After tackling the subject of Monstera leaves not splitting, I decided to write about another issue Monstera owners may encounter: Monstera leaves not growing.
Naturally, it is scary to think that your plant is dying and that you may not be able to save it. Trust me, we’ve all been there.
One frequent cause is that of leaf loss. Indeed, some plants may start losing their leaves for no apparent reason. Or so we think. In fact, there is always a reason. Still, the reason may be a normal one or a serious problem.
Why do they lose their leaves?
First, let’s start with the regular and most likely explanation which is plain and simple aging. This will probably make you feel a little bit better.
Indeed, if your Monstera is losing just two to three leaves every few months, then you’re safe. Plants are known for dropping old leaves as a part of their growth process.
It is because those leaves drain too much energy from the plant preventing it from producing new ones. So, the leaves will start by changing their color, typically from green, to yellow and then to brown, before ultimately falling off.
Moreover, the loss will impact the bottom ones first. In addition, they will not be replaced by new leaves in the same spot. On the contrary, the Monstera plant will produce new ones at the top.
Second, the cause could be inadequate growing conditions. Undoubtedly, if you don’t provide the optimal requirements for your Monstera, it will get stressed and start losing its leaves, but also not grow new ones!
I will explain further below what are the most recurring causes of this and what you can do about it. But let me first answer a pressing question.
Do Monstera leaves grow back?
The short answer is “Yes” in most cases. The complex one is it depends. Just like any other plant, Monstera will spontaneously grow back new leaves if it’s not already dying.
On the other hand, if it’s too late for that plant you can try propagating it using any healthy part left. You should be able to determine whether your plant will die or not by looking at the state of its stems and leaves.
Furthermore, you should remember that the Monstera plant won’t grow any new leaves while in its dormancy phase.
Indeed, during the cold months of winter and autumn, the plant will save up energy for the growing season and will therefore enter a sleepy state. This is because sunlight is scarce during those months.
With that being said, in the spring and summer months, it should proliferate.
So, it is necessary to consider the season before starting to worry.
Consequently, in the right conditions, your Monstera will have no problems sprouting leaves. What are those conditions? And what can you do to encourage new growth? That’s what’s we’re going to see next.
This one comes from my own experience. My first Monstera Deliciosa stopped growing after I brought her from my parents’ place to my new apartment.
After a few weeks, I noticed that it didn’t show any signs of growth. Additionally, I felt that there was something wrong with its state.
I had to investigate and it turns out that the humidity level was much higher back at my parents’ place compared to my home. That is because they live in a coastal city while I don’t.
Well, my baby Monstera is a tropical plant and loves her relatively high humidity level. In fact, Monstera plants prefer a level that’s ideally between 60% and 65%.
Therefore, when I failed to provide the best environment for her growth, it shut down and wouldn’t grow anymore.
Some plants like high humidity levels because it is necessary for their photosynthesis process. Indeed, it helps reduce transpiration and therefore helps retain water.
So, in short, I had to find a solution to ensure that my plant could get what it needs. My solution was to put her in my bathroom. It is well-known that humidity levels are usually high in bathrooms (duh!). Lo and behold, it had a magical effect.
My monstera grew two more leaves in a matter of three weeks and she has been thriving since then.
My point is this: check the humidity levels because it may be the real cause for your plant’s troubles.
If you find out that this is where the problem comes from, then there are a few things you can do about it.
First, you can do the same thing I did and put it in your bathroom. Obviously, it is the simplest and easiest of solutions.
Next, grouping your plants could solve this problem. Their transpiration will increase the humidity levels around them which is mutually beneficial.
Another solution would be to use a pebble tray. Just fill a tray with water and put stones in it, then put your pot on top of it. Water will evaporate with time and fill the air around your Monstera.
The last solution I would suggest is to buy a humidifier. Although this one will cost you a few bucks, it will certainly settle the issue once and for all.
Keep in mind that although misting has its own advantages and should be applied, it is not enough to replace the solutions described above.
The next thing you should check is light conditions. Many problems that a plant faces come from poor lighting.
Monstera will stop its growth entirely if it doesn’t get enough light. It will start looking for it by crawling towards dark places.
This is because, in nature, dark areas mean tall trees and therefore something Monstera could climb on to get closer to sunlight.
Furthermore, by doing so, it will get leggy (known as etiolation) and lose its bushy look. In the meantime, its leaves will stop growing or splitting.
So, what can you do about it? Easy. Put your Monstera in a place where it’ll get enough bright indirect light. I suggest four feet away from a west-facing window.
That way, your plant will get its needs of light without risking being burned by direct sunlight. Indeed, direct sunlight will scorch the leaves and they’ll start showing brown spots that will never disappear.
So, either move the pot a few feet away from the window or put a sheer curtain to filter sunbeams.
Alternatively, if you can’t find the perfect spot in your home, LED grow lights will do the job just fine.
Next on the list is room temperature. It can easily be overlooked, especially when using an air conditioner or a space heater.
Cold and hot drafts are known to stress plants. So, it would be best to put your plant out of the way or in a room where it’ll be safe from any extreme temperatures.
It may not look as much, but it could potentially have a tremendously positive effect on your plant’s well-being.
Watering is probably the most recurrent issue growers face. There are many reasons why this is the case.
Mainly, people forget to water their plants because, well, life happens…
So, the natural consequence is the issue of underwatering.
