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Yellow Monstera Leaves – Causes & Treatments

The large, lobed leaves of the Monstera Deliciosa decorate many homes and office buildings. It’s a timeless tropical plant that’s instantly recognizable.

So when the large leaves of the Monstera turn yellow, it’s understandable that plant owners will start to worry that something may be wrong with the plant.

Indeed, a few things can cause the leaves of the Monstera plant to turn yellow. Luckily, most of these problems are environmental, which means they can be managed.

Below, I’ll cover the most common causes of yellow leaves in Monstera plants and offer advice on how to deal with them.

Causes of Yellow Monstera Leaves

Identifying the underlying cause of leaves turning yellow on your Monstera plant will help you prevent healthy leaves from turning yellow as well. Usually, the problem is environmental, so changing some elements in the plant’s environment can help fix the issue.

Here are the most common causes of yellow leaves in Monstera Deliciosa plants:

– Watering

Both extremes — overwatering and underwatering — can cause yellowing leaves on your Swiss Cheese plant.

The first step is to check the soil. If the soil is dry, not just visibly, but even when you poke a finger into it, it means that you’ve been underwatering your Monstera and leaves are turning yellow because of dehydration.

Still, underwatering is usually also associated with browning or yellow leaf edges. So if that’s the case with your Monstera, make sure to resume a correct watering regimen to prevent further foliage damage.

A soil that’s wet and soggy beneath the upper layer will signal an overwatering issue. Sometimes, fungal growth can be visible on the soil or at the base of the plant.

Repotting your Monstera and cutting away soft, mushy or damaged roots can potentially save the plant if the root rot is not widespread.

Besides only watering your Monstera when the top layer feels dry, you should also focus on using a well-draining potting mix.

– Temperature

Tropical plants feel best when grown in a temperature range of 65-80 °F. Outside of these temperatures, the plant will struggle, or tissue damage can be observed. In more extremes, the plant itself can die or freeze.

Sudden temperature changes also spell trouble for your plant. For example, exposure to cold drafts or heat vents can trigger yellowing of leaves and eventually foliage loss.

Similarly, the plant is not frost-resistant, so any Monstera plants grown outdoors, should be moved indoors when temperatures dip below 55 F.

– Lighting

Light exposure issues are also a common reason why leaves on Monsteras turn yellow. Both excess sunlight and lack of enough sunlight can cause yellow or pale leaves.

Monstera plants enjoy bright light that isn’t direct. Strong sunshine directly over the plant will cause scorching or leaf discoloration.

Lack of enough sunlight will also cause pale leaves on Monstera plants. If there isn’t enough light in your home, artificial lights can be of some help.

– Stress (due to repotting)

I mentioned temperature stress as a potential cause behind leaf discoloration in Monsteras. But other kinds of stress, like stress caused by repotting a Monstera can also lead to yellowing leaves.

Transplanting the Monstera at the wrong time of the year or leaving the roots exposed for too long or using a potting mix that’s not optimal can all induce transplant stress and result in leaf discoloration.

The best time to transfer a Monstera to a new pot is in early spring, before any new growths appear.

– Pests

Houseplants can be affected by a variety of pests that can cause damage in the foliage of plants. Monstera plants can often be affected by spider mites or aphids.

Sap-sucking insects like these will cause yellowing spots or generalized yellowing of the leaves.

Webs on your Monstera can signal a spider mite infestation, while aphids can look like small grains of rice on the stems and leaves.

Washing down the leaves with a damp cloth can help physically remove the culprits. Organic insecticide sprays are also an option, or you can dilute some rubbing alcohol or dish soap in water and use it to wipe down the leaves. Make sure to get the underside of the leaves too.

How to Treat Yellow Leaves on Monstera?

The first step in treating a yellow leaf problem in Monstera plants is to identify the underlying issue.

Start with the usual suspects — watering, light, temperature. Overwatering is possibly the most common problem to cause yellow leaves and the death of Monstera plants. Pest problems are also easy to identify, especially aphid infestations.

Once the problem is identified, you can make changes in the environment of the plant. Like move the plant to a location with more light or move it out of direct sunlight if it’s getting too much light.

Similarly, an overwatering or underwatering problem can also be managed by switching to a watering routine that takes into account the particularities of tropical plants like the Monstera.

When dealing with a pest problem, treatment must be applied until pests are eradicated. That means you’ll need repeat treatments over the course of a couple of weeks.

Leaves that have turned yellow cannot be nursed back to their former green color. Regardless of the cause, once a Monstera plant leaf turns yellow, it stays so until it falls off, which brings us to the next point of this article.

Should You Cut Off Yellow Monstera Leaves?

Yes, you should go ahead and cut off Monstera leaves that are yellow. They serve no purpose and they divert away nutrients that should go to new growths instead.

Cut the yellow leaves down; they would have fallen off eventually, but not without using precious resources in the meantime.

Wrap Up

When you see yellow leaves on your Monstera, always think about the immediate environmental factors being responsible.

Use this article as a quick checklist for the potential causes and try to narrow down the problem before making any changes.

Sometimes, multiple things from this checklist can apply at the same time, so make sure to eliminate all the possible causes behind the yellow leaves of your Monstera.

Updated: May 21, 2021

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