Monstera Pests And Diseases

Monstera Pests And Diseases

Although Monsteras are less susceptible to pests, they can become infested or attacked by a fungal disease. While adequate care can mitigate the risk of pest infestation, pests, and insects can find their way onto your

Fortunately, understanding the signs of an infestation and how to address the issue will help you maintain a healthy houseplant.

 In this guide, we’ll cover 15 Monstera pests and diseases. Moreover, we’ll provide essential tips to get rid of them.

15 Most Common Monstera Pests and Diseases

  • Spider mites
  • Aphids
  • Scale insects
  • Leafminers
  • Fungus gnats
  • Whiteflies
  • Mealybugs
  • Thrips
  • Root rot and stem rot
  • Eyespot disease
  • Mosaic virus
  • Fungal leaf spots
  • Powdery mildew
  • Anthracnose
  • Bacterial leaf spot

Common Monstera Plant Pests and Diseases

Some common pests that attack Monsteras include spider mites, mealy bugs, and thrips. These insects feed on the plant’s sap, destroying the foliage of your Monstera. 

Here’s how to identify what type of pest has attacked your plant:

Monstera Pests

Spider mites

Spider mites are the major culprits for your Monstera’s leaves turning yellow. During an invasion, the pest feeds on the plant’s chlorophyll. Consequently, the green foliage will fade away slowly. 

Unlike most other pasts, spider mites are invisible to the naked eye. Nevertheless, check for white wispy webs on the plant’s stem and leaves to spot their presence. They rely on the fiber nets to navigate from one part of the plant to another. 

Similarly, white spots on the leaves can denote their presence. The white dots appear as the pest drains the plant’s chlorophyll.

Lucky for you, spider mites are easy to handle. Use running water to wash them off, and wipe the leaves using rubbing alcohol to prevent another infestation. Inspect the leaves underside and other liable parts when dealing with a spider mite infestation.

Spider Mites

Aphids

While it depends on the species, aphids can be white, black, yellow, green, or brown. Often, aphids will attack the new tender growth of Monstera plants. Older foliage is too tough for the aphids to chew on.

You’ll notice crinkling young leaves and stems on your Monstera plant during an aphid infestation. Aphids tend to hang around in clusters, making them easy to spot. 

Your young Monstera becomes stunted as these pests feed on the nutrient-rich sap tissue. As the infestation gets out of hand, the affected plants will drop their foliage. 

Additionally, as they feed, aphids produce honeydew in large amounts. Honeydew is a waste product that results in a sooty mold infestation on the plant’s leaves.

Fortunately, there are several ways to address an aphid infestation. A popular way to deal with them is spraying neem oil on the plant’s leaves and stems. Besides repelling the pests, neem oil will prevent further invasion.

Alternatively, rubbing alcohol on the infected area using cotton buds will address the issue. You can also mitigate aphid invasion by introducing a natural predator like ladybugs. 

Aphids

Scale

Soft scales are common in most houseplants, including Monsteras. While scale insects vary in color, they’re primarily beige or brown. Scale appear as tiny bumps on the plant’s leaves and stems. 

A scale attack will lead to the yellowing of leaves and stems. Over time, your plant’s leave will start to droop, resulting in stunted growth.

While you can annihilate the scale, we recommend discarding or quarantining heavily infested plants. If the scale invasion is mild, use horticultural oil or alcohol to curb further infestation.

Scale

Leafminers

Leafminers are a group of pests, including certain moth larvae, that burrow and feed on plant leaves. Leafminers leave behind yellow splotches or trails, making them easy to identify. These pests also leave behind tunnel injuries that result in scarring. 

To address this issue, spray an insecticide specially formulated to deal with leafminers. The insecticide will permeate the leaf’s surface, locating the pests.

Leafminers on Monstera

Fungus gnats

Fungus gnats are small, dark-colored bugs that fly around indoor plants. These pests generally infest the potting soil and lay their eggs. 

While they mostly feed on the soil’s organic matter, fungus gnats can attack the plant’s roots, especially if the soil is constantly wet. Consequently, the pests will damage the root, weakening the plant. 

Repotting your plant is the surefire way to deal with fungus gnats. While you can use sticky traps to eradicate fungus gnats, they are less effective. Before repotting, you’ll want to clean the roots gently to eliminate any present pests.

Alternatively, try replacing the moist soil layer with a fresh potting mix to see if it solves the issue. It’s also important to avoid overwatering the soil since the pests prefer soggy soil for breeding.

Fungus gnats on Monstera

Whiteflies on Monstera

Whiteflies inhibit plant growth by feeding on the sap. These insects have small white bodies and tend to fly around plants. 

They are a great nuisance due to their capacity to reproduce rapidly, laying hundreds of eggs simultaneously. In addition, they spread viruses and diseases between plants.

