A full, lush Monstera is the houseplant of our dreams. And it definitely helps that these plants are incredibly easy to take care of.
But if you happen to slip a bit in your indoor plant maintenance, you may suddenly find yourself with a leggy Monstera. It’s not the end of the world when this happens, but it’s a good idea to figure out the problem quickly so you can address it before things get worse.
So keep reading to find out how to fix your leggy Monstera – and how to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
What does a leggy Monstera look like?
A leggy Monstera looks like it has stretched out. The stem becomes longer and thinner, and there are fewer leaves. The leaves that are present are often smaller than usual. The plant may also start to lean to one side.
Since leggy Monstera plants are searching for sunlight, you may see them climbing or leaning toward the nearest light source. You may also notice that the stems of your Monstera plant are moving downwards toward the floor.
The leaves on a leggy Monstera plant are often spaced out more than usual, and the plant may have gaps between the leaves. The leaves may also become more narrow than wide and oval.
The stem of a leggy Monstera may also become more visible because the leaves are spaced out. The stem may turn from green to brown or red, and it may become woody.
Why do Monsteras become leggy?
Monstera plants become leggy because they are stretching for something that they are lacking. Usually, they need more sunlight, with the insufficient light meaning they are unable to effectively photosynthesize, resulting in the plant lacking what it needs to grow at a normal rate.
However, there are other reasons for legginess, most of which revolve around the idea that the Monstera isn’t quite getting everything it needs.
Here are some of the most common reasons your Monstera may become leggy.
1. Not enough sunlight
If your Monstera is not getting enough sunlight, it will start to stretch out in search of a light source. This is why you often see leggy plants near windows or doors.
To prevent your Monstera from becoming leggy, make sure it is getting enough sunlight. Place it near a window where it can get bright, indirect light. You can also use a grow light with your Monstera to give your plant the extra light it needs.
FYI: When using a grow light, it’s important to get one that’s big enough to hit each side of your plant, not just one small section. This is why I generally recommend getting a standing grow light.
My personal choice for this is the Juhefa Full Spectrum Grow Light (check the latest price here).
2. Too much fertilizer
If you fertilize your Monstera too often, it can cause the plant to become leggy. This is because the fertilizer (particularly nitrogen) gives the plant a boost of growth. Too much fertilizer can cause the plant to outgrow its pot and become top-heavy.
To prevent your Monstera from becoming leggy, fertilize it only when it needs it. You can tell your plant needs fertilizer if the leaves are pale or if the plant is not growing.
Pests can also cause your Monstera to become leggy. This is because pests can damage the plant and prevent it from getting the nutrients it needs. Pests can also spread diseases that can weaken the plant.
Watch out in particular for things like:
These pests are common on Monstera plants. If you see any of these pests on your plant, remove them with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol.
4. Hot temperatures
If the temperature gets too hot, your Monstera may become leggy. This is because the plant is trying to cool itself down by growing taller. Hot temperatures can also cause the leaves to drop off.
To prevent your Monstera from becoming leggy, make sure the temperature is not too hot. The ideal temperature for a Monstera plant is between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
5. Crowded roots
If the roots of your Monstera are crowded, it can cause the plant to become leggy. This is because the plant is trying to find more space for its roots. When the roots are crowded, they can’t get enough oxygen and nutrients.
The result of this is that you will have a root bound Monstera, which is what happens when a plant outgrows its pot. When this happens, you’ll need to repot your Monstera into a larger pot. Make sure your Monstera is planted in a pot that leaves at least 3 inches around its roots.
What can I do with a leggy Monstera plant?
The best thing to do when your Monstera plant is leggy is to prune it. Pruning will help the plant to grow fuller and bushier, by ensuring that all its energy is going towards the healthier growth, not the overly leggy parts of your Monstera. You should also determine what is causing this legginess so it can be fixed.
That is, pruning your Monstera will help get your plant back on track, although there are plenty of other things you can do to help return your plant to its former glory. In particular, working out what’s causing these growth problems will allow you to take steps to ensure the Monstera is getting everything it needs, letting you reduce any legginess in future.
