4 Reasons For Brown Spots On Your Monstera (& How To Treat It)

Monstera plants have become the darling of the indoor plant world.

Their sweeping, glossy leaves and dramatic perforations have deeply imprinted the hearts of plant enthusiasts and interior design lovers alike.

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But what happens when these vibrant green queens of the tropics begin to don a constellation of brown spots?

One of our Facebook page followers asked us just that, along with this photo of their beautiful Monstera, now showing patches of brown on its leaves.

Photo originally posted here – thanks for allowing us to use it, Minz!

The unease that settles in can leave you frantically scrolling through plant forums in the dead of night, fervently whispering plant pep-talks, or throwing a worried glance at your green friend more often than you’d care to admit.

Take a deep breath, fellow Monstera maven. You’ve landed in the right place.

In this article, we will untangle the root causes of these unsightly brown spots and offer practical solutions to restore your Monstera to its glorious, green self.

Rest assured, these blemishes don’t have to be a life sentence for your beloved plant.

With the right knowledge, a keen eye, and a bit of nurturing, your Monstera can reclaim its crown as the undeniable showstopper of your indoor garden.

Common Reasons for Brown Spots on Monstera

Finding brown spots on your beloved Monstera can be disheartening, especially if you’re unaware of the reasons behind it.

Close up of brown spot on a Mosntera leaf

Different factors can contribute to the development of brown spots on your Monstera’s leaves, even when you feel that you are providing it with proper care.

Being aware of these causes will help you identify the root of the problem and address it in a timely manner.

In this section, we’ll discuss the common reasons for brown spots on your Monstera and how to treat them.

1. Underwatering

Underwatering can cause your Monstera’s leaves to develop brown spots.

When not provided with enough water, your plant’s cells may become damaged, leading to these unsightly spots.

To prevent underwatering, monitor the soil moisture, and ensure it is consistently moist but not overly wet.

  • Water your Monstera when the top 1-2 inches of soil feels dry to the touch
  • Be sure to use well-draining soil to maintain a proper balance of moisture

2. Overwatering

Watering a monstera plant in pot

Similarly, overwatering can also lead to brown spots on your Monstera’s leaves. Excess water can cause root rot and suffocate your plant, resulting in damaged cells and browning.

  • Allow the soil to dry slightly between waterings
  • Be mindful not to let your Monstera sit in standing water

3. Pest Infestation

Pests like spider mites, mealybugs, and scale can also cause brown spots on your Monstera. These pests feed on your plant’s sap, leading to cellular damage.

To treat pest infestations:

  • Inspect your Monstera regularly for signs of pests
  • Remove infested leaves or apply natural insecticides such as neem oil or insecticidal soap

Check out the Natria neem oil spray on Amazon.

4. Nutrient Deficiencies

Brown spots on your Monstera may indicate nutrient deficiencies, commonly caused by a lack of nitrogen, potassium, or magnesium.

To address nutrient deficiencies:

  • Regularly feed your Monstera with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer
  • If you suspect a specific nutrient is lacking, consider adding supplements like Epsom salts for magnesium or a micronutrient blend for potassium and other essential nutrients

How to Diagnose the Cause Correctly

hands with gloves wiping a monstera leaf

Panicking about your Monstera’s brown spots? Calm down and take the first steps.

Examining the Plant

First, take a close look at your Monstera plant. Pay attention to the leaves, stems, and roots.

Are the brown spots concentrated on older leaves, new growth, or spread uniformly on the plant?

Make a note of the affected areas as this can help you pinpoint the cause more accurately.

  • Look for yellowing leaves, as this may indicate overwatering or poor drainage.
  • Check for crispy edges, which can indicate underwatering or humidity issues.
  • Inspect if there’s browning and softening at the base of the plant, which could be due to root rot from overwatering.

Checking Watering Routine

Re-evaluate your Monstera’s watering routine. Are you providing enough water to keep the soil consistently moist?

Or are you overwatering, causing root rot and browning of the leaves? Here is a brief guide to consider:

  • Check the soil moisture: Monstera plants prefer to be evenly moist. Stick your finger 1-2 inches into the soil to see if it’s dry, moist, or wet.
  • Water when the top 1-2 inches of soil are dry: If the soil is dry, water your Monstera until water drains from the bottom of the pot. If the soil is too wet, let it dry out before watering again.
  • Ensure proper drainage: Use a well-draining soil mix and a pot with drainage holes for your Monstera to prevent water buildup that can cause root rot.

