Monstera plants are beautiful and popular houseplants, but they can sometimes be finicky. If you’re an experienced gardener or a new enthusiast, it’s important to know what causes monstera plants to wilt and how to prevent it in the future.
In this article, we’ll talk about what to do when you notice your monstera plant browning or wilting, and how to keep it healthy and thriving!
About Monstera Plants
Monstera plants are tropical evergreens that can grow up to 20 feet tall in their natural habitat and up to 15 feet tall indoors. They’re native to Central and South America, where they’re often called “swiss cheese plants” because of the large holes which naturally occur in their leaves.
Monstera plants are popular houseplants because they’re relatively easy to care for and they make a beautiful addition to any home. However, monstera plants can be finicky, and if you don’t take care of them properly, they can start to wilt.
What Causes Monstera Plants to Wilt?
There are a few different reasons why your monstera plant might start to wilt or die, and figuring out the underlying issue is the first step toward reviving your plant.
Monstera plants are usually very hardy, but they can sometimes wilt or brown for a number of reasons. The most common causes of wilting or browning in monstera plants are overwatering, underwatering, low light levels, temperature fluctuations, root problems, pests, disease, and bad soil.
If you’re having problems with your monstera plant wilting or browning, the first thing you should do is try to determine the cause. Determining the cause is only half of the battle, but it will make fixing the problem much easier.
1 – Over-watering
This one of the most common problems with new plant enthusiasts. Daily watering isn’t necessary for most plants —even those from tropical or moist climates like monstera.
It is recommended that you water your monstera thoroughly every 1-2 weeks. This is far less than most other plants, but is important to keep in mind if you want to grow a healthy monstera plant.
If you’re watering your plant too often, the roots may begin to rot (which we’ll cover later), and the plant will start to wilt. If you think you might be overwatering your plant, try cutting back on how often you water it.
Allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings, and make sure you’re using a well-draining pot or planter. Over-watering will become apparent if you’re watering more than once every one to two weeks and the leaves begin to turn yellow or brown.
Under-watering is another common problem that can cause monstera plants to wilt or die. If you’re not watering your plant enough, the leaves will start to droop, and the plant will eventually die.
Make sure you’re giving your plant enough water, and if possible, try to use filtered or distilled water. This will help to prevent mineral buildup in the soil, which can be damaging to the roots.
If you think you might be under-watering your plant, try increasing the frequency of your waterings. Water your plant more often, and make sure the soil is moist (but not soggy) before you stop watering.
Under-watering is usually apparent if the leaves are crispy and drooping, and the soil is dry.
3 – Low Light Levels
Monstera plants need bright, indirect light to grow properly. They are native to tropical America, where they grow under the cover of tree canopies, with little direct watering and sunlight, but plenty of humidity and ambient heat.
If they’re not getting enough light, they’ll start to wilt and die, or refuse to grow. If possible, try to place your monstera plant near a window where it will get plenty of bright, indirect light. You can also use grow lights to help boost the light levels, but only do so if you’re able to filter the light.
Direct sunlight will scorch the leaves of the monstera plant, so it’s important to make sure they’re not getting direct sunlight. If the leaves are starting to turn yellow or brown, and you think it might be due to low light levels (or too much sunlight), try moving your plant to a brighter location, like a bright room which receives little direct sunlight.
4 – Temperature Fluctuations
Monstera plants like warm temperatures, as they’re native to tropical climates. They will start to wilt if the temperature drops too low. They can tolerate some fluctuations, but if the temperature drops below 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15.5 degrees Celsius), they will start to experience stress.
This can cause the leaves to droop, brown, or fall off entirely. If possible, try to keep your monstera plant in a room that is between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit (21-26.6 degrees Celsius).
If you think the temperature might be causing your plant to wilt, try moving it to a warmer location. If the temperature is too cold, you can also try using a space heater or placing the pot on top of a heating pad (set on low) to help warm up the roots.
Using a space heater may also result in reduced humidity in the room, but placing your potted monstera on top of a humidity tray can help to maintain humidity levels.
5 – Root Problems
One of the most common problems potted plants are at risk of is root-rot. This is a condition in which the roots become infected with fungus, which eventually devours the roots and kills the plant. Root-rot is often caused by over-watering, and soil which drains poorly, or if the pot has no drain holes in the bottom.
Root-rot must be treated immediately by removing the plant from its soil, trimming off all affected parts with sterilized scissors or gardening shears (using a diluted hydrogen peroxide solution or organic fungicide), sterilizing the pot and plant leaves, and replanting it in fresh soil. Once planted, water thoroughly and don’t water again until the soil is dry (after 1-2 weeks).
If the roots of your monstera plant are damaged, the plant will start to wilt. The roots may become damaged during repotting, so it’s important to exercise caution. Check the condition of the roots regularly, and if you see any signs of damage or disease, treat it immediately.
6 – Soil Quality
The quality of your soil will have a big impact on the health of your monstera plant. Monstera plants need well-draining soil that is rich in nutrients. If the soil doesn’t drain well, the roots will start to rot (which we already covered), and if it’s not nutrient-rich, the plant will start to experience stress and eventually die.
To ensure your monster plant is getting the nutrients it needs, fertilize it regularly with a balanced fertilizer (one that is high in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium).
7 – Water Quality
The water you use to water your monstera plant also plays a role in its health. If the water is too hard (high in minerals), it can build up in the soil and eventually poison the plant.
It’s best to use filtered or distilled water for watering, and if you’re using tap water, let it sit out for 24 hours before using it so that the chlorine has time to evaporate.
8 – Pests & Diseases
Another common reason why monstera plants wilt is due to pests or diseases. Two of the most common pests are mealybugs and spider mites.
These pests will feed on the plant, which will cause the leaves to turn yellow or brown and eventually drop off. It’s difficult to spot these pests due to their small size (often not until most of the damage has been done), so it’s important to check for them regularly.
If you think your plant has pests, check for tiny insects or webs on the underside of the leaves.
Diseases can also cause monstera plants to wilt. The most common disease is root rot (which we already covered), but other diseases like powdery mildew, or anthracnose can also affect monsteras.
These diseases are often caused by too much moisture or poor air circulation. To treat them, sterilize the plant using an organic anti fungal solution, and then increase the airflow around the plant using a fan.
The best way to prevent your monstera plant from wilting is to provide it with the proper care from the start. That means giving it well-draining soil that is rich in nutrients, watering it every 1-2 weeks (or when the soil is completely dry) with filtered or distilled water, and keeping it in a temperate environment with plenty of air flow and indirect sunlight.
You can also protect your plant from pests and diseases by using an organic pesticide or fungicide. Regularly inspecting your plant for any signs of damage or disease is also key to preventing wilting.
Wilting is a common problem with monstera plants, but it can often be prevented by providing the plant with the proper care. If your plant starts to wilt, check for signs of root-rot, pests or diseases, and poor soil quality.
Make sure to follow these tips, and your monstera will grow to be large and healthy!
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.