Monstera Turning Black (Causes and How to Fix)

If you noticed your monstera leaves turning black, it can be very unsettling. And you have the right to be stressed or worried because there could be something wrong.

A monstera turning black in one way or another always means something isn’t right.

But it is important to identify what’s actually happening.

That’s because this can refer to black spots on monstera leaves, partial or whole leaves turning black or brown.

It could even be the entire monstera turning black as well.

Each of these can mean different things. And it is up to you to figure out what’s happening.

Why are my monstera leaves turning black? A monstera turning black can be due to overwatering or underwatering.

It can also be caused by lack of light, low humidity, pest infestations, root rot or physical damage to the leaves.

Causes of Monstera Turning Black

Below are the most common reasons for monstera leaves turning black.

These happen due to different conditions. Therefore, it is a good idea to be aware of each of them in order to avoid any black spots or patches on the leaves altogether.

But in case they do happen, for each of the causes below, I’ll discuss how to treat and fix the issue.

 

Overwatering

Overwatering is the most common reason for monstera leaves turning black. Here, you’ll see black spots, more accurately black patches on the leaves of your monstera plant.

Monstera plants are aroids.

And like other aroids, it is not a fan of wet feet.

As such, don’t let its size fool you. Just because of its large size does not mean that it needs a ton of water.

If you water the plant too often, you’ll see damage from overwatering as your monstera’s leaves will develop black patches or dark brown spots in the middle of the leaves.

These patches will vary in size and shape.

You’ll likely see its leaves curl and feel soft and limp.

In addition, with leaf damage, overwatering also puts the plant at risk of monstera root rot. Therefore, if you notice black spots in monstera leaves or dark brown patches, check the soil.

Wet soil will warrant a look at the roots. You’ll also want to feel the stems near the base.

Both stem rot and root rot can easily happen with an overwatered monstera.

 

Treatment and Solution

Regularly check the soil.

This is the main thing when it comes to watering.

If the soil is moist or wet, don’t water the plant. Instead, only water the plant if the top 2-3 inches of soil are completely dry.

This means sticking your index finger down into the soil up to around the second knuckle.

If the soil at that depth feels completely dry, it is time to water.

Other than that, don’t water yet.

In case you already have an overwatered monstera, what should you do?

The main goal is to let it dry quickly.

If there is excess water in the pot, tip the pot over and let that liquid drain out. Also, keep the plant in a warm, well-ventilated area to speed up drying.

Place it in bright, indirect sunlight as well.

In case the soil is retaining too much moisture, then you have to repot the plant and replace the soil will one that is well-draining.

 

Stem and Root Rot

Stem and root rot are very serious effects of overwatering. Thus, you want to always look out for them.

Both stem rot and root rot can cause monstera leaves to turn black.

This will happen due to the damage to the roots or the stem which prevent water transport, nutients and oxygen to reach the leaves.

Note that stem rot and root rot are two very different things.

As such, one can happen without the other.

But stem rot can also happen as a result of root rot spreading upwards.

That said, both stem rot and rot occur for 2 reasons.

  1. Overwatering
  2. Fungal disease

With overwatering, the excess water fills the soil and pushes out all the oxygen from the air pockets in the soil.

Thus, after a while when there’s too much water, the roots end up drowning in liquid.

This prevents them from breathing. And they will suffocate to death if the situation persists.

This is how monstera root rot due to suffocation occurs.

Similarly, the overwatering will leave the surface and upper layer or soil wet and mucky.

Sadly, this will put the stem, especially the base of the stem at risk of rotting as well. In some cases, when root rot gets more serious, you’ll see it spread upwards causing stem rot as well.

On the other hand, fungal stem and root rot occur also from overwatering.

But this time, the wet, damp conditions in the soil make it conducive for fungi to develop.

Some fungi will eat through the roots or the stem which causes root rot and/or stem rot. Meanwhile other fungi will block the transport pathways preventing water and nutrients.

In either case, the fungal diseases are what cause the roots and stem to rot.

 

Treatment and Solution

Since both root rot and stem rot are caused by excess moisture from overwatering, you want to avoid watering the monstera plant too frequently.

Always allow the top 2-3 inches to dry between waterings.

Additionally, make sure to use well-draining soil as well as pot with drainage holes underneath.

In case there is already root rot, then remove the plant from the pot and prune the rotten roots.

You’ll also need to wash and disinfect the roots, throw away all the soil and disinfect the pot as well.

After letting the roots dry, repot the monstera in dry, well-draining soil.

In case there is stem rot, use a fungicide to treat the pathogens.

 

Dehydration

Dehydration occurs due to lack of water. So, it is the opposite of overwatering.

While it is more uncommon to see, it can happen as well.

But an underwatered monstera will take longer to experience any symptoms. That’s because the plant can tolerate dryness better thanks to its thicker leaves.

However, dehydration can gradually damage the roots. And it can eventually cause the plant to deteriorate and even die.

