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Are your Monstera’s leaves turning yellow and you’d like to get down to the bottom of what’s happening? Keep reading so I can help you determine the top causes for Monstera yellow leaves, plus some tips on what you can do to set your plant back on track.
MONSTERA YELLOW LEAVES
Yellow leaves can be caused by a variety of issues so it can be confusing to determine the cause. Here are 3 of the most common causes that I’ve seen throughout my time helping people, along with 4 more to consider.
1. IMPROPER LIGHT LEVELS
Monstera plants can develop yellow leaves as a result of either extreme of light levels: too little or too much. Let’s discuss what both of these look like.
NOT ENOUGH LIGHT
When you move a plant to an area with low light, your Monstera deliciosa plant will eventually respond by having some leaves yellow. When light levels are suddenly reduced, your plant can no longer sustain all its foliage and it will respond by shedding some leaves.
What are some common cases where this can happen? Here are 3 common instances to be aware of:
1. This can be the case if you’ve just purchased your plant (where it was likely grown in a greenhouse with ideal conditions) and moved it inside of your home where light levels are likely significantly reduced.
2. Or perhaps you’ve had your plant for a while, and you’ve moved it to a darker location in your home.
3. If you live in an area with short, dark days in the winter months, this natural reduction in light during the winter season can also cause yellowing of leaves.
In the first two instances above, you may see one or more leaves that will turn completely yellow, and this will typically happen to the lower leaves.
Once the plant has stabilized and gotten accustomed to the lower light levels, your plant should be OK at that point. For the third instance, once days start to get longer in the Spring, the yellowing should stop, assuming all your other cultural conditions are good.
TOO MUCH LIGHT
Believe it or not, excessive light can also cause yellow leaves on your plant. But there is a big difference with this situation. If your plant is growing in a lot of direct sun, your entire plant will turn a shade of yellow-ish green.
Unlike the previous instance where you may have had a leaf or two turn completely yellow , your plant will turn a darker green once again if you place your plant in less direct sun.
I’ve seen this happen with Monstera plants planted outside in warm climates where they are growing in several hours of sun. This is not ideal for these plants, but it won’t kill them.
Indoors, if you have your plant growing in a really sunny window, the same thing can happen (depending on where you live and how strong the sun is).
If you do notice all your leaves turning a yellowish cast, just move it to a less sunny window and your plant will return to its more natural, darker green color.
In general, windows that have just indirect light (no direct sun) are fine for these plants, particularly if your windows are large. Some direct sun, especially morning sun, is wonderful for these plants.
Remember that indoors, the light intensity is much less than light outdoors, so it’s harder to overdo. So it’s better to lean towards what you think is too much light indoors, versus too little light.
2. SOIL THAT IS TOO DRY
Probably the most common cause of yellow leaves is allowing your Monstera’s potting mix to dry out completely for too long. Maintaining the right soil moisture level should be an important part of your care routine.
Here are 4 scenarios that could cause your soil to dry out too much:
WAITING TOO LONG TO WATER AGAIN
Monstera plants are quite resilient, but they don’t like to go completely dry, otherwise this will cause the oldest leaves (the lowest leaves) to turn yellow. Once this happens, these affected leaves will not turn green again.
They will first turn yellow, and then they will eventually turn brown. Although you can cut the yellow leaves off, it is best to wait until they brown before cutting them off (if you can stand it!)
If your plant still has its juvenile leaves, usually you will see the non-fenestrated, small leaves on Monstera turning yellow first before any of the other leaves yellow.
But hopefully by then, if you’ve noticed that your potting mix has dried out a lot, you’ll have give it a good watering and prevent any further leaves from yellowing.
I would recommend allowing the top 1-2 inches of soil to dry out before watering again. It is really important though to make sure that you have the appropriate sized pot, well-draining soil, and enough light so that everything is working the way it should.
Check out my post for best Monstera soil for good potting soil blends for your plant. Having the right soil mix is very important.
IMPROPER WATERING PRACTICES
If you have improper watering practices, this is problematic as well and cause yellowing leaves.
Some people are so scared to water properly that they barely use any water (because of the fear of “overwatering“). Ironically, they end up dehydrating their plant.
