Monstera adansonii (commonly called "Swiss cheese plants") are popular houseplants that are known for their striking fenestrated leaves and luscious trailing vines, so it can be frustrating if your plant starts to develop yellow leaves. Fortunately, this common issue can be easily resolved once you know what’s causing the problem.
Here are five common reasons the leaves on your monstera adansonii may be turning yellow.
These monsteras enjoy consistent moisture and should not be allowed to dry out between waterings. If you are letting your plant get bone dry before giving it a drink, underwatering is likely the culprit. Increasing the frequency of watering is the best way to combat this issue, but there are a few other ways to get on top of watering if you’re prone to forgetting.
First, try self-watering pots. These planters feature a water reservoir that the plant can pull from whenever it needs. All you need to do is fill the reservoir once it’s empty and let your plant do the rest.
Similarly, watering globes or stakes fulfill a similar function but are usually more affordable and easier to find. Simply fill the globe or stake with water and push it down into the soil. The plant will pull the water out as it needs and you simply need to remember to refill it once it’s empty.
Unfortunately, overwatering is a bit more of a problem than underwatering. If your plant is overwatered, you’ll notice that the soil stays wet for several days, feeling waterlogged and heavy. By the time your plant develops yellow leaves, it's a sign that root rot has started to set in.
An overwatered plant should be removed from its pot and soil immediately. Depending on the severity of the root rot, there are two possible courses of action. First, if the root rot is minor and the plant still has mostly healthy roots, the rotted roots can be pruned off and the plant can be repotted in fresh soil. Alternatively, if the root rot is severe you may need to start fresh and propagate a new plant from what’s left of your existing plant. This involves taking healthy stem cuttings (with no rot) and rooting them in either water or soil.
Lack of Light
If your monstera adansonii is not getting enough light, it will begin to sacrifice leaves in order to conserve the limited energy that it is receiving. The only way to fix this problem is to move your plant to a location that receives more light.
Your plant should be positioned within a couple of feet of a bright window. If you are unsure of whether your plant is close enough to your window, a good rule of thumb is that your plant should be able to “see” the sky through the window from where it’s sitting in order to get bright indirect light.
If your home’s windows don’t receive very much natural light due to foliage or other buildings blocking them, you may need to consider adding a grow light to your plant’s environment in order to provide it with the light it needs.
Another common cause of yellow leaves is nitrogen deficiency. Nitrogen is key in the production of chlorophyll, which gives leaves their green color and helps them convert sunlight to energy. In the wild, plants get nitrogen from the organic matter in their environment. Indoors, potted plants can absorb the nitrogen in their potting soil relatively quickly, which is why fertilizing your plants regularly becomes so important.
If your plant's moisture and light levels seem to be appropriate, nitrogen deficiency may be the underlying issue. Try introducing a nitrogen-rich fertilizer into your plant’s care routine. You should fertilize your plant no more than once a month during the active growing season (spring and summer) and stop fertilizing entirely during the fall and winter months.
Common houseplant pests can also cause your monstera adansonii to develop yellow leaves, particularly if you’re dealing with a full-blown infestation. Spider mites and mealybugs are especially common culprits to keep an eye out for. Usually, if pests are the cause, you’ll notice the yellowing leaves have a bit of a mottled look to them which can be the first clue that pests are present.
Ultimately, you’ll have to give your plant a thorough examination to be sure. Pay special attention to the undersides of the leaves, petioles, and the crevices at the base of the stems which are all areas where pests love to congregate.
If you see signs of pests, there are a few steps that you should take right away. First, isolate your plant from any other houseplants in your home. This will help to stop the spread and ensure that your treatment is effective. Next, remove any foliage that is badly damaged. Then, start applying an insecticide or natural treatment like neem oil to deal with the infestation. You’ll need to treat your plant regularly until the pests are gone, which can take several weeks.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I remove yellow leaves from my monstera?
Yellow leaves can be removed right away or left on the plant until they fall off naturally. Ultimately, the decision is up to you and whether or not you feel the yellow leaves are distracting or unsightly to look at.
Should I cut the yellow leaves off my monstera adansonii?
Yellow leaves can be cut from your plant using a pair of clean and sharp pruning shears or scissors, or you can try gently twisting the leaves off at the base to see if they pop off by themselves.
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Read the original article on The Spruce.