10 Ways To Prevent Monstera Sunburn (Signs, Causes & Solutions)

A lot of brown spots on your monstera leaves? Read on to learn more about monstera sunburn signs, causes, prevention and solution.

Monstera Sunburn Featured Image

Monstera plants can get sunburn that appears as black or brown spots on the leaves. 

If you have spotted these in your plant and absolutely have no clue about what to do, then this is the article for you. 

Our experts unravel the causes of monstera sunburn and give you effective remedies. Read on to understand and fix this issue.

Sunburnt Monstera – Signs

Monstera plants are tropical and are sensitive to certain extreme conditions. They respond to environments they cannot adapt to by developing brown spots. The leaves get scorched and their growth gets hampered as well. 

Here are a few visible symptoms of monstera sunburn.

Symptoms of Monstera Sunburn

  • Discolored bleached leaves: Sunburnt leaves wear a washed-out look. Identify sunburn with the white, gray, or light green color on the surface of the leaf.
  • Crispy brown edges and tips: The leaves turn inwards with crispy brown edges and tips. You will also find yellow or brown spots between the leaf venations.
  • Bone dry soil due to the loss of moisture from the plant and soil.
  • Wilting: Droopy leaves that wilt without support.
  • Stunted growth: Wilted damaged leaves will not be able to produce adequate food. This results in its stunted growth.

Sunburnt monstera is not only an unpleasant sight but are weak and prone to other diseases. Thus, a little care and caution are much needed to grow a thriving plant. 

Monstera Sunburn- Causes

Monstera can get sunburnt due to harsh heat and light conditions. There are other causes as well, that result in similar brown spots. 

I have listed each one of them in detail below to help you tackle the issue easily.

1. Exposure to harsh direct sunlight

One of the main reasons for monstera sunburn is excessive harsh sunlight. Too much exposure to direct light can scorch the leaves. 

Monstera plants are tropical. They grow into lush foliage in a suited environment. The plants are gentle and prefer a setting similar to their natural habitat. 

Thus, excessive light can discolor them, drain their moisture and weaken them as well.

2. Temperature stress

Another common reason for monstera sunburn is the temperature stress of the plant. Similar to its light requirement, excessive heat or cold is seldom tolerated by the plant. 

Under this stress condition, the leaves turn brittle and the edges will curl. Brown spots appear on the surface and eventually make the leaves wilt. 

As tropical plants, the ideal temperature of the plant needs to be between sixty degrees Fahrenheit to eighty-five degrees Fahrenheit. 

3. Dehydrated potting mix 

A commonly overlooked aspect of growing monstera is the soil that it is planted in. Monstera plants thrive well in moist well-drained soil. 

If the soil is dry, these water-loving plants struggle to adapt. 

In this condition, the plant responds by developing light brown lesions or spots. Over time, under dry conditions, the leaf edges turn brittle and brown. 

If untreated, they will lose their vigor and will appear wilted. 

4. Fertilizer burn 

Though not sunburn, fertilizer burn causes similar symptoms as well. 

The monstera plant does not require much fertilizer addition. Excessive load of the same can result in brown spots that look similar to sunburnt leaves. 

Potassium fertilizers cause the most damage due to their high salt index. 

They can even reduce nutrient intake. Monstera plants do well with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer.

How Can You Prevent Monstera Sunburn?

You can prevent monstera sunburn easily by paying attention to a few aspects. 

I have listed all the best practices below to keep your monstera plant healthy without getting sunburned.

1. Plant Them in Indirect Light

As discussed in the above section, monstera plants are gentle and do well in indirect light. Harsh direct sunlight can be damaging to the plant. 

Grow the plant in shade away from the direct rays of the sun. It will thrive well into lush green foliage. 

If your monstera is indoors, place the plant near an east-facing window. The sun’s rays in this direction are the best for the plant.

2. Monitor the Temperature

With the help of a store-bought thermometer, monitor the temperature of the soil. 

The ideal temperature range for monstera plants needs to be between sixty degrees fahrenheit to eighty-five degrees fahrenheit.

3. Watch Your Watering Schedule

The monstera requires light to moderate levels of watering. Where overwatering can cause root rot, under-watering can result in extremely dry conditions. 

Monitor your watering schedule. Assess the moisture level of the soil by pressing your finger two inches into the soil. Water only if you sense some dryness deep inside. 

4. Keep a Slightly Moist Soil

The monstera prefers slightly moist soil. Keep it well-drained. If you have the monstera in a pot, ensure it has proper drainage holes. 

To prevent the holes of the pot from getting clogged, layer the bottom of the pot with gravel or pebbles. 

Use a potting mix with perlite or lava rocks for soil aeration. You can also use a layer of mulch. 

Mulch helps to keep the soil moist. It can reduce the impact of sunburn damage by keeping the plant cool.

5. Keep the Plant Away From Reflected Heat

Sensitive plants can also be sunburnt by heat that is reflected from nearby shiny surfaces. 

Fences, glass windows, and shiny paved stones reflect heat that can affect the monstera. Move the plant away from such hard surfaces. 

The best practice would be to place them amidst other foliage. This will help in keeping the plant cool and also take care of them with indirect light. 

6. Give It a Shield

Keep your monstera protected by creating a physical barrier from the sun. With the help of a shade cloth or a large umbrella, you can create a simple greenhouse. 

It is a chemical-free and easy way to prevent sunburn of the plant. Shade cloth can easily block out at least 50% of the sun’s rays.

If you are growing your monstera indoors, use blinds and curtains to block the direct rays of the sun. 

