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Why Does My Swiss Cheese Plant (Monstera Deliciosa) Have Yellow Leaves?

Written by Ivy

Nov 19 2022

Why Does My Swiss Cheese Plant (Monstera Deliciosa) Have Yellow Leaves?

If the leaves on your Swiss cheese plant are yellow, you can read this guide to learn how to save them. The yellowing of Monstera's leaves may be due to improper lighting, fertilization, or temperature stress. Never discount potential causes like pest infestation or organic ones.

Reasons Why Monstera Leaves Turn Yellow

Let's explore the various causes of yellowing monstera plant leaves. There are seven main causes:

1. Watering Problem

In terms of water, Monsteras can be picky. Since they are native to the rainforest, they dislike being dried out. But if they are left in too much water for too long, they can also develop root rot.

It is crucial to examine your Swiss cheese plant to determine the cause of your Monstera's yellowing, as either of these could be the issue.

Overwatering

Check the soil for excess moisture as soon as you notice your Monstera's leaves turning yellow. Just dig a finger into the soil.

  • Is the soil wet?
  • Does it feel soggy?
  • Does it have a rotten or somewhat funky odor?

If so, you should completely repot your Swiss cheese plant as root rot brought on by overwatering is most likely the cause. For more comprehensive instructions, please see our guide here.

If a Monstera is overwatered, the leaves will yellow, droop, and develop brown spots. It'll take a long time for the soil to dry out, and the top may start to grow a fungus.

Keep in mind that soil that retains water and excessive watering frequency, not the amount of water applied all at once, are what cause overwatering.

When watering your Monstera, make sure the soil is not already excessively wet first, and then water it until water begins to drain from the bottom drainage hole.

Before giving your Monstera any care or attention because root rot can quickly kill it, it is important to check for this disease, especially before you water it because that could make the problem worse.

Underwatering

Yellowing of your Monstera's leaves is another symptom of inadequate watering. The good news is that this is a simple fix and won't likely ruin your Monstera.

Your finger went into the ground and came back completely dry. Your Monstera needs water!

The symptoms of a Monstera that has been submerged in water include drooping, yellowing, curling, and eventually turning light brown and crispy in the leaves.

The soil needs to be watered more thoroughly because it is so dry. Your plant should be brought somewhere where it can get a lot of water, like outside with a hose or in the shower. You might require a friend's assistance to carry a large Monstera.

Shower your Monstera until water begins to drip out of the pot's bottom, then continue for a little while longer. When soil dries out too much, it may turn hydrophobic, which means it won't absorb water as well.

Keep an eye on the yellow leaves and the moisture of the soil after this thorough watering. It might be necessary to increase the frequency of watering your Monstera.

You may have another problem, such as pests, that needs to be addressed if more leaves begin to turn yellow despite receiving enough water.

2. Temperature Stress

Monsteras are actual rainforest plants. Since they do not understand what winter is, they dislike the cold.

When temperatures fall below 50°F (10°C), monstera plants cease to grow, and as the temperature approaches freezing, the leaves begin to yellow or suffer damage.

They will also become stressed when exposed to extreme heat or direct, scorching sunlight. In the jungle, they cling to trees that shade their leaves from the glaring sun to live in the understory.

The Monstera's impacted leaves will turn yellow, crispy, or brown under any temperature stress. Younger, more tender leaves may be more vulnerable to temperature stress, though this stress does not always start with older or younger leaves.

If you notice your Monstera suffering from yellow leaves, take a look at its location:

  • Does it face a window that receives glaring afternoon sun on the southwest side?
  • Does it face a winter window that is chilly and drafty?
  • Is it close to the hot radiator?

Your Monstera may become stressed from any of these extreme temperature sources! It would be best if you relocated your Monstera a short distance from the troublesome source to an area with more stable temperatures.

3. Repotting Stress

A recent repotting into a new location for your Monstera? Stress from repotting could be the cause of its yellow leaves.

After transplant, monsteras frequently exhibit sensitivity. Stress in this situation can result from the roots being exposed for an excessive amount of time, a change in soil, or even repotting at the wrong time of year (late winter to early spring is best).

A Monstera that is experiencing transplant shock will have drooping leaves and petioles, making it appear as though it needs watering. Beginning with the oldest leaves, it's possible for its leaves to start turning yellow.

