Why Are My Monstera Leaves Damaged? Diagnosing Common Problems

Monstera Deliciosa is a tropical plant and, because of this, it is very lenient when it comes to the amount of water and sunlight it requires.

Why Are My Monstera Leaves Damaged? Diagnosing Common Problems

This hardiness is why it has become one of the most common houseplants around today.

Monstera Deliciosa plants are commonly known as the swiss cheese plant.

This is because of its heart shaped leaves which are perforated.

This does not mean that Monstera Deliciosa plants cannot become damaged, and there are many different reasons why this damage could occur.

This article will explore all the potential reasons why your cheese plant might be suffering, what causes this damage and how you can fix it. 

Monstera Deliciosa Characteristics 

Monstera plants originate from the tropical forests of South America and Mexico.

These plants are used to hot environments that are also humid and moist.

They are used to growing underneath the canopies and so are not used to being in direct sunlight and they are used to taking water where they can get it.

These factors make indoor conditions perfect for the cheese plant. 

Monstera Leaf Damage: Ripping Or Tearing


It is a common sight to see your Monstera leaves ripping or tearing. This is most commonly caused by physical damage to the plant.

For instance, damage may occur to the plant when you were moving it from one position to another or giving the plant water.

Something might have bumped into the plant or knocked it over. Or your children’s toys might have landed on the plant during a friendly game of dodgeball.

Physical damage to the plant is the most common cause for ripped leaves. 

This problem may be worsened if the leaves are quite weak and delicate.

If your plant is not getting enough humidity then the leaves may become more delicate.

If you think this could have happened to your cheese plant, spraying your plant will increase its humidity.

While it doesn’t look desirable, you’re in luck with this problem!

This is because the damage that your Monstera leaves are displaying is purely aesthetic.

Your plant should still be in good health if the only problem you are facing is some ripped leaves.

This problem will present itself as some rips in the middle or on the edges of your leaves. Usually, these tears will be brown.

What To Do About Ripped Leaves?

When it comes to ripped leaves caused by physical damage there are a few things that you can do.

This kind of damage won’t affect the health of your plant, it is simply about aesthetics. 

If the damaged leaves look bad, or they die off completely, you can simply cut the leaf off of the plant at the stem.

It may seem counter productive to cut stems off your growing plants, however this is not the case.

When you prune a Monstera plant, you are much more likely to see more growth later on.

These rips on the plant will not heal up, instead they will remain on this leaf forever.

Monstera Leaf Damage: Bending 

Why Are My Monstera Leaves Damaged? Diagnosing Common Problems

Another common problem with Monstera Plants is the bending of the stem.

This can be caused by a few different things which we will have a look into.

Pot Size 

Your Monstera plant differs from other houseplants in this regard.

Cheese plants have a lot of roots and they need room to spread these roots in order to keep the plant upright and supported.

If your pot is not big enough to allow for the large roots that will form in the soil, your plant will suffer from bent leaves. 

If you’re hoping to encourage healthy and successful growth of your Monstera plant, you should consider re-potting it into a bigger pot to encourage growth.

You should also re-pot this plant every two years to ensure that it has enough room to grow, until you are happy with the size.

Pot size is key, but so is adding something for the plant to climb up.

This will encourage your Monstera plant to climb properly, instead of bending under the weight.

In order to do this, a climbing stake or a trellis should be placed in the pot.

This should be put in the center of the pot, but you should be careful not to interrupt the roots. 

How To Install A Trellis Or Stake: 

  1. Choose an appropriate place to install the climbing apparatus. It should be as central as possible to all stems and you should avoid interfering with the roots. 
  2. Next, push the climbing apparatus into the soil until the stakes are all the way in and the base is resting on the soil. 
  3. Then, use clips or greening pins to attach the steps to the climbing apparatus.

Amount Of Water: Overwatering

The amount of water that you are giving to your Monstera plant could be causing the stems to bend.

If you have overwatered your plant, this can sometimes cause the roots to rot which will cause wilting in the plant.

This will specifically occur if you have not got correct draining procedures in place when you are watering your plants. 

You should ensure that you are not overwatering your Monstera plant by doing the following check: 

  • Put your fingers into the soil about 2 inches. 
  • If the soil is moist, you should allow the top two inches of soil to dry out before giving the plant any more water. 
  • If you think you have overwatered your plant, move it into a warm spot and allow it to dry out.
  • If your plant is not in a pot with good drainage, re-pot the plant gently into a pot that has better drainage to avoid any problems with water buildup. 

Amount Of Water: Underwatering 

Lots of people forget to water their houseplants enough, and this can result in drooping stems.

If you have a dehydrated Monstera plant on your hands, you simply need to give your plant a good amount of water and it will perk up again.

