If your Monstera plant has recently lost some of its leaves, you may be wondering whether this foliage will be restored once your plant is healthy again, and how you can help it get there as quickly as possible.
When your Monstera loses foliage, it will continue to grow new leaves, but these may not be grown in the same places as the old ones. They will probably sprout from other parts of the Monstera’s stem instead, usually higher up on the plant. You can promote new leaf growth by ensuring that your Monstera’s environment is suitable, and has enough food to create new leaves.
Do Monstera Leaves Grow Back?
Monstera leaves do not “grow back” in that the new leaves that grow will not appear in the same place as the old ones were shed. However, new leaves certainly will grow on the plant, often regardless of whether it has lost old ones.
In general, your Monstera will sprout new foliage from near the top of its stems, because this is where the most light is. The Monstera is a climbing plant, always striving to grow upward, and it wouldn’t make sense for it to grow leaves lower on its stem, where they are likely to be shaded by existing foliage, and therefore less able to photosynthesize.
Of course, if your plant is very sick, it may struggle to produce new foliage, especially if it has lost a lot of its leaves and so cannot generate much energy from sunlight. If this happens, you’ll need to determine the cause and remedy as soon as you can, or the plant may not survive.
If your plant seems reasonably healthy but it is not growing new foliage after leaf loss has occurred, don’t panic. Monsteras are resilient plants, but when they get shocked or stressed, they will focus their energy on making sure their root network is strong, rather than growing new foliage. It may be a few weeks before your plant starts to make new shoots.
How Can I Avoid Leaf Loss?
Many things can cause the leaves of your Monstera to be lost, including damage, old age, or a poor environment. If you want to ensure that your Monstera keeps growing, you will need to identify what is causing the leaf loss and fix it. Often, doing so will also help to promote new, healthy growth in your plant.
Leaves tend to be lost when the plant is kept in unsuitable conditions, and tend to grow when the plant is kept in suitable conditions.
We’ll look briefly at a couple of things that may cause leaf loss that aren’t related to the plant’s environment, and then move on to how to encourage your Monstera’s leaves to grow (and, at the same time, avoid leaf loss).
Sometimes, you will accidentally knock a leaf or two off your Monstera. In some situations, the whole plant may even get toppled over, snapping stems and leaves. Because Monsteras are often a bit top-heavy, this is a common issue.
Fortunately, your Monstera will soon grow more foliage. You should use sterile shears to remove any stems that are torn and hanging so that the cuts can heal over properly, reducing the risk of infection.
You may want to tie up any trailing stems that are at risk of getting broken in the future, or weigh down your Monstera’s pot so it cannot fall. This should help to reduce the risk of damage occurring again.
As a Monstera’s leaves age, it naturally sheds them – especially those lower down on its stem, which are likely to get shaded as the plant grows. Most plants, not just Monsteras, do this. Old, damaged foliage is cut off from the nutrient supply so the plant can focus on young growth. The old foliage will turn brown and drop off.
For Monsteras, which are constantly climbing, this means that they can focus on developing leaves higher up, and these will provide a better source of food, so it makes sense to put their resources into them.
There’s no need to worry if your plant occasionally sheds some of its lower leaves; this is perfectly normal. Upper leaves may sometimes fall too if they are old.
You only need to be concerned if your plant is shedding new, young growth, because this indicates that something else is wrong. In the next section, we’ll look at how the environment affects leaf loss and leaf growth.
What Encourages Leaf Growth?
Let’s explore how you can help your Monstera grow strong, healthy new foliage, and minimize the loss of leaves.
Provide The Correct Amount Of Water
Giving your Monstera the right amount to drink is a crucial aspect of keeping it healthy and promoting good leaf growth. You should water your plant according to how dry the soil is, and not according to a schedule.
To check whether your Monstera is thirsty, push the tip of your finger into the soil around the plant’s roots. If the soil feels dry to an inch down, you can give your Monstera a drink, but if it’s wet, wait a while longer. Overwatering is one of the biggest dangers when it comes to Monsteras.
If you overwater your Monstera, it is likely to start dropping its leaves. If your Monstera’s soil is perpetually wet and never allowed to dry out, the plant becomes vulnerable to root rot, which – unsurprisingly – causes the roots to start rotting below the soil.
These roots will no longer be able to absorb water or nutrients for the plant, and it will start to die. This usually starts with dropping foliage, because the plant will attempt to conserve what energy it has, and leaves are a big drain.
If this has happened, you will need to remove the plant from its pot and use sterile scissors to cut away any mushy roots. You can then let the rest of the roots dry out a bit and transfer the Monstera to a new pot with fresh, drier potting medium.
