera’s roots. Another critical aspect, particularly for younger plants, is the pH level.
The soil for Aroids, like Monstera, should be slightly acidic, ideally between 5.5–7.
9- Heat and Dry Air
If your monstera is exposed to heat, its leaves will start yellowing and drying out at the tips. If left unaddressed, the leaves will gradually take on a brown hue and fall off.
The perfect summer temperature range is between 68-77°F (20-25°C). If your room is warmer than this, you’ll need to compensate by misting your plant or treating it to a warm shower.
During times of normal temperature and humidity, there’s no need to mist your Monstera. In the winter, aim to reduce the room temperature to around 62-68°F (17-20°C).
If you find your Monstera is too close to a radiator or another heating device during winter, the same problem can arise. In this scenario, it’s best to relocate the monstera.
Avoid Yellowing! The Correct Way to Care for Your Monstera
Have you figured out why your Monstera’s leaves are turning yellow and what to do if they do?
From here on, I’ll introduce you to how you can grow your Monstera without its leaves turning yellow and keep it thriving.
One of the charms of Monstera is that it’s easy to manage and grow. So, rest assured and give it a try!
Always Water After The Soil Has Dried!
The most important aspect of Monstera water management is not watering until the soil has dried out. Watering while the soil is still moist can lead to root rot.
On the other hand, if the soil dries out and you don’t water it, the plant can get dehydrated. Both root rot and dehydration can result in the Monstera’s leaves turning yellow.
The trick to preventing Monstera leaves from yellowing through watering is simple.
First, ensure that the top third of the potting soil is dry, then give the whole pot plenty of water until it drains from the bottom. After watering, always discard any remaining water in the pot’s drip tray.
Also, the frequency of watering changes with the seasons. For example, when Monstera’s water absorption increases in spring and summer, you’ll need to water it more frequently.
Contrarily, when the water absorption significantly decreases in winter, you’ll need to water it less.
With appropriate water management, let’s prevent Monstera leaves from turning yellow according to the plant’s needs.
Bright Shade is Monstera’s, Sweet Spot!
Monstera can get leaf burns, turning leaves yellow and causing partial drying if exposed to too much sunlight.
However, if the sunlight is too weak, the growth can worsen, and the distinctively split leaves may not develop.
Monstera, originally a jungle dweller, is a houseplant that loves bright shade. When growing it indoors, it would be best to recreate its natural environment as much as possible.
With proper care and a well-adjusted environment, your Monstera can grow healthily without its leaves turning yellow.
Moreover, as indoor air can easily get stagnant, improving the air circulation around your Monstera and providing adequate sunlight will help it grow even more vigorously.
Check out my article on signs Monstera needs more light and how to ensure optimum light.
Determine the Right Timing and Amount for Fertilization
When fertilizing your Monstera, ensure accurate timing and quantity. If you get either wrong, the plant can suffer from fertilizer burn, leading to yellow leaves.
Monstera’s growth period is from May to September. Providing fertilizer once every two months can have significant effects during this period.
However, if you provide too much fertilizer because you want the plant to grow faster, the leaves will turn yellow and wither.
Let’s stick to the correct amount of fertilizer to prevent Monstera’s leaves from turning yellow due to fertilizer burn.
Breathing New Life Into Your Monstera Through Repotting
One key reason to repot your Monstera is to prevent root crowding. As the stem of the Monstera grows, so do the roots within the pot.
When the stem and leaves become too large compared to the pot or roots start peeking out from the bottom, it’s time to repot.
Generally, repotting every two to three years can help keep your Monstera healthy. Remember to repot your plant before its leaves turn yellow from root congestion.
During the Monstera’s growth period, it’s a good idea to switch to a pot that’s a size larger (or about 2-4 inches larger) than your current one.
At the bottom of the pot, consider adding something like potting stones to improve drainage and aeration.
Use soil that drains well, particularly something formulated for Monstera plants. After repotting, replenish the plant’s water, and let it rest in a well-ventilated, bright, yet shady area. If your monstera is drooping after repotting, check out this article to fix it.
With the right care, your Monstera will grow bigger and healthier than ever, with no yellow leaves in sight.
Handling the Cold
During winter, the cold can sometimes turn Monstera leaves yellow. Despite being relatively cold-tolerant, Monsteras are tropical plants that love warm climates.
Thus, it’s essential to maintain an environment where the temperature remains above 41 °F (5 °C) to prevent the yellowing of leaves.
Also, be mindful that dry conditions can attract pests, so be careful not to let dry, hot air blow directly on the plant.
Spritzing the leaves with a misting spray now and then will keep them looking lively. Consider incorporating this into your regular plant care routine.
Key Take Aways
We’ve just delved into the causes and solutions for your Monstera leaves turning yellow, along with sharing some handy tips for nurturing a healthy Monstera from various angles. Did you find this helpful?
You might be surprised that caring for a Monstera is easier than initially thought. To ensure you’re always welcomed by glossy, large green leaves that seem to say “Welcome home!” make it a point to give your Monstera the care it deserves and keep those leaves from turning yellow.
- Overwatering and underwatering your Monstera can cause the leaves to turn yellow. Stick to a watering schedule and do not water until the topsoil is dry.
- Direct sunlight exposure can cause leaf burn and yellowing in Monstera plants. Keep your Monstera in bright, indirect light for it to thrive.
- Fungal diseases like anthracnose can cause the yellowing of Monstera leaves. If you identify a fungal infection, try to cut off the infected leaves and dispose of them immediately to prevent further spread.
- Choose well-draining soil that contains adequate nutrients for your Monstera. This helps protect your plant from undernourishment and prevents the leaves from turning yellow.
- Monstera needs well-drained and fresh soil to expand its root system and search for nutrients and moisture. Repot the Monstera every 2-3 years to prevent root congestion. This reduces the risk of leaves turning yellow and keeps your Monstera healthy.