This article, “Monstera (Healthy vs. Unhealthy),” will cover all you need to know about the signs of a healthy and unhealthy Monstera, which will help you better take care of your Monstera plant.
Read on to discover:
- An overview of the ever-popular genus of 59 species of flowering plants – Monstera
- A detailed description of signs of a healthy Monstera, especially Monstera Deliciosa.
- A detailed explanation of signs of an unhealthy Monstera plant, followed by care tips.
- Common problems that affect Monstera’s healthy growth during the growing season.
- Answers to some frequently asked questions about the Monstera species’ health.
Popular as a houseplant across many regions, the ever-popular genus of Monstera has around 59 species, with the Monstera Deliciosa being the most widely grown and recognized.
Native to the rainforests of Central and South America, Monstera Deliciosa, commonly known as the Swiss Cheese Plant, is a genus of tropical flowering plants in the family Araceae.
Almost every plant in the genus of Monstera is valued for its large, glossy, perforated leaves that give it a distinct appearance, making it a favored choice among plant enthusiasts.
Apart from aesthetic value, the Monsteras are appreciated for their ability to purify indoor air by filtering harmful toxins, thus making the air far more pleasant to breathe.
While caring for Monstera plants may seem straightforward, the distinction between healthy and unhealthy specimens is not always clear. Here are some common signs you need to be wary of.
Signs of a Healthy Monstera Plant
Now that you know what the Monstera genus is, we’ll discuss the telltale signs of a healthy Monstera, so you can ensure your plant thrives.
Vibrant and Glossy Leaves
Healthy and lustrous leaves are often a sign of a thriving Monstera plant since they are packed with nutrients. Furthermore, these leaves are typically covered with a waxy coating that helps them retain moisture and prevent water loss through evaporation.
In addition, the glossy green leaves of a Monstera plant may contain anthocyanins, which are natural pigments that protect them from the harmful effects of too much direct sunlight. Anthocyanins act as a sunscreen, shielding the leaves from harmful UV rays, hence, sunburn.
Now that you know healthy Monstera displays large, glossy leaves, you need to inspect it for signs of browning or yellowing leaves to ensure the plant is not stressed or malnourished.
Moreover, healthy leaves should have a firm texture, indicating that the plant is well-hydrated.
An Abundance of New Growth
A healthy Monstera plant will show visible growth over time, which can be seen in the form of new Monstera leaves and increased stem length. However, the new growth rate can vary depending on several factors, such as the plant’s age, environmental conditions, and care.
In general, younger Monstera plants tend to grow faster than older ones. The ideal new growth rate for a Monstera will be around 1-2 new leaves per month during the growing season (spring and summer) and slower growth in the dormant season (fall and winter).
It’s important to note that Monstera plants grow at their own pace, and some may grow faster or slower than others.
Providing the plant with optimal growing conditions, such as proper watering, fertilization, and bright, indirect sunlight, can help promote healthy growth.
Monstera plants are typically resilient and can thrive with minimal care. However, even healthy Monstera plants can fall prey to pests, including spider mites, mealybugs, and scale insects, causing damage to the plant and leading to stunted growth and yellowing leaves.
By keeping a watchful eye on your Monstera plant and providing it with optimal growing conditions, you can help ensure that it remains healthy, pest-free, and continues to thrive. If you notice any issues, take action immediately to prevent the infestation from spreading.
While a pest-free Monstera is generally a good sign, it’s not the only indicator of a healthy plant. Monsteras require specific growing conditions to thrive (proper lighting, watering, and fertilization). Neglecting any of these factors can lead to a stressed plant, even if it’s pest-free.
A Strong, Upright Stem
A strong stem helps anchor the plant firmly and allows it to support the weight of its large and heavy leaves, indicating that the plant is healthy and capable of developing more foliage.
Since a sturdy stem is a notable sign of a healthy tropical plant, it can be attributed to the natural growth patterns and the plant’s response to various environmental conditions.
For instance, Monstera plants typically thrive in bright, indirect sunlight and humid environments with good airflow and sufficient moisture. Since they are tropical plants, consistent fertilization, regular watering, and enough light are vital to promote new growth.
When these factors are taken into account, it becomes clear that a strong, upright stem is a crucial indicator of a healthy plant.
