Why Does My Monstera Have Brown Tips? Ultimate Troubleshooting Guide
If you notice brown tips starting to develop on your beloved Monstera, you need to drop whatever you are doing and begin investigating for possible causes. Your Monstera is sending out an SOS that you need to answer. Fortunately, we’ve got your answer with our Monstera Brown Tips Troubleshooting Guide.
In this step-by-step guide, we will be:
- exploring the Garden Bench Top approach to restoring your Monstera to a happy and thriving plant
- walking you through the reasons why the tips of your Monstera leaves are turning brown
- explaining the next steps you should take to fix your Monstera brown tips.
So grab a coffee and a magnifying glass because we’ve got a mystery to solve!
How to Save Your Monstera with Brown Tips – The Right Way!
If you have been around the Garden Bench Top before, you may be familiar with the approach we try to teach our community when troubleshooting a problem.
In truth, it is more of a mindset that you can develop toward your gardening adventures.
Cultivating a thriving indoor plant collection can take time and effort. And adopting a patient approach to resolving your problems will go a long way to minimizing frustrations and anxiety along your journey.
With this in mind, let’s take a quick look at the steps involved in becoming a more mindful indoor plant enthusiast:
- Read this troubleshooting guide to the end. Identify the most likely cause of your monstera brown tips.
- Implement the suggested solutions detailed below the most probable cause,
- Monitor and wait patiently for any positive signs from your Monstera.
- If you don’t observe positive responses, rinse and repeat steps 1 – 3 with the next likely cause.
As you can appreciate, your Monstera will not miraculously recover overnight, and it may take a week or even months. But rest assured, this staged approach will have it back to its old happy self.
Okay, that’s enough of a pep talk, and let’s get into the possible causes.
What Causes Brown Tips on Monsteras?
Okay, don’t feel overwhelmed. However, the list of reasons your Monstera has brown tips can appear daunting.
But there is a logical reason for this. Brown tips are usually one of the first signs that something is wrong with your Monstera.
The good news is you have identified an issue early, so the damage and trauma to your Monstera is minimal.
This section will walk you through the possible reasons (in no particular order).
Under Watered Monstera Plants
Achieving that perfect balance of enough water for indoor plants is like the Goldilocks Principle; you must find that sweet spot to keep your Monstera happy.
Too much water and you risk soggy soil and developing problems like root rot and pests.
At the other extreme, too little, and you can end up with a Monstera with brown tips because it is becoming dehydrated.
Other symptoms you may observe in a dehydrated Monstera include:
- drooping monstera leaves,
- leaves that have yellow or brown patches, and
- crispy brown patches along the edges of the leaves.
If your Monstera possesses any accompanying symptoms with its brown tips, it may need water.
Let’s now look at how to resolve a dehydrated Monstera.
Solutions for an Under-Watered Monstera
First, check the moisture levels of your Monstera’s soil. Soil moisture meters are helpful to determine if your soil is dry or moist.
Alternatively, if you like us at the Garden Bench Top, get your hands dirty using the finger soil moisture test.
Water Your Monstera
If your suspicions are confirmed, and your soil is dry, the logical next step is to give your Monstera a healthy watering.
It is essential to ensure that any excess water quickly escapes from the drainage holes in your pot. As we mentioned earlier, too much water will lead to other problems.
Install another Water Source
Moss poles don’t only improve the aesthetics of a Monstera plant, and they also serve a practical function as a secondary water source.
Monsteras grow aerial roots that help them climb and attach to surfaces, such as tree trunks, rock crevices, and (as you may have guessed) moss poles.
The aerial roots can absorb moisture from the ambient environment to supply the main plant. This way, if your soil becomes dry, your Monstera can still draw water from the sphagnum moss and still thrive.
If you are worried about how to keep your moss pole moist and hydrated, check out our tutorial on how to make a self-watering moss pole HERE.
Moss poles are also great for raising the humidity levels in the surrounding environment. This gives us the perfect segue into the following possible reason for your Monstera’s brown tips.
