I know you love your beloved Monstera plant looking big, beautiful, and with healthy leaves. Well, imagine waking up one day to find that your plant’s once-full foliage has become lanky and leggy.
This can be a disheartening experience for any plant lover. But fear not. I am here to help you restore its glory.
I’ll take you through common causes and solutions for leggy Monstera in this article. Keep reading to restore the lush fullness of your beloved houseplant.
What is a Leggy Monstera Plant?
A leggy Monstera is a term used to describe a Monstera plant whose leaves have grown excessively long and thin. This condition makes it look lanky and less full.
Instead of the typical bushy and compact foliage, a leggy Monstera will have elongated stems and fewer leaves, giving it a spindly appearance.
This phenomenon can be caused by several factors, including inadequate light, improper watering, and lack of nutrients.
While a leggy Monstera is not ideal, you can help your plant bounce back and return to its lush and healthy state with proper care and attention.
How to Know that Your Monstera Plant is Leggy
If your Monstera plant is leggy, you may notice some of the following signs:
1. Long stems
When the stems of your Monstera deliciosa start to grow long and thin, you will know that your plant is becoming leggy.
The stems will be noticeably longer than other parts of the plant and may begin to droop or curl.
It may also look lopsided, with some parts of the plant growing much more quickly than others.
Even worse, thin and elongated stems mean that the plant might not be able to withstand the weight of the heavy leaves.
This causes them to droop and eventually bend over. With prolonged neglect, the stems can even snap, creating a wound that is a gateway for disease to attack the plant.
2. Small leaves
When your Monstera deliciosa becomes leggy, the leaves will also look smaller than usual. The long and thin stems cannot support large, full-sized leaves.
The leaves may become brittle and drop off in severe cases, leaving your Monstera looking sparse and unhealthy.
3. Slow growth
Leggy Monstera plants tend to grow slowly, and their stems will not get any thicker.
Additionally, the leaves sprout out of the thin stems and may not be as vibrant and green as they should be.
This slow growth indicates that your Monstera needs more attention and resources to make it strong again.
4. Dull colored leaves
Leggy Monstera plants usually have dull-colored leaves. The stems cannot provide enough nutrients and water to the leaves, resulting in low vibrancy and brightness.
The edges of the leaves may also be yellow or brown due to insufficient nutrition being distributed throughout the plant.
5. Sparse foliage
As the stems become elongated and thin, they cannot hold up the plant’s large leaves, causing them to die off or fall completely.
This results in a thinner, lopsided appearance that is not aesthetically pleasing.
Why is my Monstera so Leggy?
As a Monstera plant parent, you must know the causes of leggy growth. Let’s look at some of the most common causes.
1. Inadequate light
Monstera plants thrive in bright, indirect light. When it does not receive enough light, it will try to compensate by stretching toward the available light source.
This stretching process causes the stems to become elongated and thin as the plant tries to reach for the light it needs for photosynthesis.
As a result, the plant’s foliage will become sparse, and the leaves will appear smaller than usual.
The inadequate lighting conditions also mean the plant’s lower leaves will not receive enough light.
This will make them turn yellow and drop off, leaving the plant leggy.
2. Poor temperature
As tropical plants, the ideal temperature for a Monstera plant is between 17°C and 28°C. If the temperature is too cold, it can cause the stems to become leggy in an attempt to reach warmer temperatures.
If the temperature is too low, the plant’s growth slows down. Therefore, it produces longer and thinner stems in response to the lack of warmth.
In this case, the plant will stretch out for warmth, leading to a leggy appearance.
Low temperatures also mean low metabolism. This makes the plant more susceptible to diseases and pests, which can further weaken the plant.
Too high temperatures make the plant grow faster than usual but with thin and weak stems.
High temperatures can also cause the plant to lose moisture, causing water stress and the leaves to wilt and droop.
3. Wrong pot
Believe it or not, using the wrong pot can lead to a leggy Monstera.
The plant’s roots will become constricted and cramped if your pot is too small. This can cause the plant to stretch out for more space for its roots.
When this happens, the plant’s growth becomes stunted, and it may try to compensate by producing longer and thinner stems, causing the plant to become leggy.
A small pot may not be able to hold the plant properly. The stems could break because the leaves are too heavy for them.
Again, when the pot is too big, the plant may focus more on root growth than foliage growth. The stems will become thinner as the plant tries to support the larger root system.
4. Too much fertilizer
Fertilizer is good for every plant. But are you aware that too much fertilizer can cause a Monstera to become leggy?
Excessive fertilization can lead to rapid top growth and weak stems. Too much fertilizer can also burn the roots of the plant.
