Monstera leaves turning brown: The Causes – How to Fix

Navigating the reasons behind Monstera leaves turning brown can be a complex task. Too much light, not enough light, imbalanced watering, not humid enough, or exposure to pests and diseases are potential causes. This article takes a deep dive into each of these factors, from how they mess with your Monstera to the steps you can take to fix the problem. By knowing why your Monstera’s leaves are browning, you can give the best possible care and help your plant thrive.

Monstera brown leaves because of too much light

While Monsteras are tropical plants that like bright, indirect sunlight, they can’t handle intense, direct sunlight for a long time. When these plants get too much direct sunlight, it can cause a condition called sunburn, which can then cause browning leaves.

Initially, sunburn in Monsteras might show up as yellowing or a paler shade of green in the leaves. This discoloration is an early warning sign that your plant is getting more light than it can handle. If the plant continues to receive too much light, the affected areas will eventually turn brown and might even feel crispy.

In particular, a south-facing window with full sun exposure can be a bad spot for your Monstera plant. Although it might seem like a bright spot, the ssevere leaf damage.

If you see signs of sunburn on your Monstera, it is important to move the plant to a location with less direct sunlight. Monsteras prefer bright, indirect light, such as that from an east- or north-facing window. Monsteras can tolerate lower light conditions, but their growth will be slower.

If the browning is extensive, you may need to trim off the damaged leaves to prevent the spread of damage and encourage the plant to produce new, healthy foliage. To avoid spreading disease, be sure to make clean cuts with sterilized scissors or pruners.

You may also like: Monstera light requirements: How much does they need

Too little light

While too much light can be bad for Monstera plants, too little light can be just as bad. These tropical plants, native to the rainforest floors, need a balance of light to thrive. Too little light can make the plant get weak and, over time, lead to browning leaves.

When Monsteras don’t get enough light, they struggle to perform photosynthesis, the process by which plants convert light energy into the food they need to grow. This lack of energy can make the plant get weak and its leaves to start browning as a sign of stress.

Usually, the browning due to not enough light starts at the edges of the leaves and slowly spreads inward. If left unaddressed, the leaves may eventually droop and die, damaging the appearance and health of your plant.

If you see this pattern of browning in your Monstera, it’s a big sign that your plant needs more light. While Monsteras don’t need sun hitting directly, they do benefit from bright, indirect light. A spot near an east or north-facing window, or in a well-lit room with spread out light, is great.

It’s also worth noting that Monsteras may need more light in their growing time – spring and summer – than in the winter months. Paying attention to your plant’s lighting needs throughout the year can help keep it healthy and prevent browning leaves.

Pro Tip: If you are providing the correct amount of light but your Monstera leaves are still turning brown, it may be a sign of other environmental issues such as Too much or Too little water and Too much or Too little fertilizer.

Monstera brown leaves due to Overwatering

Too much water is usually why your Monstera leaves start turning brown. This problem isn’t just with Monstera plants, it’s pretty common with many indoor and outdoor plants too. Too much water makes the soil waterlogged and there’s not enough air, causing the roots to choke and finally rot.

The first sign of overwatering in Monstera plants is the appearance of dark brown spots or patches on the leaves. These spots are your plant’s SOS, showing that the roots aren’t healthy because of too much water. If you ignore it, things can get worse, leading to more browning, also become wilted, yellow, or drop off and the plant might even die.

If you think you’re overwatering and your Monstera leaves turning brown is severe, it’s important to act right away. Think about moving the plant to new, dry soil. Doing so can give the plant a fresh start and stop more root rot. Make sure the new soil drains well and has lots of air to avoid the overwatering problem again.

Also, it’s really important to change how you water your plant. Monstera plants usually like their soil a bit dry between waterings. A good rule of thumb is to water your Monstera only when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. They typically need to be watered once a week during the spring and summer, and every few weeks during the fall and winter. Doing this lets the roots breathe and helps your plant be healthier.

Underwatering Effects on Monstera

Not giving your Monstera enough water is another common reason that can make the leaves turn brown. Not enough water can make the leaves curl up, and the edges and tips go brown. In more serious cases, the whole leaf may brown and eventually fall off.

To avoid underwatering your Monstera, here are some preventive measures:

  • Potting: Make sure your Monstera is in a pot with enough holes for water to escape. This helps any extra water get out, stopping the roots from waterlogging.
  • Watering: When you water your Monstera, be thorough but careful. The plant needs enough water to get deep into the soil, but let the soil dry out a little between watering times.
  • Lighting: Where your plant is matters too. Monstera loves bright, indirect sunlight.

