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what’s wrong with my monstera?

lily babb
last month

im guessing right now it’s possibly fungus, i got it at walmart and all my walmart plants are pretty soggy when i buy them. i repotted it as it was super root bound, so it could also be dying a little from that? i water it when the top few inches of soil dries, and it gets good light throughout the day. i have no idea what to do to fix the problem :( its just get worse by the day.








Comments (10)

  • Ellen Bshaw
    last month

    How did the roots look when you repotted? i am trying to propagate a monstera in water and the tips of my leaves look like that, the root node is black and not growing. i suspect root issues or overwatering..

    lily babb thanked Ellen Bshaw
  • lily babb
    Original Author
    last month

    the roots weren’t so bad actually! the plant was super root bound so i had to break it ip and pot it in something new (i thought that might fix the problem)… but that didnt stop the spread sadly. is your original plant’s soil pretty moist? even if its not root rot they can develop fungus and bacteria if the soil stays too moist. i think that may be my problem but im not finding much on how to fix it :(

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  • tapla (mid-Michigan, USDA z5b-6a)
    last month

    The evidence of a physiological disorder called 'oedema', and the poorly formed new leaf point to an ongoing issue with too much water in the grow medium for too long. About oedema:

    Oedema

    Oedema (aka edema) is a physiological disorder that can affect all terrestrial plants. It occurs when the plant takes up more water than it can rid itself of via the process of transpiration. The word itself means 'swelling', which is usually the first symptom, and comes in the form of pale blisters or water-filled bumps on foliage. Under a variety of circumstances/cultural conditions, a plant's internal water pressure (turgidity) can become so high that some leaf cells rupture and leak their contents into inter-cellular spaces in leaf tissue, creating wet or weepy areas. Symptoms vary by plant, but as the malady progresses, areas of the leaf turn yellow, brown, brown with reddish overtones or even black, with older damage appearing as corky/ scaly/ ridged patches, or wart/gall-like bumpy growth. Symptoms are seen more frequently in plants that are fleshy, are usually more pronounced on the underside of leaves, and older/lower leaves are more likely to be affected than younger/upper leaves.

    Oedema is most common in houseplants during the winter/early spring months, is driven primarily by excessive water retention in the soil, and can be intensified via several additional cultural influences. Cool temperatures, high humidity levels, low light conditions, or partial defoliation can individually or collectively act to intensify the problem, as can anything else that slows transpiration. Nutritional deficiencies of Ca and Mg are also known contributors to the malady.

    Some things that can help you prevent oedema:

    * Increase light levels and temperature

    * Monitor water needs carefully – avoid over-watering. I'd heartily recommend a soil with drainage so sharp (fast) that when you to water to beyond the saturation point you needn't worry about prolonged periods of soil saturation wrecking root health/function. Your soil choice should be a key that unlocks the solutions to many potential problems.

    * Avoid misting or getting water on foliage. It slows transpiration and increases turgidity.

    * Water as soon as you get up in the AM. When stomata close in preparation for the dark cycle, turgidity builds. If you water early in the day, it gives the plant an opportunity to remove (for its own needs) some of the excess water in the soil.

    * Put a fan in the room or otherwise increase air flow/circulation. Avoid over-crowding your plants.

    ****************************************************************

    Saturated grow media and the accompanying dearth of oxygen that accompanies it limits a plant's ability to take up Ca(lcium), which must be adequately represented in the nutrient stream at all times if newly forming cells are to form normally. Even if there would ordinarily be an adequate supply of Ca in the grow medium, soil saturation prevents the plant from accessing it in the amounts needed for normal growth. Blossom end rot in tomatoes, peppers, and other plants, is most often caused by a physiological disorder that limits uptake of a sufficient amount of Ca, the result being abnormally formed cells with weak walls that collapse and spill their contents into inter-cellular spaces where rot then becomes an issue. Not the same as oedema, but characteristically similar.

