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Sunburned Leaves on Monstera– Symptoms and Solutions

Did you know that monstera leaves, like our skin, can become sunburned? Sunburned foliage can develop brown leaf tips, discoloration, dead spots, and dry lesions.

This causes your monstera to appear unsightly, weak, and prone to disease.

Too much exposure to direct sunlight causes sunburn on Monstera leaves. Discolored, bleached, or browned leaf edges/tips appear on the affected foliage. The soil is almost certainly bone dry, which results in leaf wilting and drooping. To prevent it, snip sunburned leaves off and keep your monstera out of direct sunlight.

What Causes Monstera Leaves to Sunburn?

Sunburns on monstera leaves are caused by excessive exposure to direct sunlight. Spring and early summer are prime times for getting a tan.

After your monstera has acclimated to the low-light conditions of winter, you can take it outside.

It’s important to note that this isn’t the only reason why monstera looks sunburned. Other possible culprits include:

Dehydrated Potting Mix 

This is usually the result of allowing the soil to completely dry out after a period of overwatering. Monsteras are water-loving plants. And they’ll act aggressively if they’re thirsty.

On the leaves, you will notice light brown dry lesions or spots. The foliage becomes crunchy, crispy, and brittle as well.

The leaf edges and tips take the brunt of the damage, appearing extremely dry and browned.

The leaves of a monstera that has been submerged will appear wilted and sunburned.

This could be characterized by leaf drop and a general loss of vigor. Another sign of excessive dehydration is the yellowing of leaves.

Fertilizer Burn 

In terms of fertilizer, overdoing it on your monstera is a mistake. When you add salt to your plant’s growing medium, it has the same effect. You’ll notice this more if you use a potassium-based fertilizer.

Potassium fertilizers are notorious for having a high salt index. They do more than just dehydrate the root system.

Too much fertilizer salt also inhibits nutrient uptake, resulting in browned and “sunburned” leaves on your monstera.

As a general rule, feed your monstera a well-balanced 20-20-20 water-soluble fertilizer for indoor plants (Check the latest price on Amazon here).

Take a half tablespoon of the fertilizer and dilute it in a gallon of water. Apply once every month between April and September; keep off fertilizer from fall through winter. 

Temperature Stress

Monsteras prefer temperatures ranging from 60- 85 °F (15-29 °C). I never let the temperature fall below 55°F (13°C).

If you do, the leaves will become cold and turn brown, giving them the appearance of being “scorched” or “sunburned.”

The same is true for heat injury. Exposing your monstera to heat drafts will have the same effect. Crispy and browned leaf edges and tips are a dead giveaway.

Diseases

A disease has infected your monstera leaves if they have brown tips or spots with yellow haloes. The majority of fungal leaf spot diseases cause your monstera foliage to look sunburned.

The majority of these diseases should be managed with weekly fungicide sprays.

It keeps your monstera aerated while also preventing overwatering and water splashing.

Keep in mind that a monstera that has been overwatered can develop brown spots. Make certain that any affected leaves are removed.

Signs of a Sunburnt Monstera

Sunburned Monstera Leaves
Sunburned Monstera Leaves

[1] Monster Has Burn Spots on the Leaves

Intense sun rays can cause severe tissue damage on softer foliage. The damage will appear as withered brown spots on the leaves.

The burned areas may appear to be dead or even fall out. This may result in sunburned foliage with holes.

Before browning, the spots are tan or light gray. If you don’t apply sunscreen, your skin will turn a beet red color before turning into a full-fledged sunburn.

In late spring or early summer, more sunburn spots are likely to appear. The outer layer of leaf tissue is frequently the first to be scorched. As time passes, the damage will gravitate inwards.

The brown or black burn spots are typically extremely dry and crispy. They can frequently be found on the top surfaces of leaves closest to the window.

The upper exposed leaves are the most affected outside. The undersides of the leaves are usually unaffected until late in the process.