Inspecting for Pests

Yellow spots on Monstera leaf

Pests like spider mites, scale insects, and thrips can cause brown spots on your Monstera plant.

Here’s how to inspect your plant for each of these pests:

Spider mites

Look for tiny red or black dots on the leaves, usually accompanied by very fine webbing. These are spider mites.

To treat, use a natural insecticidal soap to wash the leaves and maintain humidity levels.

Scale insects

Check for small, round, brown or black bumps on the leaves and stems.

Remove them with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol and treat the plant with horticultural oil.

Thrips

Thrips are tiny insects are hard to spot, but their damage can appear as silver or bronze patches, and sometimes small brown or black spots on the leaves.

You can place yellow sticky traps near your plant and use insecticidal soap or neem oil to control their population.

Effective Treatments for Each Cause

Spraying-Monstera-leaf

Adjusting Watering Habits

One common reason for brown spots on your Monstera plant is improper watering. As a tropical plant, it needs the right balance between moisture and drainage.

Make sure to water your Monstera deeply but infrequently to keep its roots moist but not waterlogged.

Watering every 1-2 weeks should be enough, but you should always check the top inch of the soil before watering. If it’s dry, it’s time to water your plant.

Using Neem Oil for Pests

Pests like spider mites and thrips can cause brown spots on Monstera leaves.

To treat these pests, try using neem oil, a natural and organic insecticide. Mix a solution of 1-2 teaspoons of neem oil with a quart of water and a few drops of mild, eco-friendly dish soap.

Spray the solution on the affected leaves, making sure to get both the top and underside of the leaves.

Repeat this treatment every week until you see no more signs of pests.

Fertilizing Correctly

Another cause for brown spots on your Monstera plant is improper fertilization. Monstera plants need a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer to thrive.

Here are some steps to fertilize your plant correctly:

  1. Choose a balanced fertilizer (e.g., 20-20-20) that includes micronutrients.
  2. Dilute the fertilizer according to the package instructions.
  3. Apply the fertilizer once a month during the growing season (Spring and Summer).

Avoid over-fertilizing, as this can cause fertilizer burn and lead to brown spots on the leaves.

During the dormant season (Fall and Winter), hold off on fertilizing your Monstera.

Check out this Monstera liquid plant food on Amazon.

Preventive Measures to Keep Monstera Healthy

In order to keep your Monstera plant healthy and free from brown spots, there are several preventive measures you should follow.

Proper Lighting

Sunlight going through monstera leaves

Monstera plants thrive in bright, indirect light.

To ensure your Monstera gets the right amount of light, place it near a window that receives plenty of sunlight, but not in direct exposure.

Too much direct sunlight can cause sunburn on the leaves, resulting in brown spots.

If you notice your plant receiving too much sunlight, consider moving it to a shadier spot or use sheer curtains to filter the light.

Maintaining Humidity

Monsteras are tropical plants and prefer a humid environment. To maintain the right level of humidity, you can:

  • Use a humidifier in the room where the plant is located.
  • Place a tray with water and pebbles underneath the plant, making sure the pot is not sitting directly in the water.
  • Regularly mist the leaves with a spray bottle, but avoid over-misting as it can lead to fungal issues.

By keeping the humidity at optimal levels, you will help prevent brown spots caused by dry air.

Check out this cool mist humidifer on Amazon.

Read more: 5 Key Ways Humidity Boosts Your Monstera’s Health

Pruning Damaged Leaves

Regularly inspect your Monstera for any signs of damage or browning leaves.

If you notice any, carefully trim them away with clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears. This helps prevent the spread of any issues and encourages healthy new growth.

You can trim the aerial roots too. Here’s a helpful guide: Why You Should Trim The Aerial Roots Of Your Monstera: Tips For A Healthier, Happier Plant

Banishing Brown Spots

So, there you have it, fellow green-thumbs! A comprehensive guide to diagnosing and treating those pesky brown spots on your cherished Monstera.

While it may seem daunting at first, remember that a little spot doesn’t spell disaster.

Armed with the right knowledge, you’re well on your way to reviving your leafy companion to its majestic, holey self.

Never forget, plant care is as much science as it is art, and patience is key.

So here’s to happier, healthier Monsteras and to the delight they bring into our homes and our lives.

For more plant care tips, check out these other articles:

From Cutting to Jungle: 6ft Monstera Growth Journey

5 Secrets For Growing The Most Lush and Vibrant Monstera