Why Are Monstera Leaves Curling? (And How to Fix It)


Indoor Potted monstera leaves are curling.

It is really heartbreaking when you notice your favorite monstera plant leaves curling. Monstera plants do require a moderate amount of care, and you may notice the leaves beginning to curl due to a few factors. 

Read below to find out how to keep your Monstera’s leaves looking as pretty as the ones on your new home furnishings.

Why are my Monstera’s leaves curling? If your Monstera’s leaves are curling, it’s most likely due to underwatering. Curling may also result from too much fertilizer, bad water quality, disease or insect infestation, too much or too little light, a dry environment, and even overwatering.

Causes and How to Fix Monstera Leaves Curling

Try to identify the cause of your Monstera’s leaves curling by checking to see whether the soil appears too damp or too dry, observing whether the plant has the right amount of sunlight and room to grow, and whether you see any indications of disease or insects. 

With some tweaking in your care routine, and a little luck, you can save your Monstera plant and watch it grow for years to come!

Underwatering

This is the number one reason for Monstera leaf curling. Underwatering your Monstera will slow down the plant’s growth, and it may eventually dry out and die.

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

  • For an immediate moisture fix, carefully take your Monstera out of the pot and place it in a bathtub or outdoors. Soak the plant with water for a few minutes, then let it sit until the water drains completely.
  • You should water Monstera about once per week. When watering, make sure the Monstera is placed in a pot with good drainage, and 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 (it may need less water during cooler months.) Stick your finger or a wooden stick a few 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 for more exact info on the amount of water in your plant’s roots.

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

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. Stagnant water may also lead to fungal diseases, such as root rot (see below for Monstera diseases and antidotes.)

Follow these same tips above for adequate hydration, and your Monstera should get just the amount of water it needs.

Bad Water Quality

Poor water quality can slow the growth of your Monstera, leave it looking dull and brittle, and may eventually cause the plant to die.

High soluble salts, including calcium, magnesium, and sodium, can damage roots, inhibiting the Monstera’s nutrient absorption.

  • To ensure that the water you feed your monstera is free from chemicals like chlorine, fill a pot with room-temperature water and let it sit overnight.

*For most sink water this should be sufficient, but you can also buy distilled water. If you’re worried about the water quality in your home, set up an appointment with a Water Quality Association certified professional, who can analyze your home’s water and set up a filtration system.

A store-bought filtration system like Brita may help; however, depending on the chemicals in your home’s water, it may not filter every harmful element in your water.

Store-bought filters must also be regularly changed, otherwise, you’re probably adding harmful elements to your water, instead of eliminating them!

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Over Fertilizing

This could also be the reason for lackluster leaves. Over-fertilizing may seem harmless, but it can lead to excess salt in the soil, potentially killing off soil microorganisms that keep the plant healthy.

Alternatively, excess fertilizer can also cause your Monstera to grow faster, while its root system lags behind. If this happens, the Monstera will not receive the water and nutrients it needs.

Fertilize your Monstera about once per month with half a teaspoon of water-soluble fertilizer per two quarts of water.

Don’t bother to fertilize during the winter, since Monstera plants will not grow much during the cooler months.

Environment

Like most plants, the Monstera needs a “Goldilocks” environment– temperature, lighting, position, and humidity need to be just right!

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 plants originated in the tropics, so a cooler environment can cause temperature stress.

The plant’s growth will slow down as the temperature becomes cooler, and will completely stop growing if the temperature is less than 60°F.

  • Monstera plants typically do not react well to sudden changes in temperature or humidity, so try to keep them away from air conditioning vents, fireplaces, and drafty doors or windows.
  • The Monstera needs moderate, indirect sunlight, and a spot where it has room to grow. Too much or too little light exposure can harm a Monstera plant. Direct sunlight can actually burn the plant’s leaves, causing them to curl and become yellow or brown.
  • On the other hand, if a Monstera receives too little light exposure, it won’t create enough chlorophyll to keep its leaves green and glossy, and they will turn a pale yellow.
  • Rather than stuffing your Monstera in a corner or on a windowsill, make the plant a statement piece in your living room or bedroom, brightening up a hum-drum wall. You may also want to add a pole or trellis to encourage the Monstera to grow upwards.
  • Lackluster leaves could also be caused by a dry environment. Try adding a humidifier to moisten the air. Your Monstera will cheer up, and your skin will also reap the rewards!

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Disease and insects

Time to talk about the real horrors in gardening: disease and insect infestation!

Root Rot

Root rot, potentially from improper repotting or overwatering, could cause leaf curling. As you may guess, root rot injures the roots, inhibiting the Monstera from absorbing nutrients and water.

The best you can do in this situation is make sure you’re properly caring for your Monstera with the tips above, and hope the roots are not so damaged that they’re irrecoverable.

Make sure the Monstera’s pot drains well so the plant doesn’t sit in water. You can also carefully remove any soft, limp roots with a pair of scissors to help your Monstera grow new, strong roots.

Fungal Infection

A fungal infection is another common problem. In this case, you would also see brown spots on some of the Monstera’s leaves.

This may be caused by excessive air moisture or lack of air circulation. I know, I know, the Goldilocks balance is challenging! It’s all about trial and error.

Clip off the affected leaves, and continue to maintain proper plant care. Consider purchasing a dehumidifier if the room your Monstera is in appears too humid, and air out the room regularly.

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Insect Infestation

Now, for the horror of horrors: What do you do if your Monstera has *gasp* insects? You’ll know you have an insect infestation if you see brown bumps on the leaves.

These bumps are actually the insects’ shells, and *vomits* the insects are underneath the shells, sucking out the leaves’ juices and leaving poison in its place. Yummy!

But wait… it gets better. The best way to rid your Monstera of insects is to pick them off! The things we do in the name of love…

You can also carefully peel each bug off with a butter knife. Once you’re done, lightly spray the Monstera with a gentle insecticide. Luckily, this should solve the problem.

Extras

To keep your Monstera in tiptop shape, regularly clean its leaves with a soft tissue paper. This will keep the leaves shiny, and also help the plant soak in more light.

Prune your Monstera regularly, clipping any dry or dead leaves.

Repot your Monstera once a year, then every 2-3 years when it’s older. It’s best to repot in early spring, before new leaves sprout. Go up in container size each year for the first few years, so the Monstera can continue growing.

With a little tweaking and consistent care, your Monstera will look as beautiful as the ones you see in a magazine.

Which tip did you find most useful in our article? Comment below with any additional questions and concerns, and happy gardening!

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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