Why Are My Swiss Cheese Plant’s Leaves Turning Yellow or Brown? Common Monstera Problems

By: Matt Slaymaker
January 29, 2024
Swiss Cheese Plant Leaves Turning Yellow or Brown
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Is your Swiss cheese plant turning yellow? Insufficient light or a sudden change in its growing conditions could cause your Monstera’s leaves to turn yellow. In addition, you might be watering your plant too much or too little.

To keep this beautiful tropical plant in prime health, learn what it needs to grow and how to care for it. Read on our thorough guide on all the common problems and how to prevent them.  

About Swiss Cheese Plants

About Monstera Swiss Cheese Plants

The Swiss cheese plant (Monstera adansonii) is a variety of Monstera, which also includes the trendy Monstera deliciosa. Monsteras are jungle plants with large leaves, native to Central America. Because they originally come from areas with a tropical rainforest climate, these plants do best in warm temperatures and high humidity.

The leaves of Monstera adansonii are fenestrated, giving them the distinctive hole-filled look, reminiscent of cheese, which gave them their name. The Swiss cheese plant is amazingly decorative and looks great in hanging pots because of its trailing stems and remarkable leaves.

Why Does Monstera Adansonii Plant Have Holes in the Leaves?

The holes in the Swiss cheese plant’s leaves developed as an adaptive response to its tropical environment. They help rain and wind pass easily through its foliage without damaging the plant’s leaves. A recent study shows that the holes may also help the plant absorb more water since they act as a sieve that lets rainwater filter down to the forest floor instead of evaporating.

While holes or splits in the leaves, in the case of Monstera deliciosa, are natural for the Swiss cheese plants, they can suffer from various leaf issues if not taken care of properly. Some of these issues result in yellow, brown, black, or curled leaves.

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Why Is My Swiss Cheese Plant Turning Yellow? 7 Reasons

Most of the problems that result in Swiss cheese plant leaves turning yellow are relatively easy to fix. But before you can try to remedy the issue, it’s important to know what’s caused it.

1.     Pests  

Swiss Cheese Plant Pest Issues

Begin by checking the downsides of your plant’s leaves and stems for pests. It’s vital to spot them and take action as soon as possible so that they don’t spread to your other plants. Watch out for the tell-tale signs a pest infestation, such as webs, powdery residue, scales, and dark spots. Remove any insects with a damp cloth soaked in soapy water and apply insecticide or an eco-friendly natural pesticide if necessary.

2. Overwatering

Monsteras like consistent watering, but if overwatered, the roots may begin to rot. Root rot prevents the plant from absorbing vital nutrients from the soil, causing its leaves to wilt and grow yellow. Check whether your Swiss cheese plant’s soil is too moist, and leave off watering until the upper inches of the soil can dry properly.

3. Underwatering

When Monsteras don’t get enough water, their leaves often turn yellow or crisp brown. If you notice that your Swiss cheese plant has crumbly brown leaves and the soil is dry, your plant needs water. Water it gradually, giving it time to absorb the moisture, then add more water if necessary.

4. Temperature Fluctuations or Low Humidity

Swiss Cheese Plant Humidity Issues

Temperature stress may be the reason for the yellowing leaves, especially if you’ve moved your Monstera to a new location recently. Monsteras prefer consistent temperatures no lower than 55°F. Check whether there are any draughts and move to a warmer or sunnier spot if necessary. If the air in your home is very dry, remember to mist your Monstera plant regularly.

5. Sunburn

Direct sunlight can scorch your plant’s leaves. The leaves will look faded and possibly brown on the edges if the plant is left in a place that is too sunny for more than 2-3 hours. Move your Monstera into a spot with bright but indirect sunlight.  

6. Pot-bound Roots   

Pot-bound Roots of Swiss Cheese Plant

Pot-bound roots is one of the most common reasons for yellowing leaves. While Monsteras normally like compact pots to grow in, if its roots are confined by the pot, the houseplant stops getting sufficient nutrients from the soil to support leaf growth. Check the underside of your plant’s pot to spot any roots growing out of the drainage holes. Find a pot that is slightly bigger and would allow some space for the roots to spread.

7. Fertilizer Root Burn

Yellowing leaves can be the result of feeding your plant with too large a dose of fertilizer or fertilizing too frequently. Use a balanced liquid fertilizer and dilute it to half strength. Make sure to give your plant the opportunity to rest by reduced fertilizing in the winter months.

