Sunlight is an essential factor for any plant to grow. But did you know that sunlight can be a two-faced sword at times?
Monstera plant is an easy-to-care-for plant and sits in any home. Yet, direct sunlight can burn your Monstera plants’ leaves, leaving you disappointed. Note, other factors may lead to monstera sunburns. Poor watering and fertilizer burns are but a few reasons.
We will go into greater detail and tackle Monstera sunburn signs and solutions.
Monstera Sunburn Signs
Exposing your Monstera plant to direct sunlight for a long period will cause sunburn. As a result, Sunburned monstera leaves will have brown spots and appear bleached or discolored. In addition, the plant may also have browned leaf edges. To fix your monstera plant, trim the damaged leaves and bring your plant to a shade.
Cause of Monstera Sunburn
1. Fertilizer burn
Too much fertilizer is bad for your Monstera plants. Using fertilizers with a high salt index, such as potassium, is not ideal. For instance, they’ll hydrate the root system of your Monstera plant.
Excess fertilizer salt will also prevent your plants’ nutrient intake. In the end, your Monstera leaves will end up burnt.
You must use the right quantities when adding fertilizers to your plants. For example, a tablespoon of fertilizer against a gallon of water is a good amount.
Water your Monstera with the mix once a month between April and September. Most importantly, try and avoid fertilizer between fall all through to winter.
2. Extreme temperatures (Too cold or too hot)
Monstera plants thrive well in temperatures between sixty to eighty-five degrees Fahrenheit. Cold temperatures below 13 degrees celsius will affect the plant. Eventually, the leaves will turn brown and appear sunburned.
When you expose Monstera plants to hot temperatures, the plant will experience stress. In addition, the plant will develop crispy brown leaf tips and edges. These signs show that your plant has sunburns.
If your Monstera plants are in your outdoor garden, cover them with a net. The idea is to protect them from very hot temperatures. You can also bring the plant to a shady spot. Then, do the same when the temperatures are cold.
3. Poor watering
Poor watering can happen in two ways—Overwatering and not watering. Plants need water to grow and stay healthy. When you overwater your Monstera plants, the soil will become soggy. The soggy soil will prevent air circulation.
Without proper air circulation, the plant will experience slow growth and may weaken. In addition, the leaves of your Monstera will start to burn at the tips and may extend to the entire leaf. So, the best practice is to allow the potting mix to dry out before watering.
Not watering the plants at all will deprive the plants of humidity. In the end, the soil and leaf surfaces will appear dry, exposing the plant to sunburn.
4. Fungal diseases
An infected Monstera plant will develop brown tips and spots on the leaves. These spots will make the Monstera’s leaves appear sunburned.
To prevent your plants from suffering fungal infections, spray them every week. Of course, the best spray will be a fungicide spray. Better yet, your plants will have good aeration and proper watering.
5. Lack of nutrients
Chlorophyll is a component that is essential for all green plants. For example, a Monstera plant that lacks chlorophyll will suffer sunburn.
Chlorophyll gives the plant its green color. It also supports photosynthesis. Without it, the plant will be unable to produce food for its growth and die.
Another essential nutrient is iron phosphorus. A Monstera plant lacking this nutrient will stop growing and may die.
Finally, molybdenum is also a great nutrient for your plants. Without it, the plant may start stunting and cause leaf yellowing.
It would be best if you replenished your plants with these nutrients now and then. Doing this will prevent the plants from experiencing sunburn.
Signs of Sunburnt Monstera Leaves
A healthy, happy Monstera plant displays deep green, waxy, and split leaves. If your plant doesn’t look close to anything like this, you must look for sunburn signs. Different signs show your plants are experiencing sunburn.
These signs include:
Very extreme direct sunlight is dangerous to your Monstera plant. To clarify, the sun’s rays damage the softer white foliage. Further, the damaged Monstera leaves will end up withered and with brown spots.
Some burned areas may fall out, resulting in sunburnt foliage with holes. In most cases, the burn spots are usually light gray. The light gray monstera leaf will then turn to brown spots with time.
More Monstera sunburn is likely to occur during late spring or early summer. During these times, there is full sun. The sun’s brighter light may scorch the outer layer of the leaf tissue. Usually, the outer layer scorches first. The inner sides of the leaf scorch later in the process.
Droopy wilted leaves
Wilted leaves are common in every plant. But wilting doesn’t mean that the Monstera is experiencing sunburn.
If the wilting is as a result of Monstera sunburn, the leaves will have crispy edges and may appear brown and dry.
Additionally, know your plant is experiencing harsh light conditions if you see drooping foliage. Similarly, the foliage may end up falling off.
Harsh light conditions suck moisture out of the plant and the leaves. Remember to check for stem dieback. A decayed stem will make the leaves and foliage droop.
As mentioned earlier, wilting is not only a result of sunburn. Sometimes, overwatering may cause the plant to wilt. So, before you make any assumptions, find out the reasons for your Monstera sunburn.
