Reasons for Monstera adansonii Yellow Leaves

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Monstera adansonii yellow leaves may be a sign of improper care and growing conditions like humidity, temperature, watering, and light. Also, the leaves turning yellow may be due to pests, transplant shock, fertilizers, or being rootbound. But some yellowing is normal if it happens to a few lower leaves.

We will be focusing on why your Monstera leaves are turning yellow. As we do so, we will give you other reasons to expect from each cause and what you need to do. This way, it will be easier to detect the issue in your case and fix it.

That is not all. To properly know the causes, you need to assess how the yellowing occurs keenly. Does your Monstera adansonii have yellow spots, tips, edges, or the whole leaf may turn yellow? Each of these signs will help pinpoint the possible cause.

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About Monstera adansonii

Monstera adansonii is one of the popular Monstera plant species. Like others, it is native to the Central and tropical regions of South America. But it also occurs in the neighboring islands.

This aroid (belonging to the arum family Araceae) is an evergreen climbing hemiepiphyte that grows beneath tropical rainforests canopies. Its smaller, heart-shaped to oval leaves that may have a few holes in juvenile form and large, perforated leaves make it a charm you cannot afford to miss.

In the market, you will commonly find monstera adansonii narrow and wide forms. But there is Monstera adansonii variegated form too, which is rare and quite expensive. 

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Lastly, M. adansonii has other names like Swiss cheese plant or vine, Monkey Mask Monstera, Adanson’s Monstera, five-hole plant, or Cheese Swiss philodendron. Some of these common names, like Swiss cheese, also refer to Monstera deliciosa and Monstera obliqua.

Monstera adansonii care and growth needs

Since most of the causes of yellow leaves have to do with care and growing needs, here is a summary of ideal Monstera adansonii care needs. It should help you see if you are caring and growing yours at optimum conditions.

Care levelLow or easy
USDA hardiness zone11b to 12. It is not frost-hardy, and freezing conditions will kill it.
Light requirementBright, indirect light
Temperature65°F to 80°F (18 to 27 ºC)
HumidityIt prefers high humidity of 60% or more can it tolerate 40% to 50%
Best soilGo for well-drained, high organic matter, slightly acidic chunky soils, or potting mixes
WateringMedium. Only water it when the top 2 to 3 inches of the soil dries.
FertilizerMedium. Use balanced, all-purpose liquid indoor plant food.
PruningCut dry, dead, or damaged leaves with sterilized pruning scissors. Also, in the growing season, you can cut a few leaves to control growth.
RepottingRepot after every two years or when rootbound

Why leaves turn yellow

Plant leaves turn yellow due to chlorosis, i.e., a condition where a plant lacks enough chlorophyll, a green pigment. So, anything that hinders the formation or causes degradation of this pigment will make leaves turn yellow. And once they are yellow, they cannot turn green or to their original color again.

Chlorophyll is found in plant cells known as chloroplasts and is bound to protein complexes. And as you know from basic biology, chlorophyll helps synthesize plant glucose using light energy, water, and carbon dioxide.

Last but not least, plants use it for energy and making substances like starch and cellulose. Thus, it is essential.

Causes of Monstera leaves turning yellow

It is time to look at what causes yellow leaves in your Monstera adansonii. As we look at each cause, we will also give you other signs to expect and what to do.

1. Watering

Water helps transport minerals from the soil and maintain cell turgidity. Also, it is a raw material of various biological processes, including photosynthesis. Too much, too little, or water with lots of salts, chlorine, fluoride may cause chlorosis.

a). is overwatering a reason for Monstera adansonii yellow leaves?

The most common cause for Monstera adansonii yellow leaves is surprising overwatering. It is also a common issue that these plants suffer. When overwatered, the waterlogged roots cannot absorb oxygen.

Without oxygen, they will not absorb minerals and water. Both these two are essential in chlorophyll formation. Thus, your plant will not make enough chlorophyll. Also, lack of water favors chlorophyll decomposition (1). All these three will lead to chlorosis. 

