Monstera Plant Dying? (How to Revive it)


Why is my monstera dying

The reason for a monstera plant dying is usually because of low humidity, underwatering and cold temperatures. Monstera are tropical plants that require regular misting, temperatures between 60°F and 85°F and a through watering every 7 days. Brown, curling or drooping leaves indicate the monstera is dying due to drought.

Symptoms of Dying Monstera:Reason for Monstera Plant Dying:
Leaves Turning Yellow and Droopy:Overwatering and poor drainage cause root rot which turns leaves yellow. Lack of fertilizer and low light can also cause yellow leaves.
Monstera Plants Sweating:‘Sweating’ is one of the first signs that the soil is too damp because of overwatering, slow draining soils or pots without drainage holes in the base.
Leaves Turning Brown at the Margins:Monstera prefers high humidity at around 30% at watered thoroughly every 7 days. Low humidity and dry soil cause the leaves to droop and turn brown.
Leaves Turning Brown or Black in Patches:Brown or black spots on the monstera indicate fungal disease due to overwatering and damp soil.
Drooping Leaves and Stems:Drooping leaves and stems can be a sign the monstera is not getting enough water which can be exacerbated by high temperatures (due indoor heating) and low humidity. Transplant shock and repotting can also cause drooping. Monstera is a climbing vine which requires support, otherwise it droops.
Monstera not Growing:Low light, lack of fertilizer, temperatures lower then 50ºF (10ºC), and a lack of support for the monstera’s ariel roots to climb up.
Monstera Dying after Repotting:Repotting can be a major trauma to the roots which can interfere with their ability to draw up moisture causing the plant to die back. Repotting with the wrong potting medium can also be the cause of a dying monstera.

To revive a dying monstera it is important to recreate the conditions of its native environment with around 30% humidity, temperatures between 60°F and 85°F, bright indirect sunlight and a watering cycle of a through watering then allowing the top inch of the potting medium to dry slightly before watering again.

Keep reading to learn why your monstera plant (Swiss cheese plant) is dying and how to implement the solutions to revive your dying monstera plant…

Monstera Leaves Turning Yellow

  • Symptoms. Monstera leaves turning yellow, and often yellow and brown or with brown spots.
  • Causes. Overwatering, underwatering, lack of fertilizer, compacted soil and lack of light.

The most common reason for monstera leaves dying and turning yellow is because of overwatering and slow draining soils. Monstera requires the top 2 inches of soil to dry slightly between bouts of watering. Consistently damp soil promotes root rot, causing the monstera leaves to turn yellow with a dying appearance.

Monstera Deliciosa, Adansonii and Obliqua are hemi-eptite plants that have both ariel and terrestrial roots. The roots grow in well draining, porous, aerated soil which is composed of organic matter in rainforest environments in countries such as Panama and Costa Rica in central America.

Monstera 'Deliciosa' on the left and Monstera 'Obliqua' on the right.
Monstera ‘Deliciosa’ on the left and Monstera ‘Obliqua’ on the right.

If the monstera is watered too often and the soil is consistently damp, then this exudes oxygen from the potting soil which prevents root respiration and interferes with the roots ability to effectively draw up moisture and nutrients from the soil and surrounding humid air.

If the monstera roots cannot draw up moisture or nutrients to transport around the plant, then the leaves turn yellow as a sign of stress.

If the monstera is in saturated soil for a prolonged period then this promotes the conditions for root rot which also turns the leaves yellow and droopy with a dying appearance.

Consider that the soil could be too moist because of:

  • The soil is too compacted which means all the air has been pushed out of the soil which prevents good drainage.
  • The pot does not have drainage holes in the base.
  • The tray or saucer underneath the pot has collected a pool of water which prevents water from draining effectively and the soil can stay saturated.

Yellow monstera leaves can also indicate underwatering or a lack of fertilizer. Due to their large leaves monstera plants have a high demand for nutrients and can quickly exhaust their potting of nutrients.

Regular fertilizer application is required in the Spring and Summer to prevent monstera leaves turning yellow.

Monstera is a tropical plant that typically grows in filtered light or bright, indirect light in its native environment.

If the monstera is in a shady or dark area indoors then this contrary to its natural conditions and can contribute to a yellowing or the leaves.

