Monstera Brown Spots, Tips, Edges, or Browning Leaves

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Monstera brown spots, tips, edges, or browning of leaves are likely to be underwatering, overwatering, low humidity, too much light, cold drafts, or heat stress sign. But this browning may occur due to diseases, pests, aging, overfeeding, transplant shock, or water quality issues.

To quickly identify the most probable cause, you need to look at other signs present. The browning rarely occurs alone. Instead, leaves may also droop, curl, turn yellow, wilt, have lesions, and so on.

We will be talking about the various cases and giving you other most likely signs and fixes. If you use what we have, you can eliminate some causes and pinpoint the exact reason for your case.

Last but not least, the causes of brown spots or tips on Monstera species are the same, i.e., it will apply to your Monstera adansonii, deliciosa, siltepecana, obliqua, Peru, dubia, standleyana, and any other species you have.

Monstera brown spots, tips, edges, browning leaves causes
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Brown spots, tips, or leaves cause and what to do

Leaves turn brown after depletion of all other light-sensitive pigments like chlorophyll, leaving behind tannins. By this time, the leaf is mostly dead. Also, note that it cannot revert to green or its original color.

Here are the reasons for your Monstera getting brown spots, tips, patches, or leaves browning:

1. Low humidity

As the University of Madison–Wisconsin states, “the leaf edges will turn brown if humidity is too low.” Also, expect leaves to curl, turn yellow, droop, and your plant will have more water needs.

Low humidity will increase water loss from leaves. Also, the potting mix will dry fast, clothes or spills in your house will also quickly dry.

What to do

Mist your plant a few times a week, have a pebble tray,  group your plants or take them to the bathroom, kitchen, or any other room high in humidity.

If humidity is too low, buy or run a humidifier.

2. Underwatering

Leaves curling, crispy brown tips or edges, a dry potting mix, and your Monstera plant drooping or wilting indicate underwatering. Also, your plant will grow slowly, and leaves may fall.

Fix

Give your plant a proper drink and check if it is rootbound, the pot is too small, or your potting mix doesn’t hold moisture. If the potting mix is the issue, replace it, going for one with a generous amount of peat moss and perlite.

Afterward, water it when the potting mix’s top 2-3 inches feel dry. Don’t follow a watering schedule. If you forget, set reminders or use a self-watering pot. See more on how often to water Monstera.  

3. Overwatering

Is your potting mix soggy even after not watering for a few days, your lower Monstera leaves are yellow, or there are black or brown splotches? It may be overwatering.

Overwatering will make the potting mix soggy, cutting off oxygen from roots. So, they cannot function well. Also, it will increase the chances of root rot. Other signs include wilting or dropping leaves that feel soft, moldy potting mix, mushy stem base, etc.

What to do

Hold the watering, check if the soil drains and drainage holes are open. Also, ensure your plant gets bright, indirect light, temperatures are optimum 65 to 85 degrees, and air circulates.

Replace soils if heavy – use a chunky, well-draining, organic-rich mix. If you see black or mushy roots, repot your plant

4. Water quality

Water quality is an unlikely cause of Monstera brown leaves. Nonetheless, if high in salts, chlorine, or fluoride, it could. Salts will accumulate in soil and make it hard for plants to absorb water.

Chlorine will cause leaf scorch (brown tips and edges), and fluoride will accumulate on leaf margins causing chlorosis, browning, and necrosis.

What to do

Use filtered or rainwater if your municipal tap water is high in chlorine, salts, or fluoride. Also, let water stand in an open container overnight before using it if chlorine is the issue. It helps dissipate some.

5. Too much light

Plants convert excess light to heat energy and dissipate it. But if it’s too much, it may degrade chlorophyll, making leaves turn yellow, washed out, or bleached. Also, it will cause brown patches in-between veins, on tips, and edges since it increase water loss from leaves.

What to do

Please don’t place your Monstera on direct sunlight or windows where they get direct sunlight, especially the south-facing window or west. If you use grow lights, place them at the correct distances. Learn more on Monstera light needs.

6. Heat stress

Heat stress will cause brown tips and edges or leaf scorch, wilting or drooping, curling, yellowing, falling off, and so on. The excess heat affects normal plant function and accelerates water loss from leaves.

What to do

Move outdoor Monstera to a shade during hot summers or heat waves. Inside your home, don’t place plants near heat-emitting appliances or vents like room heating systems, radiators, furnaces, and so on.