Monstera plants don’t like their soil to get bone dry. If this happens, they’ll shut down and prioritize surviving over growing new leaves.
Consequently, one major reason for plants holding off producing new leaves is the lack of water.
Is your watering pattern in line with your Monstera’s needs? If not, then you’ve got your problem right there.
Furthermore, underwatering is not the only problem when it comes to watering. Another serious (I would argue much more serious) is overwatering.
Overwatering is the result of several factors such as poor drainage, frequent and intensive watering, inadequate soil or pot. But, we will get to those in a moment.
Why is it that bad? Because it causes root rot which stops the plant from feeding itself. Even worse, it leads to their demise.
Hence, you should pay close attention to your watering schedule. How? By not having one…
Be it over or underwatering, your Monstera will suffer immensely and stop growing altogether.
The ideal way is to check if the top two inches of soil are dry before watering again. Simply stick your finger up to the first knuckle and if it feels damp, then wait a couple of days.
On the same note as the previous point, well-draining soil is essential for your Monstera. A potting soil that doesn’t allow oxygen to get to the roots, or that gets waterlogged, spells the doom to any plant.
There are components such as perlite, pumice, or coco coil that ensure your plant thrives in the perfect soil conditions.
On the contrary, additives such as sand can cause poor drainage and suffocate the roots.
So, your soil choices may also be something to look into.
For more details, you can read Marc’s post on “soil for houseplants 101” here.
We stay on the same topic with this one. The right potting isn’t as obvious and easy as one may think.
Most importantly, your pot needs to have a drainage hole. If not, then you’re shooting yourself in the foot (or you plant in the roots).
A drainage hole allows for the excess water to exit the soil which prevents the roots from sitting in it.
Second, your pot must not be oversized. A plant that is in a pot that’s too big will be unable to suck up the water fast enough. It will therefore sit too long in damp soil which can ultimately impede its growth.
In addition, the pot may be (or get) too small for your Monstera. This will cause it to get root-bound and hinder its maturation. The roots will fill the whole pot and thus leaving no room for the potting soil.
You can confirm that this is the case by paying attention to any roots poking out.
Furthermore, the material and shape of your pot play also a role in a plant’s healthy development.
So, as we will see further below, the solution could be repotting.
Here is another post about how to choose a pot.
I have talked about soil from the point of view of drainage and aeration. But those aren’t enough. Potting soil provides the plant with nutrients but those get depleted.
Indeed, after about three months, the potting soil gets depleted of its nutrients leaving the plant without a primordial source for its growth.
There are two ways you can remedy this.
One is to use fertilizers. Mostly used during the growing seasons (March through July), organic and synthetic fertilizers provide macro and micronutrients to the plant.
Usually used by growers to give their plants a boost while growing, they can be harmful if used excessively.
I personally prefer the second option which is repotting. By repotting you replenish your plant’s pot with fresh, nutrient-rich soil.
Moreover, you may want to repot for other reasons as well. I have mentioned that an oversized or undersized pot could be a major problem.
So, by repotting, you have the chance to fix two potential reasons at the same time.
Here is how you should do it.
Start by taking your Monstera out of its pot.
Gently remove the soil around its roots and check if they’re healthy. They should look white and firm. If you notice that they are grey and mushy then they’re rotted.
Next, use clean pruning shears to cut off any unhealthy parts.
Fill up your chosen pot with fresh, nutrient-rich, well-draining soil and water it intensively.
Now, just leave it be for a few days as it gets used to its new home.
Pruning is the best method to prevent a plant from becoming leggy. In addition, it serves as a way to contain the plant in a given size.
However, pruning could also be a solution for making your Monstera grow new leaves. On the other hand, failing to prune your Monstera when needed could contribute to it not growing new leaves.
Let me explain both points. If your Monstera has old, sick, or dying leaves, then you must cut them off. These leaves will just drain energy from your Monstera which should be used to produce new leaves.
Also, cutting off leaves encourages your Monstera to grow new ones in the same spot. Think of it just like hair. The more you cut off, the more it’ll grow.
Still, I advise you not to cut off healthy leaves, especially if your Monstera has only a few of them. Limit your pruning to old and sick leaves (Yellow or Brown for example).
The last and (unfortunately) most annoying cause is pests. Those little bugs are known for their destructive nature.
Some attack the leaves and feed of them, while others suck up the sap from the plants’ stems.
Cleaning your Monstera leaves from time to time using a solution containing water, soap, and neem oil should help prevent bugs from invading them.
If you notice any webs under the leaves then these are spider mites. Use a mix of insecticidal soap, neem oil, or isopropyl alcohol to kill them off.
Also, pay attention to any reddish dots on the leaves and manually remove them.
Pests are sometimes hard to get rid of. However, it’s not impossible. When your Monstera is free of them, it’ll resume its natural growth.
Monsteras are proliferating plants. They can grow new leaves every four weeks. However, this is assuming they are growing under the right conditions.
So, if yours has trouble showing its highly producing nature, the reasons could be plain and simple fundamentals.
Luckily, these can be fixed in no time. The trick is to determine which one needs fixing.
Once you succeed in your investigation and apply the appropriate actions, your Monstera will show signs of improvement in a matter of a few weeks.
Please note that a variegated Monstera will grow more slowly than green ones. So, if you’re comparing the growth rate of two different Monsteras you’ll likely worry for no reason.
This is it for this one. I hope this will help your Monstera get better.