Plant Care

Why is My Variegated Monstera Turning Brown? (Easy Answer)

Do your Variegated Monstera leaves start turning brown and have dry leaves? Today we will talk about the reasons why this happens and what to do to solve them.

Variegated Monstera is turning brown for various reasons, both bad environmental and agricultural practices. In most cases, brown leaves are associated with dehydration, such as sunburn, lack of water and moisture shortage, or salt buildup. Other reasons, such as too much water, fungal infection, over-fertilization and pest infestation, can also cause brown spots. All this leads to fungal infection and damage to the roots.

First you need to understand the Why , i.e. the cause and for this I have compiled a list of the top 10 reasons. Below each reason you will find the solution, to help you solve your problem.

Reasons Variegated Monstera is Turning Brown
1. Sunburn
2. Low Temperatures
3. Waterlogging
4. Lack of water
5. Lack of sunlight
6. Low humidity
7. Nutrients deficiency
8. Salt accumulation in soil
9. Fungal Disease
10. Pest Infestation

1. Sunburn

As much as this plant loves light, if you leave it in direct sun between June and August you could end up with a Variegated Monstera with burnt leaves. The burns are easily recognizable by their brown and dry appearance, limited to the leaves facing the light source (the sun in this case).

They are caused by the combination of too intense light and heat from the sun’s rays. It is no coincidence that it occurs mainly in spring or summer during the central hours of the day.

In autumn and winter the rays are not so strong as to cause burns. The same goes for the sun in the early morning or last hours before sunset.

Each plant has a maximum amount of light it can tolerate. Once this threshold is exceeded, the energy is converted into heat, which added to the heat itself by the rays causes yellowing and burns on the leaf blade.


Move the Monstera out of direct sun. You can move it away from the window, change its room or block out the sun’s rays with an opaque curtain.

Depending on how bad the situation is, a decision must be made whether to cut the leaves or keep them.

Burnt or yellowed leaves will not recover, but if they still have green in them they are still able to do photosynthesis.

I usually remove them at the base when the damage exceeds 30% of the leaf area. But this is subjective. It depends on how big the plant is, the severity of the burns and the number of healthy leaves.

2. Low Temperatures

Low temperatures, strong temperature variations or drafts of cold air cause the Variegated Monstera cells to collapse causing brown spots on the leaves. The more intense the cold, or the prolonged exposure, the greater the damage.

The problem with cold damage is that it takes a while to become visible. Often the Variegated Monstera leaves only turn brown a few days later and this makes them a bit difficult to recognize.

In fact, necrosis is not caused only by low temperatures, but also by root rot, some pathogenic fungi or by the lack of some nutrients.

To be sure that the Monstera variegata has brown leaves due to the cold, it is necessary to monitor the temperature of the room both during the day and at night, making sure that it does not drop below 55-57°F (13-15°C).

You will need a thermometer that records the minimum and maximum temperatures.

Once you are sure that the temperatures are good, keep the plant under observation. The problem should stop within a few days.


First of all, move the Monstera to a room with a stable temperature above 57-60°F (15-18°C).

Then, cut off the stained leaves  to prevent the lesions from becoming an entry point for fungi and bacteria.

Since you will be cutting where the tissues are still alive and vascularized, you need to use scissors sterilized with alcohol, bleach or with the flame of a lighter.

Depending on the size of the spots and where they are located, you can cut only the damaged parts or the entire leaf. Removing it at the base.

Before proceeding, make sure that the cold damage has fully manifested. Wait a few days before arming yourself with scissors , to avoid stressing the plant with multiple prunings.

3. Waterlogging

Waterlogging is a common way to kill most houseplants, and variegated monsteras are no exception. Monsteras are epiphytes with aerial roots, so they do not tolerate waterlogging very well. These plants require slightly moist soil but damp soil will cause their roots to rot due to suffocation.

And once root rot sets in, the plant will most likely show its suffering in the form of brown spots on the leaves, as well as brown tips on the edges of the leaves.