This will, in turn, affect the overall strength of the stem, leading to thinner and longer stems.
Therefore, be mindful of how much fertilizer you give your Monstera. Stick to your fertilization schedule and use only the recommended amounts of ingredients.
5. Inadequate moisture
When talking about inadequate moisture, I mean overwatering and underwatering the plant.
Monstera plants prefer to be kept consistently moist but not wet.
If you overwater the plant, it will show signs of water stress, such as yellowing and wilting leaves. This can cause the stems to become weak and leggy over time.
Underwatering a Monstera can also cause leggy growth. If the plant does not receive enough water, it will stretch out for moisture, leading to a leggy appearance.
When it comes to watering your Monstera, remember that consistency is key. Water your plant regularly and check the soil before each watering session to ensure adequate moisture levels.
A plant that is infested with pests is more likely to become leggy.
Pests such as aphids, mealybugs, mites, and scale feed on the plant’s nutrients and sap, depriving it of essential nutrients for growth.
This can lead to weaker stems and a generally unhealthy plant appearance.
Pests can also cause the plant to divert its energy towards producing new leaves instead of supporting the existing ones, leading to elongated and thinner stems.
7. Crowded roots
Crowded roots are known as root bounding. This happens when a plant’s roots become too crowded in the pot.
The lack of space can cause the plant to stretch out, leading to leggy growth as it tries to find more room for its roots.
If the roots are too crowded, they will not be able to receive adequate amounts of oxygen and water. This can lead to weak stems as the plant struggles to support itself.
8. Improper humidity
You now know that Monsteras are tropical plants. This means that they love humidity.
If the air around the plant is too dry, the plant will lose moisture, leading to wilting leaves and weak stems.
The key here is to provide your Monstera with a humid environment. You can do this by misting it regularly or investing in a humidifier for your home.
This will help ensure that your Monstera stays lush and healthy.
9. Wrong positioning
Always place your Monstera in a spot that receives bright, indirect sunlight.
If you place your Monstera in a spot that receives too little light, the plant may stretch out. It will produce longer and thinner stems as it tries to reach for more light, leading to a leggy appearance.
If the plant is positioned too far away from the light source, it may not have enough energy to support the growth of its foliage.
Putting your Monstera in a spot with too much direct sunlight may not grow well. It might have leggy stems.
The intense heat from direct sunlight can cause the plant to lose moisture quickly, causing water stress and the leaves to wilt and droop.
10. Poor soil drainage
When it comes to soil, Monsteras prefer a well-draining potting mix.
If you use soil that does not drain properly, the plant’s roots will become waterlogged, leading to root rot and weak stems.
Plant your Monstera in a pot with drainage holes so excess water can escape. This will ensure the roots do not become waterlogged and the plant gets adequate drainage.
The common diseases for Monstera are root rot and leaf spot.
Monstera root rot can cause the roots to become weak and unable to provide adequate nutrients for the plant. This can lead to a weakened stem structure, resulting in leggy growth.
Leaf spot is caused by fungal infections and is characterized by black or brown spots on the leaves of your Monstera.
If left untreated, the disease can spread to the stems, causing them to become weak and leggy.
How to Fix Leggy Monstera Plants
Do not fret if you have a leggy Monstera deliciosa plant. You can take some easy steps to restore its lush, full foliage.
Prune away any long, spindly stems and thin branches. This will help encourage the regrowth of healthy foliage from dormant buds.
To prune, you will need a pair of sharp, sterile pruning scissors. Make sure to sterilize them by wiping them with rubbing alcohol beforehand.
Cut below the node or leaf axil. This will help ensure that new growth forms along the stem and helps to promote bushier growth.
Then, snip off the stem at an angle of 45 degrees below a node. Cut away any dead or dying leaves that look discolored or wilted.
Do away with any yellowed, browned, and drooping stems. Trim off any stems growing too close together to encourage proper air circulation.
Only prune during the plant’s active growing season.
To help fix a leggy Monstera plant, repot your Monstera deliciosa into a larger container with fresh soil about once a year.
Choose a light, airy potting mix with plenty of organic matter. A mix of peat moss, perlite, and compost is ideal.
Ensure the container has proper drainage holes so excess water can drain away.
Carefully remove your plant from its existing pot, teasing out the roots to ensure they aren’t rootbound.
Fill your new pot with fresh soil and gently place your Monstera in. Backfill the sides with more soil and lightly press down to firm it up if needed.
Water your Monstera deliciosa well after repotting, but don’t overwater.
3. Using the correct container
You will want to check whether the container you are using for your plant is the best size.
Too large of a container can cause issues with overwatering, while too small of a container can lead to stunted growth and leggy stems due to a lack of room for roots.