Whiteflies also defecate on plants, triggering fungal growth among other Monstera diseases. Their waste matter can also attract other insects and pests. 

Different methods to deal with whiteflies include vacuuming the adult flies off and spraying them with water or neem oil. However, ensure the plant is sturdy and work cautiously to prevent damaging the affected plant.

Whiteflies on Monstera

Mealybugs on Monstera

Another common houseplant pest, mealybugs, are white and oval-shaped insects. Their bodies also feature a waxy coating with a tail. Mealybugs lay clusters of white eggs in the notches and grooves of plants.

These pests feed on sap, resulting in stunted growth. Moreover, they can cause brown or yellow spots on your Monstera’s leaves. Over time, a serious mealybug infestation can kill your plant.

To eradicate these bugs, use a cotton swab to apply insecticidal soap or rubbing alcohol on the affected area. You can also dispose of the eggs using your hand.

Mealybugs

Thrips on Monstera

Thrips are tiny and invisible to the naked eye. They are mostly brown and have tiny wings. However, the characteristics will vary depending on the species.

Thrips usually inhabit the leaf veins of Monstera plants. They also feed on sap, affecting the plant’s growth. Failure to deal with thrips invasion can result in browning leaf tips and discoloration.

A popular way to get rid of thrips is by using a lint roller. After spotting an invasion, roll the lint gently on the affected parts. The pests will adhere to the roller surface, allowing you to discard them.

Alternatively, use a sticky trap to capture the pests. Insecticidal soap will also kill the pests instantly. However, we recommend using natural agents since they’re effective and eco-friendly.

Thrips on Monstera

Common Monstera Diseases 

Although rare, Monstera diseases can affect your plant’s health, eventually killing it. Here are some common diseases to look out for;

Root and Stem Rot

Excess moisture in the soil can result in stem and root rot. Common Monstera root rot symptoms include foul odor, mushy stems, and wilted plants. Other signs include the emergence of black or brown marks on the roots.

Immediately repot your plant once you spot early signs of contamination. Clip away the infected root before repotting and wash it gently to remove trapped dirt. Afterward, replant your Monstera in a fresh, well-draining potting mix. However, discard the plant if the disease spreads to the stems.

Since root rot results from soggy soil, ensure your planter has drainage holes. Also, avoid overwatering your plant.

Root and Stem Rot

Eyespot disease

Eyespot disease, or spilocaea Oleagina, results in brown spots with yellow rings or halos in Monstera leaves. The disease is sometimes called the peacock eye since the leaf spots resemble the bird’s eyes. 

Identifying eyespot disease is easy, with common signs including yellowing leaves and yellow rings around the stem. This disease also affects unfurled leaves.

Eyespot disease

Mosaic virus

Identifying Mosaic virus tends to be difficult. Initial symptoms are often similar to the pattern on variegated Monstera leaves.

Unfortunately, besides being highly contagious, the virus has no cure. So, you’ll want to spot it early enough to prevent it from spreading to other plants.

Mosaic virus

Fungal Leaf Spots

Fungal leaf spots occur when fungi eat away at Monstera leaves from the outside. This disease is often mistaken for bacterial leaf spots caused by a germ. 

The fungus causes clusters of yellow spots on the leaf with a brown dot at the center. Additional symptoms include brown or black spots with yellow rings around them.

Fungal Leaf Spots

Powdery Mildew

Powdery mildew results from a fungus that leaves a white, dusty coating on the leaves of Monstera. Failure to mitigate this issue will result in yellow leaves, eventually drying out.

Common symptoms include circular, chalky spots on the leaves upper and undersides. The spots can also occur on the stems.

Powdery Mildew

Anthracnose

Similar to root rot, anthracnose mostly affects Monstera plants in soggy environments. Moreover, decaying plant matter increases the risk of anthracnose infection. This fungal disease causes yellowing along the leave’s edges. 

As it progresses, the disease turns dark-brown and spreads inward. Consequently, the leaves will die, leaving large lesions or sores on the stem.

Managing humidity around the plant is vital in containing the disease. So, avoid misting leaves and keep your Monstera away from decaying matter.

Anthracnose

Bacterial leaf spot

Bacterial leaf spot is a common disease that impacts the growth of Monstera plants. Brown or yellow spots on the leaves characterize this disease. You may also notice a sticky substance on the plant’s leaves. The bacteria, which spread in water, are often attracted to the moisture on plant leaves.

Once you notice signs of bacterial leaf spot infection, prune the affected leaves to prevent further spreading. When pruning, use a sterilized pruner to prevent further contamination.

Also, if your plants are close to each other, quarantining the infected Monstera is your best bet. You can 

Bacterial leaf spot

Signs Pests are Eating Monstera

1. Discoloration of leaves

When your Monstera plant has yellow or brown spots on the leaves, it could mean something is wrong. This could be because of too much sun or not enough water.