Sometimes poorly draining soil or planters without drainage holes can also cause monstera roots to sit in water for too long, causing root damage.

The exotic plant does not tolerate “wet feet”, as waterlogging is often called, and reacts to this with brown, dried-up leaf discoloration. This sounds paradoxical at first, but it is not. 

Wet soil causes the roots to rot over time, so that they can no longer absorb water and nourish the above-ground parts of the plant. This is how the foliage dries up, although apparently there is enough moisture.


If the consequences of overflow are reflected on the top and trunk of the plant, then we proceed to resuscitation:

Remove the plant from the pot and wash all the roots

All the roots that have lost their elasticity, become rotten and darkened – ruthlessly cut off

After trimming the roots, rinse them in a solution of phytosporin (we breed according to the instructions and comply with all safety requirements!)

Sprinkle sections of the roots with charcoal

We plant the plant in a pot of new soil washed with soap, water it in a couple of days, do not fertilize for at least a month.

4. Lack of water

In the same way that over-watering is bad for Monstera’s health, under-watering can also cause the plant to become dehydrated, leading to leaves turning brown.

Remember that the rainforest is the natural habitat of this plant, so it obviously needs a lot of moisture to thrive – the trick is to ensure that conditions are constantly slightly moist.

Although the Monstera resists well to a dry period, leaving it without water during the growth period inevitably leads to dry leaves. Starting  at the edges and working towards the inside  of the lamina as dehydration worsens.

Often this is preceded by a general loss of turgor, the plant goes limp and the leaves curl downwards.

In this situation, Monstera deliciosa resists better than (Monstera adansonii), which tends to dry out sooner.


Water abundantly and then let the soil dry, without waiting for the leaves to soften.

The best way to understand when to water the Variegated Monstera is by inserting a finger a few centimeters into the soil and watering when the first 3-4cm on the surface are dry.

As for the dry ends, you can decide whether to cut them or not. The question is above all aesthetic.

Just be sure to use sterilized scissors if cutting where the leaf is still green.

5. Lack of sunlight

The lack of light in Variegated Monstera can cause both yellow and brown leaves, depending on how ripe it was when the light went out. The mature leaves tend to create large brown spots with yellow edges, while the younger and softer ones turn black quite evenly over the entire lamina.

The problem is due to the sudden decrease in light, due to the recent purchase of the plant (which was previously in the greenhouse) or simply due to the natural decrease in light intensity typical of the autumn period.

The plant benefited from a lot of light in spring and summer, it produced many leaves and when the light starts to fail it is no longer able to feed them all. Problem exacerbated also by the drop in temperatures.


Move the Monstera in front of a very bright window, where it receives abundant diffused light and (possibly) a few hours of direct sun in the morning or late afternoon. During the cold months it can easily stand in full sun.

If natural light isn’t enough, consider purchasing an LED plant light. This will not only solve the root problem, but will allow your Monstera to continue growing well into winter.

6. Low humidity

A very low humidity rate and/or combined with high temperatures can cause peripheral dehydration of the plant. Variegated Monstera struggles to absorb and transport enough water to nourish the leaves, which start to dry out and start turning brown along the leaf edges.

It is typical of the winter period, when with the heating on the air in the house becomes particularly dry. But it can also happen in the summer heat or when the plant is close to heat sources, such as a radiator, fireplace or electric stove.

It is not a particularly serious problem, even if it irreversibly damages the leaves.

However, very low humidity compromises plant growth and overall health.

By monitoring temperature and humidity with a thermo hygrometer you can be sure that dry leaf edges are due to an environmental issue. In order to be able to exclude fungal diseases, which can give similar symptoms but which develop in humid environments (we will see them better in a moment).


There are many ways to increase the humidity around your plant, such as:

  • Recreate a humid microclimate by bringing the plants closer together.
  • Spray the leaves in the morning or in the early afternoon.
  • Use a radiator evaporator on radiators.
  • Keep Monstera in a humid room, such as the bathroom, kitchen or laundry room.
  • Hang the clothes in the room where the plant is located.

