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Monstera Problems: 15 Frustrating Problems & Solutions

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There are many burning questions that people have asked me about growing Monstera deliciosa, so I’m here to help! I’ve compiled answers to 14 common, urgent questions which will save your plant from dying and help your Monstera thrive!

Topics range from what to do with aerial roots, to problems with growth, and various defects with leaves. Keep reading and you might find the answer to one of your questions!

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1. Can Monstera deliciosa live in water?

You can really grow any plant hydroponically. You need more than just water though. Be sure to add a complete fertilizer like Dyna-Gro Grow.

This fertilizer can be used for hydroponics, for watering your soil, and also for foliar feeding. For hydroponic growing, the label recommends using 1 teaspoon of Dyna-Gro Grow to a gallon of water for non-recirculating systems.

If you have a fancy system that circulates the water, they recommend 2-3 teaspoons per gallon.

2. Does Monstera need a lot of light?

In most cases, if your plant is not directly in front of a window, you can’t expect your plant to thrive. The bigger the window the better. And the closer to the window, the better.

I have mine growing as close to my window as possible without the leaves touching the window. You’d be shocked how quickly the light intensity drops when you move even 1 to 2 feet away.

Proximity to a window makes a huge difference. In nature, these grow in filtered light or relatively shady conditions, but some sun is fine.

I would not place these plants in full sun though though. My large Eastern window is working beautifully. Western exposure would also be OK.

North will work too if your window is a nice size. Southern exposure may be too much sun so you may need to diffuse the light with blinds.

It is important though to have your plant as close to a window as possible without touching the window.

3. How can I make Monstera grow faster?

I’ve had so many people ask me why their plants are not doing well, and the answer is LIGHT.

There are no shortcuts in plant care. For the fastest growth, you must situate your Monstera in good light (this means it needs to be right in front of a window!).

You also need to have warm temperatures, have a great, well-drained potting medium, and use a fantastic fertilizer.

Refer to my Monstera deliciosa care post for all the conditions that these plants love, including an amazing potting soil recipe to supercharge growth. I also talk about repotting and how to support your Monstera deliciosa using my special support system!

I highly recommend the Dyna-Gro Grow fertilizer. I use it on all my tropicals and it is my go-to all-purpose, premium fertilizer. You won’t be disappointed!

If your Monstera simply isn’t growing, check out my detailed post that will solve your problems: Monstera Not Growing: 9 Crucial Reasons Why.

4. Can you cut Monstera air roots off?

In nature, Monsteras use their aerial roots to climb up trees. You will find that your plant will produce quite a few air roots over time.

My own plant has produced tons!

If at all possible, I would recommend just leaving them unless they are in the way or they really bother you. There is no harm in trimming some of the roots if they are in the way.

You can also try and redirect the aerial roots so that they can potentially start growing into the soil.

If your plant has no aerial roots, just give it time. They won’t start to appear until the plant reaches a certain age.

For a detailed post on the topic of aerial roots, check out my Monstera Aerial Roots post with many common questions answered.

5. Why are my Monstera’s leaves turning brown?

There are numerous reasons why you might get brown spots on your leaves.

The two most common reasons for brown spots on Monstera are:

Inconsistent Soil Moisture

If the very tips of your leaves are turning brown, it could result from the entire soil drying out too much and/or from inconsistent and improper watering.

Never let ALL the soil dry out completely. And when you do water, make sure you water thoroughly so that you don’t have any dry patches of soil. This is really important!

Fungus Issues

If your plant has brown spots on the leaves, which are surrounded a yellow “halo” around the brown spot, this is a classic symptom of a fungus.

The photo above came from a follower on mine on Instagram who had recently purchased her plant from a big box hardware store. She had mentioned that the plant was very wet when she purchased it.

Fungal infections are encouraged by excessively wet conditions for long periods of time, especially in conjunction with poor air circulation. Be very careful if you are purchasing a plant from nurseries that don’t take care of their plants.

If you have any fungal leaf spots on your plant, it is best if you catch the issue early and remove any infected leaves. Keep the foliage dry to be safe (no misting) for a while.

These are two of the main reasons why leaves turn brown, but there are other reasons why your plant might be getting brown, crispy leaves.

Looking to purchase a Monstera? Check out the Monstera selection on Etsy (link to Etsy). You can find practically any plant on Etsy and it is a great one-stop-shop for plants!

