Skip to Content

9 Ways To Deal With Yellow Monstera Leaves

Sharing is caring!

Yellowing leaves can be an indication that something is wrong with your plants, or it could be a natural occurrence. There are many different problems that cause yellowing leaves on your monstera plants.

It can be difficult to figure out what exactly is causing the discoloration. Is it not getting enough water, or too much? Is there a problem with the light, are there pests feeding on it, or could the yellow leaves be caused by yet another problem?

Trying to figure it out can be overwhelming and cause you to wonder where you failed it. But don’t worry, we are here to help. We’ll go over everything that could be causing yellow leaves on your Monstera, how to figure it out, and of course how to fix it.

What Causes Yellow Monstera Leaves?

Yellowing Monstera Leaves laying on wooden table
Yellowing Monstera Leaves laying on wooden table

A plant with yellow leaves (unless it naturally has yellow foliage) is usually a sign of a stressed plant. Plants can communicate in a way, but they can’t straight up say they need more water, require less light, or they are lacking fertilizer.

When they wilt, the foliage becomes discolored, or they suddenly start dropping leaves, you’ll have to figure out what’s wrong. Here, we are focusing on yellowing leaves, the causes, and what needs to be changed.

Here we’ll go over 9 problems that may be causing your Monstera’s leaves to fade to yellow. From moisture problems to light issues, and on down to fungal infections, we have you covered.

Moisture Issues Can Cause Yellow Leaves

It’s very easy to overwater most plants, and this is one of the biggest causes of yellowing leaves. Many plant owners think the soil needs to stay soaking wet or damp all the time, and unfortunately, the plants suffer from “overcare.”

Monstera plants do come from the rainforest and are used to getting plenty of rain, but they thrive in very loose, very well draining soil. The rain falls down all around them and then is quickly wicked away.

They really like to have the top inch or two of their soil dry out before needing another drink. To properly water your Monstera plant, don’t get into a watering routine and soak it at the same time every time.

Check the top few inches of dirt with your finger. When it’s dry to the first or second knuckle on your finger, go ahead and give the plant a good soaking.

Monstera plants are quite prone to getting root rot from being overwatered. If root rot sets in, this can be difficult to treat, and it will definitely cause the leaves to turn yellow, and then brown as the plant slowly dies.

You’ll have to repot it in a better draining soil, and you’ll have to cut out any mushy, gray, or black roots to keep it from spreading. The plant may still survive after doing this, but depending on how bad the root rot is, the plant might just need to be replaced.

Soil Type Is Important

Regular potting mix can hold moisture too long for Monstera plants. Their roots are sensitive and need plenty of airflow. Even soil specific for cacti can hold too much water for these plants. Instead, use a chunky, high draining soil.

You can add some orchid bark or coarse perlite to your soil mix to help with drainage. If mixing your own soil seems messy, or it’s just something you don’t have time to do, try out Gardenera Premium Monstera Potting Soil.

Too Little Water Can Be An Issue

On the opposite spectrum of overwatering, is underwatering. Too little water can also cause yellowing leaves. If you’ve lost some plants to overwatering (like I have before) it’s easy to scale back so much that they don’t get enough.

When you’re prone to overwatering plants, it’s easy to only pour a very small amount of water into the pot to try and prevent the dreaded root rot. Monstera plants need deep watering when the soil has dried out.

You’ll need to make sure water comes flushing out of the drainage holes when you water them. With very loose, well draining soil, you’ll have to water your Monstera a little more often because it doesn’t hold moisture as long.

Check how much water your Monstera is getting. If you haven’t needed to water it in over two weeks, because the soil is still damp, you’ll need to add some aeration. On the flip side, if you have to water it very frequently because the water just runs straight through, you’ll need to get a soil that holds a bit more moisture.

Humidity Is Very Important

The amount of moisture in the air could also be an issue that could be causing yellow leaves. These plants need a lot of humidity for ideal growth. Ideally, they should be in a room that regularly hovers between 40% to 70% humidity.

You can mist your Monstera plants every few days to help with this moisture, place the pot in a drip tray with rocks and water, or place a humidifier in the room. Check the room with a hygrometer to see if this is part of the problem.

Monstera Watering Tips

Monstera Deliciosa plants are hardy plants, but overwatering is definitely a weakness. They handle underwatering much better than overwatering. You can even let your Monstera start to wilt before watering it again if that works for you.

Just make sure you soak it very well when you water this way. Dry soil shrinks, and when you water from the top, most of the water tends to rush down the sides of the pot and straight out.

You could pour a gallon in the pot, but nearly all would just pass through without giving the plant any water. Soaking it from the bottom is a much more efficient way to water a dry pot.

Add a few inches of water to a wide bowl, bucket, or your sink, and set your Monstera plant in the water. Let it sit for about 10 to 15 minutes, then remove it, allowing the excess to drain out.

The water soaks the soil and the roots get a good drink of water, and then are able to breathe.