    If your pot is over 5" deep, and the metric by which you determine your watering intervals is 'when the top inch or two of the soil feels dry. You're likely over-watering, especially in consideration of the recent potting up. Once the area of soil not yet colonized by roots gets wet, it can take a very long time for it to dry out. I'm assuming you didn't do a full repot, which includes bare-rooting, root pruning, and a change of grow medium? If you have a 10" deep pot, when the top 2" of the soil column feel dry to touch, the bottom 6" of the soil might still be 100% saturated with water. It doesn't matter so much what occurs in the top couple of inches of soil insofar as moisture levels are concerned, as it matters what moisture levels are at the bottom of the pot.

    My suggestion is that you discontinue the digital device (finger), and start using a "tell" to nail down watering intervals so they're consistently appropriate. I'd bet the ongoing battle you're currently having with your grow medium for control of your plant's vitality will end up in your 'win column'.

    Is there anything else you have questions about? Fertilizing, for example?

    Al


    lily babb thanked tapla (mid-Michigan, USDA z5b-6a)
  • lily babb
    Original Author
    last month

    oh my goodness thank you so so much for the detailed answer! that is incredibly helpful! the soil does stay moist for a long time (i’ve had it for a month or two and have only gotten to water it twice- the second time being when i changed pots, so the soil was dry), where i live is extremely humid so that could definitely contribute! i did untagle the roots (it was practically a solid mat of roots!), and i did mix the old medium with well draining soil and added perlite when repotting. but you’re definitely right, the soil drying out has been a big problem i’ve noticed. do you have any advice on how i can better drain the soil? i’m kinda at a loss on how to do that :( and yes i would love to know about fertilizing! i haven’t yet fertilized it, could that possibly be a problem? i’m nervous to because i worry that i would over-fertilize it. and i do have one more question if that’s alright! do you think the soil staying too moist could have led to bacteria or fungal growth as well? that’s what i’ve heard from people who have issues that look similar to mine. they all seem to say to cut the infected leaves off and apply a fungicide, but all of my leaves are “infected.” would it be good to cut just the brown and yellow parts away to stop it from spreading or is that a bad idea? or maybe just not even the issue? sorry for all the questions, but i really appreciate the time you took to answer this! i haven’t had much luck getting clear answers, so this helps so much!!

  • ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5
    last month

    shipping damage.. cut off the worst leaf ...


    once it gets over shipping.. moving to your house.. and your repotting stresses.. it will put out new leaves... with every new leaf.. cut off an older ugly leaf.. until its perfect...


    this plant has been thru a lot.. its is very stressed.. and you need to stop loving it too much ... just let it settle down and relax..


    water it properly.. and do not do much else.. i surely wouldnt slather any products on the leaves believing i am curing what most likely istn a problem ...


    dont love it to death.. or to its detriment ...