6. How often should I water Monstera deliciosa?

This is one of the most common questions I get. “How often should I water [insert any plant here].”

My answer to that is…for a plant that is growing in soil, it depends! I can’t tell you how often because it all depends on your conditions.

Light, pot size, pot type, potting mix, temperature, all affect how quickly your soil will dry out.

What you should be asking instead is, how dry should I let the soil get before watering? And please, for the love of plants, don’t use a moisture meter!

Why? Because most of them are just junk and many people have come to me that have killed their plant because they used a moisture meter.

Simply use your finger to feel the soil. Let the top inch or two (depending on the size of the pot) and then water.

Be sure your pot has a drainage hole. It is not an option to not have a drainage hole.

And when you water, always, ALWAYS water thoroughly. Completely soak the soil, let all the water drain out, and you’re done!

You should get the fear of overwatering out of your head because it doesn’t mean what most people think it means!

Most people have an irrational fear of overwatering. Ironically, because of this fear, they actually end up underwatering! Find out what overwatering really means. It may shock you.

7. How can I grow a monstrous size Monstera?

All I can say is that it takes patience and consistently good care over time.

You must have all required care aspects in line just like I describe in my Monstera deliciosa care post. There are no shortcuts!

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8. Why are my Monstera’s new leaves brown or black before it unfurls?

If your plant’s new leaves are brown or black before it has even unfurled, your plant has most likely suffered from a very bad soil moisture imbalance.

Either your soil has gone much too dry, or you plant has stayed wet for too long. Be sure to read my blog post on underwatering and overwatering to learn how to properly water a houseplant.

9. Can I put my Monstera outside in summer?

Yes absolutely! It will thrive outdoors! There is one absolutely critical thing to do if you put your houseplants outside during warm summer months.

You must harden your plants off or your leaves can burn. Many people are not aware of this and they mistakenly think that their plants don’t like to be outside.

Once you harden your plants off, the outdoors will have shockingly wonderful effects of growth of your Monstera or any houseplant that you choose to summer outdoors. After all, no plant was meant to be indoors!

Be sure to check for pests before you bring your plant back indoors though.

10. Why is my Monstera deliciosa wilting?

This is most commonly due to either your soil being super dry, or on the opposite end, really wet.

When you see your plant wilting, you should immediately evaluate the soil moisture. Has the soil gone bone dry? If so, give it a good thorough watering right away.

On the other hand, if you see your Monstera has wilted and you go to feel the soil and it is very wet…your plant could have suffered from root rot.

If you have a pot without a drainage hole, root rot becomes a much bigger risk.

If the soil is very wet and your plant looks wilted, take the plant out of its pot and evaluate the roots. Have the roots rotted? Does the soil smell a little rancid perhaps?

At this point it would be a good idea to clean up the dead roots, remove as much of the soil as you can, and repot into fresh soil.

11. Why is my Monstera getting yellow leaves?

Probably the most common reason your Monstera leaves are turning yellow is from the soil being too dry.

If you notice the lower leaves (especially the oldest leaves) are turning yellow, go ahead and feel the soil. If your soil has gone too dry (completely dry), the oldest leaves will turn yellow first.

Leaves will continue to yellow if you don’t water.

From my experience, this is the most common reason, but there are quite a few other reasons why your houseplant leaves are turning yellow.

12. What are the best Monstera support ideas?

If are you looking for the best moss pole for Monstera, the best and cheapest method is to make your own! I’ve purchased moss posts online and they are expensive and are just not practical.

Be sure not to miss my DIY Moss Post tutorial to make your own high quality post that is better and cheaper than anything you can purchase.

I find moss posts to be best if you only have one or two vines of Monstera deliciosa in a single pot. If you have more vines, it isn’t as practical due to space limitations.

If you have several vines in one pot like I do for my largest plant, I would recommend a bamboo tripod. Simply insert 3 sturdy bamboo stakes into the pot and tie them on top. This provides a nice, sturdy support.

13. Why are my variegated Monstera leaves turning brown?

For this one, I will refer you to my variegated Monstera deliciosa blog post. There are a few reasons why this occurs and I discuss the details in post I just linked to.

14. Do I have a Monstera deliciosa or a Monstera borsigiana?

There has been a healthy debate on distinguishing between these two species.

For a detailed explanation, visit my Monstera deliciosa vs. borsigiana: Here is the Real Truth post.