It could also mean a disease like a bacteria or fungus in the plant, which you’ll need to treat immediately, so it doesn’t worsen.

2. Brown spots on leaves

They are usually caused by the same factors that cause discoloration but can sometimes indicate more serious issues, such as root rot, which occurs when too much moisture is in the soil.

3. Wilting or drooping of foliage

Wilting or drooping foliage can occur due to environmental stress, such as too much direct sunlight or insufficient water. Still, it can also indicate that there is an infestation or infection.

4. Curling or distorted leaves

This could be due to an invasion by pests such as aphids, mealybugs, and mites, which can cause the leaves to curl and discolor.

5. Sticky residue on plant and potting soil

This sticky substance is usually caused by sap-sucking pests such as aphids, mealybugs, and mites.

6. Small insects on plant and potting soil

If you notice small insects on your Monstera plant or potting soil, it could indicate an infestation or infection. These pests can spread disease and cause damage to the plant if left untreated.

7. White mold on plant and pot

White mold on terracotta pots is usually caused by excessive moisture in the soil and can lead to root rot. More often, they also attack the plant direct, causing the plant to die.

8. Unusual odors coming from the plant or potting soil

The smell could be caused by pests such as aphids, mealybugs, mites, and fungal or bacterial diseases.

9. Excessive thirst for water

If your Monstera plant seems constantly thirsty and needs frequent watering, it could indicate an infestation or infection. This could indicate root rot caused by excessive moisture in the soil, or it could be caused by pests such as aphids, mealybugs, and mites.

10. The infrequent blossoming of flowers or fruits

If your Monstera plant normally blooms with flowers or fruits but suddenly stops, it could be a sign of an infestation or infection. This can occur due to environmental stress, but it can also indicate something wrong with the plant’s root system.

How to Prevent Pests and Diseases on Monstera 

Prevention is better than cure, and so goes the adage. Here are some proven measures to prevent pests and diseases on your Monstera.

Inspect the plants before purchasing

Pests and insects spread hastily between plants, especially in a crowded flower shop or nursery. Similarly, since most Monstera diseases are highly contagious, you’ll want to double-check the plant before purchasing them. 

Quarantine new plants

After purchasing a new plant, whether online or from a brick-and-mortar store, refrain from mixing it with other plants for about a fortnight. 

During this period, you can easily spot any signs of infestation and react accordingly. Similarly, quarantining new plants prevents potential pests from spreading.

Use clean planters and fresh soil

Since pests lay eggs in the potting mix, use a clean or new pot before planting your Monstera. Also, when repotting, use a fresh potting mix to avoid transferring pests and diseases unknowingly.

Avoid overwatering

Soggy soil creates the perfect condition for pests and insects to breed. Similarly, fungal diseases thrive in humid environments.

So, maintain a consistent watering schedule to avoid overwatering the plant. Also, only use soil that drains well and ensure your planter offers sufficient drainage.

Provide enough light

With sufficient sunlight, the soil will stay dry between watering sessions. Subsequently, you’ll want to provide sufficient indirect sunlight to your houseplant.

Besides promoting growth, sunshine also keeps bugs at bay.

Check out for wounds and openings

Damaged leaves or wounded parts leave your Monstera susceptible to diseases. Since open tissues are easily infected, always use a sterilized pruning tool.

Inspect regularly

Even with enough care and effort, the matter can still get out of hand. So, you’ll want to inspect your Monstera regularly to spot early infestation signs.

This allows you to act on the issue before it gets out of hand.

How To Get Rid of Monstera Pests? 

Houseplant enthusiasts are aware that pests on Monstera plants are inevitable. Here’s how to get rid of pests on Monstera if you’re unfortunate to experience an invasion.

Physical removal

This is one of the easiest and most cost-effective methods to eradicate Monstera pests. Additionally, physical removal has less impact on the environment compared to deploying chemical options.

Typical physical methods of removing pests include sticky traps, handpicking, and vacuuming. Sticky traps use adhesive to trap insects, while vacuum cleaners eliminate flying insects like whiteflies. 

Handpicking also works for most Monstera pests besides spider mites due to their minute size. Like flypaper, sticky traps usually include a sweet scent that attracts the insect.

The pests become trapped upon crawling or landing on the surface.

Insecticidal soap

Insecticidal soap consists of fatty acids and potassium salts. Although lethal to indoor plant pests, insecticidal horticulture soap is often safe for plants.

Biological methods

Similar to physical methods, biological pest control is less harmful to plants. Moreover, they are eco-friendly and hardly impact the environment.

Biological control methods rely on natural predators like ladybugs to get rid of Monstera pests. Ladybugs feed on mealybugs and aphids, freeing plants from pests. 