The other issue that may occur to overwatered Monstera adansonii is root rot. This will further worsen the roots’ ability to absorb water. 

Signs

The two common signs to expect are soggy soil even after not watering for a few days and yellowing leaves, starting with the lower ones. But the leaves will be soft, i.e., not dry with brown edges and tips. Others are leaves drooping, mushy stem base, leaf edema, and moldy potting mix.

That is not all. You also expect brown or black splotches on leaves. Also, older leaves will drop, and your plant will grow slowly.

What to do

Feel the soil with your finger. If it is soggy and wet, hold the watering, i.e., let the top 2-3 inches of the potting is dry before a watering session. Also, check if the soil drains well (if compacted, change it), drainage holes are open, and if you maintain the right temperature and provide enough light, ventilation, etc.

If everything is fine, use a chopstick to poke some holes on the potting mix to help improve aeration.

Last but not least, if your plant has root rot (mushy brown or black roots), repot it. While doing so, clip any brown or black roots with a sterilized pruning scissor.

b). Underwatering

The other possible cause of Monstera Adansonii leaves turning yellow. The reasons are the same as overwatering, i.e., your plant cannot absorb minerals, and less water leads to a decrease in chlorophyll.

Signs

The most signs that your plant is thirsty include dried and pulled soil. Also, your monstera leaves will curl inward, droop and have crispy brown tips and edges. Also, your plant leaves will be yellow and feel papery thin.

If you don’t water your plant, it will grow slowly, have smaller leaves, wither and eventually die.

What to do

Start by feeling the top few inches of soil. If it is dry, water your plant immediately. After that, check if the soil is too dry or your plant is rootbound. These two factors may contribute quick drying of the potting mix. Also, look at environmental conditions – humidity and temperature as they affect the rate of water loss.

Finally, try to study your plant’s water needs, come with a watering schedule, and set a reminder. But don’t water your Swiss cheese plant before you feel the soil.

c). Water quality

Water quality is an unlikely reason for Monstera adansonii yellow leaves. This plant doesn’t mind tap water unless high in minerals, salts, heavy metals, chlorine, and fluorine.

Signs

High fluorine may cause yellow margins and death, while chlorine will make leaves have a burnt look – brown dead tissues on margins and in-between veins.

On the other hand, heavy metals will cause yellowing, slow growth, while some mineral salts might influence the availability of some minerals. This may cause chlorosis if they are essential in chlorophyll formation.

Fix

Unless your tap water isn’t up to standards, it will not cause these signs. If it is, then use rainwater. Filtered water is also ok. Also, you can leave tap water overnight in an open container to help dissipate some chloramines and fluoride.

Note: If watering is a challenge, learn how often to water monstera and signs of underwatered and overwatered monsteras. You will get the answers to any questions you may have.

2. Light and Monstera adansonii yellow leaves

The second most common reason for Monstera leaves chlorosis is too much or too little light. In all angiosperms or flowering plants, the manufacture of chlorophyll and chloroplasts.

That is not all. Light also plays a role in the absorption of water and nutrients. How? It increases transpiration which creates the force to pull water up the plant.

Last but not least, too much light will increase water loss by transpiration. Also, your plants will use more water. These two may make your plant thirsty.

a). Too little light

Since they need light to make chlorophyll and chloroplasts, too little will cause the yellowing of leaves. It is as simple as that. Nothing more.

Signs

Besides chlorosis, pale or whitish leaves, your plant will grow slowly. Why? Because it cannot make enough food. Also, it will be leggy, i.e., have long stems as it struggles to reach the light. And it will grow towards the light.

Leaves will be smaller, sparse, and older ones may fall, especially the older ones. If you have variegated Monstera adansonii, it will not have proper coloration.