15. Why does my Monstera have black spots all over the leaves?

Have you exposed your Monstera to cold temperatures (whether by accident or not…)? Recently, an Instagram follower of mine (@rachel_hargitt) shared photos of her plant. Someone left the window open on a very cold night (0 degrees F).

Here is what cold damage looks like on Monstera deliciosa. Notice the multiple black splotches all over the leaves.

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Cold damage on the underside of a Monstera deliciosa leaf
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Cold damage on the top side of a Monstera deliciosa leaf
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Cold damage on a new Monstera deliciosa leaf before it has unfurled

Unfortunately, the leaves that have experienced cold damage can not be reversed. You can cut the leaves off if they are too unsightly. If the plant itself has not been killed by the cold, it will grow back and the new growth should look normal.

If your plant is big enough, you can even trim the plant back lightly to spur new growth.

Where can I buy Monstera deliciosa online?

Looking to purchase a Monstera? Check out the Monstera selection on Etsy (link to Etsy). You can find practically any plant on Etsy and it is a great one-stop-shop for plants!

Be sure not to miss my Monstera deliciosa care post. If you follow everything in that blog post, you will not have any issues at all with your plant!

And if you read this entire post, you noticed that improper watering causes many of issues! Be sure to read my post on overwatering and watering myths. They will help you tremendously!

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Janna

Thursday 16th of June 2022

Hi Raffaele! Thanks for the very useful post. I was wondering if you could help figure out why my Monstera (which I've had for a little over a year) is growing smaller leaves that have now lost all fenestration. It's in a 10" nursery pot, a more mature bigger plant. When I got it, the handful of most recent leaves were nice and big and very fenestrated. It went through a period of new leaves being mushy/rotten/brown caused my inconsistent watering while I learned the plant... but once I got the hang of watering with filtered water thoroughly when top 1-2" of the soil is dry, the plant quickly responded with lots of new growth (that was probably last September). Since then it's been consistently putting out lots of new healthy growth, but the leaves have slowly decreased in size and lost all fenestration. They're probably 70% of the original big fenestrated leaves that were there when I first got it. I have been using Dyna-Grow you recommended for about six months, and the plant is in a South-facing window (that's between two towers of a building), so it gets 2-3 hours of sun in the middle of the day, but it's not as bright as an unobstructed South window would normally be. I have various peperomias and a Hoya crimson princess in the same window, and they're doing great. The Hoya doesn't get pink sun stress because the sun isn't as strong/prolonged as it would be from a typical Southern exposure, but it's enough to make the Hoya happy. So I am assuming it's good for the Monstera too - I have it staked with bamboo sticks, and the plant is very happy and healthy otherwise. I took the nursery pot out of the outer pot and checked the bottom - the roots aren't overgrowing, so it doesn't appear to be root bound. Thanks for any help you might be able to offer - or does it just need time?

Janna

Thursday 16th of June 2022

@Raffaele, absolutely - thank you! Doing that now.

Raffaele

Thursday 16th of June 2022

Hi Janna! Everything you're describing sounds good. It would help to see some photos though so I can see the plant. Can you use the contact form on my website, and when I respond, you can attach some photos. Can you sent a photo of the plant in its exact growing location and also show the window?

Susan

Wednesday 25th of May 2022

I have mine in a plastic pot that you water from a hole in the bottom. Is this OK? It seems happy Noe, growing leaves and roots.

Raffaele

Thursday 26th of May 2022

Hi Susan! Is it a self-watering pot? Or you're just bottom watering? As long as you're happy with your plant, keep doing what you're doing. It will eventually outgrow your pot though and you may consider a standard pot at that point perhaps.

PlantsCraze

Wednesday 2nd of March 2022

I found your article very informative. Do keep posting such articles! Thank You.

Alyson Long

Tuesday 1st of February 2022

Yep, looks like it's the aircon giving my monstera the chills. She's going to have to go outside :(

Raffaele

Tuesday 1st of February 2022

At least you live in a warm climate! :-).

Drea

Thursday 13th of January 2022

Thank you so much for the blog post. Any suggestions on leggy Monstera’s and how to get them fuller at the bottom and as they grow to remain full?

Raffaele

Monday 17th of January 2022

You're very welcome! If you want a fuller pot, you'd have to root some cuttings and plant them back in the same pot. That's really the only way. You can start several cuttings and put multiple plants in the same pot if you want a fuller look. As far as keeping it full, it's all about providing very consistent conditions (namely, light and watering) in order to keep them in good shape. Hope this helps a bit!