7 Causes of Monstera Leaves Curling (And How to fix Them)


It is really heartbreaking when you notice your favorite monstera plant leaves curling. Now you may be trying to figure out what is wrong with the plant.

I have the experience to solve this problem and in this article, I’ll share everything you need to know to fix the problem. But, the first step is to identify the causes of the problem.

Underwatering and temperature stress are the most common causes of monstera deliciosa leaves Curling. It may also result from too much fertilizer application, water quality, disease, or insect infestation. In addition, low light and excess wet conditions can also trigger monstera leaves curling issues.

Keep reading to fix the issues in no time!

7 Causes of Monstera Leaves Curling

Indoor Potted monstera leaves are curling.

Try to identify the cause of your Monstera leaves curling or have small leaves first check the soil if it appears too damp or too dry.

You need to inspect whether your monstera is getting the right amount of indirect light and space to grow. Also, you need to inspect if there are any signs of disease or insects. 

Any factor that is causing water loss or inhibiting plants to absorb the necessary amount is responsible for monstera leaves to curl. To make it easy to implement I’ll discuss each possible cause and the steps to fix the problem and get back your monstera to its perfect shape.

Monstera Leaves Curling Due to Underwatering

This is the number one reason for Monstera leaf curling. If your monstera is not getting enough water to execute the normal physiological process it will let you know by curling leaves. So, how would you be sure that it is happening because of a lack of water?

Now, check out the potting soil if the topsoil is dry then look for the leaves turning brown, crispy leaf edges, or brown tips.

If you found any of these signs then it is a sure thing that you are underwatering your monster. Another easy to do method is feeling the weight of the pot, If it is dry it will feel much lighter.

When you underwater your monstera uses its natural defense mechanism to save water and survive. It reduces the space for the transpiration (through which the plant loses water) process by curling the leaves.

Solution to Underwatering Monstera

Check out the following tips for watering an underwatered Monstera, and keeping your plant adequately hydrated year-round:

  • For immediate moisture fix Soak the soil with water for a few minutes, then let it sit until the water drains completely.
  • Instead of following a frequency, you should follow a routine to check if it needs a drink. When watering slowly add water until it begins to seep out of the drainage holes. Empty the tray immediately. Be sure to water the soil directly, instead of soaking the leaves.
  • There are a few ways you can check to see if your plant’s thirsty before watering. Stick your finger or a wooden stick 2-3 inches into the soil.
  • If it comes out dry, your Monstera is thirsty! If it’s damp and comes out with clumps of soil, you can probably wait a few more days.
  • You can also buy a moisture meter to make sure you’re not watering based on guesswork.

Monstera Leaves Curling Due to Overwatering

If a week after watering, the soil still seems damp, you’re probably overwatering. This may cause the water to stagnate, and suffocating the roots.

The water molecules occupy the pores of the soil, so there will no oxygen for the root system. As a result, the Monstera will not be able to absorb the nutrients and oxygen. This will lead to …you guessed it…curling of your plant’s leaves.

Because stagnant water is a breeding ground for fungal diseases, such as root rot. When your monstera is infected by root rot, the root system will not function well to supply the nutrients and water for other parts of the plant.

How to Fix Overwatering Problem

  • Make sure you are watering when it needs water. You can use the above-mentioned finger method to check the moisture level.
  • Use the alternate drying method to water your monstera. Letting the soil dry between watering is called the alternate drying method.
  • Ensure the drainage holes are working properly to drain out the excess water.
  • If the soil is hard and with poor drainage capacity then consider using a good drainage capacity soil.
  • Loosen the soil by adding perlite, sand, mulch, vermiculite, or compost to improve drainage capacity.

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Chemicals in City Tap Water Can Cause Monstera leaf Curling

If you are using tap water for your monstera then you may be creating a problem that could lead to various problems including leaf curling. You may be wondering how is that even possible?! Well here’s how:

City water or tap water comes with chlorine and fluoride mixed with it. To eliminate the germs within water these chemicals are used. 

Now if you are using this water regularly the chemical will kill the beneficial microbes living within the soil. These microbes are your monstera’s friend because they help decompose the organic materials and make the nutrients available for the roots to absorb.

When you are using the tap water for your monstera repeatedly, it will accumulate salts and cause harm to the root system. Ultimately, your monstera’s normal physiological function will be disrupted. The result will be curling leaves of your favorite monstera plant.

Solution to Tap Water Problem

Now if you have already done the damage, follow these steps to fix the problem:

  • As the soil is accumulated with chemicals from tap water, you need to change the soil completely. Use a good drainage capacity soil.
  • Trim off the damaged root parts and then repot into the new soil.
  • Use filtered water for your monstera. 
  • Now if you still want to use tap water make sure it is free from chemicals like chlorine. Keep the water at room temperature let it sit overnight. Within 24 hours the chlorine will evaporate from the water.
  • Rainwater or melted snow is another great option for safe watering.

If you are using Store-bought filters make sure to change them regularly. Otherwise, you’re probably adding harmful elements to your water, instead of eliminating them!