5 Common Problems With Monstera Swiss Cheese Plant

Common Problems With Monstera Swiss Cheese Plant

Monsteras are easy-to-care-for plants once you know their needs, which together with their tropical appeal makes them enormously popular house plants. Nonetheless, there are several other common problems that you should be aware of:

1. Leggy Growth

A leggy Swiss cheese plant is usually a result of low-light exposure for a long period of time. This sun-loving air-purifying plant may tolerate growing in a darker spot, however, this will prevent its vibrancy and thriving appearance. So, it's best if you relocate your Monstera to a brighter place in your home, near a window.

2. Brown Leaves

Brown edges on your plant’s leaves indicate that it’s not receiving enough water or is getting sunburned by direct sunlight. In both cases, you might want to change the location. If it’s too warm, water will evaporate quickly, while direct sun rays can burn the leaves.  

3. Black Leaves

If your Swiss cheese plant gets black leaves, it’s usually a sign of root rot after consistent overwatering. In this case, the black leaves will also be soft and mushy. If not dealt with properly, root rot can be fatal for your plant.  

4. Curling Leaves

Swiss cheese plant leaves curling are usually a sign of underwatering. If the plant is not getting enough water, its leaves curl inwards to minimize the surface, from which much-needed water will evaporate.  

5. Leaves Turning Brown Before Unfurling

This is the result of issues with watering. You’re either not giving your plant enough water or overwatering it so that its roots have difficulty absorbing nutrients from the soil. Lack of humidity could be another factor responsible for leaves withering before they unfurl.  

How Do You Fix Unhealthy Monstera?

If your Swiss cheese plant isn’t looking good, first check the soil. Overwatering and underwatering are very common causes for plants looking unhealthy. Then find out if there are any pests on your plant, which might be damaging its leaves.

Swiss Cheese Plant: Prevention and Care Tips

Swiss Cheesе Plant Prevention and Care Tips

Caring for your Swiss cheese plant is important to keep it healthy and beautiful. These gorgeous plants’ leaves grow bigger as the plant matures, developing their characteristic holes. 

Monsteras need consistent watering and high humidity to thrive. The best temperatures for growing this plant are between 60°F and 90°F during the day, and no less than 55°F at night. They also appreciate an occasional misting, which helps retain the necessary humidity levels.

In order to provide all the essential nutrients, feed your plant with a balanced liquid fertilizer during the growing season.  

Like most plants with aerial roots, Monstera adansonii can benefit from a moss pole to climb, keeping the plant looking neat and making it easier to care for. 

Swiss Cheese Plant Leaves: FAQs

Q: Why does my monstera adansonii not have holes? 

A: Monsteras start producing leaves with holes as they mature. If your plant is still very young, it might not have holes yet. Another reason could be low light. Monstera adansonii prefers bright, indirect light.  

Q: What does an overwatered Swiss cheese plant look like?

A: An overwatered Monstera adansonii has leaves turning yellow with brown spots and its stems are limp and drooping. It may also show signs of mold on the stem close to the roots. In this case, it’s vital to take steps to save your plant.

Q: How do I get more holes in my Monstera leaves?

A: Try placing your Monstera next to a south or east-facing window for optimal light. If this doesn’t help, check whether the plant is rootbound and repot if necessary. It may also lack nutrients, so make sure you fertilize moderately but regularly.

Q: What to do with a damaged Monstera leaf?

A: Prune away any severely damaged leaves to promote the growth of new leaves. Conversely, leaving brown or yellowing leaves on the plant can cause spread of diseases to healthy parts of your Monstera. Also, the plant's energy will be wasted, instead of directing to its green and freshly developed stems and foliage.

Conclusion

Normally, Monstera Swiss cheese plant gets yellow leaves or other problems with its foliage when you don’t water the plant properly or neglect its needs, in general. While they love moisture, Monsteras should never be left in soggy soil that can cause root rot. Furthermore, maintaining consistently warm temperature and high humidity will give your plant a chance to thrive and look its best.  

Some perfect companion plants for a Swiss cheese plant include the Calathea Concinna, Flamingo Flower, or any variety of Dracaenas, which are all moisture-loving plants that will appreciate a warm environment with bright, indirect sunlight. Their exotic leaves will also look great combined with the Swiss cheese plant's hole-filled foliage.  And don't forget that you can always propagate your Monstera to expand your tropical plant collection.