It may take a few weeks to recover and start regrowing its foliage, but will hopefully do so if you have caught the root rot quickly enough. In the future, follow a more flexible watering routine, as this will encourage good leaf growth.
Provide The Correct Lighting Conditions
The correct balance of light is crucial to your plant. Monsteras like to be kept in bright, indirect light. They do not want any direct sun to fall on their leaves, but they also will not thrive if they are kept in the dark.
This can be challenging to achieve, but you need to think about it, or you may find that your Monstera sheds leaves that are in the shade, and concentrates most of its growth in areas that get more light, which can lead to an imbalanced aesthetic and an unstable plant. It may also reduce your plant’s overall growth.
When a plant grows new leaves, it is calculating the cost vs reward ratio. Leaves reward the plant with energy from photosynthesis and they are necessary for its survival, but they also come at a cost. It requires nutrients and water both to make them and to sustain them.
If the plant is getting a good amount of light, the reward is high, and justifies the cost of making and sustaining new leaves. If the plant is not getting enough light, however, the ratio changes and new foliage becomes less advantageous for the plant.
It will usually focus on stem growth instead, trying to get its leaves to a more suitable position. This leads to leggy, unattractive growth, and can cause the Monstera to drop its lower leaves in some circumstances because the reward they are providing does not outweigh the cost of maintaining them.
If you can get the balance right, your Monstera will be encouraged to output lots of new growth, because this growth will reward it with energy. It is unlikely to regrow leaves that have been shed in poor lighting because there is probably a better position for them, but it will grow lots of new foliage instead.
Provide A Good Support
Monsteras that do not have a good support structure often struggle to produce healthy foliage, because their upper leaves end up overshadowing the lower ones, or even hampering their growth by overcrowding them. It’s hard for the plant to photosynthesize when it hasn’t got enough height to spread its leaves out, and it will likely produce less foliage as a result.
Having a tall, stable support will therefore help to promote foliage production, encouraging your Monstera to shoot up quickly. You should provide your Monstera with a moss pole if possible. This gives the aerial roots something to latch onto, helping them to pull themselves upward and encouraging the plant to keep growing.
Giving your Monstera a support to grow up has the added benefit of reducing the risk of leaf damage. It will make your plant more stable and should encourage all the stems and leaves to arrange themselves around a central point.
This makes it less likely that the pot will fall or that you will accidentally snap trailing foliage off the main plant.
A stressed Monstera is likely to start shedding leaves quickly, for the reasons mentioned above – they have an ongoing maintenance cost. If the conditions are not right, it will conserve its energy to ensure its roots survive, and this means cutting off the supply to the leaves. This will result in foliage loss.
Stress can be caused by a range of things, including movement, temperature fluctuations, drafts, lack of humidity, etc. All of these things may result in the Monstera dropping its leaves, and some new plant owners discover their plants shed a significant amount of foliage when they first bring them home because this is a stressful transition.
One of the biggest sources of stress is drafts and temperature fluctuations. If your plant stands near a window or an external door, or if it is in the blast of a fan or a heater, it is unlikely to be happy, and it may lose foliage as a result.
Monsteras are native to rainforests, where the wind is minimal and temperatures are generally steady. They are not able to cope well with change, so you should avoid placing yours in an environment that noticeably fluctuates.
Your Monstera should be at least a few feet from the nearest fan or heater, and the temperature should be consistently above 60 degrees F. Anything below 55 degrees F could kill your plant, particularly if the temperature drops suddenly.
You should also avoid moving your Monstera if possible, as this causes stress and may result in leaf death and a cessation of growth. The more stable you can keep the plant’s environment, the more leaves will grow, and the fewer will be lost.
Fertilize The Plant
A Monstera cannot sustain its leaves if it doesn’t have the right nutrients, so you should be fertilizing it every few weeks during the growing season. Give it a diluted mix of an all-purpose fertilizer.
Having all the nutrients it needs available will encourage the plant to grow healthy new leaves, replacing any that it has lost. Without these nutrients, it won’t produce new growth, so don’t forget to add them throughout the spring and summer months.
In the fall and winter, it’s best to slow down or stop fertilizing your plant, because a buildup of nutrients around the roots could cause burning, which may lead to foliage loss.
A Monstera that has lost some of its leaves should soon put out new growth, especially if you give it the right conditions. If your Monstera seems to be losing leaves, take some time to figure out why and make sure that you resolve the issue; the plant may wait until conditions improve before growing new foliage.