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Even though Monstera is an easy-to-care for houseplant, it does have its diseases that can affect it. 

One such problem that can occur with Monstera is mosaic disease, which is caused by a virus that attacks plants at the cellular level. Mosaic disease on Monstera can cause a slew of health problems and eventually kill the plant.

This means that learning how to identify – and treat – mosaic disease is key for being able to address this as early as possible. Keep reading to find out how to do just that.

leaf with mosaic disease on Monstera

What does mosaic disease on Monstera look like?

Mosaic disease can present itself in various ways on Monstera, though the virus typically first shows itself as a pattern on the leaves of the infected plant. Other symptoms, such as stunted growth, may be harder to identify since this can be caused by a slew of other issues.

Discolored and malformed leaves are one of the easiest ways to identify mosaic virus on Monstera. As the disease progresses, however, the mosaic virus symptoms become worse and the plant will begin to decline. 

To make matters even more dire, if the infected plant isn’t disposed of, it can infect other plants in and around your home.

How do you know if a Monstera plant has mosaic virus?

Mosaic virus symptoms can sometimes be misdiagnosed, which makes the disease difficult to identify for those who have not experienced it before. This is especially true when you consider the various variegations that Monstera plants often have, with mosaic virus often looking very similar to such variegations.

  1. Discolored foliage – A plant infected with the mosaic virus will have discolored leaves. They can have white, green, or yellow streaks, spots, and strips on the leaves. In fact, this symptom is usually the first sign that something may be wrong with your plant.
  2. Malformed leaves – Another one of the mosaic virus symptoms is wrinkled or curled Monstera leaves. You may also notice the leaves on your plant are smaller than normal.
  3. Stunted growth – The mosaic virus on your Monstera also causes stunted growth of the plant. As the disease progresses, these symptoms can become more pronounced and noticeable.
  4. Dried out stems – Monstera plant stems that dry out quickly are another way to identify mosaic virus.
  5. Green blisters – Deep green blisters forming on the leaves of the Monstera plant is a sign that your houseplant has mosaic disease. These blisters typically form on the top side of the leaves, but can sometimes appear on the underside as well.
wrinkled leaf as a way to identify mosaic virus symptoms on Monstera

How to tell if a Monstera has mosaic virus or variegation?

The easiest way to tell the difference between mosaic virus or variegation on your Monstera is that the virus causes other symptoms. These may include curled or malformed leaves, stunted growth, dried stems, and blisters, all of which will help you determine whether your Monstera has the mosaic virus or variegation.

Variegated Monstera are prized thanks to their large holy leaves and beautiful patterns. Unfortunately, these variegations look similar to the mosaic virus. This means you wouldn’t be the first indoor gardener to wonder if it’s mosaic virus or variegation on your Monstera. 

What’s the best mosaic virus Monstera treatment?

The best treatment for mosaic disease is prevention. This is because there are no cures for this virus. Once your Monstera is infected with the disease, you will be unable to treat mosaic virus and the plant will need to be destroyed.

While you cannot cure this disease, you can help to minimize the damage caused by the virus and prevent it from spreading to other plants. This is done by removing and destroying all plants infected with the virus. You will have to throw the infected plants in the garbage or burn them.

Once the infected plants have been destroyed, make sure to monitor your other plants for signs of the virus. Don’t forget to clean and sanitize all gardening tools after you use them. This helps to prevent the spread of diseases.

Monstera with mosaic virus or variegation

How to prevent mosaic disease on Monstera?

Mosaic viruses are commonly spread by insects, including leafhoppers and aphids. The best way to prevent your Monstera from contracting this disease is to stop pests from attacking the plant. Practicing preventive maintenance goes a long way to ensuring your Monstera plant is healthy.

Cleaning up any fallen plant debris from the top of the soil goes a long way to keeping insects at bay. You should also make sure not to overwater the Monstera since constantly damp soil can quickly become a safe haven for various disease-carrying bugs. Finally, make sure to clean your Monstera’s leaves regularly as a build up of dust can attract pests.

If you do find insects attacking the Monstera plant, treat immediately with insecticidal soap, neem oil, or horticultural oil. Always follow the application instructions found on the pesticide bottle.

Find out more: 11 Most Common Monstera Pests and Diseases (to Get Rid of)

Is mosaic virus harmful to Monstera plants?

Monstera plants can live for a while with the mosaic virus, though their growth will become poor and they will eventually succumb to the disease. This virus is extremely contagious to other plants and not destroying an infected Monstera as soon as possible increases the chances of this disease spreading.

It’s for this reason that if you identify mosaic virus on your Monstera, you should remove the plant as quickly as possible to prevent it from infecting any other plants you own.

Does mosaic virus stay in Monstera’s soil?

The mosaic virus can live in the Monstera’s soil for a year or more. Because of this, the soil of the infected plant will need to be disposed of. Not disposing of the soil will result in the virus spreading to any other plant that grows in that infected soil.

While there could be a chance that the virus has yet to infect the soil, it is always best to err on the side of caution and dispose of the entire plant, soil and all. This will help stop the spread of the virus.