; What Causes a Leggy Monstera: Causes and Simple Solutions – Flourishing Plants

What Causes a Leggy Monstera: Causes and Simple Solutions


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The term leggy is used to describe a plant that has abnormally longer stems and leaves. The Monstera like many other plant species suffer from legginess and it can take away from the normal beauty these plants are accustomed to having.

A leggy monstera plant is a result of a lack of light. Having inadequate lighting for the plant causes it to stretch and move towards where it can receive as much light as it requires. As a result, this gives the plant its leggy appearance which is characterized by long stems and sparse foliage. 

Having plants within the house is great for improving air quality and creating a relaxing environment. Plants also add value to our living space by their appearance and style. Monsteras are no different and having an abnormally shaped plant can be very noticeable and can be an eyesore at times.

There are easy ways in ensuring the plant has the right conditions to prevent this occurrence which we will discuss further in this article.

What is Meant by Leggy a Monstera?

Leggy Monstera

Many houseplants are affected by legginess. Monsteras is one of the unique species of evergreen tropical vines in the world and they are no exception. The plant’s leggy appearance is characterized by long stems and sparse foliage. 

However, this is not common in plants and can be caused by many factors which account for plant stress and reaction to their environmental conditions.

Leggy Monsteras follows the same principle as any other plants who are lacking a light source. As a result, darker rooms and living environments tend to have a greater effect on leggy appearance.

If you need to fix your leggy monstera you can try using a moss pole. Our post on using moss poles on houseplants will give you a very good understanding of its benefits, uses, and how to make your very own.

If you would like a cost-effective moss pole that works well. You can find it by clicking here!

The Blooming Jungle 24 Inch Moss Pole - 2 Coco Coir Poles

Can All Species of Monsteras Become Leggy?

Yes. All species of monsteras can become leggy.

This is not unique only to Monstera deliciosa but also the monstera adansonii. When plants lack a decent amount of light, they tend to stretch to wherever they can to reach the light source.

The light source is important for photosynthesis to occur, which is the plant’s way of getting food. 

Monsteras are known to tolerate a huge range of light. Just like any other plant, Monsteras need light sources to grow. When Monsteras receives a decent amount of light, the leaves tend to grow with larger shapes with more splits and holes. 

The term for the splits and holes on the leaves is called Fenestrations. The hole and splits or Fenestrations on the Monsteras will help them to withstand strong wind blows in the wild. This helps the plant produce a more stable upright structure in nature. 

Without proper light, monsteras leaves will not develop as they should resulting in the lack of fenestrations with thinner leaves.

The production of thinner leaves without holes is done in order to capture as much light as possible which is a natural adaptation for the plant’s survival.

A moderate amount of light will ensure Monsteras grow at a decent rate. But having more light is always the best way for the Monsteras to grow.

What Causes a Monsteras to Become Leggy

There are a number of reasons why Monsteras start to become leggy with light being the number one on the list.

By having an understanding of how these factors affect the growth of monstera you can prevent signs of legginess during the plant’s development.

Here are some of the reasons why your Monsteras may be showing signs of legginess.

Light source

The number one reason monstera shows signs of legginess is because of the light source.

If a Monsteras don’t have access to proper sunlight or a light source, they will act naturally in moving towards whatever light is accessible at the time.

See our detailed article on why plants grow sideways.

This activity is natural for plants. Since Monsteras are known to be climbers, if they are exposed to more light they will grow at a greater rate. The more light available to the plant the more it can produce food through photosynthesis and hence would grow bigger.

If they are stored in a confined place where the environment is dim, then they will act naturally, as they will grow to find a light source in the room.

If a Monsteras is stored in a room that doesn’t have a decent level of light source the plant won’t die, but at the same time, it won’t grow either. 

Having a leggy monstera goes against the aesthetically beautiful appearance the plant is known for as the leaves and stalks grow in an abnormal manner. 

Without a light source, Monsteras will grow smaller with smaller holes on the leaves, and thinner in size.

They won’t have enough light they need to carry out the Fenestration activity on the plant. The plant’s overall structure will not be as appealing as if the plant were subjected to an adequate amount of light.

Providing balanced lighting is crucial, and we have found an effective and durable artificial grow light on amazon that provides the right spectrum of light to get the job done. You can find it by clicking here.

grow light

Container size

Overcrowded roots in the container are another reason why your Monsteras are showing legginess. 

With more roots, the plant will show abnormal growth patterns, as it will have a difficult time absorbing nutrients and moisture. If the plant is in a small pot, then roots will consume more space within the pot. 

This in turn would abstract drainage, and aeration in the soil.

Always make sure the soil in the container has an excellent drainage system implemented in it and maybe it’s time to consider repotting the plant with the proper soil amendments.

If you are interested in finding out the best amendments for soil when repotting you can see our article on vermiculite and perlite.

Temperature

Monsteras grow best with temperatures between 68 – 86F or 20 -30 C. Since they are tropical plants, 

If the temperature goes well beyond the standard threshold, then the plant will become stressed. 

The preferred temperature for the Monsteras seems to be a warmer temperature with high humidity. These requirements will set the mood of a tropical jungle climate for the plants.

Moisture

Monsteras are also known for their hardiness, if watering just once a day, then you will slowly start to see the effects of it on the plants. 

