Houseplants forum→Help! My Monstera is Unhappy :(

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georgiawillmot
Sep 30, 2021 2:45 AM CST
I've had my monstera for just over a year, and in the first 9 or 10 months he was super happy. Lots of new leaves and grew pretty fast. I repotted him in the spring.

In the summer, I noticed that his growth started to slow and some leaves at the bottom started dying. Some were going very yellow and dropped off so they've gone. I was worried about overwatering so I didn't go crazy but he kept getting worse.

I moved house a few weeks ago and repotted him again since he was too big for the pot, however he really hasn't picked up. No growth and I've noticed several things:

1. Leaves are VERY droopy (he looks awful as you can see)
2. Leaves are now curling at tips
3. A few small black/yellow spots (nothing major and these don't seem to be spreading)

I took him out and examined the roots, but no root rot (all the roots seem strong and not black/mushy). The only thing I noticed is that they have remained in a fairly tight ball from the old pot, they haven't started to spread into the new pot (is it too soon to expect this?). The soil around the root ball is also still pretty moist (I watered him lightly roughly a week ago) but the top soil and around is very dry.

Please please help! I'll be gutted if he dies as he's done so well up until this summer, and now I'm panicking. Sad

My room conditions:

- Medium light, never in direct sunlight
- Roughly 22 degrees constantly
- Air is quite dry, but not centrally heated

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[Last edited by georgiawillmot - Sep 30, 2021 2:49 AM (+)]
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georgiawillmot
Sep 30, 2021 6:53 AM CST
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[Last edited by georgiawillmot - Sep 30, 2021 6:53 AM (+)]
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Name: Omie
New York state (Zone 5b)
Beekeeper Cat Lover
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Omie
Sep 30, 2021 10:43 AM CST
So now you taken it out of its pot three ties in a year, thereby disturbing the tinier roots each time. The leaves are curling which usually indicates they are not getting enough water from the root system. I think all the fine 'feeder roots' have died off and there is just a tight ball of thick base root remaining... which cannot deliver enough water to the plant.
Be aware that sometimes when underwatering, the soil will dry out and then not be able to hold water afterwards- in that case it would need to be soaked for a while to rehydrate, and then drained.
Speaking of drained.... does your pot have a drainage hole? I see it's directly on the floor. If it has no drainage hole then you plant will NOT be able to thrive for long- it'll always either be too wet or too dry.
Also, needs more light.

georgiawillmot
Sep 30, 2021 1:12 PM CST
Omie said:So now you taken it out of its pot three ties in a year, thereby disturbing the tinier roots each time. The leaves are curling which usually indicates they are not getting enough water from the root system. I think all the fine 'feeder roots' have died off and there is just a tight ball of thick base root remaining... which cannot deliver enough water to the plant.
Be aware that sometimes when underwatering, the soil will dry out and then not be able to hold water afterwards- in that case it would need to be soaked for a while to rehydrate, and then drained.
Speaking of drained.... does your pot have a drainage hole? I see it's directly on the floor. If it has no drainage hole then you plant will NOT be able to thrive for long- it'll always either be too wet or too dry.
Also, needs more light.



Thanks for your reply! I certainly haven't helped with the moving and taking out the pot…sorry 🥶

There is a drainage hole. There is a tray underneath the pot you just can't see it - the pot isn't on the floor directly. Smiling water never seems to collect in there but again that could be me underwatering. My worry is how dry the soil is around the plant but not in the centre - I don't want to water it and soak the roots too much Sad I'm cautious to soak it as I've overwatered plants before and I know how fatal this can be…perhaps this would help though. Sorry for the confusion I'm in I'm just worried about doing the wrong thing 😅 I guess my main question is…would you say underwatering or overwatering is the cause?

The room does look shady there, but it was a pretty dark day - usually it's far sunnier and I'm cautious to put it in the window in case it gets sun scorched?
[Last edited by georgiawillmot - Sep 30, 2021 1:19 PM (+)]
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Name: Lee-Roy
Bilzen, Belgium (Zone 8a)
Irises Lilies Hostas Ferns Composter Region: Belgium
Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: Europe
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Arico
Sep 30, 2021 1:58 PM CST
Whenever I repot a plant, I really get in there with my fingers, tearing and breaking (somethimes even major) roots and get that ball completely loose until it just hangs; with or without soil. You can be quite harsh so don't worry.
Don't be surprised if you find (the remnants of) a bone dry, teeny tiny plug in the middle that which severely impacts root establishment.

As for watering, get a feel of the weight of your pot. I can tell when my plants need watering just by lifting the pot. Otherwise stick a few fingers in and feel. If rotting roots are a cause, the leaves usually not only wilt, but yellow aswell.

georgiawillmot
Sep 30, 2021 2:56 PM CST
Arico said:Whenever I repot a plant, I really get in there with my fingers, tearing and breaking (somethimes even major) roots and get that ball completely loose until it just hangs; with or without soil. You can be quite harsh so don't worry.
Don't be surprised if you find (the remnants of) a bone dry, teeny tiny plug in the middle that which severely impacts root establishment.