7. Low temperature and cold drafts

Chilly or freezing conditions and cold drafts will make water in plants crystalize, damaging tissues. Signs include discoloration – leaves will turn whitish, yellow, brown, or black, with some turning brown overnight, and your plant may also droop.

What to do

Move plants from drafty areas, close windows, or use blinds to prevent drafts. When outdoor temperature falls below 50 degrees, move houseplants indoors. Also, avoid placing plants near AC vents.

8. Pests

Sap-sucking pests like whiteflies, spider mites, scale insects, mealybugs, or thrips may cause whitish, yellow, black, or brown spots on Monstera leaves. They damage cell tissues.

The bugs will appear as bumps or dots that may move or not. And depending on which one, you may see silvery stippling, webbing, honeydew, sooty mold, etc. Severe infestation may cause mishappened leaves, wilting, curling, etc.

What to do

If you properly care for your plant, including cleaning your Monstera leaves, you will notice them before they can cause severe damage. Use insecticidal soaps, horticultural oils, or neem oil to control these pests.

9. Diseases

Monstera brown spots or patches on leaves or stems are a likely sign of diseases, especially fungal and bacterial leaf spot diseases, blights, or rusts. Some cases of root rot may also cause brown to black lesions on leaves and stems.  

When caused by bacterial leaf spot diseases like Pseudomonas cichorii or Xanthomonas species, lesions are water-soaked and may have a yellow halo. It may start as yellow, turn to brown, dark brown, or black. Also, they may grow.

Fungal diseases like anthracnose or botrytis or those that cause Monstera root rot but still affect leaves like Rhizoctonia and Sclerotium rolfsii (Southern Blight) will cause lesions or cankers that are not water-soaked.

What to do

To prevent diseases, practice proper sanitation, i.e., wash hands, disinfect gardening equipment, etc. Also, isolate diseased plants, discard those with bacterial infections, and use fungicide on fungal disease.

Root rot will need repotting and fixing overwatering issues. See more on Monstera root rot.

10. Overfeeding

While vital for healthy growth and lush leaves, too much fertilizer may cause fertilizer burn on your houseplants. Signs include yellowing or browning leaves, including on tips and edges, withering, crusts of fertilizer on soil, slow growth, etc.

Too much fertilizer will cause salts accumulation in soil, making it hard for your plants to absorb water or nutrients. Also, they can alter soil pH or burn roots.

What to do

Hold the fertilizing and leach the soil (pour lukewarm water through the potting mix for about 20-30 minutes). Then only feed once monthly with an all-purpose, balanced liquid houseplant fertilizer.

11. Rootbound

If you haven’t repotted your Monstera for a long time and you see roots growing from drainage holes, stunted growth, yellowing of leaves, a leggy plant or brown edges or tips, your plant is rootbound. Also, leaves may fall and curl.

It happens because the plant has outgrown the pot and cannot get enough water or nutrients.

What to do

Your Monstera plant needs repotting. Use a pot 2-3 inches wider in diameter and do it in spring or summer, unless necessary.

12. Brown leaves after repotting

Did you recently transplant or relocate your plant? Leaves turning brown or having crispy brown tips and edges is a sign of plant shock. Other symptoms include leaves curling, yellowing, falling, etc.

What to do

If you have already transplanted your Monstera, keep humidity high, the soil moist, and place your plant on bright indirect light. It will recover with time. When repotting or transplanting, minimize root damage.

13. Aging

Just as we grow old, plants age too, and the process is known as plant senescence. Hormones will begin degrading chlorophyll and other pigments, making the leaves turn yellow, brown, or dark brown as they die or fall.

There is nothing you can do about it. But it should happen to a few lower leaves at a time.

Should I cut brown Monstera leaves?

It depends on the extent of browning and the cause. If due to diseases, cut the brown leaves or discard the plant immediately. Use using sterilized gardening scissors. Also, cut leaves that are mostly or entirely brown or yellow. They don’t contribute much to the plant and may attract pests.

On the other hand, if only tips or edges are brown, please trim the brown area. And for brown patches or spots scattered all over the leaves, remove the leaf too, as it will look unsightly unless they are minor.

Bottom line

We’ve looked at all the possible reasons for Monstera black spots, tips, edges, or leaves. Here is a summary.

  • Brown tips and edges: Likely an indication of underwatering, low humidity, too much light, heat stress, transplant shock, water quality, or overfeeding
  • Browns spots: Possibly an issue with pests or diseases, and rarely overfeeding or overwatering.
  • Brown Monstera leaves: It may occur due to aging, cold drafts, and rarely due to overwatering.

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