2. Lack of Humidity
Being a tropical plant, Monsteras love humidity. When the ambient humidity is too low, it accelerates the photosynthesizing process in the Monstera’s leaves. This causes the leaves to lose water quickly, leaving the tips vulnerable to browning and dehydration.
The symptoms of a Monstera in low humidity conditions are similar to an underwatered Monstera, such as:
- drooping monstera leaves,
- leaves that have yellow or brown patches, and
- crispy brown patches along the edges of the leaves.
How to Fix a Lack of Humidity
Luckily there are many ways to resolve a lack of humidity. Here is a quick list of methods we like to use to increase humidity levels indoors.
Add a Pebble / Humidity Tray
One of our favorite ways to increase humidity is to prop our plants on top of a pebble/humidity tray.
Your Monstera will sit on a tray filled with pebbles and water. The pebbles raise the pot above the water line so the soil doesn’t wick up the moisture and create soggy soil.
When the water evaporates, it increases the humidity. Allowing your Monstera to thrive and photosynthesize at a regular rate.
Add a Moss Pole
As mentioned, moss poles are great for increasing humidity around your Monstera.
Like the water from the pebble tray, the moisture in the sphagnum moss also evaporates, adding to the available water in the surrounding air.
If you have a self-watering moss pole, the presence of the water reservoir also helps to contribute to the water content in the atmosphere.
Mist Your Monstera
You can also manually mist your Monstera to boost the ambient air in humidity. We recommend misting filtered water at least once a week to avoid creating water stains on those gorgeous leaves.
It is also vital to ensure enough air circulation around your Monstera to prevent mold or bacteria from growing in and around your plants.
3. Exposure to Sunlight
Even though Monsteras flourish in bright indirect sunlight, too much exposure to direct sunlight can cause issues to develop, such as brown tips and crispy edges on their leaves.
Direct sunlight is intense and can cause leaf burn (a plant’s version of sunburn). The prolonged heat increases the rate of water evaporation from the leaves, leaving them vulnerable to drying out and permanently damaging the leaf cells.
How to Fix Too Much Sunlight
The solution should be pretty straightforward. Move your Monstera away from the sun to a position that receives indirect light.
However, sometimes the most straightforward solution could be more practical – especially if you live in a small apartment. We’ll provide suggested answers for all kinds of scenarios.
Move Your Monstera
Moving your Monstera away from the path of direct sunlight will be the most straightforward and immediate solution.
Observe the sunlight throughout the day, and adjust your Monstera’s position so it still receives plenty of bright light without exposure to intense direct light.
In addition to moving your plant, check the moisture levels and ensure plenty of water sources are available for your Monstera to rehydrate itself.
Filter The Light
If you live in a small space and have limited options for moving your Monstera, try installing a sheer curtain across the window.
The material will filter the intense sunlight while allowing enough sunlight for your Monstera to grow and thrive.
4. Poor Soil Quality
If you don’t think your Monstera is experiencing water, humidity, or light issues, the brown tips may have developed from a lack of soil integrity and quality.
This could be due to the soil being too old and slowly degraded over time. Or the soil used by the original store or nursery may be inappropriate for the plant.
Irrespective of the reason, giving your Monstera some fresh soil is always a good idea.
It refreshes the nutrient content, aerates the soil, and also allows you to inspect the root system for any issues.
For a complete guide on the Monstera Soil Recipe we use for all our indoor aroids, check out this ARTICLE.
How to Boost Your Monstera’s Soil
To replace the old deteriorated soil with fresh new soil, follow this process:
- Gently remove the Monstera from its current pot to avoid damaging the roots.
- Examine the roots and trim any damaged or rotten ones.
- Fill the new pot a third full with the freshly prepared soil mixture using the recipe we linked above.
- Place the Monstera plant in the pot and ensure the roots are splayed out evenly around the pot.
- Add more soil mixture around the roots, ensuring they’re wholly and evenly covered.
- Gently press the soil down to provide stability to the plant.
- Water the newly re-potted Monstera, allowing the water to drain fully through the bottom holes.
