Don’t Let Your Swiss Cheese Plant Turn Yellow or Black – Here’s What to Do?

Don’t Let Your Swiss Cheese Plant Turn Yellow or Black – Here’s What to Do?

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The main reason that your Swiss cheese plant is turning yellow is probably to do with water. You could be over-watering or under-watering the plant; the symptoms are almost the same. In my guide, I explain how to tell which of these is the problem. I also cover other issues that can cause the leaves to turn yellow, including to much light, environmental shock often from repotting, lack of nutrients, root bound plants and more. I also look at other colours the leaves may turn, including black which is far less common, identify the problems that cause that and what to do about them.

Are your Swiss cheese plant leaves turning yellow

Incorrect watering

As mentioned in the introduction, water is the most probable cause of the leaves on your Swiss cheese plant turning yellow. Over-watering causes the roots of the plant to become saturated and unable to circulate water and nutrients to the rest of the plant. As a result, the water doesn’t reach the leaves and they turn yellow and seem to be rotting.

Under-watering means that there’s no water to reach the leaves and they turn yellow as they dry out and curl in on themselves.

Under watering usually results in crispy leaves, while over-watering will often lead to soft, dropping leaves that are not crispy.

Swiss cheese plannt with yellowing leaves due to not enough water

What to do

See the Water section in my guide on How to care for Swiss cheese plants for information on how to water your plant correctly. Also, see the Root rot part of the Swiss cheese plant pests and diseases guide on how to check for, identify and deal with root rot fungal disease, a common result of over-watering.

Also, mist your plant with a water spray regularly. This serves to raise the humidity of its environment and stop it from starting to dry out.

As always, I recommend watering with rain water rather than tap water. If you don’t collect rainwater, then boil your tap water before using it to water your plant.

The plants natural life cycle also means some of the older leaves with start to turn yellow

Healthy swiss cheese plant with some natural yellowing older leaves

Yellow leaves may just be part of the natural life cycle of your Monstera plant. As the larger, mature, leaves come to the end of their lives, they start to die off, becoming yellow. This makes way for new leaves to develop.

What to do

Nothing. You can leave the leaves on the plant until they drop off. Or if you don’t like the look of the old leaves, snip them off at the base of the stem with a sharp and sterilised cutting tool.

Incorrect light

Too much direct sunlight can cause the Swiss cheese plant to turn yellow. This is the first sign of sunburn and sun scorching for the plant and is actually fairly common. The yellowing occurs along the leaf veins or in patches on the leaves. in addition, the yellow leaves may be a symptom of keeping the plant in an area in which it doesn’t receive enough light. Remember, swiss cheese plants live in under the canopy of trees in warm environments. This is what you need to try and mimic.

What to do

Check the light requirements of your cheese plant (see the How to care article). Move your plant to a more appropriate location. In general, I find that mine do very well in bright but indirect sunlight and even a little shade.

Environment shock

Many houseplants often react to a change of environment (including repotting) by going into shock and shutting down for a while. This is called environment shock and can result in yellow leaves too. Even temporary changes such as fluctuations in temperature or exposure to a draft can cause your plant distress.

What to do

All the necessary environmental conditions for your cheese plant’s good health are detailed in my How to care for Swiss cheese plants guide. If you’ve met all of them for your plant, just give it time to settle down.

Lack of nutrients

One of my swiss cheese plants in a bright location out of direct sunlight
One of my swiss cheese plants in a bright location out of direct sunlight

If the tips of your Swiss cheese plant leaves are yellow, it could be the result of a lack of nutrients from poor-quality potting compost or even root bound plants, which I also touch on below.

What to do

If the plant has been sitting in the same potting soil for a few months, start to fertilise it monthly with a general all-round fertiliser. If it’s time to repot your plant (How to repot a Swiss cheese plant), remove all the old potting soil and use a completely new batch.

Root bound

If your Swiss cheese plant is too large for its pot, the roots become all squished in but there also not enough soil to provide nutrients and retain moisture. This is known as the plant becoming root bound and weakens the whole plant. The compacted-together roots can’t receive the nutrients they need. One result of this condition is that the leaves turn yellow. This is usually the first sign. Another sign is that the soil remains dry after you water it. Or water may pool up on the surface of the soil or even drain right around teh side of the roots and into the bottom of the pot.

What to do

Feel around in the pot and check how far the roots spread out. If the roots feel dense and tightly packed, it’s time to repot the plant. You can usually tell instantly if it’s root bound if you remove it from its pot. Of course, if it’s been a couple of years since you did this anyway, it’s definitely time to find a larger pot.

I have details of how to do this repotting task in How to repot a Swiss cheese plant.

Pests and diseases

Various pests and diseases can turn your plant’s leaves yellow in different ways.

What to do

I have an entire article on this which is well worth reading through. Please go to Swiss cheese plant pests and diseases for information on how to identify the pests and diseases and how to deal with them.

Swiss cheese plant turning black

Sun scorch and leaf burn

The first thing to check if your Swiss cheese plant leaves are turning black is the amount and type of sunlight it’s receiving. The black colour may indicate that the plant is being scorched by the sun. That is, it’s receiving sunlight that’s too direct and too strong. As mentioned earlier, Monstera plants are tropical jungle plants that live under the canopy of trees, so they don’t receive direct sunlight and like warm temperatures.

What to do

These plants need bright but indirect sunlight, such as that from a window covered with net curtains. Check your plant at different times of the day to see what kind of sunlight it’s getting. Move the plant to a more appropriate position if you need to. I keep mine in a bright room but away from windows so they don’t receive direct sunlight of any kind.

Everything else

Most of the causes of Swiss cheese plant leaves turning yellow can also turn them black if left long enough without correction. Please read the section above on yellow leaves and see if any of the problems apply to your plant.

As a final reminder, it usually is watering that causes yellowing leaves, either too much or too little. I water mine once a week to give some context.

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