As for watering, get a feel of the weight of your pot. I can tell when my plants need watering just by lifting the pot. Otherwise stick a few fingers in and feel. If rotting roots are a cause, the leaves usually not only wilt, but yellow aswell.



Hmmm ok, thank you. I guess I was probably too gentle in repotting. I don't really want to take him out again though!
Luckily no yellowing, just the droopiness, and a little black spot on one leaf.
California (Zone 9b)
CalPolygardener
Sep 30, 2021 3:21 PM CST
When you water it SOAK it thoroughly. Even put it in the bathtub and dump a gallon or 2 in it. Then check it every week and do it again when it needs it again. A few cups of water isn't enough to get it completely wet. Thorough soak, then let it get to the point of needing water again.

georgiawillmot
Sep 30, 2021 3:34 PM CST
Ok thanks guys! So we think it's definitely underwatered?

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Humboldt
Sep 30, 2021 10:59 PM CST
georgiawillmot said:Ok thanks guys! So we think it's definitely underwatered?


It's a good place to start.

If it rains where you live (last time this came up it was in Dubai), put your monstera out, they love it.



georgiawillmot
Oct 1, 2021 12:36 AM CST
Humboldt said:

It's a good place to start.

If it rains where you live (last time this came up it was in Dubai), put your monstera out, they love it.




Haha that's awesome! As wonderfully rainy as it is here in the UK, I think perhaps it may be a bit cold out there for them now 😂😂
Name: Kevin Langley
London UK
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AmberLeaf
Oct 1, 2021 12:18 PM CST
Make sure its getting enough light. Some plants don't like to be moved and a change in lighting conditions can affect them. Put it next to a window for a while to see if it picks up. My one likes water so does my philodendron.
[Last edited by AmberLeaf - Oct 1, 2021 12:21 PM (+)]
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Name: Allie
No. California (Zone 9b)
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AllieCat
Oct 1, 2021 1:21 PM CST
How do you know it's damp further down in the pot? I was using a moisture meter and it was showing the same thing but when I took the plant out of the pot it was completely dry so the moisture meter wasn't working correctly. A couple of members here told me the meters aren't reliable and now I see that.
I love cats! I really really love cats!
California (Zone 9b)
CalPolygardener
Oct 1, 2021 3:05 PM CST
Use a stick or your finger. Once you get it thoroughly soaked you can check it once a week to see how dry it is. It will dry out faster at the top than the bottom, so you shouldn't have to worry about that "dry in the middle" issue. That mostly happens when it has gotten TOO dry and needs to be rehydrated. Only check it once a week on the same day, as if you had a business doing that.

georgiawillmot
Oct 2, 2021 1:26 AM CST
Ok so I have put him in the window and watered thoroughly…not sure if he is really looking any better but I guess it may take time 😂

Another question: how deep under the soil should the top roots be? Does this matter?

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[Last edited by georgiawillmot - Oct 2, 2021 1:33 AM (+)]
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California (Zone 9b)
CalPolygardener
Oct 2, 2021 6:02 AM CST
No, it doesn't really matter. Sometimes the roots grow on the surface.

georgiawillmot
Oct 3, 2021 4:07 AM CST
Ok so the soil directly around the roots is definitely having some difficulty drying out, whereas the surrounding soil is fine. Should I wash off the soil around the roots and start afresh?

If you guys can help me save this monstera you are actually heroes 😅
[Last edited by georgiawillmot - Oct 3, 2021 4:32 AM (+)]
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Name: Allie
No. California (Zone 9b)
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AllieCat
Oct 3, 2021 12:44 PM CST
georgiawillmot said:Ok so the soil directly around the roots is definitely having some difficulty drying out, whereas the surrounding soil is fine. Should I wash off the soil around the roots and start afresh?

If you guys can help me save this monstera you are actually heroes 😅


That's what I did with a zz plant I was worried about. I thought maybe the roots were having problems but when I took it out of the pot they were fine. It gave me the opportunity to add some peat moss and worm casings to lighten up the soil so it would drain better. It put my mind at ease
I love cats! I really really love cats!

georgiawillmot
Oct 4, 2021 12:32 AM CST
AllieCat said:

That's what I did with a zz plant I was worried about. I thought maybe the roots were having problems but when I took it out of the pot they were fine. It gave me the opportunity to add some peat moss and worm casings to lighten up the soil so it would drain better. It put my mind at ease


Yeah, I feel like it would put my mind to rest a bit too! Did your plant recover? 🤞🏼😬
Name: Allie
No. California (Zone 9b)
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AllieCat
Oct 4, 2021 9:00 AM CST
georgiawillmot said:

Yeah, I feel like it would put my mind to rest a bit too! Did your plant recover? 🤞🏼😬


Yes, she's doing very well and I'm not feeling like a helicopter mom always hovering over her worried.
I love cats! I really really love cats!

georgiawillmot
Oct 4, 2021 10:58 AM CST
AllieCat said:

Yes, she's doing very well and I'm not feeling like a helicopter mom always hovering over her worried.


Haha! This is exactly where I am at the moment 😂😂

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