If your plant is looking healthy aside from the bending stems then it is likely that the plant is getting enough water.

How Often Should I Water My Monstera Plant?

As a general rule of thumb, your Monstera plant should be watered about once a week.

However, in the winter months, this may be too much.

Make sure you put your finger about 2 inches into the soil to determine whether it is ready to be watered.

If the soil is dry 2 inches deep, then it is time to give the plant some water.

Soil Conditions 

The soil conditions are very important to your Monstera plant as the plant needs good draining abilities, as explained above.

If the soil that your Monstera plant is in is too dense, then the roots will suffer due to water build up.

To avoid this problem, adding a layer of sand at the bottom of your pot can really help with drainage.

As well as this, you should consider mixing your indoor potting soil with some peat moss at a ratio of around 75% potting mix to 25% peat moss to allow for better drainage.

Monstera Leaf Damage: Spots And Damaged Edges

Why Are My Monstera Leaves Damaged? Diagnosing Common Problems

Usually, if you see any brown or yellow spots on your leaves then your Monstera plant has fallen victim to overwatering.

The following spots on your leaves indicate the following problems: 

  • Yellow spots in the middle of the leaves indicate root rot caused by drowning the roots in water. 
  • Brown spots with yellow around the edges of the spots indicate a fungal problem caused by overwatering.

Root Rot

To diagnose the cause of your spots, you should take the plant out of the pot and have a look at the roots. 

If the roots are damp, it is likely that your plant is suffering from root rot.

In this case, you should cut off any of the rotted areas of root and wash your roots with water.

You should then choose a new pot which has better drainage and repot the Monstera in fresh soil.

Nutrient Deficient Soil 

Leaves that are turning yellow can also indicate that the soil is deficient in certain nutrients. In this case, re-pot your plant in high quality soil.

Brown Tips

If the edges and tips of your Monstera plant leaves are turning brown, this usually indicates that they are getting too much direct sunlight.

If this happens, move your plant into indirect sunlight to see if this problem improves.

Brown tips can also be caused by a lack of humidity which can be solved by getting a spray and giving your plant a spritz every now and again!

Monstera Leaf Damage: Yellowing Leaves 

Why Are My Monstera Leaves Damaged? Diagnosing Common Problems

If your leaves are showing signs of yellowing all over, your plant may be suffering with interfering pests!

Check the plant thoroughly for any sign of pests. 

Types Of Pests That Are Attracted To Monstera Plants 

Fungus gnats: A common pest that is drawn to Monstera plants are fungus gnats which are small black flies that are attracted to your plant. These pests don’t usually cause too much damage to your plant if they are dealt with quickly. 

Spider mites: Ensure that you check underneath the leaves of your Monstera plant as you may find spider mites present. You are likely to spot the webs of these spider mites before you see the mites themselves. 

Water Quality

Another reason that your plant might be suffering from yellowing leaves is the quality of the water you are using.

If you are using tap water, sometimes the way in which it is treated is too harsh for your houseplants.

It is a good idea to try watering your plants with filtered or distilled water.

Why Are My Monstera Leaves So Small?

Monstera plants are famous for their huge leaves so you might be wondering why the leaves that are developing on your plant are so small.

If you find this problem, it is likely due to something that the plant is lacking.

Often this will occur because your plant is in a pot that is too small.

You should initially try repotting your plant in a bigger pot to see if the leaves begin to grow bigger!

If you haven’t re-potted your plant in a while, find a pot that is a few inches bigger than the one it’s in now and re-home the plant!

Give the plant new soil as the nutrients need refreshing every now and again.

Hopefully, you will see a big difference in the size of the leaves. 

If this doesn’t work, it could be due to a lack of light, humidity or opportunity to climb that is causing your plant to produce small leaves.

Consider these options and make some changes dependent on them.

If your light is not getting enough sunlight, moving the plant into a better spot should allow the plant’s leaves to grow bigger.

Perfect Conditions For A Monstera Plant 

  • Indirect sunlight. Monstera plants love sunlight but they don’t do well in direct sunlight. East facing windows are ideal for these plants. 
  • Correct drainage. Ensure that your pot has plenty of holes for draining away the water and use the best soil for draining. A ratio of 75% indoor potting mix and 25% peat moss is perfect for these plants. 
  • Water correctly. About once a week is best, but only if the top two inches of soil are completely dry. This is to ensure that you don’t overwater.
  • Install growing apparatus. This is to prevent any premature bending at the stem of the plant.

Final Thoughts 

There are three key reasons that your Monstera plant may be showing signs of damage.

These are an incorrect amount of water, an incorrect amount of sunlight and poor soil drainage.

The key to saving your Monstera plant is by diagnosing these problems early and knowing what to look for and how to fix these problems.

This will prevent any long term damage!

Amy Enrich