[2] Monstera Has Brown or White Foliage

It’s possible that the sunburn on your monstera leaves will appear all of a sudden. However, it will take some time for the foliage to turn white and brown.

Discoloration and paling are common after-burn spots. This occurs after exposing your monstera to excessive direct sunlight for a few days or even weeks.

The affected leaves may appear whitish or brownish in color. They will also be papery, thin, and crispy to the touch.

The leaves of monstera will appear washed out or silvery gray if they’ve been exposed to the sun for an extended period of time. It corresponds to the paling or browning of the foliage.

White and brown areas, by definition, reduce photosynthesis. As a result, your monstera will show no signs of vigor or health.

These symptoms may be accompanied by leaf yellowing. If you do not act quickly, the sunburned leaves will eventually fall off.

[3] The Tips and Edges of Monstera Leaves Turn Brown

The tips and edges of Monstera leaves turn brown
The tips and edges of Monstera leaves turn brown

If you have a monstera, place it in bright, indirect sunlight for the best results. The leaves will become scorched and develop browned tips and edges if they are exposed to excessive amounts of direct sunlight.

In addition, sunburn is frequently associated with diving underwater. After all, too much sunlight produces too much heat.

As a result, your monstera leaves will begin to lose moisture due to increased transpiration and respiration. Evaporation from the soil and leaf surfaces may aggravate the problem as well.

The combination of dehydration and sunburn will cause the leaf margins to dry out and crisp up. The leaves may curl up before turning brown around the edges.

Brown leaf tips are typically brittle, dry, and crunchy to the touch.

Browning monstera leaf tips, on the other hand, could indicate a fertilizer burn. Cold damage, heat stress, and root rot can all cause the tips of leaves to turn brown.

[4] Monstera Leaves Become Bleached

Your monstera’s leaves will likely turn pale or bleached if left out in the sun over an extended period of time. In other words, the foliage will appear washed out.

Due to sunburn damage, they’ll be nearly transparent and feel like paper.

The direct sunlight bleaches the leaves to a near-white color. The injured foliage will also turn brown as a result of the damage.

Sadly, removing your monstera from direct sunlight will have little effect on restoring its lushness. For optimal results, remove the bleached leaves and replace them with fresh ones.

Please don’t misunderstand what I’m saying. By relocating your monstera out of the direct rays of the sun, you can reduce the risk of further sunburn and bleaching.

To be clear, bleached or white-washed leaves are not always indicative of severe sunburn. So, if your monstera leaves become bleached, don’t take it lightly.

However, potassium shortage, overwatering, temperature shock, and parasites such as spider mites and mealybugs should not be ruled out.

Bleached, pale, or white monstera leaves can also be caused by these factors.

[5] The Potting Mix Becomes Totally Dry

The complete dryness of your monstera’s growing media is a clear indication of underwatering. However, it may not be your fault.

You’re probably watering your monstera as normal. However, due to excessive sunlight, the rate of soil moisture loss is extremely rapid.

Remember that when your monstera sits in the hot sun, it absorbs more water. This is due to increased evaporation and respiration, which causes it to lose surplus moisture.

The air around your monstera could possibly be extremely dry. The evaporation of moisture from the leaf surfaces will be accelerated as a result.

These factors, when combined, will cause your potting mix to dry out quickly.

If your monstera leaves are burnt, the potting mix is probably extremely dry.

The soil is most likely light gray in hue, indicating dryness. You may also see the dust on the stems and leaves of your monstera.

[6] Darkening or Yellowing of Leaves

Yellowing of Monstera Leaves
Yellowing of Monstera Leaves

The complete dryness of your monstera’s growing media is a clear indication of underwatering. However, it may not be your fault.

You’re probably watering your monstera as normal. However, due to excessive sunlight, the rate of soil moisture loss is extremely rapid.