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Monstera Leaves Curling Due to OverFertilization

This is an important thing to understand for container growing monstera. I think the fertilizer doses that are mentioned on packages are recommended more than necessary. 

That’s why I recommend using a balanced fertilizer every other week half or less than the recommended dose. I can assure you that it will not underfeed your monstera. 

Your plant needs more nutrients when it is forming new leaves and buds. It is the growth stage. In winter you do not need to fertilize most of your plants including monstera. 

If you are being too kind it may kill your monstera, yes overfertilization can be fatal. When you overfertilize, the roots are burned or damaged.  Then you can see symptoms like foliage curling.

Now the question is how you can be sure if you are being too kind overfeeding your monstera deliciosa? Well, you do not need to perform any complex lab test. It’s easy to find out with the naked eye. 

If you find any white crusty build-up on the edges of the container or on the surface of the soil then it is a sure thing that you have done the crime of overfeeding. 

How to Fix Overfertilizing Issue

  • If you have identified the overfertilizing issue then you should stop fertilizing.
  • Repotting is necessary using a fresh new soil mix.
  • Always remember it better to under-fertilize than overfertilize.

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Monstera Leaves Curling Due to Temperature Stress

Sudden changes in temperature can lead to monstera leaves curling. The room temperature should remain between 65°F-85°F (18°C-30°C), and should not be cooler than 60°F (15°C). Monstera is a tropical plant, so too cold a temperature can cause temperature stress.

MOsntera growth slows down in low temperature, on the other hand when the temperature increases the physiological process is accelerated and the plant tries to cool down transpiring or losing more water through its leaves

This will lead to plant leaves curling so that they can save the water by reducing the leaf surface exposed to light and temperature sources. 

How to Fix Temperature stress Problem

  • Try to keep them away from air conditioning vents, fireplaces, and drafty doors or windows.
  • Too much or too little light exposure can harm a Monstera plant. Direct sunlight actually burns the plant’s leaves, causing them to curl inward. And the leaves tips may turn brown.
  • East facing window is the happiest place for the monstera plant to thrive. All through the plant may face heatwaves during the middle of summer.

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Diseases

This fungal disease occurs when there is a wet condition or stagnant water in the pot. Overwatering and lack of proper drainage is the main culprit for this disease. 

It is hard to identify the disease at the initial stage. If the soil is soggy or wet and the leaves are curling then you may want to check the root system. 

If you find brown and soft roots with a foul smell emitting from them, then it is surely infected with root rot. Healthy roots are normally firm and white. 

How to Fix Root Rot

  • Take out the plant from its pot and rinse the root system with tap water.
  • Cut off the rotten or infected parts with a disinfected scissor.
  • Now let the plant dry for one day.
  • Repot in a new container with new soil.

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Insect Infestation

There is a handful of insects that may attack monstera and cause harm. No matter how hard you try it is almost impossible to get rid of bugs altogether. 

Spider mites, thrips, aphids are the common sap-sucking insect that you may encounter on your monstera. These insects suck the nutrient-rich sap out of the leaves resulting in curling leaves. 

All these insects and very tiny in size, you need to be very observant to find them out and take action. Look for them both upperside and underside of the leaves. 

How to Eliminate Insects

I prefer a nonchemical or organic approach to eliminate insects on houseplants. Dishwashing liquid soap, rubbing alcohol, neem oil works great against this kind of soft-bodied insect. If there is a heavy infestation then go for the chemical option.

Monstera Leaves Curling Due to Low Humidity

Monstera can thrive on average room humidity. As a tropical plant is can not withstand low humidity. So what happens if the humidity is low? 

You already know about the water-releasing process of a plant called transpiration. When the humidity is low your monstera losses more water than normal resulting in curling leaves. 

You can know the humidity level using a hygrometer or by weather forecast using your smartphone. Although room humidity will differ from outside humidity, you’ll get an idea.

Underwatering signs and low humidity signs are almost identical. Using a digital hygrometer will eliminate all the confusion. The humidity level should be at least 40% to 60%, if your home humidity is within this range then humidity is not the issue. 

How to Help Monstera Dealing with Low Humidity

Here are few ways that you can use to increase humidity for your monstera:

  • The best way is to use a humidifier.
  • Another way to grouping all your plants to increase overall humidity. Humidity increases due to water vapor released from the plants.
  • The Pebble tray is another DIY  method to increase humidity for your monstera. Just put some pebble on a tray and pour water on it then place the plant on the top. You got yourself a pebble tray.
  • Some people recommend misting to increase humidity but I’m not a fan of this method. Misting may attract fungal growth on your monstera leaves.
  • Read this article on improving humidity for monstera to learn more.

New Leaves

You should keep in mind that new leaves on monstera may curl which is completely normal. It will naturally unfurl when it grows bigger.

Final Words

Lack of water and low humidity is the most common reasons for curling leaves of monstera plant. Before diving into other details you should keep these two common issues in mind.

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.

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