Monstera plant leaf curling? Here’s what to do - The Indoor Nursery (2023)

  • marquis matson
  • Jan 31, 2023
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Monsteras, (the most popular being swiss cheese plants), are prized for their large, unique leaves with their signature fenestrations, or naturally forming holes. However, when these centerpiece leaves begin to curl, you’ll need to inspect the growing environment to correct for any imbalance that might be stressing out the plant.

Why monstera leaves curl

There are many reasons why a monstera’s leaves may be curling, which is why an attentive inspection of the plant’s potting soil and other growing conditions is important to resolve the problem at its root. Monsteras are tropical rainforest natives, which should be your reference for the ideal growing conditions for an indoor monstera. The main causes of monstera leaf curl include:

  • underwatering
  • overwatering
  • low humidity & cool temperatures
  • direct sunlight & heat stress
  • low light
  • watering with hard water
  • pest infestation
  • fertilizer stress


When a plant doesn’t get enough water, the leaves will begin to curl as it taps into its internal store of moisture. Dehydration is one of the main reasons a plant’s leaves may be curling, and several factors may lead to a plant being underwatered.

Monstera plant leaf curling? Here’s what to do - The Indoor Nursery (1)

Monsteras are native to Central American rainforests, where they are epiphytes, or plants that grow on other plants. They are vining plants that attach themselves to tree trunks in the understory, where there’s lots of moisture in the air and in the ground.

They have thin, fine roots that remain in the upper levels of the topsoil, which contains moisture-retaining organic material that drains well, but stays relatively moist. A monstera should be watered about once a week, never letting the soil dry out completely. The reading on a moisture meter shouldn’t go below a 3.

The growing medium can affect how well a monstera stays hydrated: a soil rich in organic material like worm castings, coco coir, and compost will hold moisture for several days between waterings.

A monstera plant can grow very fast, however, and if their roots grow too big and the plant becomes root-bound, that soil gets displaced by tightly wound roots. The more roots there are, the less and less moisture the pot can hold over time. A monstera should be repotted every year or two to be sure the pot is the right size for your plant. Smaller pots dry out faster since they hold less soil and water, so a pot should be large enough to accommodate the size and age of the monstera.


While a monstera likes its roots to stay moist, it can become a problem if they are too wet. As an epiphyte, the plant’s ground roots are smaller and more fragile than plants with more robust tuberous or woody roots.

These roots don’t store much moisture or nutrients, since those are absorbed in abundance from the air and surface of a host tree. The fragile roots, located in the well-draining upper levels of the topsoil, can be easily damaged by too much moisture, especially smaller plants.

When a monstera’s roots are damaged, it will prevent oxygen, moisture and nutrient uptake, and the leaves will begin to curl as they tap internal reserves.

The most common ways your plant may be overwatered include:

  • watering too frequently
  • using too large of a pot (water accumulates at the bottom of the pot instead of draining, creating a swampy mess for the roots)
  • using a pot without drainage holes
  • compacted soil

To prevent overwatering your monsteras:

(Video) Curled leaves - Why and how does it work?

  • allow the top 2 inches to dry completely, which is vary based on the size of the plant and pot
  • use a moisture meter (a monstera likes to be watered when it reaches a 3!)
  • use well-draining soil with coarse materials like orchid bark or perlite, in addition to porous organic material like compost
  • don’t use too large of a pot
  • use a pot with drainage holes

If the soil stays wet for a whole week between waterings, it’s either too large for the plant or doesn’t have drainage holes. Environmental factors like the amount of light, ventilation, temperature, and humidity level can affect how quickly, or slowly, water evaporates from the pot.

An overwatered monstera, with its fine roots, may be damaged by root rot if the soil stays too moist for too long. When water saturates the roots, they become easy to break down by the bacteria and fungal growth in the soil. Well-aerated soil helps decrease the chances of fungal growth or root rot, keeping the growing environment comfortable for your monstera.

Low humidity & cool temperatures

As an epiphyte, a monstera gets much of its moisture from water vapor in the air. As a tropical plant from a rainforest habitat, humidity levels and temperatures are high year-round, but in our homes, that growing environment may be more variable.

Monstera plant leaf curling? Here’s what to do - The Indoor Nursery (2)

The average home interior has a humidity level between 40% and 60%, depending on the location and the time of year. A monstera prefers a level a bit higher than that, between 60% and 80%, so having a humidifier nearby is a good way to prevent leaf curl in these humidity-loving plants.

Monstera plant leaf curling? Here’s what to do - The Indoor Nursery (3)

Direct sunlight & heat stress

Monsteras grow in the understory, on the trunks of trees, so they’re shaded from sunlight throughout their lives. However, they get lots of bright indirect light, so they aren’t adapted to darkness. Direct sunlight can dehydrate the leaves, making them curl, but it might also burn the leaves and turn the edges brown and crispy.

