Swiss Cheese Plant Survival Guide: How to Revive a Dying Plant (Monstera)

Swiss Cheese Plant Survival Guide: How to Revive a Dying Plant (Monstera)

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It’s often difficult to tell if you’ve really got a dying Swiss cheese plant on your hands. Wilting yellow leaves or soft mushy stems are not necessarily mean it’s too late to recover what looks like a dying plant. My guide leads you through troubleshooting the problems with your (dying) Monstera and helps you deal with them and help revive them. I have been growing Swiss cheese plants for over 20 years in the nursery. However, I’ve also grown them at home, where I have a couple of plants thats are over 15 years old. This means I have, on more than one occasion, had to revive a dying. Let’s dive in!

My large Swiss cheese plant
My large Swiss cheese plant

Monstera Trouble? It Could Be a Watering Issue

Let’s start with the number one problem that people have with their plants – the amount of water they give them. The problem is usually over- or under-watering, and the symptom of yellow leaves is similar in both cases. Look at the Root rot section in the Pests and diseases for information about overwatering. The Water section in the How to care for Monstera guide explains how to correctly water your cheese plant. What I have noticed is that it’s much easier to revive swiss cheese plants that have been underwater, than plants that have been overwatered. This is the case for nearly all plants.

Swiss cheese plant that has either been over watered or under watered with yellowing leaves
Swiss cheese plant that has either been over-watered or under-watered with yellowing leaves

In general, if the leaves are yellow, wilting and a little crisp, it’s usually not received enough water. If the foliage is drooping and soft (not dry and crisp), it’s usually an issue with over-watering. What I will say is that I find they need less water than you might think. I water mine once a week. However, make sure the water can drain away. If you water too often and the water can not drain away freely, this leads to root rot, and they slowly start to die.

Don’t Let Pests and Diseases Take Over Your Swiss Cheese Plant

Swiss cheese plants are bothered by only a few pests and some common diseases, although I have not really experienced that many issues with pests and diseases. That being said, thrips, scale insects and mealy bugs are insects that suck the sap from the leaves and stems of the plant. This causes various damages to the leaves and stems of the plant.

Swiss cheese plant that has been attacked by Mealybugs
Swiss cheese plant that has been attacked by Mealybugs

Check out the Pests section of the Swiss cheese plant pests and diseases guide I have written to track down what’s causing the particular harm to your plant. There’s also information on how to deal with the problem.

As for diseases, along with the Root rot mentioned above, powdery mildew is quite common. See the Pests and diseases article as well for information about this fungal disease.

Individual problems

Monstera with diseased leaves
Monstera with diseased leaves

For information about other specific problems with your Swiss cheese plant, have read my other guides for what’s causing the problem and what to do about it. I cover: why your Monstera plant may be drooping, why the leaves may be yellow or black, why the plant is dripping or ‘crying’, and why the leaves are curling, another common issue.

Swiss cheese plant growing in large pot with plenty of drainage holes
Monstera that is close to being root bound and will need repotting soon

Your plant may also appear to be dying because it’s too big for its pot. This will be obvious if you remove the pot as it will be root bound and unable to take in enough water and nutrients. You can learn more with my guide, How to repot a Swiss cheese plant which covers what to do about this.

Living conditions

Maybe it’s the environment in which your cheese plant is growing that’s causing it to appear as if it’s dying. While cheese plants aren’t too fussy, they prefer to be in a particular kind of light in a specific temperature and humidity range. Find all the particulars about how to look after your cheese plant in How to care for a Swiss cheese plant. I have my largest Monstera, that’s 6ft in a shady position in my living room. They do like a little shade, and to much light can be less than ideal for them.

Keep Your Swiss Cheese Plant Thriving by Propagating It

And if you can’t figure out and fix why your plant appears to be dying, propagate one or more new plants from it, so it lives on in those. Ideally, you want to be growing a few younger plants before you have any issues, but it’s fun to grow them from cutting, and it’s super easy to do.

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