Thus, if you see your Monstera growing with confidence, it indicates that you have provided the right conditions for its well-being.
All Monstera plants have dense, fleshy white Monstera roots essential for their growth and development. These roots play a vital role in anchoring the plant in the soil and absorbing water and nutrients from the environment, which supports the plant’s overall health.
When you notice a healthy Monstera root, it’s a good sign that it’s doing well. A common indication of a healthy Monstera root is its white or cream color and fleshy texture. If the Monstera’s roots are fine, you can be confident that the plant is receiving resources to thrive.
Thus, it’s crucial to maintain the health of Monstera root by providing it with adequate water, nutrients, and a suitable environment to grow. Additionally, being mindful of the Monstera root’s health can help identify any issues early on, allowing to prevent any damage.
Signs of an Unhealthy Monstera Plant
While many signs can indicate that your Monstera plant is healthy and thriving, there are also a few key indicators that something might be wrong, and it’s time to take preventive action.
Yellowing or Browning Leaves
Monsteras are popular indoor plants cherished for their eye-catching foliage and minimal care requirements. Nevertheless, if you observe your Monstera leaves turning yellow or brown, it could indicate that you aren’t taking care of your Monstera.
In most cases, browning or yellowing leaves are warning signs that specific aspects of your care routine need adjustment. Additionally, the wrong watering schedule, too much direct sunlight, and poor nutrient intake are a few reasons for discolored leaves/leaf discoloration.
To ensure your potted plants remain healthy and vibrant, provide indirect sunlight exposure, monitor their soil moisture levels, and use high-quality fertilizer when repotting or reusing potting soil. Doing so can help your Monstera flourish and maintain its stunning appearance.
Dropping Leaves (Leaf Drop)
If you notice your Monstera dropping leaves, it can be a cause for concern as it may indicate an unhealthy or stressed plant. Although some leaf shedding can be expected during the plant’s adjustment period to new conditions, excessive shedding may signify a health-related issue.
The common reasons for leaf drop include overexposure to direct sunlight, too little light, underwatering, overwatering, temperature changes, and root rot. Examining the care requirements and making necessary adjustments immediately is crucial to prevent further leaf loss.
By paying attention to its environmental needs, providing appropriate lighting (enough light/sufficient light), regular watering (no excess water), and adequate drainage, you can help maintain a thriving mature Monstera that stays strong and healthy year-round.
Wilting or Drooping Leaves
Monsteras are known for their beautiful tropical foliage with large, heart-shaped light green Monstera leaves. However, you may observe that your plant tends to droop or wilt during times of stress or low light levels (not enough light), indicating it may require appropriate care.
Several factors can lead to wilting or drooping leaves in a Monstera, with one common issue being insufficient watering. It is essential to ensure that you water the plant adequately without overwatering to avoid root rot. For best results, water the plant early in the morning.
The humidity levels of your home or office can also affect the plant’s health. Thus, for enough humidity (above 40% for most Monsteras, like Monstera Deliciosa and Monstera Adansonii, you may need to place it near a humidifier or mist it to prevent wilting from dry air.
Lastly, you must provide your Monstera with enough bright indirect light, as too much or too little sunlight can cause the Monstera’s leaves to wilt. You can help maintain healthy and vibrant foliage throughout the year by giving your Monstera the attention and care it needs.
Stunted or Leggy Growth
If your Monstera isn’t reaching its full growth potential (growing adequately to the labeled height), it could indicate an underlying problem. Several common factors can lead to stunted growth in these popular houseplants, and one issue could be inadequate natural lighting.
Sunlight is essential for the plant’s ability to create and process nutrients. When a Monstera doesn’t get enough light, it can develop weak and spindly branches, leading to stunted growth.
Another possible cause of stunted growth is improper care. Overwatering or underwatering can reduce the availability of critical nutrients and damage the plant’s roots. Additionally, a lack of humidity can cause issues with the root system, weakened branches, and leaf sizes.
To help your Monstera leaves and Monstera roots reach their full growth potential, you must pay close attention to their environmental needs and provide appropriate care at all times.
Leggy growth is a common issue in Monsteras, especially Monstera Adansonii, when they’re not getting enough light. If a plant doesn’t receive sufficient light, it elongates and becomes slender to get better access to light, resulting in long, spindly branches and leaves far apart.
