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7 Common Mistakes That Cause Monstera Not To Grow (And How To Revive It)

Monsteras are truly remarkable plants, featuring massive leaves adorned with unique holes, giving them a somewhat monstrous appearance. However, when we bring them indoors, we’re stepping into tricky territory since this isn’t their natural habitat.

The primary challenge Monstera plants face indoors is often a lack of light. When placed in dimly lit areas, they’ll naturally use less water, which can significantly hinder their growth.

We’ll dive into this issue and more as we explore the needs for thriving Monsteras in this article.

1. Not Enough Light​​

Monstera not growing because of not enough light.

Monstera not growing because of not enough light.

If your monstera isn’t getting enough light, it won’t grow properly. Initially, it’ll tap into its own energy stash to keep photosynthesis going. This will lead to leaves and branches turning soft and fragile, and eventually, growth will stall.

Here’s how to fix it:

  1. Ensure it gets about six hours of bright, indirect sunlight daily.
  2. Keep it out of direct sunlight to avoid sunburn.
  3. No sunny spot? No problem. Artificial light can work wonders too.

2. Lack of Nutrients

In its natural habitat, a monstera flourishes with all it needs from its surroundings. However, when kept in a pot indoors, it doesn’t have the same access to nutrients. Over time, the soil loses its richness, leading to a nutrient deficiency for the plant.

Nitrogen and magnesium are the most common nutrients that monsteras miss out on. These elements are crucial for photosynthesis, and without enough of them, the plant’s growth can halt. There’s also a risk of the monstera developing chlorosis, a condition evident by yellow leaves with green veins.

Here’s how to fix it:

  1. Aim for a soil pH between 6.5 and 6.8. A pH over 7.0 is too high.
  2. Use a liquid fertilizer designed for aroids, which includes nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium.
  3. Start fertilizing once a month from early spring to support its growth.

3. Underwatering

Monstera not growing

Monstera not growing because of underwatering.

While the monstera can handle a brief period without water, expecting it to thrive and grow under such conditions isn’t realistic. If the soil becomes too dry, the monstera will halt its growth, and without timely watering, its leaves might yellow and wither.

Here’s how to fix it:

  1. Water your monstera once the top 75-80% of the soil feels dry to the touch.
  2. Ensure you water enough to evenly moisten the entire pot’s soil.
  3. Be cautious, though, not to overwater your monstera, as too much water can be just as harmful.

4. Small Pot

Monstera not growing because of a small pot

Monstera not growing because of a small pot.

Monstera often stops growing because it runs out of room to expand. If it’s been living in the same pot for years, it might become rootbound, meaning its roots fill the pot so much that they start to push the soil out.

This situation prevents the plant from absorbing enough water and nutrients, halting its growth and potentially leading to illness.

Here’s how to fix it:

  1. Choose a new pot that’s 25% larger than the current one, ensuring it has drainage holes.
  2. Use a well-draining aroid mix for planting.
  3. Try not to repot too frequently – once every two years should suffice.

5. Overwatering

Overwatering

Monstera not growing because of overwatering.

If the monstera’s roots sit in water for too long, root rot is almost inevitable. This condition halts growth and can gradually kill the plant. Signs of root rot include yellowing leaves that droop and eventually shrivel and die.

Here’s how to fix it:

  1. Take the monstera out of its pot and examine the roots. Cut away any dead or rotting parts.
  2. Apply hydrogen peroxide to the affected areas to treat the rot.
  3. Repot the plant in fresh, well-draining soil. Wait to water until the soil is about 70-80% dry.
  4. Use your finger or a moisture meter to check the soil’s moisture level before watering again.

6. Pest Infestation

Spider mites

Monstera not growing because of the lack of spider mites.

Like many other plants, monstera serves as a food source for various living organisms. It’s not uncommon for insects to feast on its sap and tissue.

A severe pest infestation can halt the monstera’s growth and potentially lead to its death. However, spotting these pests is usually straightforward, either by seeing the pests themselves or the evidence they leave behind.

Here’s how to fix it:

  1. Trim away leaves that are significantly damaged.
  2. Treat the monstera with horticultural oil, and apply a second round of treatment after some time has passed.
  3. Provide the monstera with an extra dose of fertilizer to help it recover.

7. Transplant Shock

All plants, including monstera, can go through transplant shock after being moved to a new pot. This stress can cause growth to pause, leaves to yellow, and plants to wilt. Some plants are more sensitive to this shock than others.

Here’s how to fix it:

  1. Dial down the light exposure slightly.
  2. Feed your monstera with liquid fertilizer once or twice a month.
  3. Be careful not to overwater.
  4. Take extra care to avoid damaging the roots during the transplant process.