Alternatively, you can fix a UV blocking film to the window. This can reduce the effect of the sun’s rays, yet allow the plant to receive some light.

A shield is a perfect way to give the plant some filtered light instead of the direct light of the sun.

7. Give the Plant Ventilation

Monstera plants need a bounty of air circulation. It helps to keep their temperature regulated. 

Place them in an environment that is ventilated and allows easy movement of air. If your monstera is indoors, avoid dingy corners. 

Monstera plants fare well in airy surroundings.

8. Schedule Fungicide Sprays

Monstera plants can be prone to fungal diseases. The best practice would be to prevent it by scheduling weekly fungicide sprays. 

9. Fertilizer in Early Spring

The right time to fertilize your monstera is in early spring. 

Fertilizing in hot summers is not recommended as the plant becomes more susceptible to sunburn. It makes plants water-stressed, worsening the situation. 

Thus, schedule fertilizing during the cooler months of the spring season.

10. Acclimatize or Harden the Plant

A very common mistake of most gardeners is abruptly exposing the plant to sunlight. Sensitive plants struggle to cope and as a result, get scorched. 

Get the plant acclimatized gradually to sunlight and outdoors, especially post the winter months.

Relocation should be done progressively. 

Begin with an hour a day and slowly increase the exposure to light, spreading across five to seven days. This is known as the hardening of the plant. 

This process is vital for your monstera plants to get them used to the increased exposure to the sun and prevent monstera sunburn damage.

How To Save Sunburnt Monstera?

You can save sunburnt monstera before the plant turns weak and wilts. 

Here are some fixes with which you can revive the plant to a healthy state before it gets much worse.

1. Move your sunburnt monstera to shade 

Yes, that’s the first thing you need to do. 

The ideal place for the plant will be a spot that receives indirect sunlight, not too harsh as well as not complete darkness.

2. Mist the leaves

You can cool down a sun-scorched monstera by misting the leaves. Spray water on the foliage in the afternoons, gently over the leaves and tender stems. 

Misting the leaves will not only cool the plant but will also moisten the soil lightly.

3. Reduce fertilizers

Cut back on the quantity of fertilizer being added during the time you are trying to revive the sunburnt monstera plant. 

You can stick to your schedule of fertilizing the plant if it is early spring. However, keep the quantity low. 

Cutting back on the fertilizer will reduce the chances of a further fertilizer burn. Monitor the plant until new leaves are generated to increase the quantity of fertilizer added. 

4. Prune the sunburnt monstera leaves

A sunburnt leaf is not going to gain its original form back. The discoloration isn’t going to fade away either. In such a scenario, it is wise to gently prune the affected leaves.

Using a garden snip, remove the curled, brittle, and brown leaves. Keeping them would mean the plant will need to expand its energy to provide for it. 

Thus, snip them off the plant. Do not worry; the plant will soon produce new green foliage.

Common Gardening Mistakes That Lead to Brown Spots on Monstera

There are a couple of other reasons that cause brown spots on monstera that are very similar to sunburn. And, it is highly essential for you to understand the real cause, so that you can give your monstera the right treatment.

Read below about these common gardening mistakes that also cause browning of monstera leaves.

1. Overwatering

Overwatering of the monstera plants causes root rot. The plant requires well-drained moist soil. Too much water at the roots damages them and manifests in the form of brown spots on the leaves. Root rot can lead to fungal disease of the plant as well. 

2. Under-watering

Monstera are thirsty plants and letting the soil dry out completely is not a good practice. The leaves turn brittle and curl inwards when the plant has not received enough water. Inadequate watering can cause light brown spots too on the leaves.

3. Low humidity

As mentioned earlier in the article, monstera plants are tropical. They grow in similar environments and seek some amount of moisture from the air. Thus, monstera leaves can turn brown, if there are low levels of humidity around it. You will find crispy leaf edges and brown tips in this condition.

Monstera Sunburn – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

In this section, I will answer some of the most commonly asked doubts and questions related to sunburnt monstera so that you don’t have to ask somewhere.

Will my monstera recover from sunburn?

Yes, your sunburnt monstera will recover if timely action is taken. First, you need to assess the severity of the damage and find out the real causes of sunburn. Once the causes are found, then do the necessary steps to prevent the problem from occurring in the future.

Should I cut off sunburnt monstera leaves?

If the major part of your monstera plant’s leaves is sunburnt, then it is advisable to cut them off so that your plant won’t look ugly. But, cutting the damaged leaves is not a solution, it’s just a temporary aesthetic makeover. 

You must invest some time into finding the real cause for sunburn and formulate a plan to save the plant.

Wrapping Up

You have now understood that sunburnt injury of monstera plants can be easily prevented. Let me summarize all the things that Icovered in this article in a few short points.

  • Provide the plant with partial and indirect sunlight.
  • Fertilize in early spring with a water-soluble, low potassium fertilizer.
  • Acclimatize the plant slowly to the sun or outdoors, post-winter months.
  • Use a shade to limit their exposure to direct sunlight.
  • Keep the soil lightly moist. You can use a layer of mulch to retain moisture. 
  • Ensure the soil is well-drained to prevent root rot.
  • Prune the tips of your sunburnt monstera as soon as you spot them,
  • When reviving a sunburnt monstera, mist the leaves and move them to a shady spot.

Having read our expert tips, you can now grow healthy monstera plants. 

All you need to do is provide them with the right environment close to their natural habitat. By doing so, these delightful plants can adorn your indoor and outdoor space. 

So go ahead and add the dash of green with healthy monstera plants.


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