Known for their large luscious split leaves, Monstera plants will always be one of our favourite houseplants. And there is nothing more devastating than realising that one of the leaves is slowly turning a strange shade of yellow. Below you will find the different causes of yellow Monstera leaves, as well as how to fix the problem and prevent any more from dying too!
If you notice that your Monstera is developing yellow patches on its leaves, the problem may be too much water. This is quite a common issue for Monstera plants as it can be difficult to know until the problem has really developed. We recommend a little and often approach to watering your Monstera. Always check back 30 minutes after watering and pour away any excess water that is in the saucer or at the bottom of the planter. This will stop your Monstera’s roots sitting in a puddle of water for days.
The reason why overwatering is so dangerous for a Monstera is that it can very quickly lead to root rot. Not only can the leaves turn a weird shade of yellowy brown but it can also mean the plant becomes droopy and unstable. If not caught quickly, it can mean your Monstera will not be able to survive.
If you fear you may have overwatered your Monstera it’s important to check the soil right away and replace it if it is waterlogged. The easiest way to check the moisture level is by digging your finger into the top two centimetres of the soil to see how damp it is. We also recommend picking up your Monstera before and after watering. This should give you a feel for when your Monstera might need a little more water, simply by giving them a lift. However, only do this if your Monstera is no bigger than 1/1.5 metre tall as they can get quite heavy if tall – so be careful!
Although underwatering most commonly causes dry brown leaves, it can occur that it turns the leaves yellow too so it is something to watch out for. Although Monsteras don’t like sitting in water, they also don’t like their soil being too dry for long periods of time. The easiest way to tell if the yellow leaves on your Monstera are caused by underwatering is to again check the soil.
If you find the soil to be very very dry then slowly reintroduce watering over the next few days. You don’t want to immediately drown your plant as this can cause shock so you want to gradually water it a small amount twice a day for a few days.
If the yellow leaves on your Monstera plant started out as dry brown edges, then dry air may be the culprit. Monsteras prefer a humid environment as they originate from tropical forests. They will struggle in homes with dry air. Particularly in winter when we tend to have the heating on for a lot of the day and open our windows less which causes dry stagnant air.
There are few really simple techniques to keep the humidity higher than normal for your Monstera; you can spray down the leaves with a mist bottle every few days, sit your plant in a tray with water and some pebbles or put your monstera in the bathroom and leave the shower on hot for 5 minutes. You can pick up a cheap humidity monitor to keep track of everything if you’re more concerned. Make sure to also move your Monstera away from any air conditioning units or radiators as these create very dry air!
If the yellowing on your Monstera’s leaves is quite patchy and looks scorched then it may be due to too much direct sunlight which has burnt the leaves.
Monsteras like areas with bright light, but it needs to be indirect so try to avoid placing right next to a window. You need to also watch out a little more in summer when the sun is a lot stronger for more of the day. It is best to move your Monstera a metre or so further away from the window in warmer months to avoid any leaf burn.
Whilst rarer than some of the other factors, your Monstera’s leaves may be turning yellow due to a pest infestation. Insects like spider mites damage your plants and leave behind yellow patches or holes in the leaves. Get up close to your plants using a magnifying glass and inspect the tops and undersides of the leaves to see if you can spot any insects.
There are a few ways to get rid of spider mites and other pests, including showering, neem oil and insecticide sprays. You can find out more about identifying, treating and preventing pests in our downloadable ebook.
If you have gone through all of the above but none of it really fits what is going on with your Monstera then it may simply be natural ageing. Over time it is totally normal for your Monstera to drop some of its oldest leaves as it focuses on new bigger growth. These old leaves will first turn yellow before falling off the plant.
If the rate of yellowing is quite slow (1 or 2 of the oldest, lowest leaves every few months) then it probably is nothing to worry about and is simply part of the natural shedding process. Do keep an eye on how often they are turning yellow though as if the rate speeds up then it is worth checking the plant over again for the problems we outlined above.
Should I cut away the yellow leaves?
After hopefully rectifying and solving the problem of your yellow Monstera leaves, you may be wondering if it is best to keep them on the plant or trim the dead ones away. We always recommend pruning the yellow leaves off the plant. Not only will it make your Monstera look better and healthier but it will also mean it doesn’t waste any energy trying to keep the dying (or dead) leaves alive. It can focus its energy and nutrients on new healthy (and hopefully green) leaves.
If you want to find out more about caring for your plant, check out our Monstera Care Guide for all the tips and tricks you need to keep your Monstera happy and healthy.
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