What to do

Ensure you Monstera adansonii gets bright, indirect light. This may involve moving it to a window with more light, especially the south, east, or west-facing. But make sure it doesn’t get direct sunlight

If you live in a poorly lit room, by grow lights.

b). Too much light

Too much light will degrade chlorophyll as it burns the leaves. Thus, they may turn yellowish or look pale, whitish, and washed out. Thus, this is another reason for Swiss cheese plant yellow leaves.

Signs

Signs to expect include leaves with brown tips, edges, and some dry patches. Also, they will look washed-out, pale, or yellow. If the light causes much water loss, your Monstera leaves may droop or curl.

What to do

Move your plant from direct light. If you grow it outdoors, choose a place with dappled light, a greenhouse, or get a shade cloth.

Inside your house, place your plants away from the window, where direct light cannot hit them, especially if you have a south-facing window. A little morning and late afternoon sun on the east or west window may not cause much damage.

Lastly, make sure your plant gets enough water. When there is a lot of light, they will tend to need more water.

3. Temperature

Monstera adansonii thrive in warm places with temperatures between 60- and 80-degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 27°C). Did you know that Monstera adansonii leaves turning yellow may signify low temperature, including cold drafts or too high? How? Let us see.

a). Hight temperature and heat stress

Heat stress and high temperature will destroy chlorophyll by denaturing the protein complex that holds this green pigment. This is a possible cause for Monstera adansonii leaves turning yellow.  

Signs

Signs include leaf burn, wilting or drooping, curling, and yellowing. Other signs are leaf drop and stunted growth.

What to do

If you realize it is very high after taking the temperature, move your plant to a cooler place or a shade. Also, don’t place your plant near space heaters, radiators, fireplaces, furnaces, or any appliance that emits heat.

Last but not least, make sure your plants have enough water but don’t fertilize them yet. Also, don’t transplant or repot your plants until they heal.

b). Low temperature and cold drafts

Cold drafts and chilling temperatures will slow the chlorophyll synthesis, i.e., they inhibit enzymes involved in the synthesis and nutrients and water intake. Also, freezing temperatures will crystalize water in cells, damaging them.

Signs

What signs do you expect? The first is leaf discoloration, i.e., leaves turn whitish, yellow, brown, or black. Also, they will look faded. Other signs include leaves turning brown overnight, wilting and drooping.

What to do

Move your plants from drafty areas such as open windows and doors, patio, or porch doors. Also, don’t place your plants near air condition or clean intake air vents in warmer places. If you grow your Swiss cheese vine outdoors, move it inside your house.

3. Low humidity

Low humidity will increase the water loss from leaves by transpiration and faster water evaporation from your potting mix. If the roots cannot absorb as much water, your plant won’t have enough water. And as already seen, less water will result in chlorophyll decomposition.

Signs

Signs are similar to those of a thirsty plant. They include dry and burnt leaves with dry edges and tips, yellowing, curling, drooping, and slow growth. Additionally, your plant will have dull leaves, look limp, and some leaves may fall.

What to do

Take a humidity measurement with your hygrometer. Most brands also round up like a thermometer. Remember, this Monstera requires 60% or more above average but can tolerate levels as low as 40%.

If your reading is 40ish or below, mist your plants, buy a humidifier, or have a pebble tray. You can also group your plants or move them to humid rooms like your kitchen or bathroom.

5. Nutrient deficiency and fertilizers

Lack of nutrients is the most common cause of chlorosis in plants. These metal ions absorbed from the soil play various vital roles. A deficiency may cause yellow leaves. Let us see how.

a). Nutrient deficiency

Some nutrients like nitrogen and magnesium are part of the chlorophyll molecule, and this makes them vital. Others like manganese, iron, and zinc participate in chlorophyll manufacture. A deficiency of any of these will cause yellowing leaves in your Monstera adansonii.

Also, some like sodium, potassium, and molybdenum, among others, may affect chlorophyll manufacture indirectly. These ways will include things like affecting water and nutrients absorption and movement.  