Direct light can also warm up the soil faster and evaporate moisture more quickly than the plant can absorb it, contributing to dehydration. When choosing a place for your monstera, make sure it gets lots of bright indirect light, but no direct sun exposure.

Monstera plant leaf curling? Here’s what to do - The Indoor Nursery (4)

Low light

While too much light can dehydrate a plant, too little light can make your monstera’s leaves curl from weakness. Plants need light to photosynthesize and produce the sugars and starches they need for energy, which helps them process nutrients and moisture and keep their leaves firm.

(Video) Why Monstera leaves are deformed and drooping.

Monstera leaves curling, dropping, and wilting, as well as stunted growth, are all symptoms of low light, in addition to leaf discoloration: pale green, yellowing, and even browned edges are all signs a plant isn’t producing enough chlorophyll. Make sure your monstera is in a well-lit, bright space that gets lots of indirect light from the sun or from indoor lamps.

Monstera plant leaf curling? Here’s what to do - The Indoor Nursery (5)

If you really want to know how much light your monstera plant is getting, then a PAR meter is a nifty tool to do just that.

Watering with hard water

Hard water may be the culprit for a monstera’s curling leaves. Tap water can contain minerals like chlorine or fluoride, while well water may have a high sodium content. The fragile roots of a monstera can be damaged by too many nutrients like those, so if you notice leaf curling or browning of the edges and tips of the leaves, consider your water source. Using distilled water, or rain water, will be gentler on your monstera’s roots than tap water.

Trust me. This matters. I’ve lost a few plants to hard water while trying to water my plants while on vacation. It’s a really sad, slow death.

(Video) This is why your Monstera leaves drooping

Pest infestation

The dense leaves of a monstera, full of nutrient rich sap, can attract a range of pests if the conditions are right for them, and the stress of an insect infestation can cause your plant’s leaves to curl as it redirects energy towards surviving the bugs. A dry, dusty environment might attract spider mites or spiders, and you’ll notice their webs in the tight, dark spaces on your plant, while too-wet soil can lead to fungal growth and fungus gnats.

Aphids, scale, mealy bugs, and thrips can all be attracted to a healthy plant if the insects are introduced to the plant, either by leaving them outside or by bringing in a new plant that’s infected.

Keep the monstera free from pests by keeping the soil properly moist (but not wet), the air well-humidified, and the large leaves free from dust (which collects and may also interfere with photosynthesis) by using a neem oil and water mixture to clean the leaves and prevent insects from establishing themselves in the first place.

Fertilizer stress

Curling leaves can also be caused by a fertilizer imbalance. Too little of a nutrient may result in a malnourished plant, whose leaves appear curled and weak. On the other hand, too much fertilizer can change the pH of the soil and make one or another nutrient unavailable. Check the soil’s nutrient level when fertilizing to be sure to not over-apply.

Choosing an organic, slow release fertilizer, like compost or worm castings, will help avoid fertilizer burn, which can happen when too much of a synthetic fertilizer is applied at once, or over time. The thin roots of a monstera can easily be damaged by the salts in synthetic fertilizer, so be sure to follow the directions of any product you use to apply it with the proper level of dilution.

(Video) Monstera Deliciosa Plant Care: Beginner Swiss Cheese Plant Tips

Why is my monstera curling???

Other common leaf problems with monstera plants

While curling is a common symptom of a range of conditions, a monstera will show stress through its leaves in other ways. These include bending, wrinkling, and being generally limp.

Monstera plant leaves bending

The large leaves of a monstera are the reason people love this plant, but those wide, heavy leaves become difficult for the plant to hold up on its own. In nature, monsteras support their big leaves by holding on to tree trunks. If your monstera is getting too heavy to be a freestanding plant, or you want to prevent any bending in the future, consider using a moss pole or tying the stems to a stake with a soft twine. The interior support will help your plant’s stems from any damage that might result from a bent stem, including stress or breakage.

Monstera plant wrinkled leaves

Wrinkled leaves are another sign your plant may be dehydrated, overwatered, or suffering stress from root damage or pests. Inspect your plant’s growing conditions to see what the cause might be.

Limp monstera leaves

Like curling, bending, and wrinkling, limp leaves are a sign the plant needs your attention to correct for stressful conditions. Limp leaves might be a lack of firmness from dehydration, which itself may be caused by low humidity, underwatering, and even overwatering. Too much light, too little light, pests, or a fertilizer imbalance may also be the cause of limp leaves.