On this basis, here are some of the best ways to fix a leggy Monstera:
1. Prune your Monstera
To prune your Monstera, cut off any leaves that are dried, diseased, or excessively discolored. Then you can make certain cuts on the stem that will stimulate lateral growth, which will help make the plant appear bushier.
To do this, cut or pinch off the growing tip, which is a bump or node on the stem that makes a new stem or leaf. Use a clean pair of scissors or pruning shears (these pruning shears will do the job perfectly) to make a 45-degree cut just below the node.
2. Give your Monstera more light
Your Monstera plant will literally stretch itself to get more light if you have it in a dim area of your home. Although Monstera plants need indirect light, they still need a good amount of it. Find a room that gets bright, indirect light, and move your Monstera there.
If you can’t give your Monstera more light, you can try using a grow light for your Monstera. Grow lights are artificial lights that simulate sunlight. They come in different shapes, sizes, and intensities and can be found online and at most hardware or garden stores.
3. Reduce fertilizer
Excess amounts of fertilizer can cause your Monstera to become leggy, as we talked about before. If you’re using too much fertilizer, cut back on the amount you’re giving your plant. You can also try using a different type of fertilizer that has less nitrogen if cutting back doesn’t seem to be solving the issue.
Compost is a great alternative to traditional fertilizers because it provides slow-release nutrients that won’t burn your plant. It’s also important to remember to stop fertilizing your plant in the wintertime because it’s dormant and can be easily over fertilized at that time.
4. Repot your Monstera
Make it a regular practice to check the roots in your Monstera plant’s pot so that you know when it needs to be transferred somewhere else. Make sure that there is at least 2 to 3 inches of soil between the root system and the pot.
You can expect to replant your pot every 2 years. Make sure to use fresh nutrient-rich soil and vigorously water your plant when the process is done.
5. Check for pests
Pests can cause your Monstera plant to become leggy, weak, and sickly. If you think your plant might have pests, the best thing to do is to take a close look at the leaves and stems. Look for any small insects or eggs.
If you see any pests, you can try using a pesticide specifically designed for houseplants. You can also try using a homemade solution of water and dish soap. Simply mix these two ingredients together and spray the plant until it’s fully coated.
6. Train your Monstera to climb
Since this plant is a vine, it will do very well if you train your Monstera to climb. You can do this by attaching the plant to a trellis or other support system, like giving your Monstera a moss pole to grow up – you can grab a moss pole at any gardening store or online (this one is great value).
You can also try growing your Monstera in a hanging basket. This will give the plant a place to trail down and will create a unique and beautiful effect.
Training your Monstera to climb will not only help it to grow fuller and bushier, but it will also prevent it from becoming leggy.
7. Propagate more plants
If you want to have more Monstera plants, you can try propagating them. Having several of them in the same large pot or clustered together can give a fuller and lusher look to the room.
Propagating Monstera is a process where you take a cutting from an existing plant and grow it into a new plant. To do this, cut a stem that has at least two leaves on it. Then remove the bottom leaf and dip the cut end into rooting hormone before placing it in water or soil.
How to prevent Monsteras becoming leggy
The best way to prevent a Monstera from becoming leggy is to give it optimal care and growing conditions. This means giving it the right amount of light, water, and fertilizer. You should also check the plant regularly for pests and repot it when necessary.
Here are some tips to help you keep your Monstera plant healthy and prevent it from becoming leggy again in future.
1. Create the right lighting environment
Give your Monstera the right amount of light. The plant needs bright, indirect light to thrive. If your plant is not getting enough light, it will start to produce smaller leaves along with leaves that may become yellow or have brown spots.
If you can’t give it enough light by moving your plan closer to a stronger or more consistent natural light source, try using a grow light for your Monstera which can simulate outdoor sunlight.
2. Provide the right amount of fertilizer
The Monstera plant can benefit from fertilizer, but it’s important not to give it too much. Early on, do the research to find out what type and how often to fertilize your specific Monstera.