Lack of nutrients or overwatering (excess water) can also promote leggy growth, leading to issues causing root rot to the entire plant, resulting in long stems with just a few leaves.
To prevent leggy growth, ensure that your Monstera gets enough light, water, and nutrients (via fresh soil mix), and consider pruning it regularly to encourage full and fit growth.
Brown or Black Spots on Leaves
Several problems can cause black or brown spots on Monstera leaves. One common issue is a lack of humidity, which can cause the leaves to dry and develop brown spots.
Direct sunlight can also lead to leaf scorching, which results in black or brown patches on the leaves. Additionally, nutrient deficiencies and pests can both contribute to leaf discoloration.
Black or brown spots on leaves can also indicate a fungal infection. Fungal diseases are quite common in Monstera and can manifest in various symptoms, including leaf discoloration.
One type of fungal disease that can cause black or brown patches on Monstera leaves is anthracnose, which its water-soaked circular spots can identify. Another fungal disease is powdery mildew, which creates a white powdery substance and causes colored spots.
Common Problems with Monstera Plants
Monsteras are popular for their attractive leaves and ease of care, making them a favorite among plant lovers.
However, like other plants, they can suffer from various problems that affect their growth and health. Some of the common problems with Monsteras include:
Leaves Turning Yellow
Yellowing of the leaves is a pretty standard reaction in almost every specie of Monstera that exists, which is also a very generic symptom, indicating the following common issues:
- Excessive Exposure
- Direct light
- Low humidity
- Pest infestations
To solve this, check the soil moisture level, ensure proper watering, move the plant away from direct light (near an east-facing window), increase humidity, and inspect for infestations.
Brown spots on the leaves of a Monstera can indicate various issues, including nutrient deficiencies, pests, diseases, or exposure to extreme temperatures. Thus, provide the plant with the necessary nutrients, inspect it for pests or diseases, and ensure correct temperatures.
Leaves Turning Black
Black leaves signify severe damage, overwatering, fungal or bacterial infections, or exposure to extreme temperatures. To solve this, inspect the plant for signs of pests or diseases, improve the soil drainage, and maintain appropriate temperature and humidity levels.
Monstera leaf is known for splits, but sometimes it may not split as expected. This can be due to insufficient light, low humidity, and a lack of proper care. To solve this, provide the plant with adequate light, maintain proper humidity, and ensure it receives appropriate care.
Curling leaves can indicate several issues with a Monstera, including pests (spider mites, mealybugs, fungus gnats, and scale), over-fertilization, or low humidity. To solve this issue, inspect the Monstera leaf for pests, reduce fertilization, and increase humidity levels.
Root rot is a severe problem that affects Monstera, caused by overwatering or poor soil drainage. It can drive the plant’s roots to decay and eventually lead to death. To solve this, ensure proper drainage for the plant, avoid overwatering, and repot the plant with fresh soil.
A DETAILED GUIDE TO ROOT ROT
Root rot is a fungal or bacterial infection that affects the roots of Monstera. The infection occurs due to the reasons mentioned above. The excessive moisture creates a suitable environment for the growth of harmful microorganisms that attack them, causing root rot.
Symptoms of Root Rot
Root rot can cause various symptoms in Monsteras, such as Monstera Deliciosa, including:
- The leaves and stems may turn yellow or brown.
- The roots may become soft, brown, or black.
- The plant may appear wilted or droopy
- It may not grow as quickly as it should.
- The root rot may emit a foul odor.
Preventing Root Rot
Preventing root rot is the best way to avoid the issue altogether. As discussed above, start by ensuring that the plant is not overwatered and that the soil has proper drainage. It’s also important to avoid containers with no drainage holes or pots too large for the root system.
TREATING Root Rot
If root rot has already affected your Monstera, it’s essential to act fast to prevent further damage. The first step is to remove the plant from the soil and cut away any visibly infected or damaged roots using scissors or pruning shears. After that, repot in a new soil mixture.
In severe cases of root rot, it may be necessary to apply a fungicide to the plant to eliminate harmful microorganisms. However, it’s essential to follow the instructions on the fungicide label carefully, as some products can be harmful to the plant if used incorrectly.