How to prune a damaged monstera leaf

If any of your monstera’s leaves are damaged from stress, one or more of them may need to be pruned to save the plant. If a leaf is wilted or crisp beyond being saved, it should be clipped at the base of the individual leaf, not at the base of the stalk. Multiple leaves sprout from a single stalk, which needs to remain for a new one to fill in the open space of a leaf that has been removed.

more about monsteras

  • Monstera plant leaf curling? Here’s what to do
  • How to clean monstera leaves gently (and how often)
  • how much light does monstera need?
  • how to propagate swiss cheese plant (3 ways)
  • plant experiments: which fertilizer makes plants grow faster
  • scale on monstera: what to do and how to save it
  • monstera root rot: how to save your monstera plant

Monstera plant leaf curling? Here’s what to do - The Indoor Nursery (10)

marquis matson

(Video) Before & After - Fixing Monstera Leaf Issues

Marquis *wants* to know how to keep happy and healthy plants, but had a hard time finding information that wasn't written by just another copywriter. After nearly losing one too many plants, it was time to take matters into her own hands. A team of plant scientists and nursery hands was brought together and The Indoor Nursery was born.


How do you fix Monstera leaves curling? ›

Final Thoughts on Monstera Leaves Curling

Water your monstera thoroughly when a moisture meter reads 3-4 or when the top few inches of soil feel dry to the touch. Fertilizer regularly with a balanced liquid fertilizer. Avoid direct sunlight and hot or cold drafts. Watch out for insects.

Should I uncurl my Monstera leaves? ›

Move the plant to meet its light needs

But whether it's getting too much or too little light, the solution is the same: you need to move your plant (or get some grow lights). Once it's getting a more appropriate amount of light, you should notice your Monstera leaves unfurling towards the light source fairly quickly.

Do new Monstera leaves curl? ›

Monstera leaves curling is usually a sign of underwatering or low humidity. Other causes include overwatering, pest infestations, heat stress, or your Monstera being rootbound. The tight curling of new leaves is normal before they unfurl.

Why are my Monstera leaves curling after repotting? ›

The reason for monstera leaves curling after repotting is because of transplant shock. Monstera leaves curl up to reduce their surface size and decrease water loss whilst the roots adapt to the new potting soil. Monstera leaves also curl upwards due to too much fertilizer.

What does Overwatered Monstera look like? ›

Overwatered: If your monstera is getting too much water, you'll notice the older leaves, or the leaves toward the bottom of the plant, yellowing first. Underwatered: If your monstera is too dry, leaves all over the plant will start to turn yellow, possibly starting with the newer, more vulnerable leaves.

How do you get Monstera leaves to perk up? ›

Your Monstera is a tropical plant, so it will thrive in more humid environments. Increase the humidity around your plant by misting the leaves on a regular basis, using a pebble tray, or moving a humidifier nearby.

How do I make my Monstera stand up straight? ›

If you want your monstera to grow upward, it needs something to grow on and some help staying vertical. A successful option used by many plant parents is a moss pole. The moss provides an organic form of support, and the monstera's aerial roots will attach to the pole and help guide it upward.

How long does it take for a Monstera leaf to unroll? ›

When soil is evenly moistened and healthy roots are taking up the moisture, leaves should take 2 or 3 weeks to fully open. Leaves staying closed for longer than this occurs when there is inadequate moisture in the soil.

How do you encourage leaves to unfurl? ›

The most common reason for delayed leaf unfurling is lack of humidity. If you have ANY kind of issue with the growth rate of your plants the first port of call is to check for pests. After that, increase humidity (then light and temperature if there's still no change).

How often do monsteras like to be misted? ›

This plant will thrive in almost any environment, but if you want to give it a special treat, gently mist it once a week using a Mister. It's best to mist your Monstera in the morning so the water has plenty of time to evaporate before evening. Normal room temperatures between 60–80 degrees are great for your Monstera.

How do you know if your Monstera is unhappy? ›

Put simply, there will be clear signs that your plant is unhappy. You should see the first signs of ill-health in the leaves. Wilting, curling at the edges, yellowing, turning crispy and brown at the edges… These are just some issues that you might come across.

How do you know if your Monstera is happy? ›

How Do I Know if My Monstera Plant is Happy? A monstera that is happy and thriving will have lots of new growth and split leaves. Unhappy monsteras will have yellow leaves, brown tips, no split leaves, slow growth, and might sprawl to try and reach sunlight.

Should you water Monstera after repotting? ›

Water the pot deeply right after potting. Wait a week or two and then resume a monthly feeding with liquid fertilizer during watering.

Should you loosen Monstera roots when repotting? ›


You can also gently tap on the outside of the pot with a tool or on the bench. Prune the roots Do a root control and remove anything that looks dead, moldy or rotten. If both the soil and the roots look healthy, avoid touching the root ball, as it causes stress to the plant.