If your Monstera already has brown leaves because it’s not getting enough water, here’s how you can help:

  • Watering: Change how you water. Give the plant a lot of water, but let the soil dry out a bit between times.
  • Humidity: Make it more humid around your Monstera. You can do this by spraying the leaves or putting the plant in a more humid room.
  • Lighting: Give your plant bright, indirect sunlight, which will help its overall health and recovery. Remember, making the perfect setting is the secret to bringing your Monstera back to life.


Monstera plants can sometimes be attacked by various pests, like spider mites, aphids, mealybugs, and scale insects. These pests can cause brown spots on your Monstera’s lovely green leaves.

Here’s how these pests impact your plant:

  • Spider Mites: These tiny, eight-legged pests suck the plant’s sap. You might know they’re there by their webs on the undersides of leaves or by yellow, brown, or dotted spots on the leaves.
  • Aphids: These small, squishy bugs, which can be green, black or white, also take nutrients from the plant. They can make leaves curl, wilt, and eventually fall off.
  • Mealybugs: Recognizable by their small size and white, cottony covering, mealybugs drain sap from the plant, causing leaves to yellow, curl, and fall off.
  • Scale Insects: Small and with a hard shell, these pests, too, suck plant sap. They can be brown, black, or white, and their presence can make leaves yellow, curl, and fall off.

If you see brown spots on your Monstera’s leaves, it’s really important to check for bugs. This means looking closely at the leaves, stems, and especially the undersides of leaves for any signs of these unwanted visitors.

You should treat any bugs you find right away. You can do this with insecticidal soap, neem oil, or horticultural oil. Picking bugs off the plant can also work, especially for bigger insects.

After you treat it, keep a close eye on your Monstera for any signs the bugs are back. You might need to treat it again if you see new signs of bugs.

Dry air

Dry air can hurt Monstera leaves, because it stops them from getting the moisture they need to be really healthy. Dry air makes the stomata on the Monstera’s leaves close, which leads to water loss and the plant getting dehydrated. This can make the edges of the leaf go brown and brittle, leading to an unhealthy plant.

Monstera brown leaves

To help prevent this, make sure to spray the Monstera’s leaves with water regularly and keep the room humid with a humidifier. Also, don’t put your Monstera near air vents or drafty windows where it could get hit by dry air. Doing these things can help keep your Monstera happy and healthy.

Cold draft

Your Monstera might get brown leaves if it gets hit with cold drafts, this happens due to a few things. First off, freezing temperatures can freeze the water inside the leaves, causing the cells to get damaged and then die. Secondly, cold drafts can speed up water loss in the plant, leading to dehydration that shows up as brown leaves. Lastly, the stress from the cold drafts can make the plant more prone to diseases.

If you notice your Monstera’s leaves are going brown because of cold drafts, there’s a few steps you can do to help the plant get better. Start by moving the plant to a spot away from cold air coming in. You also need to get the air around the plant more humid; you can do this by moving it to a more humid room or using a humidifier. Make sure to water the plant more often too, as this helps in maintaining hydration levels. Remember, getting better takes time, so being patient is really important. Your Monstera will need some time to heal and get back to normal.

Low humidity

Monstera plants, being native to the tropics, often start getting brown spots on their leaves when it’s not humid enough. This problem usually starts at the leaf edges and then moves inward. Low humidity can also make leaves curl or wrinkle and, if you don’t do anything, can eventually cause leaves to fall off.

Having a good setup can stop your Monstera from getting brown leaves from dry air. Here’s some strategies:

  • Put the Plant in Humid Rooms: Some rooms in your house, like bathrooms and kitchens, usually have more humidity. Moving your Monstera to these rooms can really improve how it lives.
  • Use a Humidifier: You can increase the humidity around your plant by using a humidifier. This is a really good move during winter, when the air inside often doesn’t have enough moisture.
  • Water it Right: Monsteras should be watered when the top bit of soil is dry. It’s really important not to give it too much water, as this can make leaves go brown too.

If your Monstera has already started getting brown leaves from dry air, don’t worry; you can do a few things to help your plant get back to normal:

  • Pruning Brown Leaves: Getting rid of the bad leaves can stop the brown from spreading to the rest of the plant.
  • Increasing Humidity: Just like what you can do to stop the problem, making the air around the plant more humid by using a humidifier or moving it to a humid room can help.