If you have many houseplants, my advice is to buy a good ultrasonic humidifier, in order to cut the bull’s head and be sure to solve the problem.

It costs more than the solutions written above, but it is very effective and I guarantee that both you and your plants will benefit from it in health.

7. Nutrients deficiency

Like all plants, Monstera variegata needs a number of nutrients to thrive. And the faster it grows, the greater its need will be. For this we must not forget to fertilize it during the spring and summer. Or just every time a new leaf comes out.

If you don’t, the plant will soon slow down its growth and start showing signs of deficiency on the leaves.

The deficiency of each element manifests itself in a different way. Starting from yellowing, up to the appearance of brown spots, black dots or dry leaf edges.

This nutrient deficiency chapter is very broad and would require a post of its own.

To stay on topic, just know that brown or black spots on Variegated Monstera leaves are usually caused by an advanced lack of nitrogen (N), iron deficiency (Fe) and phosphorus deficiency (P).

All these elements fortunately are found in most fertilizers on the market.


Fertilize Monstera with a complete fertilizer  (with balanced NPK values) or with a fertilizer for green plants. Make sure you don’t exceed the manufacturer’s recommended dosage or you risk overdoing it soon.

When you fertilize, allow a little excess water to drain out of the pot’s drainage holes.

8. Salt accumulation in soil

Salt buildup from overuse of fertilizers or poor water quality causes leaves to turn yellow and brown spots on leaves. This is due to the fact that Monstera roots are no longer able to properly absorb water because they are too full of mineral salts.

The symptoms are therefore similar to dehydration:

  • The leaves turn yellow starting from the edges
  • The edges of the leaves dry up
  • The leaves have a wrinkled appearance.

Added to this is the fact that an excess of fertilizer tends to acidify the soil. Triggering a series of nutrient deficiencies due to nutrient lockout.

I know it sounds like a contradiction, but that’s how it is.

An excess of fertilizer can cause a deficiency because it renders some elements needed by the plant unusable.

Think about when and how much you fertilized in the last period. If you fear you have exaggerated, follow the written procedure below.


If your Variegated Monstera has brown and dry leaves due to a buildup of salts, or if you fear this is the case, you need to rinse the soil of all excess substances.

To do this, just water the plant with lots of water. I repeat, lots of water. More than double or triple what the vase can hold.

Let the excess drain from the holes in the pot, then wait for the potting soil to dry thoroughly.

Allowing excess water to drain from the bottom every time you water is always a good practice, especially when fertilizing.

Obviously a normal watering does not require such a large quantity.

Once the excess fertilizer has been cleaned from the soil, resume treating the Verigated Monstera as usual.

9. Fungal Disease

Another reason why Monstera can have brown spots on the leaves is a sign of a fungal or bacterial infection, often due to a humid environment  with  poor ventilation  or  stagnant water on the foliage .

Fungal infections usually start with a single brown spot that increases in number over time. If left unchecked, these spots begin to grow in size until they gradually join together and take the form of a large spot on the Monstera leaf. Gradually, the entire leaf turns brown, and eventually falls off.

In fact, some fungi, thanks to the structure of their spores (zoospores) are able to cross the cell walls of the plant through the pores and stomata. Using water as a carrier.

There are so many fungal diseases, with different symptoms. Generally, however, they are characterized by  yellow spots, which turn brown and dry as the infection progresses.

Dead tissue remains brown, while active infection creates a yellow halo around it.

Bacterial diseases, on the other hand, are distinguished from fungal diseases by their watery and slimy appearance. They often have a  bad smell  if you smell them closely.

They are even more dangerous than fungal infections and require immediate action.

Bacterial leaf spots tend to be larger, fewer on the leaves, and may have a wet appearance. 

Regardless of fungal or bacterial origin, leaf spot requires immediate treatment:

  • isolate the plant from the rest of the greens to avoid an epidemic;
  • cut off all damaged areas or leaves at once;
  • treat the plant with a systemic fungicide;
  • observe and pray (the latter will not be superfluous, faith in good is capable of much;


Isolate the monstera to prevent it from spreading the infection to other plants.