Fertilizing once a month during growing season (which includes spring, summer, and potentially early fall depending on what zone you live in) is usually sufficient, but you can also do it every two weeks if you want.
Just make sure to reduce the amount of fertilizer you use in the wintertime when the plant isn’t rapidly growing. Otherwise, you could see an unhealthy buildup of fertilizer in the soil which can burn the plant.
3. Keep your Monstera plant pest free
Pests and diseases on your Monstera can cause the plant to become leggy and weak. You should check the plant regularly, whether or not you notice legginess on your Monstera, for signs of pests and take care of the problem as soon as possible.
You can reduce the possibility of pests by keeping the plant healthy. For instance, don’t let water sit in the plant, which can attract pests, and you should clean your Monstera’s leaves from time to time as a build up of dust can attract pests. Also make sure the plant has good air circulation, and don’t overcrowd it.
4. Do regular checks for disease
Similar to controlling pest infestations, regular checks of your Monstera will help you to catch any diseases in time before they start really affecting your plant. And if you notice you’ve suddenly got a leggy Monstera on your hands, it’s time to step up those disease checks as it could be the culprit.
If you do find anything suspicious that looks like it could be a disease forming on your plant, make sure your first step is to remove any other plants from nearby. These can often spread quite quickly and it’s a good idea to contain it as soon as you notice the problem.
5. Take good care of your Monstera’s roots
It can be easy to forget about your Monstera’s roots since they aren’t as visible as the rest of the plant. But if disease or overcrowding happens at the roots, it can cause the plant to become leggy. That’s not even the worst of it though, as root rot in your Monstera can, ultimately, kill this plant if not caught in time – so consider your leggy Monstera a clear warning sign..
Make sure you’re repotting your Monstera every one to two years to give the roots plenty of room to grow. You should also make sure the soil drains well to prevent root rot.
Find out more: What’s the Absolute Best Soil for Monstera Plants?
6. Prune your Monstera regularly
Pruning your Monstera is a great way to keep your Monstera growing laterally and looking bushy. Make sure to cut off the nodes to trigger the hormones in the plant to grow correctly.
If you’ve noticed your Monstera leaves turning yellow in addition to its legginess, prioritize cutting those off in addition to any leaves that are dead or appear diseased. It might sound scary to remove these, but taking off a few healthy leaves to encourage growth can make a big difference in the fullness of the plant.
Doing this also ensures that all of your plant’s energy is only going to the healthiest parts of the plant, which can really help it thrive.
7. Give your Monstera a humid environment
Try to recreate the tropical environment that these plants love by giving your Monstera the humidity it needs. This is usually between 50% and 80% humidity but if you don’t live somewhere tropical, there are plenty of ways that you can increase the humidity in a room.
For instance, you can mist the plant regularly, use a humidifier, or place the pot on a pebble tray. Just make sure that the plant isn’t sitting in water, which can lead to root rot. The plants can also be placed with other plants, kept in a bathroom, greenhouse cabinets, or terrarium, or kept in a terrarium with other plants, all of which will help to concentrate the humidity as well.
8. Keep your Monstera in the right temperature range
Monsteras like warm temperatures and will suffer if they get too cold, with the ideal temperature range for a Monstera being between 60°F (15.56°C) to 80°F (26.67°C). If your Monstera plant lives outside and the temperature dips below 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit, it is important to bring the plant inside as they won’t do well in temperatures that low.
In addition, if your plant is getting too much or not enough light, it can also affect the temperature. If the leaves are wilting, it’s a sign that the plant is too hot. If the leaves are yellowing, it could be a sign that the plant is getting too much sun or not enough water.
9. Add a support to your Monstera’s pot
One reason that Monstera gets leggy is because it’s trying to reach a light source above it but isn’t able to reach. This means that one simple way to prevent Monsteras becoming leggy is to give it a support structure to train your Monstera to climb.
I mentioned above how a moss pole can be great for this but there are other options, like a trellis or even another plant. Simply give a stake to your Monstera and you’ll notice it perk up in no time.