With careful attention and the right changes, your Monstera should start to grow fresh, healthy leaves again, bringing back its bright tropical look.


Monsteras, while generally easy to look after, often suffer from too much plant food, which leads to leaves turning really brown. This is usually a sign of root damage from too much plant food, which then leads to the plant not getting enough nutrients.

Brown leaves on Monsteras are usually the result of a few common mistakes with plant food. Using too much plant food beyond what it says on the label is a common mistake. Also, using plant food that’s too strong for the Monstera can cause this problem. So, it’s a good idea to start with a milder fertilizer and then slowly make it stronger based on how the plant grows.

If you’ve given your Monstera too much plant food, there are things you can do to help it recover.

  1. Soil Flushing: The first thing to do is give the soil a good rinse. This will help get rid of extra plant food in the soil. You can do this by pouring water into the soil until it starts coming out of the holes at the bottom of the pot.
  2. Repotting: The next step is to put the plant in fresh soil, providing the plant with a rejuvenated environment. When you’re doing this, it’s really important to use a potting mix specifically curated for tropical plants, like Monsteras.
  3. Pruning Brown Leaves: Finally, you should get rid of any leaves that have gone brown. This can stop the problem from spreading to the rest of the plant.

Remember, each plant is different and will behave differently with care. Always keep an eye on your plant’s health and change how you look after it if you need to. The right amount of plant food is key to keeping your Monstera green and healthy.

Monstera leaves turning brown due to overfertilization

To stop giving your monstera too much plant food, it’s best to keep to a regular schedule and only use the recommended amounts. You can avoid overdoing it by using a balanced plant food, one that’s half nitrogen and half phosphorus, as well as other trace elements like potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Also, always water the plant before giving it plant food to wash away any extra salt or minerals from the soil.

Nutrient Deficiencies

Brown leaves on Monstera plants can really freak out any plant lover. The real reason can be different, but one common reason is missing nutrients. Here are the typical nutrients that your Monstera may be missing, which can turn its leaves brown:

  • Nitrogen deficiency: Nitrogen is a key part in plant growth. Not having enough nitrogen can first cause the leaves to turn yellow while the veins stay green. If not fixed quickly, this can get worse, resulting in the leaves turning brown.
  • Phosphorus deficiency: Phosphorus is super important for plant growth and blooming. When a Monstera doesn’t have enough phosphorus, its leaves can turn dark green or even purplish, while the veins stay green. Just like with nitrogen shortage, if you don’t pay attention to this, it can make the leaves turn brown.
  • Potassium deficiency: Known for helping plants fight pests and diseases, potassium is another crucial nutrient for Monsteras. Not having enough potassium shows up as yellow leaves with brown spots or streaks. If it’s really bad, the leaves may curl and fall off.
  • Magnesium deficiency: Magnesium is the secret to successful photosynthesis in plants. When there’s not enough magnesium, Monstera leaves can turn yellow between the veins, while the veins themselves stay green. This shortage, too, can turn leaves brown if not fixed quickly.

If you think your Monstera plant might be missing some nutrients, it’s a good idea to test the soil. This will help you to know exactly which nutrients are missing. After the soil test, top up these nutrients using the right fertilizers or foliar sprays to help your Monstera get its lush green health back.

Transplant shock

Monstera plants can show a bunch of different symptoms when they’re not happy, one of which is the leaves turning brown. This can be pretty common when the plant has been moved or repotted. Post-move stress, a condition that happens when a plant’s roots get messed up while being moved or repotted, is a common reason for this.

A few things contribute to the leaves turning brown when a plant’s under post-move stress:

  1. Root Damage:  Moving a plant often results in some root harm. This can happen during the actual repotting or because of a move to a new place with different soil conditions. As the damaged roots can’t absorb water and nutrients properly, the plant’s leaves may turn brown.
  2. Plant Stress:  The act of moving itself can stress out the plant. The Monstera needs to adjust to a bunch of new conditions like changes in soil, light, and humidity. This high-stress state can weaken the plant, making it more likely to get symptoms like leaves turning brown.
  3. Water Stress: After moving a plant, watering it properly is super important. But, you need to get it just right – the soil needs to be damp, but it shouldn’t be waterlogged. Soil that’s too wet can suffocate the roots, causing the leaves to turn brown.