Subsequently, all the leaves with spots or lesions attributable to a disease must  be removed at the base. Keep the plant in a well-ventilated area and avoid wetting the leaves until the problem is resolved.

If the plant has a fungal infection, it may need to be treated with a  broad spectrum systemic fungicide if it recurs.

If it is due to bacteria, hydrogen peroxide can be sprayed. However if that were not enough, specific antibacterial products must be used.

Root rot

Root rot, due to too frequent watering or too compact and fine soil , is one of the main reasons why Variegated Monstera leaves are turning brown, or becomes limp.

Even if it becomes visible in the aerial part of the plant, the damage actually occurs at the root level.

The roots rot due to a fungal infection. As a result they are no longer able to absorb water and nutrients to feed the rest of the plant.

10. Pest Infestation

Unfortunately, monstera variegata are vulnerable to pests such as scaly insects and spider mites. Pests are probably monstera’s worst enemies as they can have a devastating effect on her overall health. They can cause irreversible damage if not removed quickly enough.

Spider mites are really tiny and you might not even notice them at first, but you can look out for the following signs. Pay attention to the thin, thin web between the leaves, as well as darkened, withered foliage with yellow or brown spots on the leaves.

Look closely and you will see many tiny spider mites no bigger than a pinhead moving along their web and eating the plant alive.

On the other hand, scaly insects have been known to attack the monstera stem or leaf articulations. Therefore, pay more attention to these parts of the plant when examining.

Should I cut Brown Leaves off my verigated Monstera?

First thing you should do is to identify the underlying cause of the brown leaves and address it to prevent further damage to your plant as follows:

  1. Check the soil moisture level, lighting conditions;
  2. Inspect the plant for signs of pests or disease;

Before making your diagnosis, be aware that you can remove any yellow or brown leaves by simply cutting them at the base. Next, check the ground; if it feels damp to the touch (especially at the bottom), let it dry completely before watering it again.

Only remove the entire leaf if most of it is brown. Leaves with small brown areas along the edges or tip still produce energy for the plant through photosynthesis. However, if a leaf is almost completely dry and brown, it no longer serves this purpose and can be removed.

If half the surface of the leaf or two-thirds of it is brown, photosynthesis can no longer take place in this sense. The leaf should then be cut off completely at the base of the stem with sharp scissors.

In summary, it is generally a good idea to trim off brown leaves from your variegated Monstera, but it’s important to identify and address the underlying issue to prevent further damage.


In conclusion, if you notice your variegated Monstera turning brown, don’t worry! It’s a common problem that can be easily addressed. Just remember to check the soil moisture, lighting conditions, and inspect the plant for signs of pests or disease. Once you identify the underlying issue, you can take the appropriate steps to restore the heal of your Monstera. With a little bit of care and attention, your variegated Monstera will be back to its beautiful self in no time! Happy gardening!

Can I cut off the brown leaves?

You can cut off the brown or mottled leaves if they bother you visually.  Cut off the affected leaves just above the leaf axil. 
In this way you wake up sleeping eyes sitting below the cut, which then drive out and replace the cut sheet.  If only the tips of the leaves are brown, just shorten the browned parts of the tissue.  Do not cut into the green fabric, but leave a thin brown edge.

Do Monstera Variegata brown leaves turn green again?

Unfortunately, leaf tissue that has once turned brown or black does not recover, so that unsightly stains remain even if the causes are eliminated. 
Only newly developing foliage is spotless green.

What to do with brown leaves of Monstera?

Spray leaves regularly with lime-free water. avoid dry heating air. Use humidifiers and hygrometers to check humidity. divert long aerial roots to a container filled with water.

Andreea Tapu

Andreea TAPU is a passionate gardener with over 5 years of experience in cultivating a wide variety of plants and flowers in her garden. As the author and creator of, she is dedicated to sharing her knowledge and expertise with others, providing practical tips and advice to help gardeners of all levels achieve success and enjoyment in their gardening pursuits.