Why Does My Monstera Have Small Leaves?


Indoor potted monstera plant has small leaves than ususal.

Monstera plants under certain conditions can produce smaller leaves. It’s a common issue. But not to worry as this problem can be remedied.

In my experience, all you need to do is change up a couple of things to ensure the plant is getting all it needs.

But in order to do that you need to know why does your monstera has small leaves?

There are many factors that can contribute to the leaves of your plant being small. These factors include over or under watering, lack of nutrients, lack of light, low humidity, harsh temperature, and overfertilization. Making use of an inappropriate pot or using the wrong soil mix can also contribute to your monstera having smaller leaves.

I’m now going to take you through the various factors that could be causing your leaves to be small.

I would also advise on the adjustments you can make to ensure your plant is getting all it needs to tech it’s potential.

Causes Of Small Monstera Leaves

Monstera plants usually have large leather-like leaves so I can understand why you are bothered by the small l leaves or curling leaves. It is popular because of its unique leaves.

Now let’s talk about the factors that can cause the small monstera leaves and solutions

Over Or Under Watering

Plants need water to grow but this is sometimes overdone. Overwatering is usually the cause of a lot of problems that plant owners face.

Despite the monstera plant being tolerant of excess water, it still has a threshold. And can cause your plant to produce small leaves and turn brown.

How? When you overwater your plants, it can damage the roots of the plant (root for) and could attract insects (fungus gnats).

This would affect the growth of the plant as a whole and the leaves will turn out smaller.

Why? The minerals in water if applied extensively over time can also cause the buildup of soluble salt.

These soluble salts can damage the roots of your plant which could lead to small leaves.

The soluble salts can be identified by checking If you have white or yellow crust build up in your pot.

Also, under-watering isn’t a safe bet, as it could leave your plant malnourished.

How to fix over watered or under watered monstera

  • Ensure to check the moisture of your soil before watering and make sure the surface of the soil mix is dry. If moist, there is no need to water.
  • Ensure the pot has proper drainage.
  • If you have soluble salt build-ups, remove them then try and saturate your soul with water to wash out the excess. If your pot does not have drainage then you would have to re-pot.
  • Try to leach your pot every 4-6 months to avoid build-up of salt which can affect the roots of your plant.
  • Water your plant once a week or whenever the first top inch of the soil is dry.

Note: The monstera plant has naturally moderate tolerance for drought. However, it is deprived of water extensively, this may affect the health of the plant. That being said, ensure you water your plant regularly

Water Quality

Water in some places has high chlorine and fluoride which can be harmful to plants.

Using water softeners over an extended period of time can also affect the growth of your plant.

Therefore the leaves will turn out small. Leaving the plant looking malnourished.

How To Improve Water Quality

  • You can let the water sit for several days before pouring in your plant to reduce the Fluoride and chlorine content.
  • You can make use of filtered or rainwater.
  • Avoid using water softeners.

You May Also Enjoy: Why Is My Monstera Turning Brown? (And How to Fix It)

Lack of Light

All plants need adequate sunlight for food production and survival.

Insufficient light can cause leaves of plants to be small as there won’t be enough energy to produce sugars and starch to be broken down for the development of tissues.

Your monstera needs bright indirect light. Most homes have poor lighting conditions which pose a problem for indoor plant owners.

If your plant is being kept indoors, there is a possibility that it is not getting sufficient light.

Here’s a suggestion: East facing windows usually do great for monstera plants as the plant would be able to receive plenty of light.

The sun rises from the east so the light the plant would get is the morning sun which is gentle on it.

The closer a plant is to the window, the more light would be available for it to feed off.

Excess light can also cause damage to your plant.

Solutions

  • Try to find a place in your house that has good light exposure to put your plant.
  • You can prune off stems with small leaves. New large leaves would grow if the plant gets sufficient light.
  • If you only have low light levels, you can purchase cool white fluorescents as a substitute for natural lighting.

Low Humidity

Humidity is the concentration of water vapor present in the air. High humidity is another essential factor for the growth of your monstera plant as it is a tropical plant.