How To Revive a Dying Monstera with Yellow Leaves

  • Water monstera when the top inch of the soil feels somewhat dry to the touch. Exactly how often can differ according to climate and conditions but typically watering every 7 days with a generous soak creates the optimal balance of moisture for monstera. Use your finger to detect soil moisture if you are unsure, as soon as the top inch of the soil is somewhat dry, give the monstera a through watering.
  • Always water thoroughly so that excess moisture trickles from the drainage holes in the base of the pot. This ensures that the soil is evenly moist and that the water has reached the roots where it is required. Monstera can suffer drought stress (which turns the leaves yellow) if you water too lightly. If the monstera leaves are yellow due to dry soil then they usually revive relatively quickly, after a watering cycle.
  • Empty saucers and trays underneath pots regularly. Do not allow water to pool underneath your monstera for long as this can cause root rot.
  • Always plant monstera in pots with drainage holes in the base. Monstera plants require good drainage, so water should be able to escape freely from the base of the pot.
  • Repot the monstera if the soil appears to be too dense or compacted and you cannot push your finger into the soil. If the soil is compacted the roots do not have enough oxygen for root respiration which causes the leaves to turn yellow. monstera grow best in an aerated soil so that oxygen can easily reach the roots and water can drain effectively. Repot the monstera in potting soil or compost and add about 1/3 succulent and cacti soil or orchid potting medium to help replicate the porous soil of the monstera plants native environment.
  • Move your Monstera to a location with bright, indirect light. Monstera grows as a vine in the canopy of tropical forests of central America where is perforated leaves spread out wide to capture as much light as possible. Direct sunlight can scorch the leaves and too much shade causes the leaves to turn yellow (in rooms with north facing windows for example). Monstera grows best in a well lit room with perhaps and east or west facing window.
  • Fertilize your monstera once every month in the growing season. Monstera are large foliage plants which causes them to be relatively nutrient hungry to support the large leaves. If the monstera has been in the same pot for a long time, the roots can exhaust the soil of nutrients. Also the potting soil may not be particularly nutrient dense to begin with. If your monstera has yellowing leaves with poor growth and is not suffering from overwatering or underwatering then use an all purpose houseplant fertilizer at half strength once a month from Spring until mid-summer (do not fertilize in the Fall or Winter) which should revive the yellow leaves.

If your monstera is yellow from a lack of water then it should easily revive after a good soak initially followed by a consistent water schedule, typically watering every 7 days.

However if your monstera is overwatered and the leaves continue to turn yellow with a droopy, dying appearance then monstera can be very difficult to save.

When suffering from root rot the roots appear soft, rotten and smell bad whereas they should feel firm if they are healthy.

You can take drastic action in this instance by taking the monstera out of the pot, removing the soil cutting back any diseased roots back to healthy growth with a sterile pair of pruners (wipe the pruners with a cloth soaked with disinfectant after every cut to prevent spreading any pathogens to otherwise healthy root).

However this is a significant trauma to an already unhealthy plant. What I personally recommend that you do first is to take a cutting of a monstera leaf for propagation.

Monstera propagates readily so if there are any remaining leaves and stems that appear healthy then propagation is the best way to save the plant.

Watch this helpful YouTube video for how to easily propagate monstera:

Monstera Plant Sweating

  • Symptoms. Monstera leaves and stems appear to ‘sweat’
  • Causes. Overwatering, slow draining or compacted soils and water pooling around the base of the pot in saucers and trays.

Monstera plants often ‘sweat’ in if their potting soil is too damp. Monstera requires the soil to be well draining and prefers the top inch of the soil to dry out between bouts of watering. If the monstera is sweating then this indicates you should scale back the watering immediately.

The sweating affect can usually be resolved if you let the growing medium dry out for a few days to a fingers depth. If you carry on watering without the potting soil drying out slightly then the sweating affect can be a precursor to root rot so scale back the watering immediately.

Also ensure that the potting medium is not too dense or compacted and that water can drain freely from the base of the pot.

Empty any saucers or trays of water underneath the pot to ensure the potting soil can drain effectively and the monstera should revive from its sweating appearance.

(Read my article, how often to water monstera plants).

Monstera Turning Brown or Black

Monstera leaf turning brown due to low humidity and drought stress.
Monstera leaf turning brown due to low humidity and drought stress.
  • Symptoms. Monstera leaves turning brown at the edges, often curling inwards. Monstera leaves can also turn brown or black in patches.
  • Causes. Low humidity, dry soil, overwatering, underwatering, too much sunlight or indoor heat.

Monstera leaves turn brown at the edges due to low humidity and high indoor temperatures. Monstera are tropical plants that prefer high levels of humidity and temperatures between 60°F and 85°F. Dry air from indoor heating and high temperatures, sap moisture from the monstera’s leaves causing them to turn brown.

Monstera is native to the tropical forests of central America where it grows in humid conditions in relatively stable year round temperatures.