    ken

  • tapla (mid-Michigan, USDA z5b-6a)
    last month

    Oh my goodness thank you so so much for the detailed answer! that is incredibly helpful! I remember the desire to do well by my plants when I first started practicing bonsai, long before the answer to every question could be found online, so I also remember all my concerns detracting from the whole growing experience. I enjoy trying to help others get more from their growing experience, and that serves nicely as a natural extension of my own growing experience, so I'm glad you found it helpful. the soil does stay moist for a long time (i’ve had it for a month or two and have only gotten to water it twice- the second time being when i changed pots, so the soil was dry), where i live is extremely humid so that could definitely contribute! I became interested in soil science since about 1980, and I've been tinkering with soil sense. This thread, about container soils, is chock-full of information. Understanding the concept that drives water retention in container media is probably the largest step forward a container gardener can make. A grow medium with so much water retention that watering intervals are measured in weeks is a problem for almost any plant one would be likely to grow in a container. I make all my soils and I try to make them so watering intervals once the roots have colonized the soil mass are no more than 3-5 days. Excess water is always a problem for terrestrial plants, and when it's present the question isn't whether of not the planting has lost potential (in terms of growth rate, yields when applicable, vitality (health), and the plant's ability to defend itself against insect predation and disease vectors/pathogens. did untagle the roots (it was practically a solid mat of roots!), and i did mix the old medium with well draining soil and added perlite when repotting. Just what type of soil did you mix with the old soil, and at what approximate proportion? That might be a factor re the Ca deficiency I mentioned if you didn't include and dolomite (garden lime) in the new mix. but you’re definitely right, the soil drying out has been a big problem i’ve noticed. do you have any advice on how i can better drain the soil? I know for certain I can help you in that regard, but first let's see what you did insofar as the new soil is concerned. i’m kinda at a loss on how to do that :( and yes i would love to know about fertilizing! i haven’t yet fertilized it, could that possibly be a problem? Maybe yes, maybe no. Usually new plants (how long have you had yours?) have an adequate amount of residual fertilizer in the grow medium to carry them through several waterings; but that said, NOT having a nutritional supplementation program in place is always a problem. Depending on nutrients that become available through breakdown of the grow medium is very seldom an appropriate strategy. There are many plants that grow slowly and require little in the way of nutrition, but philodendron is definitely not one of them. Some succulents or cacti and the carnivorous plants fit into categories of plants that might not require fertilizing often or at all. If you're watering correctly, you should probably be fertilizing at every 3rd to 4th watering in summer and at every 5th to 6th watering in winter. Don't let yourself be told you should be abandoning fertilizing during the winter months. Does Mother Nature travel the world pulling nutrients from the soil when leaves start falling, and put them back in spring? I probably committed some sort of logical fallacy in that last, but the point remains - plants need a full compliment of ALL nutrients essential to normal growth, in the soil and available for uptake at all times. Even during the consequential dormant phase, roots continue to grow until soil temps drop below 40-44*F. i’m nervous to because i worry that i would over-fertilize it. I can help you avoid that, so not to worry. and i do have one more question if that’s alright! do you think the soil staying too moist could have led to bacteria or fungal growth as well? that’s what i’ve heard from people who have issues that look similar to mine. they all seem to say to cut the infected leaves off and apply a fungicide, but all of my leaves are “infected.” Low oxygen levels, an obligate partner of too much water in the soil, often sets the stage for fungal infections of roots and lower stems by any of the several fungi gathered under the umbrella term of 'damping-off diseases', but I don't think that's where you are. Your plant's symptoms are consistent with a bit of mechanical injury (like bruising) caused by wind or less than careful handling before you acquired the plant, and with over-watering/ soil staying wet too long. I think that should be your primary focus at this point. would it be good to cut just the brown and yellow parts away to stop it from spreading or is that a bad idea? or maybe just not even the issue? sorry for all the questions ..... i haven’t had much luck getting clear answers, so this helps so much!! There is nothing in the images to suggest that removing any of the leaves shown would be a net benefit to the plant, in fact, it would not be in the plant's best interest to remove the spoiled foliage. That doesn't mean you will injure the plant or put its viability at risk, It just means it would be better to let the plant decide. The plant has internal chemical messengers that keep plant central apprised of whether or not each individual leaf is pulling its weight. As a leaf is reaching the point where it's using more energy than it can create during photosynthesis, the flow of a growth regulator (auxin) triggers a series of responses that end in the shedding of the leaf. The first response, resorption, is inconspicuous. During resorption, the plant will 'extract' whatever can be used elsewhere in the plant. Some of the nutrients which are capable of being moved from place to place within the plant (nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, magnesium) are salvaged along with other bio-compounds. As this process reaches its end stage, the slowed flow of the chemical I mentioned causes a wall (abscission layer) to form at the base of the leaf where it attaches to the branch. The 'wall' isolates the leaf from the plant such that nothing further can move across the abscission zone or through the abscission layer. Soon after the layer is complete, the weight of the leaf (in most cases) causes it to separate from the plant

    Leaves are little food factories where the plant's true food (sugar/glucose) is synthesized. So, removing a leaf denies the plant the food the leaf is making, and it denies the plant the ability to take back some of what it already paid for during the resorption process. That doesn't mean you should or shouldn't remove leaves you find offensive. That's for you to decide, but at least you now have information enough to make an informed decision.