Monsteras will tend to droop as the moisture in the soil dries up, then you need to water them imminently. Don’t worry, you won’t need any fancy water for them to grow at a decent rate, just the standard tap water would do fine. 

If the quality of the water is an issue you can consider adding distilled water. Distilled water can be obtained by just leaving a dedicated amount of water to sit for a while to have whatever sediments and additives to settle at the bottom.

How to Prevent Legginess

Luckily, there are some things you can do to prevent Monsteras from getting leggy.

Seeing your plant leggy even after proper care is something nobody wants to look forward to. That doesn’t mean you have to throw your plant away to get a new one. 

If you don’t know the solution to the problem, you will end up repeating these old mistakes over again with the new batch.  Monsteras can be quite difficult, but they’ll follow the same pattern as any other plants that share the structure.

The Prevention methods will help you bring some life back to your Monsteras, so they will grow at the rate they are supposed to, without any slowing.

If you’re seeing any legginess in your Monsteras, then you need to use the methods below as quickly as possible, before it gets worse. 

Here are some of the ways that one can use to prevent the Monsteras from becoming leggy.

Use a Strong Light source

The best way to fix your Monsteras is by getting some light. You may have to relocate your Monster to a place where it receives a decent amount of light to grow. 

You need to change the location of the plant as soon as possible before the legginess becomes more pronounced as these plants need bright indirect light for a long period of time. 

Increasing the amount of light will help them grow at a faster rate with a higher chance of fenestrations to make them look even better.

Siting the plant closer to a window that receives an adequate amount of light during the day and even in winter months will have a tremendous effect on how well the monstera plant develops.

Light for legginess

Add an Artificial Light Source

The leaf pattern is what makes a Monsteras beautiful. For that to happen, they will need to be placed under a heavy light source. 

By placing Monsteras under a heavy light source, you will see them grow immediately without any hassle.

If you don’t get a good amount of sunlight in your house, you can use artificial lights to create a light source for the plants. 

Not all environments share the same structure. There are regions in the home where it is difficult to get a steady rate of sunlight all day. 

If You are in this situation, you can use artificial sunlight to create the same sort of climate in the house. Artificial light will also help them get enough light for them to act the same as if they are under direct sunlight. 

It is the intensity of the light source that matters to the plants, not the exact source. An artificial light source is something that will help you achieve this without needing the natural counterparts.

Rotate Your Plants

If the lighthouse in your house only impacts one side of the Monsteras, then you can think about rotating the plant to get the light focused on the other side as well. 

If one side of the Monsteras receives light and the other doesn’t, then the other side will become leggy. 

If you are in this situation, you will need to rotate the plant periodically. You should ensure both sides of the plants receive a steady amount of light regularly without any interruption. 

You don’t want one side to look more active than the other side which will tend to show more signs of legginess as it stretches towards the light.

Rotating your plants periodically has many benefits when it comes to plant development. You can find the benefits and how you can do this here.

Mark Plant pot before rotating

Curing Legginess

If you are seeing your Monsteras showing signs of legginess, there are some methods that you can use to make your Monsteras Look and grow better than before.

One of the cures is by pruning your Monsteras. This is where you will cut off all the unwanted foliage from your Monsteras. Here you can also remove the aerial roots and dry leaves to spread the light source of sunshine without any blockage. 

You can also propagate the discarded cuttings. Additional benefit. Yay!

Note: Dry and dying leaves also take up energy and nutrients which otherwise would be used by the other leaves on the plant to grow healthy. Removing them will allow the plant to focus its energy and nutrients to where it is much needed.

How to prune a leggy Monsteras

Tools – you will need a utility knife or scissors.

  • Always wash your hands before taking on this work. Or you will have higher chances of spreading bacteria and diseases to the plant. If possible, wearing gloves to stop the sap of Monsteras to irritate your skin.
  • Visualize the end shape, this will help you know what you are trying to make than cutting the plants at random.
  • You need to remove the diseased or dried leaves by their growing tips of the stem. Removing the growing tip with sharp knives is another way to help correct the growth pattern of the Monsteras.
  • After every cut, make sure to do a recheck to see if the cutting is only going as exactly as you visualized earlier. Make sure to never cut more than 30% of the foliage of the plant. Anything above that will end up giving Monsteras a shock.

Propagation

You can use the discarded cuttings for propagation, you just need to pale the cuttings in a small container with clean tap or distilled water. 

This will allow them to take root. You need to do here is to change the water weekly for the roots to appear out of the cuttings. Once you see the roots, you can move them to the pot.

One of the best things about Monsters that they can be propagated in the soil, if you want to increase the chance of propagation to your plant, then consider dipping the stems in a rooting hormone before start propagation. 

Monsteras are known to grow at a faster rate if everything goes well during propagation. Just follow all the prevention steps and you will have a better, well-rounded monstera plant.

Conclusion

Monsteras legginess is an issue that every new hobbyist faces in their time of growing plants. 

Legginess can however be fixed by providing the growing conditions that were lacking in the first place. 

One major factor in preventing a leggy monstera is light. By providing the right amount of light for the plant you will ensure that it won’t try to stretch and become leggy looking for a better source. 

Plant rotation and nutrients also play a vital role in the all-round development of the plant and would also help in producing a more aesthetically presentable and healthy plant.

JayLea

JayLea has a passion for plants and has been gardening since 2015. He has valuable knowledge about gardening and houseplant care and can answer everyday practical questions that every plant owner has.

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