5 Signs Your Monstera Is Overwatered (& How To Save It)

  • Time to read: 6 min.

Monsteras are beautiful plants, and having one can add that extra “oomph” to your house or workspace. Unfortunately, it’s easy to overwater these plants, as many people don’t know how often is appropriate. With that in mind, are there signs to look out for? 

Signs of overwatered monstera are brown and yellow leaves, mushy stems with black or brown rings, moldy smelling soil, white web-like stuff, and soil staying moist more than a week. Take your plant out of its pot, remove excess soil and rotten roots, and repot with dry soil in a well draining pot.

In this article, I’ll tell you how to know that your Monstera has had too much water and what you can do to remedy the situation. 

1. The Plant Has Both Brown and Yellow Leaves

If some of your Monstera’s leaves are yellow, and others are brown, that’s a sure sign your Monstera is overwatered. 

Why? 

An overwatered Monstera develops unhealthy roots, which makes it hard for the plant to absorb water properly. As a result, the Monstera sheds some leaves to conserve energy and redirect nutrients into its younger, healthier leaves. 

If you don’t resolve the overwatering problem, though, even the healthier leaves will die and fall off too. 

Check out this video for more information:

2. The Stem Is Mushy and Has a Brown/Black Ring Near the Base

When the stem of a plant becomes squishy, that’s usually a sign that it’s overwatered. Because of the excess moisture, the Monstera’s tissues bloat and become less firm, causing the stem to break apart if you touch it. 

Another tell-tale sign of overwatering is a black or brown ring around the base of the Monstera’s stem. If you see that, chances are, harmful microorganisms like mold, fungi, and bacteria might have already started wreaking havoc on the plant’s roots. 

3. The Soil Smells Like Mold or Rot

Does the soil smell musty, like a basement that hasn’t been cleaned out in years? That may be a sign that mold is growing around your Monstera. 

As the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) notes, mold thrives in moisture-rich conditions.

Alternatively, you might smell something sour or rotten around your Monstera. If that’s the case, your Monstera may be experiencing root rot due to excess moisture. 

4. There’s a White, Web-Like Substance on the Soil

If you spot something that looks like a spider’s web (sans spiders) anywhere near your Monstera, that’s probably a saprophytic fungus

By itself, the fungus is harmless, but since fungi feed on decomposing matter, it’s a tell-tale sign that your Monstera (or at least its root) may already be dying. 

5. The Soil Isn’t Drying Out After a Week or So

Usually, Monsteras should be watered every 7 to 10 days, and the top ¼ to ⅓ should be allowed to dry between watering again. 

When you don’t water your Monstera on schedule or as much as you need to, it’s tempting to overcompensate by overwatering your Monstera. 

However, as explained earlier, overwatering causes the roots not to absorb moisture properly. That means the excess water gets left behind in the soil, causing the soil to dry more slowly than usual.  

How To Save an Overwatered Monstera

Now that you know the signs of an overwatered Monstera, what do you do about it? 

The first and easiest step is to check for root rot, and then you should try to cut off any rotten areas. 

It’s also worth considering moving the plant to allow for better drainage and then use a more absorbent potting mix. 

Finally, try moving the plant to a better part of your home, where it can get sunlight and won’t stay damp.

In the following sections, I’ll be elaborating further on the steps to remedy an overwatered Monstera. 

1. Check the Root for Rot

Your Monstera may only be slightly affected by overwatering. But if you want to be 100 percent sure that the issue isn’t something more serious, you need to look at the literal root of the problem, as follows: 

  1. Take a sterile spade. 
  2. Using the spade, dig out the Monstera from the pot, taking care not to hit its roots. 
  3. Gently lift the plant out of the pot. 
  4. Brush off any excess soil from the roots. 

If the roots are at least 40 percent intact, your Monstera may still be salvageable. 

2. Trim off the Rotten Parts Using Sterile Shears

By removing the rotten parts, you ensure that your Monstera only feeds nutrients to its healthy bits. 

It’s also essential to use sterile shears when trimming off the rot. Since microorganisms cause rot, the last thing you want is for them to transfer back to your plant through unsterilized shears. 

3. Use a Pot That Allows Water To Drain Faster

Once you’re done treating your Monstera (i.e., removing the rot), you can transfer it to a pot with better drainage. 

Terracotta pots are arguably the best pots to put Monsteras in since they drain moisture quickly. However, if you don’t have a terracotta pot, you can make do with any kind of pot that has holes at the bottom. Also, add gravel to the bottom of the pot to improve its drainage.

Check out this video for more helpful information:

4. Use a Potting Mix That Absorbs Moisture and Dries Faster

If you used peat for your Monstera before, you might want to get a different type of potting mix. 

Peat retains a lot of moisture, so it increases the chances of your Monstera getting overwatered again.

Instead, use something like an aroid potting mix. You can try to make it yourself, but you can also save yourself the hassle and buy the Houseplant Resource Center Premium Monstera Potting Soil from Amazon.com instead. It’s specifically designed for Monstera Deliciosa and should help to prevent brown spots and rot.

What’s important is that the potting mix should drain as much water as your Monstera can tolerate. 

5. Place It in an Area That’s Conducive to Healthy Growth

The place where your Monstera stays is just as important as how much water you give it. So once you have re-potted it, find a place in your house where it can thrive in-between watering sessions. 

To be specific, find a place in your house that has: 

  • Average to high humidity levels 
  • A temperature that averages 60 to 85°F (15.5 to 29.4°C) 
  • A moderate level of brightness, but not under direct sunlight 

The Monstera is a vine that grows in dense canopies. If you want to take good care of this beautiful plant, try to replicate the conditions of its natural habitat as closely as possible — meaning, among other things, giving it only the amount of water it needs. 

In Summary

If your monstera is overwatered, it’s important to take immediate action to save you plant from being killed.

You’ll want to remove it from its pot and remove any excess wet soil you can get off of the root ball. Check for and prune any rotten roots. Repot it in a pot with better drainage using dry potting soil that doesn’t hold as much water.

Here are five signs your Monstera is overwatered: 

  1. The plant has both brown and yellow leaves. 
  2. The stem is mushy and has a brown/black ring near the base. 
  3. The soil smells like mold or rot. 
  4. There’s a white, web-like substance on the soil. 
  5. The soil isn’t drying out after a week or so. 

Sources

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