Humidity helps to keep the level of moisture of leaves constant. Your monstera plant requires 25% to 49% levels of humidity in order to thrive.

Humidity in most homes is below what the monstera plant needs. The higher the humidity, the less water would be lost by leaves.

Solutions

  • You can get a humidifier to increase the level of humidity in your home.
  • Spraying your plant frequently with a mist bottle that contains water would help maintain moisture.
  • If you have other plants, you can place them with your monstera to increase humidity.

Harsh Temperature

Extreme temperatures are also a common cause of stunted growth of plants. Getting the right temperature for your plant is very important as that plays a significant part in photosynthesis.

Monstera plants require a temperature of about  75oF (24oC)  during the day and a temperature of 65oF (18oC) at night.

The drop in temperature at night gives the plant time to build new tissues.

Plants grown under consistently high temperatures tend to become shrunken and are misreading susceptible to pests and diseases.

Solutions

  • Avoid keeping your plants in extremely cold or hot environments.
  • Move your plant from the window at night as it could get pretty cold by windows at night.

Overfertilization

Fertilizer just like water is another essential that plant owners tend to go overboard with.

They are Paramount to the growth of your plant nonetheless, but moderation is key.

Excess fertilizer can lead to a high level of salt concentration which can damage the roots of your plant and stunt growth.

If you over-fertilize your plant, you would notice a white or yellowish crusty substance on the surface of your soil.

Dark small leaves are also a sign of overfertilization.

How To Remedy Overfertilization

  • Apply fertilizer regularly but very lightly during the summer and avoid applying fertilizer during winter or under low light conditions.
  • If you notice the build-up of salt, cut down the amount of fertilizer you use and try to wash out the salt by watering heavily and letting water drain.
  • Avoid applying fertilizer to dry soil as it may cause damage to the soil.
  • Water soluble balanced fertilizers are advisable to be applied to plants.
  • I recommend you use a balanced fertilizer( equal parts nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium). Apply it bi-weekly during summer and spring and once a month during winter.

Inappropriate Pot

There’s a wide variety of pots the plant owner can get. They can be made of different materials like plastic, clay, wood, metal, and ceramic.

Clay pots usually do not hold moisture so frequent watering would be required.

Non Porous pots like plastic pots on the other hand should not be watered frequently to avoid waterlogging the plant.

There are things you need to take into consideration when buying your pot such as the size of the plant, the suitability for the needs of the plant, the drainage, and the strength and durability.

Using a small pot for a fast-growing plant can stunt the growth of the plant.

Also using a pot that does not have a drain for water and air penetration can cause leaves to be stunted.

Solutions

  • I advise you to make use of a pot with a drain to prevent excess water retention and allow air penetration.
  • Get a pot that is big enough for your plant to grow to its full potential.

Unsuitable Soil Mix

The right soil mixture is essential for the growth of any plant. The soil is the source of nutrients, water and air which your plant needs to grow.

If your soil is not suitable for your plant, the growth of the plant would be stunted.

Source: University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture

Solution

Make sure your soil is made up of 1 part potting soil, 1 part perlite or sand, and 1 part peat moss. This gives a well-draining mix.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:Should I cut small leaves off monstera?

A: You can cut the small leaves of your monstera. Your plant would react to cutting off of stems with small leaves by growing out new ones. If they are getting the resources they need, they would grow big.

Q: Do monstera leaves grow bigger?

A: Monstera leaves can grow bigger if they get adequate light, water, humidity, and nutrients. Staking your monstera plant up rather than propagating can also help the leaves grow bigger.

Q:Why are my monstera leaves not splitting?

A: Your monster leaves may not be splitting because they are not getting enough light. Try moving it to a place with better light and watch it split.

Arifur Rahman

I'm the owner of gardenforindoor.com. After completing my bachelor of science in agriculture, I'm serving as a civil service officer at the Department of Agricultural Extension, Bangladesh. I started Garden For Indoor to make your indoor gardening journey easy and enjoyable.

Recent Content