What Causes Leggy Monstera? How To Fix And Prevent

The problems that arise from Monstera plants are generally not far from inappropriate treatment. One of the most common issues is leggy growth due to inadequate lighting. Instead of growing upwards, your plants will grow long stems with sparse foliage. Besides, the branches tend to lean on one side like a withered plant. Even though it’s not detrimental, leggy Monstera is undesirable because of the plant’s messy appearance.

Usually, people would prune a leggy Monstera to fix its appearance. However, is this the best way to solve the problem? We will answer these questions in the summary of the article below.

In addition, we include the causes and how to prevent it so you don’t have to deal with a leggy plant again. Let’s take a look!

What Does “Leggy” Mean?

Actually, there is no specific definition of the Monstera leggy. This term arose because the growth habit of Monstera plants tends to lean to one side due to inadequate light. In some cases, these plants even grow sloping above the ground to find a light source. The stems become elongated and sparse leaves wrap around like withered plants.

leggy monstera
What Does “Leggy” Mean

Not only that, but you will also notice pale leaves with a much smaller size compared to common Monstera plants. And while Monstera is popular for their thick stem, leggy growth causes them to grow thinner. In addition, the distance between the rods will also widen and look messy.

Since Monstera is valued for its exquisite fenestrated leaves, this phenomenon is, of course, detrimental to ornamental plant lovers who grow them as natural decorations. In addition to little light exposure, several factors cause your Monstera to become leggy. Check out the detailed explanation in the next section!

Why Monsteras Become Leggy?

Most Monstera lovers think that Monstera’s leggier growth is caused by a lack of sunlight. That’s true! Monstera requires at least 10-11 hours of bright indirect light to flourish.However, there are some other factors that trigger such an unwanted phenomenon. What are those?

leggy monstera
The Reasons Why Monsteras Become Leggy

1. Inadequate Light 

As we previously mentioned, inadequate sunlight adalah penyebab utama that lead your plants to grow tall and leggy. Since Monstera needs gentle light, some think that they can put them in a low light condition. Instead of stimulating healthy growth, it makes the plant suffer. Pada umumnya, kamu akan menjumpai such an issue pada those that grow indoors, especially in the north-facing windows or behind the doors.

2. High Temperatures

Despite being tropical plants, Monstera cannot withstand hot temperatures. They favor cool weather, ranging around 65°F – 85°F, with the lowest at 50°F. Any temperature above 85’F can make them struggle to regulate their temperature. Consequently, growing leggy and tall is the only way to help them cool down. Then, it will be followed by droopy and burn leaves, especially if you expose them to direct sun.


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3. Over Fertilizing

Fertilizer is beneficial to improve growth as it adds more nutrients to the plants. However, too much application can stress out your Monstera. It can lead to fertilizer burn, showing off yellow leaves. In addition, continuous application of fertilizers can cause salts to build up in the soil, inhibiting water absorption. Moreover, over fertilizing will accelerate leaf growth which makes it heavier. If this condition is allowed, you will start to notice leggy growth.

4. Pests Infestation

Even though Monstera plants are hardy, they are not resistant to pests. Some pests that often invade the plant are mealybugs, spider mites, thrips, and scales. These culprits will inhibit nutrient absorption and interfere with growth. Hence, you may expect leggy plants when attacked by those pests. Besides, these insects can spread diseases that will lead to other serious problems for your Monstera.

5. Improper Pot Size

Pot or container size is crucial to make room for Monstera roots to develop. It must be adjusted to the size and type of plants you have. Monstera deliciosa will need a bigger pot, while Monstera Adansonii suits a small or medium one. If you choose the wrong planter, the roots can outgrow the space as the Monstera grows older. They can grow leggy due to competition between oxygen and nutrients between roots.

How To Fix A Leggy Monstera?

If you have understood how to identify the causes of your leggy Monstera, it’s time to find the best way to fix it! Despite not being a life-threatening problem, leggy plants are not as attractive as home decor. The long, bending, less leafy stems make Monstera look messy and unhealthy. Generally, Monstera lovers will immediately prune the branches.

By removing the leggy growth, you can also stimulate new leaves to grow. Just make sure to cut them above the nodes, around 45 degrees, to accelerate the development. Also, remember to use clean and sterilized knives or other cutting tools to ensure no cross-contamination occurs.

How To Fix
How To Fix A Leggy Monstera

Furthermore, repotting is necessary at least once every two years to offer the roots more space to grow. It will prevent crowded roots while allowing better aeration and oxygen access. Apart from that, this method also introduces a fresh potting mix, giving your Monstera additional nutrients to support their growth.

You also have to introduce your plants with support when the aerial roots start to grow. Or when the leaves grow bigger. It is crucial to avoid the stems bending over on one side. Apart from that, the trellis or cane helps your plant to climb just like in its natural habitat.

