Sunburned Monstera: How to Identify, Treat and Prevent it

By | Updated April 22, 2023

Monstera plants are popular houseplants known for their large, glossy leaves.

They are native to tropical climates and can be found in the rain forests of Central and South America.

Monstera plants are easy to care for and make a great addition to any home.

However, Monstera plants can get sunburned if exposed to too much direct sunlight.

A sunburned Monstera will have white or brown patches on its leaves, and the leaves may start to curl or drop off.

The damage from sunburn can be irreversible, so it is essential to take steps to prevent your Monstera from getting sunburned in the first place.

Here you’ll find everything you need to know about sunburned Monstera plants, including how to identify and treat them.

What Causes Sunburn on Monstera Plants?

There are several reasons why your Monstera might be getting sunburned.

The most common reason is when the plant is exposed for too long to direct sunlight, especially during the hot summer.

The sun’s rays can cause the leaves to get scorched, turning brown or yellow.

Another reason your Monstera could be sunburned is that the plant is not used to being in direct sunlight.

If you’ve recently moved your Monstera outdoors or to a sunnier spot indoors, the leaves may get sunburned because they’re not accustomed to higher light levels.

Another common reason for Monstera sunburn is to expose the leaves to sudden, intense sunlight without gradually acclimating them first.

For example, if you brought your Monstera plant outdoors on a sunny day without giving it time to adjust first, the leaves could get sunburned.

Finally, another reason for sunburn on Monsteras is reflective light.

If the plant is near a window that gets direct sunlight, the light reflecting off the glass can intensify the sun’s rays and cause sunburn.

What Does Sunburn Look Like on a Monstera Plant?

Knowing what sunburn looks like on a Monstera plant is essential so you can identify it early and take steps to treat it.

By knowing the early signs of sunburn, you can prevent the damage from getting worse.

Common Signs of Sunburned Monstera Plants

There are a few different ways to tell if your Monstera plant is getting sunburned.

The most common signs include:

White or Yellow Patches on the Leaves

One of the first signs of sunburn on a Monstera plant is the appearance of white or yellow patches on the leaves.

These patches are usually more noticeable on the side of the leaf that is facing the sun.

The sunburned leaves may also start to curl up at the edges.

Brown Spots on the Leaves

Another common sign of sunburn is the appearance of brown spots on the Monstera leaves.

These burn spots are usually irregular in shape and can be either small or large.

They may also be raised up from the leaf’s surface or sunken in.

The brown spots are caused by the leaves being damaged from too much direct sunlight.

This damage causes the cells in the leaves to break down, which results in brown spots.

If the sunburn is severe, the leaves may turn completely brown and then drop off the plant.

Blistering of the Leaves

Another symptom of sunburn on Monstera plants is the blistering of the leaves.

This can be caused by both too much direct sunlight and heat.

The blisters will appear as raised bumps on the surface of the leaf.

They may be white, yellow, or brown in color.

If the blisters are severe, they may cause the leaf to rupture and then drop off the plant.

Wilting of the Leaves

One of the final symptoms of sunburn on Monstera plants is the wilting of the leaves.

The Monstera leaves will start drooping down and may turn yellow or brown.

This is caused by the plant losing water due to the damage from the sunburn.

If the leaves are wilted for too long, they will eventually turn crispy and fall off the plant.

Dry Edges or Tips on the Leaves

If you notice that the edges or tips of the leaves on your Monstera plant are dry, this is another symptom of sunburn.

The leaves turn brown and may even curl up at the crispy edges.

Brown leaf tips are caused by the leaves losing moisture due to sun damage.

Leaf Drop

One of the most common symptoms of sunburn on Monstera plants is leaf drop.

As the sun damage gets worse, the leaves will start to fall off the plant.

This is usually a sign that the plant is severely dehydrated and is not getting enough water.

Stunted Growth

If the sunburn damage on your Monstera plant is severe, it may stunt the plant’s growth.

The leaves will be smaller than normal, and the stems may not grow as long.

The Monstera may also produce fewer flowers and fruits.

Can a Monstera Recover From Sunburn?

The good news is that most Monstera plants can recover from sunburn if the damage is not too severe.

If you catch the Monstera sunburn early, you can take steps to prevent the damage from worsening.

Once the plant has recovered, it will usually start to produce new leaves and stems.

However, if the leaves are badly damaged or the plant is severely dehydrated, it may not be able to recover.

How Do You Treat a Sunburned Monstera Plant?

If you think your Monstera plant is getting sunburned, there are a few things you can do to treat it.

1. Move the Plant to a Shadier Location

If you notice that your plant is starting to get sunburned, the first thing you should do is move it to a shadier location.

This will help to prevent the damage from getting worse.

Monstera plants need bright indirect sunlight, so try to find a spot that gets some sunlight but is not in direct sunlight.

2. Increase the Humidity Around the Plant

Another way to treat a sunburned Monstera plant is to increase the humidity around it.

Monstera plants originate from tropical rainforests, so they prefer high humidity levels.

You can increase the humidity around your plant by misting it with water or using a humidifier.

3. Remove the Damaged Leaves

If the sunburn damage is severe, you may need to remove the damaged leaves.

This will help the plant to focus its energy on new growth.

To remove the plant leaves, cut them off at the base of the stem with a sharp knife or scissors.

New leaves will eventually grow back in their place.

4. Reduce the Amount of Water you Give the Plant

Due to the damage caused by sunburn, your plant may need less water than usual.

Water the plant when the top inch of soil is dry to the touch.

Give the plant enough water to soak up moisture, but don’t let the roots sit in water.

5. Cut Back on Fertilizer

You should also reduce the amount of fertilizer you give your plant.

Fertilizers can stress the plant and make the sunburn damage worse.

Wait until the plant has fully recovered before fertilizing it again.

How To Prevent a Monstera Plant From Getting Sunburned

The best way to prevent sunburnt Monstera plants is to give them the right amount of light.

Monstera plants need bright indirect light to thrive.

If you live in a sunny climate, make sure to place your plant in a spot that gets some sunlight but is not in direct sunlight.

You may also need to move your plant around during the day, so it doesn’t get too much sun.

Indoor Monstera plants can be placed near an east- or west-facing window. This will give the plant the bright indirect light it needs without exposing it to direct sunlight.

You can also prevent sunburn by placing a sheer curtain over the window to filter out some of the sunlight.

If you live in a climate with hot summers, you may need to protect your plant from the harsh midday sun.

You can do this by placing it in a spot that gets morning or afternoon sun but is out of direct sunlight during the midday hours. This may mean moving the plant around during the day or placing it under a tree or other shady spot.

You can also use a sunshade or umbrella to provide some protection from the sun.

Sunburned Monstera plants can usually be saved if the damage is not too severe.

To prevent sunburn, give your plant the right amount of light and protect it from the harsh midday sun.

Final Thoughts

Preventing sunburned Monstera is much easier than treating it.

The best way to prevent sunburn is to avoid putting your plant in direct sunlight.

If you must put your plant in direct sunlight, do so gradually so the leaves can adjust to the change in light exposure.

You can also try shading your plant with a sheer curtain or placing it in a spot where it will only be in direct sunlight for part of the day.

If you notice that your plant is starting to get sunburned, you can try moving it to a shadier spot or misting the leaves with water to help cool them down.

You may need to trim off the affected leaves if the sunburn is severe.

Sunburned Monstera can be a real problem for gardeners, but by taking some simple precautions, you can help prevent it from happening to your plants.

Share on: