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How to Fix Monstera Root/Stem/Leaf Rot?

How to Fix Monstera Root/Stem/Leaf Rot?

Monstera is a uniquely patterned houseplant that is increasingly becoming popular among plant people. Just like other plants, monstera is susceptible to stem, root, and leaf rot. However, when caught early, these conditions are treatable, and the plant can thrive after that.

To fix monstera root/stem/leaf rot, get the monstera out of the soil, inspect it for any pests, remove and dispose of all the affected areas. After that, wash and disinfect the remaining parts, repot, and place the pot where the monstera can receive bright, indirect sunlight.

Do not let root, stem, or leaf rot in your monstera plant spell doom to its life. This article covers into detail the ways mentioned above to fix this condition and many more. Read on for further information and help bring back to life, your monstera plant.

Get the Monstera Out of the Soil

Get the Monstera Out of the Soil

When your monstera leaves and stem start to rot, there is a high probability that your plant is also suffering from root rot. The first action you need to take is to get the plant out of the soil. 

The most common source of root rot is overwatering or improper pot drainage. Overwatered monstera roots are not able to breathe, leading to a lack of oxygen in all the other parts of the plant. The stems and the leaves will also absorb any fungus and bacteria that attack the soil and infect the roots.

The waterlogged monstera root has very wet soil. Carefully remove it from the pot and rinse with running water to remove the soil. Gently handle your monstera while washing away the soil. After the soil is washed out, you will most probably notice rotting roots. 

Roots affected by rot are usually mushy, dark, smelly, and will fall off when you touch them. Waterlog occurs when you overwater your monstera plant once, a few more times, or when the pot drainage is improper.

Whatever the cause of the root, stem, or leaf rot, you need to act fast to avoid a spread of the problem to other parts of the plant. Your quick action will give your plant another chance to survive. To prevent waterlogging in the future, only water your monstera when the topsoil becomes dry and always check the moisture level. To precisely track the moisture level, use a moisture tracker.

Water this plant at least once a week but reduce the watering during colder months. You can use either of the following methods to find out when your monstera plant needs watering:

  • Stick your finger into the soil until about two knuckles deep. If the soil feels wet or moist, you do not need to water. However, should you find the soil dry, your monstera needs watering.
  • Use a wooden stick. Insert the stick into the soil, and if it comes out clean, the soil is dry, and you need to water the plant. If it comes out damp, then you don’t need to water as your monstera is still well moist.
  • Use a moisture meter, which is an advanced method that can show you the amount of water the roots are holding. You are thus able to make an informed decision on when to or not water your monstera plant. Insert the sensor of the moisture meter to about halfway into the pot. If the meter reads three units thereabout, it means the soil is drying out, and you need to water it immediately.

It is recommended that you use filtered or rainwater as they are more beneficial for monstera plants. You should also improve on the plant’s pot drainage to reduce the risk of rot. Ensure the pot has enough drainage holes to avoid holding the water for long.

Inspect Your Monstera for Any Pests

Inspect Your Monstera for Any Pests

Monstera is vulnerable to disease-causing pests. These pests can cause infections that lead to the rotting of leaves, stems, and roots. Once you take the plant out from the pot and rinsed away the soil, inspect the plant for any present bugs. The insects to look out for include;


Mealybugs are white in color insects that mostly attack young monstera plants. Inspect the leaf joints and veins as they are often found there. Mealybugs can also come from soil that has been contaminated. Therefore, it is vital that you remove your plant from the soil and completely get rid of the soil.

In case your monstera is infested with Mealybug, remove all the severely affected leaves from the plant. Get rid of the bugs in the less affected leaves by cleaning the infested leaves and stems with rubbing alcohol, soap, and water, or spray with insecticidal soap

To prevent future attacks by Mealybugs, remember to regularly spry your monstera plant with insecticidal or neem soap. Neem soap is a product that is effective at controlling houseplant pests.

Spider Mites

Spider mites are not easy to detect. Indications of spider mites attack are blotches and dusty webs on the monstera leaves. Use bright light to inspect your plant for signs. Remove and get rid of the infected parts. Spider mites really live well in warm environments. 

Therefore, it is crucial that you increase the humidity of the area you keep your monstera plant to prevent further growth of these pests.

Keep humidity at 60% and above and temperatures between 64°F to 70°F, as monstera plants thrive best within these humid levels and temperatures.


These small insects feed on monstera moisture, leading to dehydration. To get rid of them, prune the leaves infested with thrips. If the infestation is not severe, either spray the leaves with neem oil or use diatomaceous earth to kill the thrips and their eggs. To ensure no insect or egg is left sticking on the leaves, gently blast off the plant with water.

Soft Scale

Soft Scale bugs are closely related to Mealybugs. These insects sap liquid from the plant and will leave a sticky substance known as honeydew on the leaves of the monstera plant. 

Get rid of heavily infested parts and rub alcohol-soaked cotton or neem-based leaf shine on the rest of the areas. You can also use insecticidal soap or a few drops of washing liquid mixed with vegetable oil and diluted in water. Organic soaps or oils are other useful options to rid of soft scale insects. 

Remove and Dispose of All the Affected Areas of Your Monstera

Remove and Dispose of All the Affected Areas of Your Monstera

Carefully remove any rotting leaves and stems. You can wholly remove a widely infested or rotten leaf, or partially remove just the affected part. Monstera leaves can survive even with a portion removed. 

Root rot is usually the leading cause of waterlogging problems, fungal, and bacterial infections. Therefore, you have to remove all the rotting roots so that the disease doesn’t spread any further. Removing rotten roots will also get rid of leaf yellowing or browning.

To remove the rotten leaves, wear hand gloves to protect your hands and use clean, sharp pruning shears, snips, or knives. Remove the affected leaves at the stem.

The monstera plant is made of one main branch, the parent stem, and several stems or branches. To remove the rotting stems or branches, make a flat cut at the point where the affected branch joins with the parent stem. The cut should flush with the main stem.

Use sharp and clean gardening shears or scissors to cut out all the rotting roots. You may have to remove the majority of the roots if the rot is widespread. If this is the case, it is recommended that after removing all the infected roots, clean the used scissors or gardening shears with rubbing alcohol. Then, trim the leaves to either one-third or one-half of the original number on the monstera.

The further trimming of the leaves is to reduce the load that the remaining roots will support. The remaining roots, therefore, will have better health and a better chance to regrow the root system. 

Dispose of all the material you have removed by either putting them in the trash and taking out immediately or by burning. Do not compose the infected leaves. Take these actions to prevent spreading the pathogens to other plants or re-infecting the plant. Monstera is also poisonous and contains oxalic acid, which can irritate if you are exposed to it for long.

Wash and Treat the Remaining Monstera Plant Parts to Prevent Re-Infection

Wash and Treat the Remaining Monstera Plant Parts to Prevent Re-Infection

After removing the unhealthy leaves, stems, and roots, prevent re-infection from fungus or bacteria by treating and disinfecting the remaining areas. Rub the leaves and stems with alcohol-soaked cotton or neem-based leaf shine.

If the leaves are infested with pests and bugs, spray them with neem oil or use diatomaceous earth to get rid of the pests and their eggs. Blast off the plant with water to get rid of any dead pest left sticking.

You can also clean your monstera leaves and stems with insecticidal soap to prevent re-infection. For soft scale pests, it is recommended that you use organic soaps or oils as they are considered more effective.

It is essential that you thoroughly wash away all soil from the remaining healthy roots. After removing all the soil, disinfect the roots to get rid of any lingering fungus or bacteria. Dip these roots in a fungicide solution. You can also use root rot treatment to get rid of all root rot pathogens and prevent the rot from recurring.

Add this root treatment into the water when watering to boost your monstera’s immune system, and prevent future root rot. An excellent immune system promotes the growth of strong and healthy roots

Using hydrogen peroxide for gardening is another option to disinfect the roots. Soak the healthy roots to rid them of any fungus or built-up mold. Mix one cup of hydrogen peroxide with 32 cups of water. Pour the solution into a clean pot and soak the roots overnight. 

Hydrogen peroxide should only be used on the roots. Ensure that only the roots are dipped into the solution and avoid spraying onto leaves and stems.

Copyright protected content owner: and was initially posted on August 5, 2020.

Repot the Monstera Plant

Repot the Monstera Plant

You can re-pot your monster plant in a new pot, or use the old one.

Re-using the Old Pot

To reuse the old pot, you should dispose of the soil in the pot then thoroughly wash the pot with a bleach solution. Ensure the pot is clean and disinfected to avoid any re-infection. You wouldn’t want to retreat your plant for rot.

Repotting in a New Pot

If you are using a new pot, get one that is slightly larger and several inches deeper than the old one. The new pot should be deep enough to accommodate your plant’s moss pole if you intend to use one. The pot should just be large enough for your monstera roots. If the pot is way larger than the roots, it will hold more water than your monstera plant can use, leading to overwatering.

As already discussed, overwatering will lead to an activation of fungus and bacteria in your monstera plant. Too much water will cause your plant to suffer another episode of root rot and can also cause suffocation of the roots.

Use a Well-Draining Pot

The pot you choose to use should have good drainage, hence, allowing the soil to drain well. Do not use a pot without drainage holes unless you are sure that you will get the right amount of water whenever you water your monstera. Poor drainage can lead to root rot because when soil is not well-draining, it will stay highly humid with very few air pockets to provide the roots with the right amount of required oxygen.

Copyright article owner is for this article. This post was first published on August 5, 2020.

When the pot has good drainage, you will see some water running out at the bottom after watering. Count the seconds it takes before the water starts to come out of the pot. If the water comes out almost immediately after watering, then your pot is well-draining.

If this is not the case, get a pot with more drainage holes, or use better soil.

Use the Right Potting Soil

Repot the plant into fresh well-draining potting soil. The regular monstera potting mix works well. Sandy soils are also suitable. However, monstera thrives better in a peaty and well-draining soil or the standard potting mix with peat moss.

Add some perlite or pumice into your potting mix in case it doesn’t contain any. Perlite and pumice help improve drainage of the soil by breaking it up, making the soil airier and well-draining. Compacted and highly dense soil can cause poor drainage as the soil will keep water longer. The soil will then get heavily soaked and increase the risk of fungal infection and rot.

Use 1-part perlite to 2 or 3 parts of the potting soil. The soil you chose to use should also be rich in nutrients and have the capability to hold moisture without getting soggy.

Steps to Repot Your Monstera

Steps to Repot Your Monstera
  1. Fill the pot up to 1/4 to 1/3 with your chosen potting mix
  2. Stick a new support moss pole for your monstera plant to start climbing as it grows. Do not use the old moss to prevent the possibility of re-infection.
  3. Fill the gaps around the roots by adding more potting mix.
  4. Add one more layer of potting soil, leaving approximately 2 inches’ clearance from the top of the pot. Ensure the soil is fairly dense, but not so packed.
  5. Add filtered or rainwater until some water comes out of the pot’s drainage holes. The soil might sink a little. If it does, you can add more of the potting mix.

Your monstera will most likely adjust fast to the new pot. Do not be worried when you notice a little droopiness. With the right sunlight, your plant should be able to make a good come back. Do not use fertilizer in the first four weeks after repotting. Fertilizers may stress the roots and cause root rot. The roots are delicate at this point, so you do not want to treat another root rot any soon. 

Place the Pot Where Your Monstera Can Receive Bright, Indirect Light

Place the Pot Where Your Monstera Can Receive Bright, Indirect Light

The last step is to put your monstera in a bright area of the room where it can receive bright enough, indirect sunlight to help it adjust and heal. If your monstera does not receive enough light, there is a possibility it could suffer root rot—the reason being that photosynthesis will be slowed down or even stopped. Water in the soil will, therefore, not be utilized. Your monstera will sit in the water for long, making it vulnerable to root rot.

Direct sunlight can damage the leaves. Therefore, the sunlight that reaches the plant should be filtered. Diffuse the sunlight with sheer curtains or put in place textured glass windows. You can use indoor fluorescent or artificial lights in the case where your apartment doesn’t receive good lighting.

Final Thoughts

How to Fix Monstera Root/Stem/Leaf Rot?

Root rot is usually the most common cause of monstera leaves and stems rot. Your monstera stands the best chance of survival if you catch early, the cause of the rot. Therefore, it is crucial that you always closely watch your monstera for any signs of infection. 

Take prompt action whenever there are signs that your plant is suffering from root, leaf, or stem rot. Remember to take preventative measures afterward, to prevent recurrence of infection.

ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on August 5, 2020.

Monstera thrives best when exposed to a warm, humid environment and when provided with a decent amount of water and gentle sunlight. Hopefully, you now can help recover your monstera and bring it back to the beautiful houseplant that it was initially.