The Monstera attempts to conserve nutrients and water after the traumatic event by turning its leaves yellow. It will eventually return to normal, and in its new pot, it will be even happier.

Replanting your Monstera in the same spot and keeping the same watering schedule will help it feel less stressed. Transplant shock will be made worse by having too little or too much light or water.

Don't fertilize it until it has recovered and begun to grow once more. You can give it a little more humidity if it still seems dry despite receiving regular irrigation.

4. Improper Light

Extremes in light are not good for Monsteras, just as they are not good for water or temperature.

If they receive the wrong kind of light—whether it's too much or too little—they may start to develop yellowing leaves. They do best in direct, bright light.

Fortunately, fixing this is simple.

Too Much Light: Leaf Burn

Monsteras do not thrive in direct sunlight naturally, as I previously stated. The leaves will burn if there is too much direct light.

A Monstera leaf will turn brown (or black) and crispy where it has been burned by too much light, and it will turn yellow where it has not been burned.

The entire leaf may or may not die and fall off, depending on how much of it has burned.

If your Monstera faces a south- or west-facing window, this is more likely to happen. By moving your Monstera a few feet away from the bright window, you can avoid leaf burn.

Too Little Light

This one becomes a little challenging.

Yellow leaves on your Monstera can be a secondary symptom of overwatering rather than being a direct result of inadequate light, as you might have guessed.

Monsteras grow more slowly when they are not given enough light. This indicates that it requires less water and fertilizer. In these circumstances, it's much simpler to overwater your Monstera, which will turn the leaves yellow.

The soil around your Monstera ought to have been examined already. If not, get started right away!

Other symptoms of light deficiency include the following:

  • Etoliation—extended stem reaching for the light, looks leggy or spindly
  • Smaller leaves with less fenestration (holes and splits) or none at all
  • Slow growth
  • Stem leaning toward or away from the window
  • Soil takes a long time to dry out in between waterings

If your Monstera displays these signs and has begun to produce yellow leaves, you should take it out of the pot and inspect the roots for rot.

Your Monstera may experience some stress as a result of this, but it could experience greater stress if root rot is allowed to progress.

If root rot is the cause, you must repot your Monstera in new soil.

You should look for a new location for your Monstera that is nearer to a south- or west-facing window to avoid future overwatering brought on by insufficient light. If you can't do that, you ought to think about getting a grow light for it.

Photosynthesis is Hampered Due to a Lack of Light

Being in the sun bothers the South African visitor. If exposed to direct sunlight, the leaves of the Swiss cheese plant will turn white and yellow.

After recognizing this problem, you must act right away. Your Monstera deliciosa will thrive in diffuse, bright light. Look for a location near a window, which needs to be covered with a curtain, when selecting a location.

On the other hand, there may be a problem with inadequate lighting. Unfortunately, some inexperienced plant growers make the mistake of positioning their plant in the room's farthest corner.

As it cannot perform photosynthesis, the monster in this instance lacks nutrients. Because of this, the first signs that a plant is losing its vigor are a leaf's withering and yellowing.

To remedy the situation:

  1. Move your Swiss cheese plant near a source of light.
  2. Remember that Monstera deliciosa can tolerate some shade but dislikes it.
  3. Also, don't subject the plant to any kind of stress test or torture.

5. Nutrient Problem

Yellowing leaves can also be a result of an imbalance in the fertilizer used for your monstera.

This can result from a nutrient deficiency or from using too much fertilizer, which will burn the plant with salt.

For a proper diagnosis, you should keep an eye out for any additional specific symptoms that each of these may have.

Overfertilization

To keep your Monstera healthy and strong throughout the growing season, it would be best to feed it every few weeks. A fertiliser with a good balance is preferred by monsteras.

If too many nutrient salts build up in the soil, overfertilization happens. Through the reverse osmosis process, these will draw water away from the roots of the plant.

They may also change the acidity of the soil. Because of chemical dehydration, too much salt in the soil can result in salt burn.

Are the yellowing leaves on your Monstera being caused by overfertilization? Look for these other symptoms of overfertilization:

  • A white crust of excess fertilizer on top of the soil
  • Edges of leaves turning brown and crispy
  • Lowest & oldest leaves turning yellow
  • Slow growth

It's simple to correct overfertilization.

Once you've established that this is the root of your Monstera's yellow leaves, you need to give it a good watering to remove all the extra nutrient salts from the soil.

