Monstera Yellow Leaves: Causes and Solutions

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If you are a proud owner of a Monstera plant and have noticed its leaves turning yellow, you might be wondering what could be causing this issue.

Yellow leaves can be a sign of various problems, making it difficult to pinpoint the exact cause.

In this comprehensive guide, we will discuss the most common causes of Monstera yellow leaves and provide practical tips to help you revive your plant’s health.

Improper Light Levels

One of the primary reasons for yellow leaves in Monstera plants is improper light levels. Both insufficient and excessive light can lead to leaf discoloration.

Let’s explore the effects of both scenarios.

Not Enough Light

When a Monstera plant is exposed to low light conditions, its leaves may start to turn yellow. This is because the plant cannot sustain all its foliage when light levels are significantly reduced.

Several situations can lead to insufficient light exposure:

  1. Transition from a greenhouse to a home: If you recently purchased your Monstera, it was likely grown in a greenhouse with ideal light conditions. Moving it to your home where light levels are lower can cause yellowing of leaves.
  2. Relocation to a darker area: If you have moved your plant to a darker location within your home, such as a room with limited natural light, it can result in yellow leaves.
  3. Seasonal changes: In regions with short, dark days during the winter months, Monstera plants may experience a natural reduction in light. This can lead to yellowing of leaves during the winter season.

In the first two instances, you may notice lower leaves turning completely yellow. Once the plant adjusts to the lower light levels, it should recover.

Similarly, as the days get longer in spring, the yellowing should stop, assuming other cultural conditions are favorable.

Too Much Light

Contrary to popular belief, excessive light can also cause yellow leaves in Monstera plants. If your plant is exposed to direct sunlight for extended periods, it may develop a yellowish-green shade.

However, if you move the plant to a location with less direct sun, it will return to its natural darker green color.

Excessive sunlight exposure can occur when Monstera plants are grown outdoors in warm climates or placed in extremely sunny windows indoors.

While some direct morning sun is beneficial, it is essential to strike a balance. Windows with indirect light are generally suitable for Monstera plants, especially if they are large.

Remember that indoor light intensity is lower than outdoor light, so it is better to lean towards too much light rather than too little.

Soil that is Too Dry

Dry soil is another common culprit behind yellow leaves in Monstera plants. Allowing the potting mix to dry out completely for extended periods can cause significant damage.

It is crucial to maintain the right soil moisture level to ensure healthy plant growth. Here are some scenarios that can lead to excessively dry soil:

Waiting Too Long to Water Again

Monstera plants are resilient, but they do not tolerate complete dryness well. When the soil becomes excessively dry, the oldest leaves (usually at the bottom) will turn yellow.

Eventually, these leaves will turn brown. It is best to wait until the leaves have fully turned brown before removing them.

If your plant still has its juvenile leaves, you may notice the non-fenestrated, small leaves turning yellow first. If you observe that the potting mix has dried out significantly, give it a thorough watering to prevent further yellowing.

Ideally, allow the top 1-2 inches of soil to dry out before watering again. Proper pot size, well-draining soil, and adequate light are crucial factors that contribute to maintaining the right soil moisture level.

Improper Watering Practices

Improper watering practices can also result in yellow leaves. Some plant owners fear overwatering and tend to underwater their Monstera plants.

It is essential to water the plant thoroughly until excess water drains out of the pot’s drainage holes. With sufficient light and an appropriately sized pot, there is no need to worry about overwatering.

Root Bound Plants

Even if you haven’t made any changes to your care routine, your Monstera plant’s leaves may start turning yellow as it becomes root bound. Over time, the plant’s roots grow and become crowded within the pot.

This can lead to faster drying of the soil, making it challenging to water properly. To address this issue, it is advisable to repot the plant into a larger container. Increasing the pot size by one inch in diameter is generally recommended.

Faulty Moisture Meters

Moisture meters are often used to gauge soil moisture, but they can be unreliable. Inexpensive moisture meters may indicate moisture even when the soil is bone dry. It is best to use your finger to assess soil moisture instead.

Insert your finger into the potting mix to determine if it is dry or moist. This method provides a more accurate reading and prevents the risk of dehydrating the plant due to faulty readings.

There May Be Nothing Wrong at All

It is essential to remember that yellow leaves are a natural part of a plant’s life cycle. Leaves do not last forever, and occasional yellowing, especially in older leaves, is normal.

If your Monstera plant appears healthy overall and only develops a yellow leaf or two sporadically, there is no need to worry. It is a natural occurrence and not necessarily a cause for concern.

Other Causes for Monstera Leaves Turning Yellow

While the causes mentioned above are the most common, there are a few additional factors that can contribute to yellow leaves in Monstera plants. Let’s explore them:

Lack of Fertilizing

If you have not been fertilizing your Monstera plant regularly or haven’t repotted it in a long time, it may be lacking essential nutrients, particularly nitrogen.

This nutrient deficiency can result in yellowish and sickly-looking leaves. It is crucial to use a well-balanced fertilizer that provides all the necessary macro and micronutrients.

Regular fertilization throughout the growing season is recommended for optimal plant health. Consider using a premium, urea-free, complete fertilizer like Dyna-Gro Grow for best results.


Although Monstera plants are generally pest-resistant, pest infestations can still occur. Spider mites, in particular, can cause mottling of the leaves and eventual yellowing.

If you suspect a pest infestation, take appropriate measures to address it promptly. Consult a pest control expert or use appropriate insecticides to eliminate the pests and prevent further damage.

Improper Repotting

If you have recently repotted your Monstera plant and damaged a significant portion of its roots, it may experience transplant shock.

This can manifest as drooping leaves and yellowing. In such cases, providing regular care and ensuring optimal growing conditions can help the plant slowly recover.

Fungal Infection

Fungal leaf spots and bacterial infections can occasionally affect Monstera plants, leading to yellowing leaves. Brown spots with a yellow ring or halo are common signs of such infections.

If you observe extensive spotting, it is advisable to remove and dispose of the affected leaves. Applying a fungicide formulated for houseplants can help address fungal issues.

Always follow the instructions on the label for safe usage. Additionally, sterilize any tools used for pruning to prevent the spread of disease.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I remove yellow leaves from Monstera?

Yes, you can remove yellow leaves from your Monstera plant. However, it is recommended to wait until the leaf has fully turned brown before cutting it off. This ensures that the leaf has completed its natural life cycle.

Can yellow Monstera leaves turn green again?

Yellow leaves caused by factors other than excessive light exposure are unlikely to turn green again. However, if the leaves have a yellowish-green color due to high light levels, they may regain their darker green hue if the plant is moved to a location with less direct sun.


Identifying the cause of yellow leaves in your Monstera plant is crucial for maintaining its health and vitality. By understanding the various factors that can contribute to leaf discoloration, you can take appropriate steps to address the problem.

Whether it’s adjusting light levels, ensuring proper watering, fertilizing regularly, or addressing pest or fungal issues, proactive care can help restore your Monstera plant’s beauty. Remember to monitor your plant closely, provide optimal growing conditions, and enjoy the lush green foliage of your Monstera for years to come.

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