Houzz Logo Print

Monstera deliciosa dying (?)

Avery Humphreys
2 months ago

I have a large monstera deliciosa that I bought about 3 1/2 years ago. It had a triple-whammy of stressors starting just over a year ago, and I haven't been able to recover it.

1) I moved twice in four months, and the first location had very poor natural light. It went from a room where it had 2 - 5 hours of direct morning sun to basically no natural sunlight. The second place (my current apartment) has great light, so I don't think that's the current problem.

2) Over the next few months after the move, older leaves started turning yellow and falling off. The plant had only lost 3 leaves the entire life of the plant up to that point, and then one was dying every other week or so. I thought maybe it had outgrown the pot (it was almost entirely root; there wasn't really any way to change the soil because it was all root ball), so I re-potted it. The new pot is about 1.5x larger. Obviously monsteras don't like to be moved around, but I didn't think there was another option.

3) There was / is something wrong with the new potting soil I used. After watering it the normal amount that I had in the old pot, I noticed that the soil wasn't draining despite the pot having a separate tray and a layer of crushed rock at the bottom to keep the roots off the floor. I stopped watering the plant but didn't do anything else (didn't change the soil which I probably should have. Too late now though). The leaves kept dying, and then the worst part: the roots and stem sections that were in the soil had COMPLETELY rotted. Everything below the dirt level is black and shriveled.

Miraculously, the plant is still alive. I planted an arial root in a small pot I nailed to the wall (lol), and that root is growing super quickly into the soil. Other than that, I have no idea how it's getting enough nutrients to sustain itself. The soil is finally dry. The leaves are curling under and some of them have brown tips, but given the state of the roots I'm honestly shocked it's not worse or already dead.

So here's my question: what should I do?

I've seen suggestions that involve taking the plant out of the pot, cleaning all the roots off and re-potting. Not sure about this strategy given that a) all the roots appear dead already anyway and b) it was stressful enough the first time I moved it around. I'm afraid messing around with it more will

Should I try just cutting the stems off below the first non-rotted node and stick that in the soil? That feels like a last-ditch effort but if you all think that might work I'm willing to try it.

Also what's weird about the soil is I potted a weeping fig with the exact same dirt from the same bag and it's totally fine. No weird draining issues and the plant looks really happy and is shooting out new leaves like nobody's business. So I have no idea what happened there.

Anyway, would love advice here! I love this plant, it's the first one I got after I graduated and for a while it was growing really well.

Comments (4)