If you notice that your Monstera leaves are turning brown after moving it, here are a few things you can do to help your plant get better:

  • Proper Watering: Making sure you’re watering it the right way is super important. The plant should be watered thoroughly but let the soil dry out a bit between each watering.
  • Humidity Management: Raising the humidity around the plant can be a good thing. This can be done either by misting the leaves or placing the plant in a room with more humidity.
  • Optimal Lighting: Giving the plant bright, but indirect sunlight can promote healthy growth. Be careful to avoid exposing the plant to harsh direct sunlight, which could burn the leaves.

If you want to replant your monstera properly read this article: How and When to Repot Monstera to keep your plant happy


Diseases are the most common reason for brown spots on monstera leaves. Two of the most common diseases that can change the color in monstera leaves are eyespot disease and anthracnose.

Eyespot disease is caused by a fungus that infects the leaves, making circular or oval spots that range from pale yellow to dark brown with a gray center.

Anthracnose is caused by a fungus that makes long, irregular spots or damage on the leaves.

Both diseases can be treated with fungicides and ways to prevent such as proper watering and cleaning. Proper pruning and feeding the plant can also help to keep monstera plants healthy and free from disease. If you have a monstera plant with brown spots, it’s super important to correctly identify the reason before trying to fix the problem.

Tips to care for and prevent monstera brown leaves

Monstera plants are loved for their beautiful, big leaves with distinct holes. Sadly, sometimes these leaves turn brown or change color because of damage or not being cared for properly. Here are some tips to help stop and take care of brown monstera leaves:

  1. Provide enough light – Monstera plants need bright indirect sunlight to protect their leaves from developing brown spots and edges. If you don’t have a window with lots of sun, try using a grow light to give your plant the light it needs.
  2. Keep soil moist – To stop the monstera leaves from turning brown, make sure the soil is kept damp but not wet. You can do this by feeling the top of the soil to see if it’s dry before watering your plant.
  3. Mist regularly – Along with keeping your monstera well watered, regularly misting with a water bottle will help keep its leaves free of brown spots.
  4. Wipe the leaves – Monstera leaves can collect soil and dust, so make sure to wipe them off from time to time with a soft cloth or even just your fingers. This will help keep the leaves free of any build-up that could lead to brown spots.
  5. Prune away dead leaves – If you notice the leaves of your monstera turning brown and yellow, it’s best to cut them off. This will help keep the plant looking good and promote new growth.
  6. Don’t overwaterOverwatering Monstera can cause root rot, which can then lead to brown spots on the leaves of your monstera plant. Make sure you’re not over-watering your plant and that the soil drains well to stop root rot.
  7. Avoid direct sunlight – Direct sun can harm monstera leaves, making them turn brown and bleach. Make sure to move your monstera away from any windows or other places with direct sun to protect its leaves.

Conclusion: Holistic Approach to Prevent Monstera Leaves Turning Brown

o sum it up, Monstera leaves turning brown can be signs of a bunch of different issues, from light conditions, water management, pests, humidity, to missing nutrients. It’s super important to look at everything when it comes to the health of your Monstera.

Too much or too little light can lead to the leaves turning brown, so you need to get it just right with bright, indirect light. Watering is another thing where balance is important, as both giving too much water and not giving enough water can change the color of the leaves. Keeping an eye out for pests and diseases can help you catch and fix these problems early.

Air conditions, including dry air, cold drafts, and low humidity, can also make leaves turn brown. Staying on top of possible cold drafts, keeping the right humidity, and avoiding dry air can also lead to brown leaves. Being proactive about identifying potential cold drafts, maintaining suitable humidity, and avoiding dry air can enhance your Monstera’s wellbeing.

Plus, nutrient management plays a role in maintaining a healthy Monstera. Both overfertilization and nutrient deficiencies can cause brown leaves, so regular, balanced fertilization is essential.

Sorting out stuff like transplant stress quick and right can stop leaves from browning and fix them. Giving it a chill space after moving really helps it bounce back.

With FamiPlants, you’ll find tons of good advice and tips on looking after your Monstera. Using this stuff, you can get the hang of when your plant’s stressed out, avoid possible problems, and make it healthy again.

So, if your Monstera leaves are turning brown, don’t panic. Look at your plant as a whole, think about all the possible reasons, and fix things based on that. With the right love, your Monstera can get back to being bright and happy super quick.

Hi, I'm Cathleen Clemens. I graduated from Cornell University with a degree in plant science. I gained detailed knowledge about various kinds of plants and how to properly care for them. My experience has enabled me to easily detect any issues such as pest infestations, nutrient deficiencies, or signs of diseases in the plants.

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