Flush the soil thoroughly in the shower or outside with a hose until the water freely drains from the pot's bottom drainage, just as you would if your plant were underwater.

Due to the likelihood that there will still be sufficient nutrients in the soil, you may want to wait a little longer than usual before fertilizing your Monstera.

Reduce the quantity and/or frequency of fertilizer applications for your Monstera to avoid future overfertilization. Think about switching to a soft, natural fertilizer. These are much less likely to result in a salt burn and have a lower macronutrient content.

5. Why Does My Swiss Cheese Plant (Monstera Deliciosa) Have Yellow Leaves2

Nutrient Deficiency

On the other hand, your Monstera might not have enough nutrients. When was the last time it received fertilizer or new soil? It's time to feed your Monstera if you can't recall!

All plants require nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, the three main macronutrients. Each of these influences a different biological process within the plant, and a deficiency in any one of them will have a different impact on your Monstera.

With a nitrogen deficiency, your Monstera's growth will be stunted. Its leaves will show chlorosis, or lightening, with the oldest leaves at the bottom turning completely yellow.

A phosphorous deficiency in your Growth stunting is another effect of monstera. The leaves and stems may turn darker and acquire a reddish or purple discoloration as the condition gets worse. This does not cause yellowing leaves.

A potassium deficiency in your Monstera will result in chlorosis between the leaf veins and browning or burning at the leaf edges. As the plant redistributes its low potassium to the younger leaves, the oldest leaves will first show signs of yellowing.

As you can see, a shortage of either nitrogen or potassium may be to blame for your Monstera's yellow leaves. As this is less frequent and the least likely to harm your Monstera, you should first rule out other potential causes.

If you have determined that your Monstera has a nutrient deficiency, you should feed it with a well-balanced, organic fertilizer and consider top-dressing with fresh soil or worm castings.

6. Pests & Diseases

The knowledge that some sort of pest is destroying your gorgeous Monstera is among the worst feelings!

The three diseases anthracnose, fungal leaf spots, and powdery mildew should all be taken into account if the leaves on your Monstera are yellowing.

Therefore, you can accurately diagnose each of these, each of which has distinctive symptoms.

Anthracnose

Yellow or brown spots on the leaves are the first signs of anthracnose, a fungus. The splotches will spread as the disease worsens, the yellow areas will turn brown, and so on.

The leaf's entire interior may become stained as the discoloration advances. Brown, cankerous lesions can also develop from anthracnose on the stem.

Anthracnose spreads more quickly in moist environments, such as when it rains or when a worried plant parent frequently mists the leaves of a sick Monstera.

If you don't get rid of the diseased plant, it will spread further. To remove all impacted leaves and stems, use a pair of sharp pruning shears. Use rubbing alcohol or peroxide to disinfect your Shears between each cut.

After removing the infected areas from your Monstera, you may want to give it one last round of protection with a copper-based fungicide in case you overlooked any spots that hadn't yet started to exhibit symptoms.

Fungal Leaf Spots

A fungal leaf spot occurs when a fungus begins to eat away at the leaf from the outside, unlike anthracnose.

A collection of yellowing spots on the leaf may be caused by the fungus. A black or brown fungal dot will be present in the center of the yellow ring. More serious flaws could start to resemble concentric circles.

The plant tissue around the edge of a leaf with fungal spots may appear wet if you hold the leaf up to the light. This is because that area of the leaf has already begun to be broken down by the fungus.

To stop the spread of the infection, you must get rid of any infected tissue. Do not be concerned; by maintaining your Monstera's happiness, you will ensure that it will continue to live and continue to produce leaves. The remaining fungus can then be eliminated using a copper-based fungicide.

Increasing the airflow around your Monstera, especially if a humidifier is on nearby, can help prevent fungus problems.

Later in the day, avoid misting your Monstera or running the humidifier because standing water will invite fungus.

Powdery Mildew

Powdery mildew is easily recognized because the fungus leaves a white, powdery-appearing coating on the leaf. This disease will cause the leaves to dry out and turn yellow if left untreated.

Similar to other fungal infections, this disease is treated with antibiotics. The plant's damaged areas should be removed and discarded.

Kill off what's left by using a fungicide. (Neem oil can be used to treat powdery mildew.) Boost airflow and lessen moisture.