1. A Watering Log Can Make Things Easier

Consider keeping a watering log to track how often your Monstera needs water. This can help you keep track of your plant. If you notice you’re watering more often, you may need to check the humidity or the temperature in the room. Or maybe this will indicate that it’s getting time to repot it.

2. Too Much Or Too Little Light

Yellow leaves on your Monstera plant can be caused by too much or too little light. What does this look like, and what is the best lighting for these plants? Let’s find out.

Too little light will manifest in the lower leaves. The plant will start to drop some leaves to make up for the reduced light. But too much, or direct, intense sunlight will cause the entire plant to start fading.

It can also get sun scorch. If you see pale white, thin, and brittle leaves or streaks on the leaves, get it out of the sunlight immediately.

Monstera plants thrive with a lot of indirect light. Meaning they like a bright room with plenty of natural sunlight, just don’t let the sun shine directly on the plant for more than a few minutes, especially the intense southern sun exposure.

When you first bring your Monstera plant home from the nursery, it may develop a few yellow leaves near the base as it adjusts. Most of the time, these plants are grown in greenhouses where they get optimal growth conditions.

When it comes home with you, it could take a few days for it to adjust to the new light settings. During this time it may get a yellow leaf or two, then it should go back to normal as it acclimates.

Monstera plants usually adjust to lower light levels, they’ll just grow slower and may get a few yellow leaves in the process.

Too much light can cause all the leaves on the plant to start fading. In nature, Monstera plants are mostly shaded by much taller trees and they get filtered sunlight. Try to replicate these same conditions in your home.

Place it in a sunny room, but out of direct sunlight. If you have to place it in a window, try to find one that gets less intense morning sunlight as they can tolerate this better than evening sunlight.

Once you fix the light problem, the plant should bounce back and turn green again over the course of a few days.

3. Maybe Your Monstera Is Root Bound

Let’s say you’ve had your Monstera for a year or two now and everything has been great, but suddenly it’s stopped growing and now is starting to show yellow foliage. It could be root bound.

Another indication of a root bound plant is how often you have to water it. Does the soil dry out very frequently now? Do you find yourself watering it much more often now? Are there roots sticking out of the drain holes?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, it’s time to repot your Monstera. Choose a good Monstera approved soil and a pot an inch or two larger than the current pot.

These plants can grow up to 15 feet tall indoors so be prepared to upsize your pots yearly or every other year. You can trim the roots and keep them smaller if you don’t have that kind of space, but that’s another article.

4. Your Monstera Is Hungry

Monstera Plant Food for Monsteras and Philodendrons, Tropical Houseplant Liquid Fertilizer 8 oz (250mL)

Just watering and repotting your Monstera may not be enough. Every time you water, it has the potential to flush out vital nutrients from the soil. The plant also absorbs nutrients as it grows.

If you haven’t repotted or added any fertilizer in a while, your plant may need a nutritional boost. Nitrogen is the nutrient most responsible for healthy, lush foliage, so it’s a possibility your plant has a deficiency.

A quick boost of nitrogen can help to eliminate yellow leaves but don’t overlook other vital nutrients. A good, complete fertilizer such as Quickdrain Monstera Plant Food can have your peckish plant prospering profusely once again.

Follow the directions and be sure to fertilize during the growing season. Scale it back or only fertilize during the winter months when the plant looks weak.

5. Yellow Leaves Can Be A Natural Cycle

Occasionally, the leaves on a plant outlive their usefulness and will fade to yellow, then brown, and drop off. It’s a natural cycle that happens mostly during the growing season.

As the plant gets bigger, the lower, older leaves are no longer needed. They will fade and fall off in a normal growth cycle. As long as the rest of your plant looks healthy, and it’s growing normally, there’s likely nothing to be worried about.

Just keep an eye on your plant and make sure nothing else out of the ordinary is happening to it. The leaf should drop without a problem as it makes more.

6. Pests Are Damaging Your Monstera

While most houseplants don’t get pests often, especially if you keep them indoors year round, it can still happen. Monstera plants aren’t particularly vulnerable to a wide range of pests, but some can and occasionally do invade.

Thrips, spider mites, and scale or mealybugs can often find their way indoors and on your Monstera plants. When these tiny invaders call your plants home they can cause yellow leaves, and if left untreated the leaves will dry up and can take out the entire plant.

Most of these bugs can spread to other plants as well so quick action is warranted when you notice these pests.


Close up of Thrips on a leaf
Close up of Thrips on a leaf

These tiny pests are very difficult to see because they’re nearly microscopic. They will feed on your plants and suck the sap out of them. When you notice the damage they make, you’ve already got a large population.

Thrips like to hide out on the bottom side of the leaves and often look like tiny flecks of dust or pepper moving around slowly. Some can jump or dive into the soil where you won’t be able to find them.

Treat them with Neem oil, or an insecticidal soap of your own making. You can add 1 tablespoon of dish soap or Castile soap to a quart (32 ounces) of water. Shake or stir it up and put it in a spray bottle and spray your plants.