Always water thoroughly until excess water escapes the drainage holes, and you’ll be good to go.
If you have enough light and a pot that isn’t too big for your plant’s root system, you have nothing to worry about.
YOUR PLANT MAY BE VERY ROOT BOUND
If your plant has been happily chugging along and growing, even if you haven’t “changed” anything yourself, your plant will eventually get root bound.
I’ve had many people tell me that they haven’t changed anything with their routine, and suddenly their Monstera has started to develop yellow leaves.
Even though you may not have changed anything yourself, your plant has. It has grown and eventually will get root bound.
If you’re sticking with a strict watering schedule, this can be problematic since you’ll reach a point where your soil dries out a lot faster than it used to.
Once the root ball becomes crowded and tight, it is hard to water properly and your plant will eventually suffer.
If this is the case, it’s time for a new pot. I’d recommend going up one pot size (for example, if your plant was in a 6 inch diameter pot, go up to an 8 inch diameter pot). Check out my Monstera care and repotting post for more details.
FAULTY MOISTURE METER
All too often, I’ve seen people’s plants suffer from faulty moisture meters. Inexpensive moisture meters are often faulty and register as “moist” when in fact, if you stick your finger in the potting mix, it is bone dry.
So spare yourself the trauma and use your finger to judge soil moisture. Check out my blog post on the dangers of moisture meters.
3. THERE MAY BE NOTHING WRONG AT ALL
One thing to remember is that it is natural for plants to develop yellow leaves as they age.
No leaf will last forever. So if your plant looks healthy and it only occasionally develops a yellow leaf or two (especially if it’s an older leaf), there is no reason to worry!
It is a part of your plant’s natural life cycle and it isn’t always something to be overly concerned about.
OTHER CAUSES FOR MONSTERA LEAVES TURNING YELLOW
The causes I listed above are by far the most common reasons, but are some others as well:
4. LACK OF FERTILIZING
If you have not been fertilizing at all and haven’t repotted in a long time, your plant may be lacking nitrogen, and thus look a little yellowish and sickly due to this nutrient deficiency.
But there are other nutrients that are important too and it is important to use a well-balanced fertilizer. Fertilizing should be a part of your care routine, so be sure to do it regularly throughout the growing season.
My favorite liquid fertilizer to use is Dyna-Gro Grow (link to Amazon). It is a premium, urea-free, COMPLETE fertilizer that contains all of the macro and micro nutrients that your tropical plants need to thrive.
I’ve been using Dyna-Gro Grow for years and have noticed a wonderful difference. Try it! You won’t be disappointed.
Normally, healthy Monsteras are quite pest resistant, but you can occasionally have yellow leaves developing if you have a pest infestation.
Spider mites can cause mottling of the leaves and eventually, you’ll notice some yellowing occurring.
6. IMPROPER REPOTTING
If you have repotted your plant and you’ve damaged a lot of the roots, your plant is probably suffering from transplant shock and it may droop a bit and also develop some yellowing leaves.
All you can do at this point is to provide regular care, and if the damage wasn’t too bad, your plant will slowly recover.
7. FUNGAL INFECTION
Fungal leaf spots and bacterial infection can occasionally be an issue. You may notice numerous brown spots, sometimes with a yellow ring or halo surrounding the brown spot. If you see any leaves that have a lot of this, cut them off and dispose of them.
Depending on which pathogen caused the infection, the spots may look different. If you suspect a fungal issue, you can try spraying with a fungicide that is meant to use for houseplants. Always follow the directions on the label for safe usage.
Be sure to sterilize pruners or scissors with isopropyl alcohol to kill any pathogens so that you’re not spreading any disease to other leaves or other plants.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Should I remove yellow leaves from Monstera?
Yes, you can cut off any yellow leaves that have developed, but it may be better to wait until the leaf fully turns brown before cutting it off.
Can yellow Monstera leaves turn green again?
Unless they are yellowish-green leaves that have resulted from high light exposure, yellow leaves caused by anything else will not turn green again.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post on Monstera yellow leaves. Have you identified what the cause was for your plant? Comment below. I’d love to hear!