A Monstera plant will have bleached leaves when suffering from sunburns. Bleaching occurs when the plant turns white or pale due to too much exposure to sunlight. The leaves will be almost transparent and have a paper-like feel.
The color change happens so fast. Therefore, It’s among the first signs before the monstera leaves turn brown and crispy.
Unfortunately, the sunburned leaves may not restore their lushness. So you can trim them off. Bringing the plants to a shade will reduce the risk of further bleaching. It is best to note that parasites such as spider mites may also cause bleaching to your Monstera leaves.
Brown tips and Edges
Brown tips and edges are another sign of a sunburned Monstera. When you expose your Monstera to direct sunlight, it will start losing moisture. The loss of moisture is due to transpiration and respiration.
The situation may get worse due to evaporation on soil and leaf surfaces.
The moisture-less Monstera will start browning on the edges and tips.
Excessive use of fertilizer may cause browning of the Monstera plant. The same applies to extreme temperatures—either too hot or too cold.
Practicing good plant care tips will save your plant from such damage.
Yellow and darkened leaves
Yellowing leaves are the first indication your Monstera is suffering from sunburn. The plants develop yellow and brown spots on their Monstera leaves when exposed to too much direct sunlight.
The change is called scorching which results from too much exposure to direct sunlight. When the cell walls are damaged, they lose fluids. The loss of fluids makes the plant lose its color and chlorophyll.
We all know chlorophyll gives plants their green color. Therefore, lack of it will darken the plant’s leaves.
The plants lacking nutrients are not a good sign. A lack of molybdenum also causes the plant to turn yellow.
White or brown foliage
When your Monstera plant gets sunburned, the leaves will show. But, the foliage may take time to change to white and brown. After an extended period of exposure to sunlight, the plant may start to discolor and pale.
Sunburned monstera leaves may look whitish or brownish. They may also appear silver-gray. This narrows down to exposure to bright light. With such happening, the leaf foliage starts to brown and turn white.
The white and brown patches show that no photosynthesis is taking place. It would be best to take action before your Monstera is completely damaged.
Dried Potting mix
Underwatering is a huge culprit to your Monstera plant dryness. But did you know that sometimes it’s never your fault?
For example, you may religiously water your plants and go for the best pots for mosntera and still experience dryness. Why would this happen?
Let me give you an insight so you can stop beating yourself up. When you expose your plants to excessive sunlight, soil moisture escapes quickly.
Your plants absorb moisture at a fast rate. This is due to evaporation and respiration. Therefore, the processes will force your plants to lose moisture.
In the end, your potting mix will dry out. When your potting mix dries up, your Monstera plant will experience sunburn.
This is one of the easiest signs to help you identify sunburn. Sunburnt Monstera leaves are dry and crumbly. When you touch the sunburnt Monstera leaves, you will feel a crispy papery touch. Similarly, the leaf will also break easily.
A leaf in such a state will not be able to grip the plant and fall. The crispy leaves can be in different colors and sizes. The crispy sunburnt Monstera, which hasn’t fallen off, can be removed. They are easy to remove because of their delicate nature.
When you leave your dried-out Monstera leaves for a long period, they’ll start to fall. If you notice that your leaves fall off, it’s a sign that your Monstera is experiencing sunburn.
This will happen when you forget about your plant. But, of course, the signs shown above will happen before the leaves start to fall.
Falling leaves are a clear sign that your plant is sunburned. Place the plants in areas you can remember to track their growth.
Placing them in visible areas will assist you in tracking their health too. This will assist you in saving your plants from sunburns.
How to Save a Sunburnt Monstera Plant
You can still save your sunburnt Monstera plants if the damage is not serious.
However, if you notice the damage in the early stages, there are steps you can take and save your plants.
You’ll be shocked to see your plants regaining their vigor if you follow the right steps.
i. Move the plant to a shade away from direct sunlight
The first process to save your plant is removing it from direct sunlight. The Monstera is in a delicate state and will need some shade.
Due to an extended period of exposure to sunlight, the plant’s leaves are sunburnt. So, indirect light is what they need.
Monstera plants thrive well in bright indirect light. Therefore, rooms with east-facing windows are best for indirect light. If your room has a sunny interior, place your plant in a west or south-facing window.
In addition, you can also use sheer curtains to blind the excess sunlight.
ii. Provide the plant with the correct temperatures
Monstera plants grow in warm temperatures between 60 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures below this will send your plants to stress. If the temperatures exceed, the already damaged plant will stress further.
If you have a thermostat in your home, set it to the right temperature to favor the plant’s recovery.
You can also add a layer of insulation to your pot. This will protect the sunburnt Monstera plant from cold.
iii. Fertilize your monstera plant
A sunburned Monstera is a sensitive plant. So, fertilizers high in nitrogen are what the plant needs now. Besides, the fertilizer will assist the plant in its new growth. So, you must be keen on the number of applications.