The soap breaks down the waxy coating of these soft bodied pests and dehydrates them. You may have to spray your plant every 3 or 4 days to get rid of subsequent generations, but this is an effective method.

Spider Mites

Spider mites infesting philodenron leaves
Spider mites infesting philodenron leaves

Another type of “no-see-um,” spider mites are usually spotted because of the fine webs they spin. When you see impossibly fine webs spanning the fenestrations or going from leaf to leaf, you’ve probably got spider mites.

These pests can be seen on the webs, but they look like tiny round specks. Spider mites feed on the sap inside the plant and will dry up the leaves and eventually, the entire plant if they aren’t stopped.

Use the same treatment for thrips to get rid of spider mites. You can also snip off and dispose of the web covered leaves if they are an eyesore.


Close up of white Mealybugs
Close up of white Mealybugs

Mealybugs, or scale as they are sometimes called, are very rare on indoor plants, but they can find their way inside. Usually from other, infected plants.

These bugs have two distinct life cycles that require different treatments. The first indication is usually slow moving, fuzzy, white bugs on your plants. They seem innocuous at first, but they will multiply quickly. These pests too try to drain your plants of all their juices.

While mealybugs are soft and fuzzy, they are relatively easy to treat. You can either squish them (yuck, you might want gloves for this activity) or spray them with your Neem oil or homemade insecticidal soap.

When they enter into their second phase, they are much harder to treat. The bugs attach themselves to the plant and their body becomes a hard, nearly impenetrable shell that fuses with the plant.

They appear like a lesion, or hard bumps on the stem or leaf of the plant and can’t be pulled off without damaging the plant. You can spray them with all the Neem oil you have and it won’t affect them.

When they become this hard “scale” the best way to get rid of them is to cut the infected parts of the plant off and dispose of them in the trash.

7. Transplant Shock

Even though your Monstera needed to be placed in a bigger pot, it still looks disturbed after transplanting it. Sometimes this can be a traumatic experience for your plants, especially if you had to trim or disturb the roots during the process.

After you transplant it, the leaves may droop for a little while, and you may even see a few yellow leaves. All you can do at this point is continue to care for it the same way you have been before you transplanted it.

The Monstera should bounce back after about a week, so be patient and try to avoid overwatering and over caring for it.

8. Temperature Extremes

Ideal temperatures for these tropical plants range between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. They can handle temperatures as low as 65, and as high as 85 degrees Fahrenheit, but anything outside of that could cause damage to the plant.

Typically, cold temperatures may cause the leaves to turn brown straight off, but they may turn yellow briefly before. Extremely hot temperatures will stress the plant and the leaves could turn yellow from the heat as well.

Just adjust the temperatures or move them to a more suitable, temperate area and they should bounce back. If the plant was hit with a frost though, it’s done, they can’t survive a hard frost.

9. Fungal Infections Can Cause Yellow Leaves

Fungal infections can definitely cause yellowing leaves. You may also see brown spots surrounded by yellow rings. Fungal infections are rare indoors, but they can easily spread outside or in greenhouses.

If you suspect a fungal infection or you see several brown, discolored spots on the leaves, cut off any infected leaves and dispose of them. You can try spraying the plant with a fungicide, but often these are very difficult to treat.

Before and after you do any trimming on the infected plant, be sure to clean any scissors or pruning shears to prevent any cross contamination.


Should yellow Monstera leaves be cut off?

Yellow Monstera leaves will only continue to fade, turn brown and crispy, and fall off. When a plant’s leaves start to turn yellow, it’s good to trim them off so the plant can focus its energy on healthier parts.

Will the yellow leaves ever turn green again?

Unless the plant has turned yellow from excessive sunlight, the leaves generally won’t turn green again. When Monstera plants get hit with too much sunlight, moving them out of the direct light can save them.

Root rot, pests, naturally yellowing leaves, and any other reason for yellow foliage can’t be reversed. The plant will have to grow new leaves.

Can an overwatered Monstera be saved?

If a Monstera was overwatered once or twice, it should be able to come back and get healthy again. If root rot is affecting it, then the plant will need to be repotted, and the bad roots will need to be trimmed off. As long as root rot is minimal, the plant should come back with the proper care, but it can be difficult.

Don’t Let Yellow Monstera Leaves Get You Down

Yellow leaves on your plants usually indicate something is off. Unfortunately, this can be a natural cycle as well, but going through a list of what causes yellow leaves can eliminate common problems.

The first thing to do is assess how much water the plant is getting. Too much, too little, are humidity levels off, or is the soil holding too much water for too long? Adjust these if you need to.

While you’re at it, check to make sure it’s getting the right amount of light, fertilizer, and the right temperature, and there aren’t any pests bugging your plant.

When your plant starts getting yellow leaves, by paying attention you can figure out if there’s anything that needs to be changed. With quick action, you can save your plant and keep it growing for years to come.

More Monstera plant guides