    Removing leaves from a healthy plant is seldom a life threatening issue, especially if the timing favors the plant, but when plants are circling the drain, its in the plant's best interest that the grower is very judicious about removing any of its remaining food sources (leaves).

    What questions are you left with?

    This is Foliage-Pro 9-3-6 fertilizer, and what I recommend you use as your 'go to' fertilizer for almost anything you're likely to grow in a container.

    The reasons I recommend it are many, and there are precious few fertilizers out there which are even in the same league with it.

    You might enjoy:

    June, freshly pruned ^^^

    8 weeks later ^^^

    pruned again and branches wired ^^^

    ficus benjamina ^^^

    After defoliation ^^^

    wired and pushing a new flush of foliage ^^^


    Al

  • lily babb
    Original Author
    last month

    thank you!! bonsais are wonderful plants! i’m so grateful for your help trying to save this plant. i’m very glad i can find some answers online cause i’m not sure what else i would do haha! for the potting medium, the soil from before had a label in the plant that just said coco coir mix, and it does have a few fertilizing pellets in it. the plant is still fairly new i think i’ve maybe had it for 2 months or so, but this problem has started only recently within the last couple of weeks but it would definitely make sense to be a water issue. but the new mix is organic peat moss, pine bark chips, sand, perlite (and i added some extra), and it does have garden lime. i’m not too sure on the ratio, but it seems to work perfectly for all of my other well draining plants, so it may just not be the right soil for a monstera if it’s an issue of the soil! it has definitely been a concern for how long the soil stays moist, it might just be an improper medium for the plant though. thank you for the fertilizing tips, i will definitely look into getting some asap! i’m hoping the fertilizing pellets will help it until i can get some proper fertilizer. i don’t think i’ll cut the leaves off unless it covers most of the leaf, just to possibly lessen the risk of damaging the food system as you said. thank you so much again, and those bonsais are just beautiful!

  • lily babb
    Original Author
    last month

    that makes sense! thanks for all the info on drainage!! since it’s still so moist (it dried out just a bit sonce watering- but i think i repotted and watered it a little less than a week ago), is there anything i can do to dry it out further for now? i could take the plant back out of the pot and try to reassess the soil situation, and check again for any rotting roots, but i fear that may stress it too much as its already been through quite a lot. is that something you would recommend or not so much for its better health?

  • tapla (mid-Michigan, USDA z5b-6a)
    last month

    Because this isn't a hands-on situation where I can see/ feel/ assess how water-retentive the medium is, I won't be able to answer whether or not you should repot again. The best time to repot would be just before the summer solstice, 21 Jun if you live in the Northern Hemisphere and 21 Dec if in the southern. If I was making the decision for one of my plants, the answer would pivot on whether or not I thought the plant was going to survive until repot timing is optimum. If no, I would repot. If yes, I would wait.

    That said, you're armed with new tools that will definitely allow you to reduce the amount of water the medium can hold. While that doesn't ensure the amount of air in the grow medium will be optimum, I'm thinking taking an active part in monitoring soil moisture levels in order to determine appropriate watering intervals, and working after watering to reduce the amount of water held in the pot will be enough to keep you out of trouble. If you think the soil is soggy - see if your hunch is warranted by tipping the pot and using Newton's Law. It's not likely another go at repotting is going to do the plant in, but the question looms, "what will you be potting into (grow medium)?" If it's not significantly better than what you're using, it's not likely the results will be much better.

    Al