So what is the best pot for Monstera? Look for one that is at least twice the diameter of its rootball. This will help encourage healthy root growth and reduce the chances of leggy stems.
4. Adjusting temperature and humidity
Monstera plants thrive in warm and humid environments. Adjust the temperature and humidity levels in your home.
Ensure your plant is not exposed to the air conditioner or heater drafts.
You can increase humidity by misting the leaves every few days with a mister filled with filtered water.
You can also place a humidity tray filled with pebbles and water underneath your Monstera to help increase the moisture level in the air.
To increase temperature, you can invest in a ceramic heater or an open-air terrarium to keep your plant warm.
5. Cleaning the foliage
Cleaning the foliage may also help in fixing legginess in Monstera plants. Cleaning off dust and dirt helps the plant breathe more air and light, which can help promote lush foliage growth.
Regularly wipe down your Monstera’s leaves with a damp cloth or paper towel to keep them clean and free of accumulated dust and dirt.
6. Ensuring enough light
Monsteras prefer bright indirect light but not too much direct sun. Too little or too much light can cause leggy stems and yellowing leaves.
Move your Monstera to a brighter spot away from direct sunlight if possible. If your Monstera isn’t getting enough light, you can invest in artificial lights like a grow light to supplement the natural light.
Ensure your plant gets at least 6 hours of bright indirect light daily.
7. Changing the fertilization schedule
Another way to help fix a leggy Monstera plant is by changing the fertilization schedule. Provide it with a balanced fertilizer.
Apply a slow-release fertilizer about once every few months. Use liquid fertilizer solution every other week during the growing season.
However, do not over-fertilize your plant, which can cause leggy stems and other issues.
Fertilizing too often or using a fertilizer with high nitrogen content can lead to leaf growth at the expense of blooms. This can cause the plant to become leggy and compact.
Propagating Monstera is a great way to fix leggy growth. Take cuttings from the main plant and pot them in new soil or water to form new plants.
The best time to take cuttings is during the summer when the plant is actively growing. Choose stems that are at least 6 inches long and take cuttings just below a node.
Remove any leaves from the stem, dip in the rooting hormone, and then place them into moist soil or water. Make sure to keep the soil moist but not soggy.
Your cutting should start showing signs of growth within a few weeks. Once established, you can transfer them to a new pot and start caring for them normally.
Taking cuttings from the main plant can help ensure that your Monstera does not become leggy due to lack of space or light.
Propagating is also a great way to share your plants with friends and family.
9. Training Monstera to climb
Did you know training your Monsteras to climb can help fix leggy growth? Monsteras naturally like to climb; training them to do so will help encourage growth of lush foliage.
To train your Monstera to climb, use a trellis or stake and secure it firmly in the pot. Gently tie the stems of your Monstera to the support with soft garden ties.
Training your Monstera to climb can help reduce leggy growth and encourage lush foliage. It will also make for a beautiful display in your home.
10. Keeping pests away
Make sure your Monstera is free of pests. Pests like mealybugs and spider mites can suck the sap from the plant, causing wilting or leggy stems.
Regularly inspect your plant for signs of pests, such as white cottony patches on the leaves or webs near the stem.
If you notice any pests, treat your plant with horticultural soap or neem oil solution.
To prevent pests, keep your plant clean and regularly check the underside of its leaves.
11. Supporting the plant
If your Monstera is leggy due to a lack of support, you can add a stake or trellis to the pot.
Doing this will help give your plant extra stability and encourage upward growth instead of outward.
Make sure to tie the stems gently, as too much pressure can damage the plant’s stem. You can also use moss sticks to help support the plant.
How to make Monstera bushier?
Why is my Monstera so leggy?
How to make Monstera grow tall?
Ensure that the soil is moist but not soggy.
Provide good drainage to allow excess water to escape and avoid over-watering.
Place your Monstera in an area with bright, indirect light. If you can’t provide this, you may need to supplement the natural light with artificial light.
Prune regularly to encourage new growth and help maintain the desired height.
Feed your plant a balanced fertilizer every two weeks during its growing season (spring through fall).
In conclusion, managing your leggy Monsteras can seem daunting in the beginning. With patience and proper care, you can create a beautiful plant.
Remember to carefully inspect for signs of distress, such as wilting or yellowing leaves. Check your watering schedules and ensure your plant gets enough light and water.
Trim off any dead or damaged foliage. Give your plant enough space by repotting or pruning it, and use a fertilizer specifically designed for indoor plants when needed.
The key is to avoid drastic changes in its environment so that your Monstera will have time to adjust accordingly. Now follow these steps to get yourself a healthy plant.