For this method to be effective, you’ll want to grow flowering plants that produce nectar and pollen. This way, the bugs won’t desert your garden.

Chemical control

Chemical control offers a quick and more effective way to eradicate pests or cure plants of diseases. However, chemicals are often expensive and less available. 

Common chemical control options include fungicides, bactericides, or pesticides. You can apply the chemicals using a spray bottle or a cotton swab.

Unfortunately, chemicals, including copper-based fungicides, often harm the environment. Moreover, the chemical agents interfere with the soil microbes essential to plant roots.

Homemade options

Homemade remedy options include using dish soap or rubbing alcohol. When using homemade options, be careful not to contaminate the soil.

For instance, spilling soil on your Monstera potting mix spells doom to your plant.

What does a Diseased Monstera Plant Look Like?

A diseased Monstera will exhibit different symptoms depending on the cause and type of disease. Typical signs include wilting, yellowing leaves, black or brown spots, and foul smell. You’ll also notice stunted growth or new leggy growth.

If you spot diseases early, you can save your plant by pruning away the affected parts. However, if you leave your plant untreated, it’ll eventually dry.

Often, a diseased Monstera will portray symptoms similar to an overwatered, underwatered, or sunburnt plant. So, observe your plant for other signs, including pest invasion and fungal growth.

When diseased Monstera experiences stunted growth, it’ll grow slower than usual. Similarly, it won’t be as large as other healthy plants. If your Monstera grows new leaves sluggishly, it could be due to an underlying disease.

Finally, diseases Monsteras are leggier and sparser. Typically, the plant cannot grow new leaves, forcing it to stretch out to access light. In turn, this may cause the leaves to bend and droop. 

How to Use Insecticides and Pesticides

Various insecticide and pesticide products designed for indoor plants are available. Before using any product, you’ll want to read and adhere to the user guide and precautions.

Follow the stipulated guidelines to ensure your safety as well as the product’s effectiveness. Also, most pesticides are hazardous to the environment, so you’ll want to use them sparingly.

Similarly, ensure you’re in a well-ventilated area before using the pesticide. Unless you encounter a massive pest invasion, we recommend using physical and biological control methods. 

Use a spray or misting bottle when applying pesticides and insecticides to houseplants. Also, remember to cover surrounding surfaces with a protective tarp to prevent contaminating your home.

Covering up surrounding areas will ensure minimal cleaning needs. Remember to wear personal protective equipment, including gloves and eye goggles, to protect yourself from unprecedented hazards.

Failure to use PPE could result in skin rash or irritation when the chemical contacts your skin. After applying the pesticide, remember to wash your hands thoroughly and store the chemicals safely away from children and pets.

Besides being toxic, pesticides and insecticides are flammable, so avoid using them near open flames or food.

FAQs

How can you identify pests on Monstera?

You can detect bugs and pests on your Monstera by observing the leave’s color. If you notice strange spots, whether yellow, black, brown, or white, pests have likely invaded your houseplant. Also, while some pests are visible to the naked eye, others can be hard to spot due to their minuscule size.

What are the most common pests affecting Monstera Deliciosa?

Like most other indoor plants, Monsteras can fall victim to common houseplant pests such as thrips, spider mites, mealy bugs, fungus gnats, aphids, and scale. While some insects, such as ladybugs, are harmless, most pests will damage the plant. For instance, phytophagous insects such as aphids feed on nutrient-rich sap, taking a toll on the plant’s health.

What are some common diseases In Monstera?

Common diseases affecting Monstera plants include stem and root rot, powdery mildew, southern blight, botrytis, and rust. Fortunately, pesticides, bactericides, or fungicides can resolve most diseases. However, some diseases, including the Mosaic virus, have no known cure. In this case, you’ll want to get rid of the affected plant to prevent the spreading of the disease.

Which is the best homemade pesticide For Monstera?

Neem oil is one of the most popular natural insecticides houseplant enthusiasts use to combat pest infestation. Similarly, you can dilute mild liquid soap with water and spray it on houseplants to eradicate pests. Ideally, use 1 teaspoon of soap for every liter of water. Add one teaspoon of baking soda, and you will have a great fungicide.

What pesticide for Monstera should I use?

Neem oil is undeniably the best pesticide for Monstera. Besides being harmless to the plant, neem oil is also a potential pest from invading Monsteras. Like horticultural soap, occasionally spraying neem oil on the leaves of your Monstera will ward off insects and pests. Use neem oil spray or straight neem oil to kill adult pests and eggs.

Conclusion

Providing adequate care and attention is the best way to prevent Monstera pests and diseases. However, your plant is still at risk of infestation from tropical houseplant pests.

So, you’ll want to understand how to identify common pests and diseases before preparing for treatment. 

Additionally, spotting early signs of an infestation is vital for your plant’s recovery. We recommend biological or physical pest control methods since they impact the environment less.

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