Pest infestations can impact Monstera’s growth and health. Common pests that affect Monstera include spider mites, mealybugs, and scale. To solve this, regularly check the plant for signs of pests, remove any infested leaves, and use appropriate pest control measures.
Drooping leaves can indicate several issues with a Monstera, including over or underwatering, low humidity, and exposure to extreme temperatures. To solve this issue and keep the plant healthy, ensure proper watering, humidity levels, and suitable temperature conditions.
Basics of Monstera Care
As discussed in the above section, Monstera requires bright, indirect light to thrive. They can tolerate low light conditions but may not grow as quickly or produce as many leaves. Direct light can scorch their leaves, so it’s best to keep them in a spot with filtered light or shade.
As for watering, they prefer slightly moist soil but not waterlogged. Overwatering can lead to root rot and stem rot, so allowing the soil to dry between waterings is important. Generally, watering once a week should be sufficient, but this can vary depending on the plant type.
Monsteras are native to tropical regions and thrive in high humidity. They prefer a humidity level between 40-80%, which can be achieved by misting the leaves regularly or placing a humidifier nearby. The leaves may turn brown or crispy at the edges if the air is too dry.
In terms of temperature, Monstera prefers to be kept in warm conditions between 65-85°F (18-29°C). They can tolerate slightly cooler temperatures, but it’s best to avoid exposing them to temperatures below 55°F (13°C) as it can severely damage the plant from the inside out.
Monsteras require well-draining soil that allows for proper airflow and prevents water from sitting in the roots. A good soil mix includes a combination of peat moss, perlite, vermiculite, or coarse sand. The mixture should be loose and airy, allowing drainage and root growth.
Monsteras benefit from regular fertilization to give them the nutrients they need to grow and produce healthy leaves. Typically, a 20-20-20 liquid fertilizer or a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer with equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium is recommended.
Fertilizing every 2-4 weeks during the growing period (spring and summer) is sufficient, and it’s important not to over-fertilize as this can lead to the burning of the leaves. It’s also a good idea to dilute the fertilizer to half-strength to avoid causing harm to the Swiss Cheese Plant.
Frequently Asked Questions
This was all you needed to know about the signs that your Monstera plant is doing well or needs immediate attention. For some more information about the topic, here are some frequently asked questions about Monstea care tips.
What Does An Overwatered Monstera Plant Look Like?
Overwatering a Monstera can have negative consequences on the plant’s health, and one of the most visible signs of overwatering is the presence of fungus gnats. These small, black-flying insects resemble fruit flies and are attracted to Monstera’s soil (damp aerated soil mix).
What Do Unhealthy Roots on Monstera Look Like?
If you notice signs of root rot, such as mushy, dark, or foul-smelling roots, it can indicate an unhealthy Monstera’s root.
How Do You Know If Your Monstera Needs to be Watered?
One common sign that your Monstera is not getting enough water is the Monstera leaves curling.
You can also check Monstera’s soil moisture level by touching the top layer of soil with your fingers. If the soil feels “soil dry” to the touch, it’s time to water your plant.
Another way to check if your Monstera needs water is to observe the drainage. If water is not draining out of the holes, this may indicate that the soil is too dry and in need of water.
Do Monstera Need a Moss Pole?
While Monsteras don’t necessarily need them to survive, they can greatly benefit from one. Monsteras are natural climbers; in their native habitat, they would grow vertically up trees. A moss pole supports the plant to climb and encourages upward growth.
How Can I Keep My Monstera Plant Healthy?
To keep your Monstera plant healthy and looking at its best, ensure it’s getting enough light. Avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot and other issues. Additionally, provide the plant with a humid environment by misting the leaves or using a humidifier.
How Can I Revive Monstera Unhealthy Plants?
To revive an unhealthy Monstera, start by identifying the cause, such as overwatering, insufficient light, or pest infestation. Corrective action can be taken, such as reducing the watering frequency, moving it to a brighter location, or treating pests with pesticides.
My name is Daniel Elrod, and I have been houseplant love ever since I was 17. I love how much joy they bring to any room in the home. I’ve always been amazed at how a few pots of flowing leaves can turn a drab and sterile office into an inviting place where people love to work at.