If a plant is infected with a pest or fungus, you should isolate it to prevent the infection from spreading to your other houseplants.

7. Natural Process

A yellow leaf might occasionally be just that—a yellow leaf. Your Swiss cheese plant's new leaves expand as it grows. A tiny, old leaf that doesn't photosynthesize as much as a new one makes no sense for continued effort.

Therefore, before letting that old leaf fall off, the plant will take any nutrients from it. Chlorosis and leaf yellowing are the results of this.

You shouldn't be concerned if your Monstera only has one single yellow leaf that extends all the way to the bottom and the rest of the plant appears healthy and is still growing.

8. Deficiencies in Nutrients

The ideal environment might not always be possible to give a Swiss cheese plant. When this happens, the plant does not flourish and the leaves do not fully mature before turning yellow, drying out, and falling off.

It is, regrettably, on its way out as a result. The roots should be thoroughly rinsed before being removed from the area. Remove the yellow leaves and repot her with new, well-draining potting soil and enough drainage holes.

If the exact cause is determined and dealt with, aerial root growth can be reduced. The substrate of your Swiss cheese plant is deficient in nutrients if there are numerous them and they are growing quickly.

The problem's root cause can be pinpointed more precisely by regulating the growth of aerial roots.

If there are a lot of them and their numbers keep increasing, it indicates that the Swiss cheese plant in the substrate lacks the necessary nutrients.

Consider the soil's composition before purchasing. Iron, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, nitrogen, and other elements ought to be present. These components will guarantee substantial leaf plates and a dense, vibrant canopy of greenery.

The fertilizer application schedule must be taken into account. In the summer and early spring, apply a mineral complex every two weeks.

How to Prune Yellow Monstera Leaves

Yellow monstera leaves can be pruned to maintain plant size, or if damage is being done by something like pests, you can shield the rest of the plant from further harm.

'Suzie advises against removing yellow leaves because yellowing is irreversible. Instead, do so only if you believe a fungal infection is to blame. 'The disease can be stopped from spreading to the remaining leaves by removing the infected leaves, but if root decay is the culprit, you should avoid pruning yellow leaves because the healthy leaves of the monstera can still absorb nutrients from the dying leaves.'

Only occasionally should you prune yellow leaves, and it's best to refrain from taking out more than one-third of the plant at once because doing so could stress the plant. Sharp scissors or Pruning shears should be used to trim the leaf stem of a monstera plant as closely as you can to the main stem.

How to Repot a Monstera Plant

A monstera plant should be repotted every few years, ideally in the spring before your monstera's potential growth spurt. A monstera can be potted up just like any other houseplant.

Choose a pot slightly larger than the old one: you want to choose a pot that is a few inches wider than the old one in diameter but several inches deeper. This promotes root development and makes it possible to strengthen your monstera's long stems by adding a support pole.

Choose the best repotting soil: A potting soil that drains quickly and is rich in nutrients is best for monstera plants. If using a support pole, place it in the pot now after it is about a quarter full.

Remove the monstera from the old pot and transplant: when removing a monstera plant, do not pull on the plant itself. As an alternative, turn the pot over and gently shake or tap the plant to encourage it to come out. If your plant is particularly large, more than one person may be required for this. Before repotting, it is a good idea to gently shake the old soil from the plant. Placing the plant in the new pot so that it is surrounded by the support stake, filling in the spaces with more potting soil, and twist-tying the stems to the support.

Water well: By watering the plant from the top and letting extra water drain from the drainage holes and out of the drainage tray, you can effectively water a plant.

As your plant gets used to the change, you might notice some slight drooping at first, but it should soon pick up.

5. Why Does My Swiss Cheese Plant (Monstera Deliciosa) Have Yellow Leaves1

FAQs

Can Yellow Leaves Turn Green Again?

A leaf cannot change back to green once it has turned yellow. Your plant must expend energy to grow a new leaf.

A leaf that is fading occasionally still has green sections. Cut the yellow and brown portions out, leaving only the green portion if you don't like them.

Should I Cut Yellow Leaves Off Monstera?

The yellowed leaves should be immediately removed and thrown out if a disease like a fungus is to blame.

However, you should wait until the leaf is completely dead if the yellowing is brought on by root rot or transplant shock. Cutting it off too soon would increase the stress because your Monstera will absorb vital nutrients from that leaf as it dries up.