5. Imbalance of Chemicals in the Soil
Another soil-related cause of brown leaf tips developing on your Monstera is a chemical build-up from:
- chemical fertilizers,
- tap water with high fluoride and chlorine content, or
- salt build-up in the soil or potting mix.
The build-up of excess chemicals becomes toxic, and results in fertilizer burns on your Monstera leaves.
This problem can be challenging to detect because it occurs in the soil. So, generally speaking, the first sign of an imbalance is when your plant’s leaf tips begin to turn brown or brown spots develop on the body of the leaf.
However, with particularly bad cases of chemical build-up, you may see a crust forming on the top layer of soil.
How to Fix a Chemical Imbalance in Your Monstera’s Soil
Fortunately, we have a few solutions you can try to clear up the excess chemicals in your soil.
The first remedy to correct an imbalance in fertilizer in your Monstera is to flush the soil.
This means flooding the soil with a constant source of clean tap water so that you can see it streaming out from the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. Note, this will only work if the source of the chemicals does NOT result from hard chlorinated tap water.
The goal is for the excess water to dilute and wash away the extra fertilizer chemicals from the soil.
Re-pot Your Monstera
In particularly severe cases of fertilizer burn or if your chemical build-up results from the minerals in your tap water, we recommend replacing the soil with a fresh, balanced potting mix.
Removing your Monstera from the toxic environment will help set it back on the path to healing and focusing on producing new healthy growth.
Common Questions for Monstera Leaf Tips Turning Brown
By now, you should have identified the most likely cause(s) of your Monstera Brown Tips. But what do you do about the brown tips and damaged parts of the leaves?
In this section, we will tackle those frequently asked questions related to Monstera Leaves with Brown Tips.
Will My Monstera Leaves with Brown Tips Heal?
The bad news is once the leaf cells are damaged, they will not heal and become green again. In fact, some plants will sacrifice the entire leaf and eventually cut off the nutrients in a self-preservation effort.
Should I Trim and Remove the Brown Tips off My Monstera Leaves?
The answer depends on the extent of the damage with the brown tips on your Monstera.
If the damaged areas are small, we’d like to leave them alone.
However, if the site of your Monstera’s brown tips annoys you, you can follow this process to remove the damaged parts:
- Use clean and sharp scissors: Always use clean and sharp scissors to remove brown tips from your Monstera leaves. We like to sterilize our equipment with rubbing alcohol.
- Cut at an angle: When removing brown tips, cut with an angle to prevent water from collecting on the cut surface, which can lead to bacteria growth.
- Avoid removing too much: Be careful not to remove too much of the leaf, as this can cause stress to the plant and affect its growth.
- Monitor the plant: After removing brown tips, monitor the plant closely to ensure the issue does not persist. If the brown tips continue to appear, we recommend revisiting the above list of potential causes to identify the root cause (excuse the pun)
Should I Prune a Monstera Lead that has Brown Tips?
Again, this question depends on many factors before you can confidently decide whether to remove a leaf from your Monstera plant.
Here are some factors to consider:
- Assess the extent of the damage: Before removing any part of the leaf, it’s important to assess the size of the damage. If the brown tip is small and doesn’t affect the overall appearance of the leaf, you may not need to remove the entire leaf.
- Consider the age of the leaf: If the affected leaf is mature, it may be nearing the end of its lifespan and naturally turning brown. In this case, leaving the leaf on the plant is best until it naturally falls off.
- Remove the leaf if necessary: If the brown tip is extensive and affects the overall appearance of the leaf, you may need to remove the entire leaf. Use clean and sharp scissors to cut the leaf at the base, not damaging any healthy parts of the plant.
We sincerely hope you found this guide helpful in troubleshooting your Monstera Brown Tips.
If you suspect your Monstera may benefit from a moss pole as a secondary water source, check out our article 5 Signs Your Monstera Needs a Moss Pole.
Alternatively, if you have determined it is time to re-pot your Monstera into some fresh soil, check out our favorite recipe for Monstera Soil.
Thanks for reading, and as we say at the Garden Bench Top – go get your hands dirty!
- Goldilocks principle. (2023, March 25). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goldilocks_principle