Why Are Monstera Leaves Turning Yellow?

Are you concerned about your Monstera plant’s leaves turning yellow? Understanding the reasons behind this change can help you address the issue and bring your plant back to its vibrant state. In this article, we will explore the top causes for Monstera yellow leaves and provide you with valuable tips to revive your plant.

Understanding Monstera Yellow Leaves

Yellow leaves in Monstera plants can be attributed to various factors, making it challenging to pinpoint the exact cause. Let’s delve into the three most common causes along with four additional considerations.

1. Improper Light Levels

Both excessive and insufficient light levels can lead to yellow leaves in Monstera plants. Let’s examine the effects of each:

Insufficient Light

When you relocate your Monstera plant to an area with low light, it may respond by developing yellow leaves. The sudden reduction in light levels hinders the plant’s ability to sustain all its foliage, resulting in leaf shedding.

Instances where this occurs include:

  • Bringing a recently purchased Monstera plant, initially grown in ideal greenhouse conditions, into your home with reduced light levels.
  • Moving your plant to a darker location within your home.
  • Residing in an area with short, dark winter days, leading to reduced light exposure.

In the first two instances, lower leaves are more likely to turn completely yellow. Once your plant adjusts to the new light conditions, it should recover. For the third situation, as the days grow longer in spring, the yellowing should cease, assuming other cultural conditions are optimal.

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Excessive Light

Surprisingly, excessive light can also cause yellow leaves in Monstera plants. However, there is a significant distinction. When exposed to direct sunlight, the entire plant may adopt a yellowish-green shade.

Unlike the previous scenario where only a leaf or two turns yellow, your plant will revert to a darker green when placed in a less sunlit area. This phenomenon can be observed in Monstera plants grown outdoors in warm climates, where they receive several hours of direct sun. Although not ideal, this excessive sunlight exposure does not prove fatal to the plant.

Indoors, if your plant is positioned in a highly sunny window, a similar effect can occur, depending on your location and the strength of the sunlight. Generally, Monstera plants thrive in windows with indirect light, particularly those with ample size. A moderate amount of direct morning sun is beneficial for these plants. Indoor light intensity is lower than outdoor light, so it is better to err on the side of caution by providing more light rather than too little.

2. Soil that is too Dry

Allowing your Monstera plant’s potting mix to dry out completely for extended periods is the most common reason for yellow leaves. Maintaining appropriate soil moisture levels is crucial for the overall health of your plant.

The following situations may contribute to excess dryness:

Waiting too long to water again

Monstera plants are resilient, but they dislike complete drying of the soil. This leads to the yellowing of the oldest leaves (usually the lower leaves). Once these leaves turn yellow, they will eventually become brown. While yellow leaves can be pruned, it is best to wait until they turn completely brown before removal.

If your plant still possesses juvenile leaves, you may notice non-fenestrated smaller leaves turning yellow before other leaves. To prevent further yellowing, ensure you water the plant thoroughly when the top 1-2 inches of soil has dried out. Adequate pot size, well-draining soil, and sufficient light are crucial elements for proper care. Consider using high-quality Monstera soil for a well-balanced potting mix.

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Improper watering practices

Improper watering can also cause yellowing leaves. Some individuals avoid watering sufficiently due to the fear of overwatering, inadvertently dehydrating their plants. Always water your Monstera plant thoroughly, allowing excess water to drain from the bottom holes. This method ensures you water appropriately, provided your plant receives adequate light and is not placed in an oversized pot.

Root-bound plant

Even if you haven’t altered your routine, your plant’s growth will eventually cause it to become root-bound. This can result in yellowing leaves, particularly if you adhere to a strict watering schedule. When the root ball becomes crowded, watering becomes challenging, leading to plant distress. In such cases, repotting in a larger container is necessary. A pot one size larger than the current one is recommended. Refer to a Monstera care and repotting guide for detailed instructions.

Faulty moisture meter

Relying solely on inexpensive moisture meters can often lead to plant suffering. These meters may indicate “moist” even when the potting mix is bone dry. To accurately judge soil moisture, use your finger instead. Avoid the potential pitfalls associated with faulty moisture meters by referring to expert advice on the dangers they pose.

3. Normal Leaf Aging

It is essential to remember that as Monstera plants age, yellow leaves are a natural occurrence. No leaf is everlasting, and occasional yellowing, especially in older leaves, is normal and should not cause concern. This natural life cycle denotes the vitality and growth of your plant.

Other Causes for Monstera Leaves Turning Yellow

While the previously mentioned causes are the most common, other factors may also contribute to yellow leaves:

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4. Lack of Fertilizing

If you have neglected to fertilize or repot your plant for an extended period, your Monstera may lack essential nutrients like nitrogen. This deficiency can manifest as a yellowish, sickly appearance. It is crucial to use a well-balanced fertilizer that encompasses all necessary nutrients. Incorporating regular fertilizing into your care routine is key for optimal growth. Consider using a premium, urea-free fertilizer like Dyna-Gro Grow for impressive results.

5. Pests

Generally, healthy Monsteras are resilient against pests. However, the presence of certain pests can cause yellowing leaves. Spider mites, for instance, can induce leaf mottling and subsequent yellowing. Employ appropriate pest control methods to mitigate infestations.

6. Improper Repotting

Repotting your plant incorrectly and damaging its root system can lead to transplant shock, causing drooping and yellowing leaves. In such cases, regular care and patience are essential for your plant’s gradual recovery.

7. Fungal Infection

Occasionally, fungal leaf spots and bacterial infections can result in yellowing leaves. Look out for numerous brown spots, possibly surrounded by a yellow halo or ring. If you suspect a fungal issue, employ a houseplant-friendly fungicide, following the instructions on the label for safe usage. Additionally, sterilize pruners or scissors with isopropyl alcohol to prevent the spread of diseases to other leaves or plants.

Frequently Asked Questions

We hope this article sheds light on the causes of Monstera yellow leaves. Have you identified the cause behind your plant’s yellowing leaves? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments below; we’d love to hear from you!

Ames Farm Center

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