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Should I Cut Off Yellow Monstera Leaves?

As a tropical plant that grows indoors and is fairly easy to care for, Monstera (also called Swiss Cheese plant) is often a favorite of homeowners who look to spice up their living space with a remarkable and beautiful plant.

Monstera’s most distinctive characteristic is its vibrant green foliage with striking leaf shapes featuring unique hole formations that naturally appear as the plant grows.

However, if you have Monstera in your house, you may occasionally notice that its gorgeous leaves are starting to turn yellow.

When this happens, a lot of homeowners are unsure what they should do and often ask the question “should I cut off yellow Monstera leaves?”

To clear up any potential confusion and help you prevent any unwanted actions, I’ll explain below why Monstera’s leaves turn yellow and what you should do if that is happening to your plant.

Should I Cut Off Yellow Monstera Leaves?

In most cases, when you notice that your Monstera leaves are turning yellow, it is recommended to cut them off, especially the leaves that have turned yellow on more than 50% of their surface.

Yellow color is usually the sign that the leaf is dead, diseased, or attacked by some kind of pest.

Either way, these leaves are no longer contributing to the plant, but are still using valuable nutrient resources.

Removing them will ensure that the nutrients and energy are directed to where they’re needed more, to remaining healthy leaves, thus promoting the plant’s growth.

Also, cutting yellow Monstera leaves will stop the potential spread of pests or diseases and prevent other leaves from getting infected.

Another added benefit of pruning the dying leaves of your Monstera will have an aesthetic effect and make your plant look more beautiful and healthy, as yellow leaves are commonly unappealing.

Why Do Monstera Leaves Turn Yellow?

Even more important than cutting off yellow and dying leaves is understanding why this happens.

Learning what causes this process will enable you to prevent it and minimize its potential negative effects on plant health.

Below is a short overview of the most common reasons why Monstera’s leaves turn yellow.

Underwatering

The most common reason why Monstera leaves are turning yellow is improper watering.

This includes both under and overwatering.

When you underwater a Monstera plant, the leaves will turn yellow all over the plant and maybe even develop light-brown spots.

Another sign that the plant isn’t receiving enough water is that the leaves feel dry and brittle when you touch them.

If this happens to your plant, check the pot to see that the water isn’t draining too quickly.

This is often the case with grower pots where the plants are held while in store, as that allows daily watering.

Also, try to water the plant more deeply and don’t stop until the pot has just started to drain. You may also consider watering your Monstera more frequently.

Overwatering

Excessive watering of your Monstera can also be an issue and cause its leaves to start turning yellow.

Unlike underwatering, overwatering will first cause discoloration in the leaves that are closer to the ground.

Besides leaves, overwatering may affect other parts of the plant, too, and cause root and stem to rot.

Often, the issue isn’t that you’re adding too much water, but that you’re doing it too frequently and not giving soil and pot a chance to properly drain.

Therefore, always check the soil before watering and add water to your Monstera plant only if the top 2 or 3 inches of soil feel dry.

Improper Lighting

Monstera loves the shade and thrives the best when exposed only to lower light levels.

While the plant should get some sunlight, make sure that its leaves are never directly exposed to the sun’s rays.

It’s best to locate your plant at spots near the windows that only get morning or late afternoon sun.

Exposing Monstera to direct and bright sunlight for too long will burn its foliage and cause leaves to turn yellow.

However, this can also happen due to too little light, so you’ll have to learn to strike the right balance.

Pests

Monstera is among the most pest-resistant house plants and will likely have minimal pest issues throughout its life span.

However, if the plant is already weakened or stressed due to other issues, it may become more susceptible to pest infestations.

This can cause the leaves to turn yellow and die out, hindering the growth of the entire plant.

The most common culprits are spider mites, thrips, scale, fungus gnats, and mealybugs.

Often, these pests are brought to the home environment when you introduce other plants in your household.

To prevent more serious infestations, keep the soil clean and properly moisturized and regularly remove dead leaves.

Plant’s Age

Yellow leaves can often simply be a sign of the Monstera’s natural aging process.

As the plant experiences new growth, some of its foliage will naturally start turning yellow as old leaves die out.

This commonly happens to larger leaves that are closer to the ground.

Eventually, these discolored leaves will fall off by themselves and the plant will shed them when they stop contributing.

If you feel that these aging leaves are ruining the visual appeal of your Monstera, you can cut them off yourself, instead of waiting for them to fall off.

Conclusion

As you can see, yellow leaves on your Monstera plan are not the reason for great concern and are sometimes even a sign of a perfectly natural process.

However, this situation still requires your attention, and sometimes timely action is needed to preserve your Monstera’s health and help it continue to grow.

The most common reasons for foliage discoloration and leaves turning yellow are improper watering, lighting, or pest infestation.

This means that you will most likely be able to deal with this issue by slightly adjusting your regular maintenance routine.

You can freely cut off the leave that has already turned yellow and in case of infestation or disease, it will stop the further spread.

But, even if you don’t, the leaves will eventually fall off themselves.

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