Along with the three methods we mentioned, ensure you also provide proper growing conditions. Your Monstera requires at least 10-11 hours of light exposure with a temperature of around 65-85’F. Rescue them inside if the outdoor temperature falls below 50’F to avoid frost damage. In case your plant needs fertilizer, apply it once a month during its growing period. Don’t over fertilize to prevent root burn.

How To Prune Back Leggy Growth Monstera?

Pruning is one of the best ways to fix leggy plants. It also helps your Monstera to grow healthier leaves. However, a mistake in removing the leggy leaves can cause a delay in your plant’s growth process.

How To Prune
How To Prune Back Leggy Growth Monstera

Therefore, we would love to give tips on pruning back leggy growth Monstera safely and adequately. Check out below!

  • Determine the time. The best seasons to prune Monsteras are spring and summer while your plants are actively growing.
  • Prepare the equipment. You will need shears or knives, microfiber cloth, and sterilizing agents to clean up the cutting tools. Use the sterilizer on the tools, then wipe it with a cloth. It is vital to ensure they are clean and sterile before removing the leggy parts to prevent contamination.
  • Observe the leggy stems or leaves. If you spot them, follow them to the end base of the stem.
  • After that, check the nodes. They are essential marks to determine where you must trim the plant.
  • Next, prune the stems or leaves above the nodes around a 45-degree angle. Make sure you don’t miss it, as the nodes are spots to allow new growth. Also, remember not to cut the main stem to prevent harming your plant. 

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How To Prevent Monstera Becoming Leggy?

Monstera’s leggy growth is caused by improper care. So, the best way to address this underlying issue is to provide what your plants need. As a tropical plant, Monstera requires bright indirect light to thrive. Without adequate sunlight, your plant will grow smaller leaves and become leggy.

In addition, you will start to see discoloration of the leaves, where they turn yellow and brown. To prevent these issues, you can place your potted Monstera in an east-facing area where they can get gentle morning sun. Moreover, you can replace it with artificial light during winter when the sunlight is lacking to fulfill the growing requirement.

In addition, maintain a cool temperature in the range of 65°F – 85°F as it mimics their natural habitat. If you grow them outdoors, you must provide shelter when the temperature drops below 50°F to prevent frost damage. Monstera also loves to grow in humidity, around 60-80%. You can set up a humidifier or a tray filled with pebbles and water.

Leggy Monstera
Ways o Prevent Monstera Becoming Leggy

Furthermore, choosing a pot is no less important to support your Monster growth and prevent leggy plants. Pots that are too small inhibit the growth of roots due to narrow space. On the other hand, a bigger one can trap the water, which may lead to root rot. So, you must choose the right container according to the size of your plant.

After finding the ideal one, install a trellis for your plant to climb. It also prevents the leaves from dangling on the floor and becoming leggy. Additionally, once your plants grow too dense and heavy, prune them. Make it a priority to prune any yellow or wilted leaves, as they consume too much energy.

Final Thoughts

Like other Monstera problems, leggy growth is caused by a lack of proper care. The main cause is the lack of sun exposure due to the planting location or placement of the pot. Other factors, such as hot temperatures, crowded roots, and pests, may also influence abnormal growth.

You can prevent this by providing their growing conditions, (e.g. offering enough light), along with choosing the right pot and doing regular pruning whenever you notice the top head grows dense and heavy.


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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What does a leggy monstera look like?

Monstera has a creeping habit, whereas as they get older, their aerial roots will help them climb on support. However, the case is different with the Monstera leggy. Leggy Monstera stretches out, having elongated and weak stems. Also, they lean to one side as if withering. And instead of being dense, they have fewer leaves. The leading cause of legginess is the lack of light exposure to the plant.

Should you prune leggy Monstera?

Once you notice the Monstera leggy, you can try to fix it by pruning. Observe the long stem with no leaves that tend to lean on one side. Then, cut them just above the nodes. They are usually located at the end of the stems. This method can help stimulate new growth. Also, ensure you use clean and sterile cutting tools, such as scissors or knives, to prevent cross-bacterial contamination.

Can leggy monstera survive?

Leggy Monstera is a common problem that often arises due to maintenance errors. Several contributing factors are lack of sunlight, mistakes in choosing a pot size, and over fertilizing. However, you shouldn’t be worried as they can survive as long as you know how to treat them. The first aid you can try is pruning. It can also make plants grow healthier and bushier.

Do grow lights make monstera leggy?

Monstera plants need about 11-12 hours of bright, indirect light to thrive, as direct sunlight will scorch their leaves. However, there are some conditions where they cannot access sunlight. In this case, you can introduce grow lights, like LED bulbs, as a light source to replace the sun.

Don’t worry. It won’t make your Monstera leggy if you provide sufficient lighting conditions. Placing Monstera about 12 inches away from the bubs is ideal to ensure adequate exposure to your Monstera needs.

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