Check out fertilizer for Monstera plants in the local nursery or garden market. Keep in mind that overfertilizing your plants is one of the reasons for their sunburn. Thus, follow the instructions on the package with keenness.
Place your plants in indirect light when applying fertilizer. Remember, Your plant is not in a good state to stand too much sunlight.
iv. Cut off damaged leaves
If the Monstera leaves damage is severe, you will need to cut them off. Leaving the damaged leaves on the plant will add nothing but put more stress on the plant. The plant won’t be able to focus its growth on new leaves.
Ensure to cut the leaves from the base. Cutting the leaves off will allow air circulation and light to reach the center of the plant.
To cut off the damaged leaves:
- Use scissors or a pruning shear.
- Remember to sterilize the tools with alcohol before cutting. This will help protect plants from diseases.
- Always remember to wear gloves.
v. Switch the plant to the right light conditions with grow light
You should think outside the box if you live in a house or an apartment with no natural light conditions. Note, your Monstera needs light to bloom.
Thus, use grow lights. Grow lights are artificial light imitating natural sunlight. The goal is to provide plants with the light they need for photosynthesis.
Grow lights are available in different shapes, sizes, and intensities. So, you can customize your house with the required lighting.
vi. Water your Monstera plant
This is the best gift you can ever give to your sunburned Monstera. Your plants may need to quench their thirst after a long battle with the sun.
Water your plants regularly until your Monstera leaves show some sign of recovery. If you can, use filtered water.
Ensure you are watering correctly and avoid soggy soil. Soggy makes it impossible for air circulation. Your plants need proper air circulation to gain energy. Moreover, you can also mist the leaves to cool them off.
How Can You Keep Your Monstera From Sunburn?
Giving your Monstera plants the best lighting conditions will prevent them from sunburn.
You can also follow these steps to keep the plants from sunburn:
Have your windows installed with UV protective film
UV rays are not good for your plants. As a result, you can have UV protective film installed on your windows. The films come in different shapes and sizes. This means that you can cut it to fit your windows.
You can get the film in any store or from an online market.
Place a fan near your monstera plants
You can prevent your Monstera from sunburn by placing them near a fan. A fan will assist with air circulation and protect the plant from hot spots.
Also, keep the fan from blowing directly on the plants. This may cause the leaves to dry out.
Instead, try using an alternating fan. If you have a desk fan, set it on low.
Your Monstera must be placed in east facing window
We all know the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Your Monstera would love it if you placed them in spots where the sun is minimal. For instance, the sunlight is less intense during morning hours and less harmful to your plants.
Thus, it would help if you placed them in an east-facing window. By the time it’s afternoon, the plants will be away from the intense sunlight.
Track the temperatures
Monstera does well in temperatures between 60 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Thus, if the temperatures get too hot outside, your plants near the window get direct sunlight.
To save them from experiencing sunburn, turn on your air conditioning. A fan would do well if you don’t have an air conditioner.
Install sheer curtains to filter excess sunlight
In situations where we can’t control the position of our windows, we can be creative. For example, if you have windows letting in direct light, you can get a sheer curtain to filter the excess sunlight.
The sheer curtain will allow a little light required for the Monstera plant while blocking the excess sunlight.
Gradually move your Monstera to more light
If you want your Monstera’s cuticles to harden and become resilient to sunburn, you must allow it to get used to more light.
First, place it in the right lighting condition. With time, you can move it to brighter light conditions. Ensure to check the plants’ health while you are doing this.
Mist your monstera plants
Misting your Monstera plant allows it to stay cool throughout. Also, misting your plant improves the humidity levels. The downside is the effect is temporary.
Avoid placing your plants in direct sunlight after misting them. A bright indirect light is great.
Can Monstera recover from being sunburned?
Yes. The Monstera plant can still be a healthy plant after sunburn. Unfortunately, the burnt leaves may not recover. Burnt leaves are as well dead and may fall off the plant.
However, your Monstera can still grow new leaves. With the steps mentioned to save your sunburned Monstera plant, you can recover your plant and have it look healthy again.
What do you do with sunburned Monstera leaves?
You can practice extra care with your sunburnt Monstera plant. First, cut off the burnt leaves. Sunburnt Monstera leaves can no longer photosynthesize.
Besides, leaving the burned leaves on the plant uses up excess energy. The energy would help in the growth of new leaves.
Monstera plants can experience sunburns giving you a hard time. Therefore, it’s easier to prevent Monstera sunburn than waiting to treat them afterward.
We’ve listed the Monstera sunburn signs and solutions to help you manage your plants. All you need is to place the plants in indirect sunlight. Also, practice the right growth conditions for your plants.
If your plant is already sunburned, take the above steps and revive your plant. As a gardener, taking these simple precautions will make your plants happy.