Sunburned Monstera – Signs & Tips for Care (Detailed Guide)

While it’s possible to fulfill the light requirement of your plants with both artificial and natural light, sunlight is the best option whenever possible, which is why we usually place our plants in areas where they can get sufficient amounts of sunlight during the day.

That being said, sunlight can be a double-edged sword at times, and start burning the leaves of your plant if you expose your plant to direct sunlight for prolonged amounts of time. Because of this, the recommendation for most plants is to place them in an area where they get indirect sunlight.

Unfortunately, accidents can happen, and you may end up with a sunburned plant because of prolonged exposure to direct sunlight.

Among all popular houseplants, monsteras being sunburned is something we have specifically been hearing a lot about lately, which is why we decided to prepare a guide on this subject.

So, what are the signs that show your monstera is sunburned, and what can you do to care for it and bring it back to its usual health?

The primary symptom of a sunburned monstera is the appearance of brown or black spots on the leaves. In some cases, some parts of the leaves turn slightly gray due to drying out.

To treat your monstera, you should trim the burnt parts off the leaves, ensure that your plant is getting enough water, and move your plant to a different area where it won’t be exposed to direct sunlight for long periods.

That being said, issues such as overwatering or underwatering can also cause black and brown spots on your monstera, which is why we will be going into greater detail about how you can identify whether your monstera is sunburned or not.

How Does Sunburn on a Monstera Look?

The primary and most apparent characteristic of a sunburned monstera is the burn spots on its leaves.

Depending on how severe the burn is, the color of these spots range between brown and black, but in most cases, it’s a mixture of the two where a brown shade surrounds the black spots.

As direct sunlight causes these spots, you can usually find them on the upper parts of the leaves where your monstera is in direct contact with the sun.

If you see black spots on the underside of the leaves or on the leaves that cannot come into contact with direct sunlight due to their position (bottom leaves or leaves that are facing away from the window), the symptom may not be caused by sunburn.

Another indicator that tells us a monstera is sunburned is a grayish shade that starts to show up on the leaves.

This symptom shows up due to the leaves drying out from prolonged exposure to direct sunlight and may either accompany the black spots or show up just by itself, depending on the level of the burn.

Due to their nature, monsteras are plants that can get sunburned very easily, especially if they are variegated. As monsteras are acclimated to receiving indirect light, a small amount of direct sunlight can cause burns before you even notice.

What Do You Do with Sunburned Monstera Leaves?

Unfortunately, the sunburned parts of the leaves can’t heal.

The only thing you can do with sunburned monstera leaves is to trim the burnt spots off the leaves if it’s possible or completely cut the burned leaf off in more severe cases.

As a rule of thumb, if the sunburned area accounts for larger than half of the leaf, or a big sunburned spot is located in an area where you can’t trim it, it’s best to completely cut the burned leaf off to allow new and healthy leaves to grow back.

Once you get rid of the sunburned areas, remember to move your monstera into a new place where it won’t be damaged by direct sunlight again.

If you can’t bring yourself to cut the leaves of your monstera, remember that dead leaves do more harm than good to your plant, and that healthy leaves will grow in place of the ones you cut after a while.

How to Trim Burnt Monstera Leaves?

If the burn spots are on the edges of the leaves, you can remove them by trimming the leaves of your monstera.

Trimming the leaves of your monstera is a very straightforward process, but it requires a good deal of attention to ensure that you don’t cut into the healthy parts of the leaves.

Here are the items you will need for the process.

  • Garden scissors
  • A pair of gloves
  • Rubbing alcohol

If you have gathered the required items, here are the steps you can follow to trim the burnt leaves of your monstera.

  1. Start by sanitizing your garden scissors with rubbing alcohol. While not fully necessary, it’s a good habit to ensure that the scissors are clean whenever you plan to use them on your plants.
  2. Wear your gloves. As the sap found in the monstera plant can cause skin irritation when its leaves are touched, a pair of gloves will allow you to conduct the process safely.
  3. Locate the burned areas on the edges of the leaf, and trim them off by following the natural shape of the leaf while being careful not to cut the healthy parts of the leaf. Feel free to take your time and trim the leaf slowly to get the best results possible.

How Do You Revive a Burnt Monstera?

In severe cases, sunburn may affect the overall health of your monstera and even cause it to die.

If you suspect that your monstera is dying due to being sunburned, here are some things you can do to revive it.

  • Start by trimming or cutting the sunburned leaves. As your plant will spend unnecessary energy on the burnt parts, it’s vital to get rid of them as quickly as possible.
  • Move your monstera into the shade to ensure that more sunburn damage does not take place, and introduce indirect sunlight gradually.
  • Keep the moisture levels of your plant high. As the soil may have hardened due to sunburn, it will need a decent amount of water to be hydrated again.
  • Mist the leaves of the plant now and then to cool the plant down.

How to Avoid Monstera Getting Sunburned?

While monsteras require a lot of light to stay healthy, they can also quickly get sunburned if direct sunlight hits them for a long time.

When we combine these two factors, the result is that you need to place your monstera in a room that consistently gets bright and indirect light.

If you are struggling to find a spot that fulfills this condition, here are some tricks you can use to find or create such a spot.

  • Place your monstera next to an east-facing window. East-facing windows are usually the best place for a monstera as they get bright and indirect light for most of the day.
  • Apply UV blocking film to the window. A UV blocking film will drastically reduce the effect of sun rays and allow your plant to get healthy amounts of light.
  • Use sheer curtains. If you have a room that gets a lot of direct sunlight, you can use sheer curtains to reduce its effect while still letting the light pass through.
  • Find spots that don’t get direct sunlight. The easiest way to understand whether an area is getting direct sunlight or not is to stand in that area. If the sun is directly hitting you, it’s not a good spot for your plant. With this info, try to work out angles where sunlight won’t shine directly on your plant.

Wrapping Up

The telltale sign of a sunburned monstera is the appearance of brown and black spots on the top leaves that are most prone to receiving direct sunlight for extended amounts of time.

To care for your sunburned monstera, the things you should immediately be doing are to trim or cut the sunburned leaves, move the plant into the shade for a while before introducing sunlight gradually, and ensure that the soil is fully hydrated.

Hopefully, your monstera will get through it and grow healthy leaves once again!