Fortunately the typical preferred temperature range for monstera generally matches room temperature but the high temperatures, low humidity or drought stress that cause monstera leaves to turn brown can be caused by:

  • High temperatures from placing the monstera too close to a radiator, forced air or any source of heat can drive evaporation form the potting soil and dry out the leaves.
  • Air from air conditioning, draughty areas and convection currents from sources of heat all lower humidity and cause the leaves to lose too much moisture.
  • Too much direct sunlight can scorch the leaves brown (monstera leaves are especially sensitive to bright direct sunlight).
  • Not watering often enough or watering too lightly.

Generally when monstera leaves turn brown at the edges and begin to curl because of low humidity, high temperature or dry soil but if the leaves are turning brown in spots or even black then the cause is too much moisture around the roots which creates the conditions that promote fungal diseases.

There are several fungal disease pathogens that cause monstera leaves to turn brown or black but the are all caused by damp soil and overwatering.

How to Revive Dying Monstera with Brown or Black Leaves

To revive a dying monstera plant with brown leaves it is important to recreate the conditions of the monstera’s native environment by increasing the humidity to at least 30% and maintaining a temperature between 60°F and 85°F. Water the soil with a generous soak then allow the top inch to dry between bouts of watering.

  • Spray the monstera leaves with mist if the leaf margins are turning brown. This helps to reduce water loss from the leaves and creates a humid micro-climate around your monstera. If your monstera is suffering from drought stress then I’d recommend misting the leaves every day.
  • Use a humidifier to increase the humidity in arid climates. If your air is particularly dry because of the climate or the need to use indoor heating often (which lowers humidity) then a plant humidifier if a great option as they can increase the humidity to a precise level to suit your monstera plant. This is the most practical and effective way to mimic the humidity of the monstera’s native environment if you home has particularly dry air. Plant humidifiers are relatively inexpensive and available in garden centers or on Amazon.
  • Locate the monstera out the way of draughts and air currents. Consider whether the air current from air conditioning or forced air could be sapping moisture from your monstera and move the plant to a more stable environment.
  • Ensure the monstera is in a temperature range of 60°F and 85°F (The preferred temperature of monstera plants is around 68°F 20°C). This is the temperature range monstera typically prefer in their native environment, so keep monstera away from sources of heat that saps moisture from the leaves and dries out the soil too quickly. Keep monstera leaves away from cold windows. If the leaves are touching the window then they can turn black in cold weather as windows are a lot colder then the rest of the house.
  • Place monstera in an area of bright, indirect light. Monstera re climbing vines that grow in a forest canopy with bright light or some filtered light. Their leaves are sensitive to full sun which can contribute to the plant drying out and turning brown at the leaf margins or scorch the leaves yellow or brown depending on the intensity of the sun. Cut back any sun burnt leaves as they do not recover.
  • Water monstera with a thorough watering when the top inch of the potting medium feels dry. It is important to wait until the top inch of the soil feels somewhat dry to avoid overwatering but always water with a generous soak, so that excess water trickles from the drainage holes in the base of the pot. This ensures that the soil is evenly moist and that the moisture reaches the roots where it is required. Watering too lightly only moistens the top inch or so which causes the roots to grow shallow and suffer from drought stress.

If the monstera has brown leaf margins from drought stress then the leaves can recover and there is no need to cut them back. However if your leaves have been scorched by excess sunlight then cut these leaves back to the base of the plant.

Sun burnt leaves do not harm the monstera as such, but the leaves do not recover their original green appearance and cutting them back should help stimulate new growth.

If your monstera is turning brown or black in patches and the soil and the potting soil is consistently damp or you have been watering monstera more then once a week, then the reason it is dying is due to root rot or fungal disease.

Follow the steps above pertaining to monstera leaves turning yellow due to root rot as the process of reviving the plant is the same.

If your monstera is suffering from fungal disease I would recommend taking leaf cuttings from any healthy looking growth as it can be difficult to revive a plant once it has a fungal root disease.

Monstera with Drooping Leaves and Stems

  • Symptoms. Drooping leaves and stems.
  • Causes. Too much fertilizer, not enough moisture from watering too lightly, cold temperatures, not enough sunlight, overwatering and transplant shock or a lack of support for the monstera to cling to.

The reason for droopy monstera leaves is usually because of a lack of soil moisture. Monstera require a thorough watering so that excess water trickles from the base of the pot, then allow the top inch of the soil to dry out before watering again. If the soil dries out completely the monstera leaves turn droopy.

This style of watering mimics the levels of soil moisture typically experienced in the monstera’s native environmnet.

If you water too lightly, then only the top inch or so of the soil becomes moist and the water does not reach the roots where it is required.

Droopy leaves can sometimes also be in conjunction with browning leaf margins, however if the humidity is high enough the margins can still remain green even if the leaves are droopy due to drought.

Monstera in pots does require fertilizer in the growing months, but if you use too much or use fertilizer in too high concentration then the plant produces too much sap and the leaves become droopy.

Excess fertilizer use can also cause salts to accumulate in the soil which can prevent the monstera’s roots from uptaking water properly and also lead to droopy leaves.

If you have recently moved your monstera or repotted it then sometimes the leaves droop temporarily as a sign of stress.

Whilst monstera are relatively hardy and adaptable plants the monstera acclimates to the specific conditions of its surrounding in terms of temperature range, humidity and light and when they are moved to a different area, the sudden contrast in conditions can cause shock and result in droopy leaves.

If the monstera is repotted then the interference with the roots and new potting soil can make it difficult for the monstera to draw up moisture which causes droopy leaves.

Damp soil from overwatering, slow draining or overly compacted soil or pots without drainage holes in the base, also causes leaves to droop as it interferes with the roots ability to respire and uptake water.

Droopy leaves can be an early warning sign before root rot sets in.

Monstera does not like direct sunlight but if the room is not bright enough this can be a contributing factor to droopy leaves as are temperatures cooler then 60°F at night.

Also keep in mind that monstera plants are climbing vines that naturally grow up trees in their native environment, therefore it is important to provide a support for the monstera to climb such as some trellis or bamboo canes that are ideally wrapped in moss (available to buy from garden centers or online).

This replicates the growing conditions of the monstera’s natural environment and prevents the monstera from drooping.

How to Revive a Droopy Monstera Plant

  • Scale back the use of fertilizer. Whilst it is best practice to use fertilizer, do not use any additional fertilizer whilst the plant is droopy. Water your monstera with a really good soak under the facet (or tap) to help dissolve excess salts that can build up due to fertilizer which should also help to re-hydrate the monstera’s droopy leaves, then wait until the top inch of the soil feel somewhat dry (after about a week or so) before watering with a good soak again.
  • Always water monstera with a good soak so that excess water trickles from the base of the pot. Drooping leaves is one of the first signs of drought stress so give the monstera a thorough watering to ensure that the soil is evenly moist. However if the monstera’s soil is already moist then do not water as the cause of its drooping leaves could be root rot due to overwatering.
  • Locate your monstera in an area of bright, indirect light. Full sun is too intense for the sun sensitive leaves and too much shade can cause drooping leaves and stems. Place the monstera in a room of bright indirect light to mimic the monstera’s natural light conditions and it should revive.
  • Ensure the room temperature is in the range of 60°F and 85°F. Excessively hot temperatures increases water loss from the leaves which causes them to droop and cold temperatures stress the monstera which can contribute to a drooping plant. Keep the monstera away from sources of indoor heat or air conditioning to emulate the temperatures in the monstera’s natural environment.
  • Increase the humidity by misting the leaves regularly. If the monstera has been stressed due to drought then misting the leaves reduces water loss to help revive the plant. Typically monstera prefer around 30% humidity so either mist the plant regularly or buy a plant humidifier to achieve the optimal level of humidity so your monstera can revive.
  • Allow the top inch of the soil to dry out between bouts of watering. If the soil is consistently damp then overwatering is the cause of your drooping monstera rather then underwatering. Allow the top inch or so of the soil to dry out before watering again. Ensure the monstera’s pot has drainage holes in the base and empty saucers and trays underneath the pot regularly, so that excess water does not pool underneath the pot as monstera’s require good drainage.
  • Water monstera generously after repotting and ensure the potting soil is well draining. Repotting any plant can be a significant trauma to the roots which can temporarily affect their ability to draw up moisture efficiently. Water the potting soil generously to help mitigate any drought stress after repotting which can cause the leaves to droop. Use a light well draining potting mix for monstera. I personally amend the potting soil with succulent and cacti soil or orchid potting mix to help increase the drainage and replicate the soil conditions that monstera are adapted to in their native environment.
  • Emulate the monstera’s natural conditions to revive drooping leaves after moving your plant. Ensure the plant has bright indirect light, a good watering cycle (typically water every 7 days), increase the humidity by misting the leaves regularly, keep it away from sources of heat and away from air conditioning and your monstera should revive once it acclimates to its new location.
  • Use a bamboo support to keep your monstera growing upwards and prevent drooping. Monstera’s like to climb and can droop over without support so ideally buy a specific monstera support which are typically wrapped in moss to emulate the growing conditions of the monstera’s native environment. The monster naturally clings to the support and grows upwards.
Monstera with a bamboo support covered in coconut coir, ready for the ariel roots to attach and climb up.
Monstera with a bamboo support covered in coconut coir, ready for the ariel roots to attach and climb up.

