Don't know why your Monstera's leaves are turning brown? There could be a few causes.
From too much sun exposure to pests to incorrect watering habits, this guide will help you identify what's causing the problem and how to fix it so your Monstera can thrive again.
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Why are my Monstera's leaves turning brown?
1. Too Much Sun Exposure
In nature, Monsteras cling to the trunks of trees and spend their entire life in the shade of these trees.
When you bring a Monstera indoors, you won't necessarily think to place it out of direct sunlight.
Direct sunlight can cause brown spots on the leaves and other damage like scorching and curling. If you've recently moved your Monstera to a brighter location, this could be the cause of the brown leaves.
Large brown spots appear on the leaves.
The tips of the leaves turn brown and crispy.
Heavily damaged leaves can become brittle and die off.
Remove leaves that are badly damaged - cut them off.
Move your Monstera further away from your window to a shadier spot. The distance to the window should be at least 5 feet (1.5 m).
Study this FAQ guide to Monstera light needs
Tip: If you don't have space to move your plant away from a window - hang sheer curtains to diffuse some of the harsh light.
Improper watering can cause brown spots on the leaves.
Overwatering your plants will lead to waterlogged soil, root rot, and fungal infections, contributing to brown leaves.
Leaves turn brown, with soft tips (as opposed to crispy brown tips).
Partial yellowing of the leaves.
The soil in the pot is too moist.
The roots are mushy and slimy and have a rotten smell.
Remove any brown leaves - cut them off.
Ensure your pot has large drainage holes and isn't standing in water.
Don't water your Monstera for 7-10 days.
Only water the plant when the soil is 70-80% dry.
Get a moisture meter to test the soil before watering again.
If your Monstera's suffering from extreme overwatering, you'll have to repot it to prevent root rot. When the soil is excessively wet, waiting for the soil to dry out naturally will take too long and have dire consequences for your plant. Repotting is your only option; even then, it might be too late to save your plant.
Monsteras can tolerate slightly dry soil, but prolonged over-drying can lead to plant dehydration. When dehydrated, your plant will try to reduce its evaporation area by deforming its leaves.
Leaves turn brown, starting at the edges, and eventually wither and die off.
The soil in the pot is absolutely dry.
The last watering was more than two weeks ago.
Remove leaves with more than 50% tissue damage - cut them off.
Give your Monstera plenty of water until the water flows out through the drainage holes.
Repeat the watering after a few minutes to allow the soil to soak well. Don't let your Monstera stand in the water. Empty the drip tray of any excess water.
Water your Monstera when the soil in the pot is 70-80% dry. Do not let it dry out completely.
Stick to a consistent watering schedule - adjust the schedule depending on pot size, plant age, and current temperature/weather conditions.
You need to water your plant more frequently when:
It's in a big pot.
The plant is bigger and more mature.
The weather is warm and dry.
4. Pest or Disease Infestation
Along with brown leaves, other common pest symptoms include yellow, wilted, or distorted foliage.
Also, look for:
Small bumps on the stem and undersides of leaves.
Sticky residue on the leaves.
For fungal diseases, you might see small brown spots on the leaf's surface and white fluffy mold on stems and leaves.
Usually, these diseases result from poor airflow or lack of light.
Small brown spots appear in increasing numbers on the leaves.
Part of the leaf turns brown and dies off.
Traces of mold can be seen on the leaves.
Remove badly damaged leaves - cut them off.
Place your Monstera in a well-ventilated room, or switch on a slow-turning fan.
Do not mist the leaves; instead, use a humidifier.
Do not overwater your Monstera.
Spray the leaves with fungicide.
It's essential to address this issue quickly to prevent it from spreading to other plants in your home.
Pests and diseases most commonly spread from one plant to the other through:
Splashing water droplets.
5. Poor Soil Quality or Over Fertilization
Monstera plants need well-draining, nutrient-rich soil to thrive.
Other common signs of poor soil quality include yellow leaves and stunted growth.
Add some compost or other organic material to the soil.
Add fertilizers regularly.
If you're over-fertilizing, the fertilizer will burn the roots and stop them from absorbing water or nutrients from the soil. As a result, these spots will be black and brown and appear all over the leaf.
Wash your soil out by watering it with a lot of water over a few days to filter out the buildup of toxic chemicals.
Make sure the pot is well-draining.
Avoid fertilizing your Monstera for a few months after this.
In severe cases, you should consider repotting your Monstera, even after flushing the soil with water.
6. Temperature Shocks or Low Humidity Levels
Monsteras need temperatures between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit (18 - 30 degrees Celsius) and a humidity level of at least 50%.
If the temperature drops suddenly or the air becomes too dry, you may notice your plant's leaves turning brown.
The air in the room is very dry, or your Monstera is placed near a heater or cooling appliance.
Leaves get brown, dry spots, and may curl and become crispy. The number and size of the spots depend on the dryness of the air.
Remove leaves that are more than 50% brown - cut them off.
Move your Monstera farther away from any heaters.
Avoid placing your Monstera near a refrigerator or air conditioner.
Place a humidifier near your Monstera and maintain 55-65% humidity.
Place a pebble tray half full of water near your Monstera.
Place all of your plants close together to create a humid microclimate.
7. Transplant shock
Transplant shock usually occurs with improper transplanting, but sometimes even minor changes in growing conditions can stress the plant.
Damaging the roots during transplanting or transplanting in the winter cold or summer heat can lead to transplant shock.
Leaves turn brown after transplanting your Monstera into a new container or different soil.
You moved your Monstera to a different growing location.
Roots are damaged during transplanting.
Remove badly damaged leaves - cut them off.
Move your Monstera to a shady, humid spot.
Avoid fertilizing your Monstera.
Monitor your watering schedule. Do not over or underwater your Monstera.
8. Should I Cut Brown Leaves off My Monstera?
When leaves are damaged, removing them from your plant is best. Otherwise, your plant will keep sending valuable nutrients to the damaged leaves instead of redistributing resources to all the healthy leaves.
Where do I cut brown Monstera leaves?
Start by examining the leaf to determine how much of it is damaged.
If the entire leaf is brown or yellow, you can simply cut it off at the base where it meets the stem.
Use clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears to make a clean cut.
If only a small portion of the leaf is brown or yellow, you may need to make a more precise cut to remove only the damaged section.
Cut the brown or yellow portion of the leaf away, leaving the healthy portion intact.
Depending on the aesthetic you're going for - when you cut away only a portion, your leaf will look lopsided and strange. If you're happy with that - go for it!
9. Will Monstera Leaves Grow Back?
Unfortunately, once a Monstera leaf has turned brown or yellow, it cannot be restored to its original color or condition.
However, if you prune a brown or yellow leaf from your Monstera Light plant, new leaves may grow in its place.
Depending on the health and age of the plant, it may take several weeks or even months for new leaves to appear.
To encourage new growth after pruning, provide your Monstera with the right amount and intensity of light, water, and nutrients.
The Bottom Line
Monstera leaves turning brown is often one of the first indicators of problems on the horizon. Fortunately, most of these issues can be solved with simple adjustments to your plant care routine. With patience and consistent care, your Monstera should be able to recover from leaf damage and produce healthy, vibrant new leaves over time.