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Why are my monstera tips turning brown? Experts explain possible causes and cures

 Close up photo of a monstera leaf to answer Why are my monstera tips turning brown?.
Close up photo of a monstera leaf to answer Why are my monstera tips turning brown?.

The jungle-like leaves of a monstera houseplant are captivating unless they start turning brown at the edges, which is exactly what is happening to my beloved plant. So why are my monstera leaves turning brown?

My monstera plant, aka the Swiss cheese plant, has always been a vision of a healthy houseplant, with gloriously green leaves – until recently when the tips and edges started turning brown. This has led me to question what I'm doing wrong to cause my monstera leaf tips to turn brown, so I can prevent it from happening again.

After looking at why peace lily tips turn brown I knew there could be several probable causes. Thankfully asking horticultural experts has provided clear insight into the most common houseplant mistakes that could be causing the brown edges and the preventative measures I can take to restore its luscious green leaves.

What causes monstera leaves to turn brown at the edges?

Similar to why bay tree leaves turn brown there are several most likely causes. The trick is to identify which is causing the problem on your plant and take the relevant steps to reverse the brown tips and nurture your monstera back to full health.

It may not be one of the favoured fragrant plants to make your house smell good but a classic monstera is a sight to behold in any home – which is why they are so hugely popular.

1. Overwatering

person watering a Monstera plant with a cream metal watering can
person watering a Monstera plant with a cream metal watering can

Killing it with kindness is so often the case when it comes to watering houseplants. It's normal to think because they require water they must need more whenever they show signs of distress, wrong. Overwatering is a big problem and often the cause of any leaf discolouration – especially brown leaves and tips.

This is also a common mistake when mastering how to care for orchids because they are famously sensitive to overwatering.

"The main cause of monstera leaves turning brown is due to overwatering," explains Chris Bonnett, founder of GardeningExpress.co.uk. "While all plants need a healthy amount of watering, too much can cause the leaves to turn brown. This can eventually damage the entire plant."

"Over-watering can lead to root rot, which is what causes the browning of the leaves," adds Julian Palphramand, head of plants at British Garden Centres.

Incidentally, it can also cause yellowing, as we found out when looking at what causes peace lily leaves to turn yellow.

2. Underwatering

Of course, being in fear of overwatering can result in underwatering which is equally as problematic. "Underwatering can also result in brown, dry leaves," says Julian.

"It is important to check the moisture in the soil with your finger first before watering," warns Julian. "Our advice is to place your finger an inch or two into the soil, and if it feels dry, it's time to water your Monstera plant."

Maybe factor in checking the soil when cleaning the plant's leaves to see if it feels dry.

3. Sun damage

Close up of a monstera leaf with a brown tip
Close up of a monstera leaf with a brown tip

Where you place your houseplant can significantly impact how well it fairs.

"Exposure to direct sunlight for extended periods can cause the leaves to turn brown and scorch them," Julian explains. "so we recommend moving to a place with indirect light."

Chris suggests: "Try to find an ideal spot around the house where the plant doesn’t receive too much direct sunlight."

4. Pests

Similar to how your best plants in the garden can become victim to pest infestation, as can houseplants. If your monstera leaves are turning brown it could be caused by unwanted pests.

"Infestations of pests like aphids, mites, and mealybugs can also contribute to leaf browning in Monstera plants," says Julian. "Look for telltale signs like webbing and bumps on your plant or clusters of mealybugs and aphids under the leaves and on stalks."

If you do have a pest problem I would recommend a natural solution like KinderPet Natural Organic Plant Spray from Amazon, not only is this kinder to your plant but it's better to remain on the journey of improving indoor air quality.

FAQ

Should you cut the brown tips off your Monstera?

It can feel tempting to cut the brown tips off a monstera to eliminate the discolouration. But is that the right thing to do?

"If the browning is confined to small, isolated areas of the plant (such as the tips) and accompanied by new growth, we recommend leaving the affected leaves," says Julian. "However, if the browning is widespread or linked to pests, removing the affected leaves can prevent further spread of the issue and promote healthier growth in the plant."

If you are cutting the tips or edges of the leaf use proper pruning scissors to ensure a clean cut that doesn't cause further damage. We recommend the Burgon & Ball Japanese Pruning Scissor at £14.95 at Amazon.

Close up deatil of a monstera leaf with a brown tip cut, drying out and turning yellow
Close up deatil of a monstera leaf with a brown tip cut, drying out and turning yellow

How do you fix brown leaves on a Monstera?

The good news is that you can fix brown tips and leaves on a monstera plant. "There is the chance of being able to save them by misting the burnt//brown areas with cool water," says Chris. "Repeat this once a day every day for a week."

"If you notice no signs of improvement, it’s worth cutting off the brown parts to prevent the damage from spreading to other areas of the plant," Chris advises. "Cutting off the leaves won’t damage the plant, in fact, it can be just what it needs for survival."

To provide the best care for your monstera plant, the experts recommend "a steady amount of watering every two weeks to keep the plant thriving," according to Chris. "Keep an eye on the soil, dryness could indicate you need to water your plant more."


The key now is to determine which of the four common causes is the reason behind your plant's brown leaf crisis. It'll be a process of elimination - checking the soil to determine what level of watering is the problem and adjusting accordingly. Inspect it closely for signs of pests.

If none of those options prevent the brown tips from worsening it could be time to move your plant location to a better-suited position out of direct sunlight.

Keeping my monstera plant alive is a proud achievement. Over the years it has doubled in size to become a monster of a plant that now dominates my living room with pride. Fingers crossed now I know what's causing the tips to turn brown I can help to keep it looking its best for years to come.