Why is My Monstera Not Growing?

  • Symptoms. Stunted leaves with fewer perforations (or no perforations in the leaves) with poor growth.
  • Causes. Lack of light, temperatures lower then 50ºF (10ºC), a lack of supporting structure and a lack of fertilizer.

The reason for a monstera not growing is usually because of not enough bright light, lack of fertilizer or a lack of support. Monstera plants have a high demand for nutrients and prefer bright, indirect light for them to grow properly. Monstera plants are climbing vines that require support to grow upwards.

Monstera plants have very large leaves which require lots of nutrients for them to grow properly. If the monstera has been in the same pot for too long then the roots can exhaust the available nutrients.

Apply a half strength regular houseplant fertilizer once a month in the growing season to revive your monstera so that it starts growing properly.

Do not use fertilizer in the Fall or Winter when the plant is dormant as this can cause the leaves to droop.

Monstera are tropical plants that grow in warm temperatures and notably stop growing if the temperatures is less the 50ºF (10ºC).

Monstera also requires bright, indirect light to grow. To much shade can result in poor growth, stunted leaves with fewer perforations, so place the monstera in the brightest room of your home so that the plant has enough light and therefore enough energy to support the large leaves.

Avoid direct sunlight as this can scorch the sensitive leaves.

Always plant monstera with some kind of support. This can be some trellis, bamboo or ideally a specific monstera support product that is usually wrapped in moss.

Monstera needs to climb in order to grow so providing it with a support to cling to replicates its natural conditions so that the plant can grow upwards.

Monstera Dying After Repotting

The reason for a monstera dying after repotting is because the roots are not yet established in the new soil and cannot uptake moisture and nutrients as efficiently. This causes the monstera leaves to droop with a dying appearance after repotting.

Monstera also require well draining, porous, aerated potting soil for good drainage to avoid root rot.

If the potting soil retains too much water or is too compacted then this prevents root respiration and interferes with the roots ability draw up moisture and nutrients which can turn the leaves yellow.

Ensure that when you repot your monstera plant that you do not firm the soil around the roots too heavily as this pushes the oxygen out of the soil (required for root respiration) and prevents water from draining effectively after a bout of watering.

When repotting monstera plants I recommend amending the potting soil with succulent and cacti soil or orchid potting medium to increase the aeration of the soil and improve the drainage. This helps emulate the soil structure of the monstera’s natural environment.

It is also important to repot the monstera into a pot with drainage holes in the base to allow excess water to draing properly. Empty saucers and trays underneath the pot regularly to prevent water pooling at the potting of the pot which can cause root rot.

Key Takeaways:

  • A dying monstera is usually because of low humidity and dry soil. Monstera are tropical plants that require at least 30% humidity and a thorough watering every 7 days. If the humidity is too low or the soil dries out completely then the leaves turn brown with a drooping and dying appearance.
  • The reason monstera leaves turn yellow is because the soil is too damp from overwatering or poor drainage. Monstera requires the top inch of the soil to dry slightly between bouts of watering. If the soil is consistently damp then the monstera leaves turn yellow and droop due to root rot.
  • If a monstera plant sweats, this indicates the soil is too damp. Monstera plants require the top inch of the soil to dry out between bouts of watering. If the soil is consistently damp due to overwatering or poor drainage then the monstera starts sweating as a sign of stress.
  • Monstera leaves turn brown at the margins due to low humidity and dry soil conditions, whereas monstera leaves turn brown or black due to various fungal disease pathogens which result from overwatering and damp soils. Monstera are native to tropical forests with high humidity and moist, yet well draining soil.
  • A monstera with drooping leaves is usually because of dry soil, too much fertilizer or a lack of support. Monstera are climbing vines that require a structure to climb to prevent the plant from drooping. Too much fertilizer causes monstera to grow weak with drooping growth. Monstera have large leaves that demand lots of moisture. If the soil is dry, the leaves and stems turn droopy in appearance.
  • The reason for monstera not growing is because of not enough light, a lack of fertilizer or because the monstera does not have a structure for support. Monstera require bright, indirect light and regular fertilizer during the growing season. If the monstera is in low light and without fertilizer, the leaves do not have enough energy to grow.
  • To revive a dying monstera, emulate the conditions of its natural environment by allowing the top inch of the soil to dry between bouts of watering, locate the monstera in bright,indirect light and increase the humidity by misting the monstera’s leaves every day.

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