Remember that when your monstera sits in the hot sun, it absorbs more water. This is due to increased evaporation and respiration, which causes it to lose surplus moisture.

The air around your monstera could possibly be extremely dry. The evaporation of moisture from the leaf surfaces will be accelerated as a result.

These factors, when combined, will cause your potting mix to dry out quickly.

If your monstera leaves are burnt, the potting mix is probably extremely dry.

The soil is most likely light gray in hue, indicating dryness. You may also see the dust on the stems and leaves of your monstera.

[7] The Sunburnt Leaves Are Droopy and Wilted

Wilting is a prevalent sign of nearly every monstera issue.

However, if the wilting is caused by sunburn, the damaged leaves will be dry, browned, and crispy. 

If the droopy foliage is exposed to too much harsh light, it will collapse and fall off prematurely.

In the late summer, look for stem dieback as well.

How to Revive a Sunburnt Monstera

  1. Move the Pot Away from Direct Sunlight

The first step is to bid farewell to the blazing sun. Relocate your sunburned monstera to a shady location.

If it’s indoors, move it away from a sunny window. It should be parked at least 3-4 feet away from a west or south-facing window.

During certain times of the day, an east-facing window is ideal.

It allows your monstera to soak up the sweet, mild morning sunlight. Meanwhile, your plant is safe from the hot afternoon sun.

Make sure it gets plenty of bright, diffused, or indirect sunlight. Drape the window with a sheer curtain, for example.

If it’s outside, simply move it to a less sunny, lightly shaded location.

Monsteras prefer shaded or partially shaded outdoor areas. This could be beneath an umbrella or a larger tree.

Covered pergolas, balconies, porches, and patios will also suffice. It would be beneficial to protect your monstera from both cold and hot drafts.

  1. Cut Off the Sunburnt Monstera Leaves

Unfortunately, there is no sunscreen or aloe vera to soothe your sunburned monstera.

The burn spots and browned leaf surfaces will not fade, as they would on human skin. In fact, color loss and bleached areas will not return to their lush greenery.

So, it’s a good idea to cut off sunburned leaves. They’re not going to heal anyway.

Don’t worry. After a while, your monstera will produce new green foliage. Simply provide it with the necessary care and excellent conditions.

  1. Water your Monster to Keep Root System Moist

In direct sunlight, monsteras lose a lot of tissue moisture.

If the scorching is severe enough, the root zone may become dehydrated. In the worst-case scenario, some of the roots may completely dry out and die.

That’s why it’s so important to give your monstera plenty of water. I like to soak it in a bathtub or sink filled with three to four inches of water.

Allow the pot to soak for approximately 45 minutes. Or until it reaches a reasonable saturation point.

Allow excess liquid to flow out of the bottom drainage holes once the root zone has been moistened. 

Don’t forget to empty the perched liquid saucer. Repeat until no more fluid is coming out of the holes.

  1. Adjust the Watering Frequency with the Seasons

Allow the potting mix to dry slightly before re-watering.

Increase the humidity around your monstera as well. This will help to brighten the foliage and keep the soil from drying out too quickly.

Reduce irrigation in the fall and winter. Allow the top two to three inches of the potting mix to dry out slightly between waterings. (Source: University of Connecticut)

Acclimatize Your Monstera to Prevent Sunburn

Harden off Your Monstera

After emerging from winter dormancy, your monstera leaves are likely to become sunburned. This is especially true if you move it abruptly to a sunnier location.

It would be beneficial to harden your monstera by making the relocation gradual.

Start from the farthest point away from the indoors if it’s indoors. Then, gradually ease the movement towards the window, which will receive bright, indirect sunlight.

Fertilize Your Monster During Early Growth Season

That means applying fertilizer to a monstera in the early spring. Apply a half-strength balanced liquid fertilizer once a month.

Provide your Monstera Alternate Shade

You can use shade fabric or a sheer curtain to cover your windows. This will assist in diffusing direct sunlight.