When monstera plants lack water and get dehydrated, you’ll see its leaves turn black and on the edges and tips first. This will be accompanied by crispiness.

Also, the farthest leaves get affected first with the smaller, younger leaves not getting affected because they receive water first being closes to the stem.

As such the first signs of dehydration are monstera leaves turning black on the edges. They turn from a healthy green to brown to black.

After that, wilting and curling will happen as well.

 

Treatment and Solution

Underwatered monstera plants will look sad, droop and then you’ll see the black spots or patches start developing on its leaves.

Therefore, try to avoid letting the entire root ball go dry.

While it can still tolerate this for a short period, if you leave it that way for a while, it will start experiencing dehydration.

As such, if you notice the soil surface feel dry, stick your finger into to soil.

If the top 2-3 inches are already dry, it is time to water.

You can also use a moisture meter if you don’t like getting your hands dirty.

Some growers will lift the pot to feel its weight. A lighter pot means the soil is dry.

When watering, soak the plant until the entire root ball is saturated with water. Then let the soil drain completely.

You can also use bottom watering instead.

 

Water Quality

 

Treatment and Solution

 

 

Cold Stress and Frost Damage

Monstera leaves turning black can also happen with low temperatures.

This is a tropical plant that enjoys warm weather. It lives in the rainforest covered by the canopy of large trees.

More importantly, the plant is used to climates where the sun is always up and the weather stays moderate to warm.

As such, it can tolerate heat to a certain degree.

But it has much less tolerance to the cold.

In fact, monsteras don’t like temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. And if you leave it in this environment for long periods of time, it will eventually sustain damage.

You’ll see this in the leaves as well as the plant which will droop and wilt.

The biggest danger is when temperatures drop to freezing conditions and there is frost.

Frost damage will turn your monstera leaves black.

This happens because the extremely low temperature will freeze the sap of the plant.

As a result, moisture and nutrients won’t be able to move from the roots to the rest of the plant including the leaves.

Due to the stoppage of water and nutrients, the monstera leaves turn black eventually.

Additionally, frost also damages the plant’s cells causing them to burst.

This cell death will result in both stems and leaves turning black or brown.

 

Treatment and Solution

If you live somewhere with cold winters where this is snow and frost, make sure to keep the plant indoors once the weather drops to 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

The plant cannot tolerate frost and will eventually die if you leave it out there.

Thus, it is best to move it to a warmer location.

Indoors, try to keep in a cozy spot with good lighting. You can use a heating pad or mat so the soil stays warm.

 

Other Related Posts

 

Sunburn on Monstera Leaves

Sunburn is another cause of monstera leaves turning black. This time, the leaves get scorched and they are burned by the excess heat and intensity from the sun.

As such, avoid long exposure to direct sunlight.

Monstera plants enjoys plenty of light. But because they grow under the larger trees in the tropical rainforest, they are not accustomed to the direct rays of the sun.

Thus, they can only tolerate 1-3 hours of this on a daily basis.

Anything more or if the sun is intense like it is during the middle of the day or summertime, the plant’s leaves will eventually get burned.

When this happens, you’ll see the leaves get dry.

They will also get bleached and turn more gray once they experience sunburn.

After a while or when the sun is very strong, you’ll see monstera leaves turning black as they are burnt.

Note that sunburn not only occurs from natural light it can also happen from the heat emitted by grow lights. So, you also want to  distance the plant from artificial lighting as well.

Otherwise, you’ll see black patches of burn marks on its leaves.

 

Treatment and Solution

If you notice that your monstera is getting direct sunlight, move it to a less bright location.

The simplest way to make sure is to check the rays of the sun and where they hit at different times of the day.

Your goal is to position the monstera plant in bright place but away from the sun’s ray. Ideally, the rays never touch the plant or its leaves at any time of the day.

This way, the plant receives bright, indirect light.

This will let it grow optimally without the risk of sunburn or scorched leaves.

If you want to choose the best locations, a spot near an east facing window is best.

On the other hand, be most careful with a south facing window since this is where the sun enters during the hottest times of the day.

 

Physical Damage

Monstera plants are sensitive when it comes to physical damage.

This means it is very important to be careful when handling them. Otherwise if you happen to tear or split some of its leaves, you notice an unpleasant surprise.

Monstera leaves turning black can happen when its leaves are torn, ripped, or physically damaged.

That’s because that section of the plant stops receiving nutrients.

The good news is that the black spots are limited to the damaged area. So, they occur around the rips and tears.

It also does not harm or affect the plant’s overall health.

However, this still messes with the look of the plant especially since the plant is best known for its gorgeous foliage.

 

Treatment and Solution

Make sure to be careful when handling the plant. This includes its large foliage.

Also, don’t put the plant anywhere that there’s a lot of foot traffic.

People brushing against the plant’s leaves can easily damage the leaves.

Young kids and pets can also get playful. So, try to keep the plant away from their reach as well.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.