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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 having small leaves first; check if the soil 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 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 curling. To make it easy to implement, I’ll discuss each possible cause and the steps to fix the problem and get your monstera back 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 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 find 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 underwater, the 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.
  • You can check a few ways 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 purchase a moisture meter to ensure you are not watering based on hunches.

Monstera Leaves Curling Due to Overwatering

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

The water molecules occupy the soil’s pores, so there will be no oxygen for the root system. As a result, the Monstera will be unable to absorb 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.

Chemicals in City Tap Water Can Cause Monstera leaf Curling

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

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

Now, if you use this water regularly, the chemical will kill the beneficial microbes in 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. 
  • If you still want to use tap water, make sure it is free from chemicals like chlorine. Keep the water at room temperature and 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!

Monstera Leaves Curling Due to OverFertilization

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

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 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.

How can you be sure if you are being too kind by overfeeding your monstera deliciosa? Well, you do not need to perform any complex lab tests. 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 is better to under-fertilize than over-fertilize.

Monstera Leaves Curling Due to Temperature Stress

Sudden temperature changes 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 temperatures; 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 water by reducing the leaf surface exposure to light and temperature sources. 

How to Fix Temperature stress Problem

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

Fungal Diseases Can Cause Curling Leaves

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, you may want to check the root system. 

If you find brown and soft roots with a foul smell emitting from them, 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.

You May Also Enjoy: Why Does My Monstera Have Brown Spots? (And How to Fix It)

Insect Infestation

Thrips on Monstera

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. However, this article will provide solutions to common monstera bugs.

Spider mites, thrips, and aphids are the common sap-sucking insect 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 on 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, and neem oil work 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, it 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 loses more water than normal, 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%; humidity is not the issue if your home humidity is within this range. 

How to Help Monstera Dealing with Low Humidity

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

  • The best way is to use a humidifier.
  • Another way to group all your plants is 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. Put some pebbles on a tray and pour water on it, then place the plant on top. You got yourself a pebble tray.
  • Some 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 remember 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 the curling leaves of the monstera plant. Before diving into other details, keep these two common issues in mind.

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