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My monstera is dying, leaves turning brown/yellow, please help!

3 years ago

Back story: I bought a large monstera deliciosa in August and it was incredibly rootbound when I got home, the roots had formed lots of circles around the pot. Within a week I repotted it, into a larger pot (ceramic with drainage holes) by a few inches. At the time I only had houseplants compost so didn't use any perlite etc in the potting mix. Even when I repotted it I found it quite hard to break up the root system, so I basically ended up adding new soil underneath and around the sides of it to fit the new pot. Since then it has been a few metres from a window, not close enough for direct sunlight, and i have been misting it a few times a week and giving it a full water about every 3 weeks, ensuring it is never sitting in water and letting any water drain completely out, before watering I've checked that the top few inches of soil are dry.

The first new leaf turned brown and crispy before it even properly unfurled and I haven't seen any new growth since apart from the lengthening of a few arial roots. One leaf near the bottom at the back turned completely yellow over time and died so I removed it. A some leaves have been progressively getting more brown around the edges, while some of the other leaves are turning brown/yellow at the tips. I don't want this plants leaves to keep getting worse, so hoping someone could offer some advice on what is best to do... the younger lower level leaves are turning brown/ starting to die first compared to the older larger leaves which are only going brown at the very tips currently.

Many thanks in advance!

Comments (11)

  • 3 years ago

    Even though you repotted, that pot looks like it still might be too small compared to the size of the plant. Do the roots have any room to grow in the current pot?


    HU-895807533 thanked gardenfanatic2003
  • 3 years ago

    Use a wooden dowel that reaches at least to the bottom third of the pot and see if comes out moist. The top couple of inches means little given the media you have used and it may be overwatered.


    HU-895807533 thanked tsugajunkie z5 SE WI ♱
  • 3 years ago

    How‘s your plant? Agree with the two posters above.

  • 3 years ago

    Thanks for your comments! 1)Yes the roots do have some room to grow, they have some space around the side and at the bottom still. When I brought the plant, although it was really pot bound, it was also thriving at that point!

    2) I was worried it may be overwatered so lifted it out it's pot and had a look at the roots and they seem healthy still and the compost didnt feel damp so I don't think it is getting too much water at all, but i will bear that in mind when doing future soil tests, to use a dowel that gets to the bottom of the pot. Thanks tj

    3) Thanks for your comment ashlyn, I have since moved it to the bathroom where it has lots of light, but no direct sunlight as is northfacing, the room the plant has been in in the last few months was getting very cold, so I wasn't sure if that would have been effecting it, so hopefully the move to the bathroom will provide more warmth and humidity? I did use some fertilizer last month so hopefully that gave it some nutrients, not sure if that may have caused the browning/yellowing as I read somewhere about fertiliser shock?

    Still unsure of the problem with it! the leaves are continuing to get worse with more of each leaf turning brown/yellow..

  • 3 years ago

    At some point the oldest leaves will give up the ghost. If they are the oldest of the lot, I would not worry too much. Also, I would not fertilize much in the winter unless it is actively growing new leaves. It can take direct sun for a few hours without any issues, in face it might appreciate it at least in the colder months.

    HU-895807533 thanked getgoing100_7b_nj
  • 3 years ago

    The leaves that have gone yellow and died completely, i think are the older leaves as they are nearer the bottom of the plant. Yeah I realised I may have made a mistake fertilising it when it isn't growing any new leaves so I won't do that again until / (if) I see any new leaf growth. With regard to the dying leaves, apart from the lower ones that have completely died, all the others are starting to brown/yellow from the tips and spreading inwards in the leaf- still unsure how to remedy this!

  • 3 years ago

    If there is no root rot, you have two possibilities. 1. It is not getting enough water/moisture (see below screen shot); or 2) it is over fertilized. In case of first, keep it watered well but not soggy and give it enough humidity. You can get a cheap temperature and humidity meter to assess humidity and add a cheap humidifier if needed. I use a gallon steam humidifier that needs to be refilled once a day and keeps a huge room at 50-60% humidity. In case of second, flush the potting mix several times with tepid water so the excess fertilizer is washed off. Ensure there is water logging and keep it somewhere warm at least until the potting mix is reasonably dried off. Don't mist the leaves in the meanwhile. Monstera leaves have a mechanism to shed excess water (you will see water drops on the leaves in the morning (really cool :)). Good luck

    HU-895807533 thanked getgoing100_7b_nj
  • 3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    Hi everyone. Unfortunately Monstera deliciosa has more culture myths floating around than almost any other plant. The "bright indirect light" myth is the worst. It's everywhere on the internet and it's pure hogwash! :) Most all of the biggest-leaf, massive, mature specimens get from several hours a day full sun up to all-day sun, outdoors. You just really can't give it too much sun if it's grown indoors as a houseplant, unless you switch from low sun too quickly and sunburn it.

    Next is the "fast draining soil" myth. Many plants love that, and Monstera do great that way, but there must be some houseplants that don't absolutely require it as much as others, right? Monstera deliciosa is that plant. It will grow extremely well in wet mud, in plain clay garden dirt in a pot, and yes also in premium free-draining expensive media too.

    Another myth are the extreme cautions about being so careful not to overwater it. There is hardly any houseplants that can resist overwatering more. You probably can't overwater it unless your pot has no drainage hole and the soil goes anaerobic. It is still optimal to provide constantly moist-but-not-wet soil, but it's usually UNDER-watering that causes these types of leaf die-off.

    The last myth is the "increase the humidity" myth. It's great, but just not necessary. They have a tough, thick outer skin and can resist low humidity very well. This one below is grown in a northern heating climate with a central forced-air furnace that really drys the air all winter, often below 20%, yet it doesn't have any brown edges. It gets watered about once every 4 days right now (it needs a bigger pot soon!). It gets lightly fertilized with Foliage Pro at every watering throughout the year.

    So the plant in the first post needs more sun and more water. Ideally it should be right up in an E, W, or S window (those super-long petioles are etiolating, which is evidence the light is way too low). It needs to have the soil flushed deeply once in awhile, in case that is partially mineral salts fertilizer burn. Also, I would recommend you consider switching to a low-urea liquid fertilizer (like Foliage Pro or similar) more frequently and lightly, as these don't have the strong salt-based ingredients that burn so easily.

    One concern I had: I do want to know what you mean by "houseplants compost". Thank you. :)

    HU-895807533 thanked Tom H
  • 3 years ago

    Thank you that's really useful! I will first try and increase the humidity/watering and see if that makes a difference, if not will then try and flush out any excess fertiliser. Thanks for your help :)

  • 3 years ago

    Thanks Tom H just seen your message! Lots of useful insights there! I have moved the plant nearer to the window (w facing) so hopefully it can get some more light. I was wondering what you would say about temperature with this plant? The room it is in is quite cold (averaging around 12-15 degrees), would this be damaging the plant or is it okay to be at this temperature? I don't have much option to increase the temperature in the room at the moment! The fertiliser I used a few times a few months ago was the houseplant focus fertiliser, so not sure on the urea level in this one! when I referred to ''houseplant compost'' it was a simple compost from a garden centre that said to use for indoor or outdoor plants.