Signs

The signs to expect will depend on which nutrient is lacking. However, chlorosis is one of these symptoms. We don’t intend to go into detail. Why? Because if you feed your plants well, it will not be an issue.

What to do

Feed your M. adansonii once a month with a balanced, all-purpose, indoor plant food when growing. The slow-release formula for potted plants is ok. Please, don’t feed them in winter or when they are not increasing. But you need to follow what manufacturers say. Also, begin feeding when spring starts.

Last but not least, avoid those with urea or not intended for houseplants.

b). Too much fertilizer

Fertilizers have salts. When used excessively, they may make it hard for plants to absorb water, i.e., the soil will have a higher osmotic pressure than the plant. Also, they may burn roots. Both these effects will make your plants unable to absorb water or nutrients.

The other effect of some fertilizers is altering soil pH. This will, in turn, affect the availability of some nutrients like iron. If your plant cannot get iron and other vital nutrients, its leaves will turn yellow.

Signs

When you apply too much plant food, you will notice fertilizer crusts on your potting mix. Also, the leaves will droop, wilt, curl, or turn yellow (starting with lower ones) and stunted growth. The other common symptom is leaf burn if your plants cannot absorb water.

What to do?

Feed as above.

6. Pests

Sap sucking pests like thrip, spider mites, aphids, scale insects, or whiteflies feed on your plants. Also, they can damage cells, including those that hold chlorophyll. Some even inject toxins into plants.

Signs

When your plants have pests, you will notice tiny stationary or moving bumps or dots that may be brown, yellow, gray, red, black, or green on leaves. Some may have waxy bodies. These bumps or dots are the bugs themselves.

Another sign you expect will depend on the bug your plant has. Common ones are leaf distortion, honeydew, sooty mold, webbing, white stippling, yellow leaves, brown spots, and so on.

What to do

Begin by hosing your plants in a sink to dislodge any of the bugs. Also, you wipe them off using a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol.

If you have a severe infestation, go for neem oil, insecticidal soaps, and horticultural oils.

8. Your plant is rootbound

When rootbound, Monsteras cannot get enough water and nutrients as they have outgrown their pots. Thus, without water or nutrients, you expect the leaves to turn yellow.

Signs

The most apparent sign is roots growing from drainage holes. Other symptoms include yellowing and browning, starting with lower ones and curling leaves. Also, your plant will grow slowly, droop, be leggy, and may drop leaves.

What to do?

If you see roots growing from drainage holes and after checking inside you see a dense root ball spiraling inside the pot, repot your Monstera adansonii.

7. Diseases

Disease caused by bacteria, viruses, and fungi may cause yellow leaves, including yellow spots. Why? Because these microorganisms parasitically feed on plant food and damage cells. This damage will result in chlorophyll reduction.

Signs and what to do

Sign your plants will show depending on the disease that your plant has. Common diseases that affect Monsteras are anthracnose, leaf spot, root rot, botrytis, rust, southern blight, and mosaic virus.

For instance, the mosaic virus will cause dark and light green or yellow patches or streaks. Please look at each of these diseases to know their signs and how to manage them.

Usual reasons for Monstera adansonii yellow leaves

Some reasons for Monstera adansonii yellow leaves are normal or are what you expect. Thus, they shouldn’t worry you. Some of these reasons include:

1. Aging

As plants age, some older, lower leaves will turn yellow then brown before falling off from your plant. This aging process is normal and is known as senescence. The yellowing occurs due to the degradation of chlorophyll.  

Just prune off any yellowing or brown leaves as they still depend on the plant but don’t contribute. Don’t forget to use a sterilized pruning shear or knife.

2. Plant shock

If you recently relocated, repotted, or transplanted your plant, some of the leaves may turn yellow or look scorched. Also, your plant leaves may curl, droop, fall, or turn brown. Even plant death is possible.

When transplanting or repotting, try to minimize root damage, keep the root ball moist, and have suitable soil. At this time, don’t prune or fertilize your plant.

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