How long does it take for Monstera leaves to uncurl? ›

What causes Monstera leaves to curl in the first place affects how long it takes them to uncurl. After the initial appearance of the shoot, it will take anything from 1 to 7 weeks to achieve fresh growth curls.

Should I spray my monstera plant with water? ›

Monstera Deliciosa enjoys a humid environment, which is why we recommend frequent misting of its leaves. Alternatively, you can place your plant close to other plants, which increases the humidity of the air around them.

How often should you water a monstera? ›

Water every 1-2 weeks, allowing soil to dry out between waterings. Expect to water more often in brighter light and less often in lower light. Pro tip: Monsteras can benefit from filtered water or water left out overnight before using.

How do I know when my monstera needs water? ›

Like many plants, monsteras will often droop when they're thirsty. If you notice that your monstera's leaves are limp and drooping, check the soil and see if the top few inches are dry. If they are, water your plant. It should perk back up in a few hours!

What can I do with droopy Monstera leaves? ›

Monstera leaves drooping is most commonly due to lack of water. They like their soil to always be slightly damp. Other causes include overwatering, low light, fertilizer problems, pests, or transplant stress. Identifying the problem is the most important step to nursing your plant back to health.

How do you make a Monstera bushier? ›

Start by cutting any old or diseased leaves at the base of the stem. If you're pruning to encourage growth, cut where you want the plant to grow. If you want it to grow taller, cut at the top. When you're ready to actually prune your monstera, remember that pruning encourages growth, so make your cuts wisely.

Do I need a moss pole for monstera? ›

In the home, maturing plants will need the support of a moss covered pole that they can climb. If treated well, monstera can live for years, and grow to well over ten feet tall.

What pots are best for large monstera? ›

I recommend that any large ceramic pot like this be placed on a caster with wheels so that you can easily move your plant. Otherwise the weight will make it prohibitive to move. Another benefit to using glazed ceramic pots versus terra cotta pots, is that glazed ceramic pots will retain more moisture.

How do you prune monstera to encourage growth? ›

Prune your monstera

Another way to control growth is by clipping back foliage. Trim leaves at the point about two inches below the node (where the leaf meets the stem) to shape your monstera and promote healthy growth. One option is to turn those clippings into more monsteras.

How much is a Monstera plant worth? ›

Young, smaller monstera varieties might start off as low as $10, with more mature or less common varieties costing up to $100.

How long do Monsteras live? ›

Monstera plants can live up to 40 years and are considered heirloom plants.

Does misting help unfurl leaves? ›

"Misting the surface can provide a bit of humidity to the foliage without directly spraying leaves," Resta notes, "and it can help oxygenate the soil." Additionally, she says misters can be really helpful during summer, or growing season. "Leaves are unfurling, and a mister is perfect to have handy," she says.

Does humidity help leaves unfurl? ›

As you can see, there are several things that can help plants' leaves unfurl, including increasing the humidity level, providing your plant with plenty of light and changing the soil. If you're still having trouble getting your leaves to unfurl, you might have to treat your plant for insects.

How fast do monsteras grow new leaves? ›

Most varieties will also put out a new leaf every 4-6 weeks or so during the growing season. Keep in mind that most varieties will tend to grow horizontally rather than vertically, so this 1-2 feet of growth we're referring to is more like length, because the plant will start to vine and spread.

Where do you put monstera indoors? ›

Place your Monstera where it can receive medium to bright indirect light. While it is tolerant of lower light conditions, you may notice leggy growth as a result, so a spot where it will receive bright indirect light a few feet removed from a southern, western, or eastern facing window is ideal.

Do Monsteras like to be crowded? ›

Monstera love to be cramped in their pots. They will grow huge regardless of their pot size. If you pot your monstera into a huge pot it not grow any faster or larger, most likely it will get root rot from all the excess wet soil, or it will direct more energy to root growth instead of growing any leaves.

How often should I wipe my monstera leaves? ›

To maintain shine and prevent difficult-to-remove buildup, we recommend using Leaf Shine spray or wipes at least once a week, but they are gentle enough to use daily! Caring for monstera plants is actually fun and pretty easy once you get the hang of it!

How do you keep monstera healthy? ›

Water Monstera moderately and evenly, about once a week. Wait until the soil is fairly dry before watering again. Keep in a fairly humid environment. To curb excessive growth, avoid re-potting too often and prune regularly by pinching off new growth.

What is the best room for Monstera? ›

Monsteras like bright, indirect sunlight and will usually be happiest near a bright window where the sun's rays don't shine directly on the leaves. The best place for a monstera is often in an east-facing window or near a south-facing window.

What your Monstera leaves are telling you? ›

Light brown spots and crispy edges on monstera leaves means the monstera needs more water. If the edges of your monstera turn a light brown color and get “crispy,” your plant might be thirsty!

What temperature does Monstera like? ›

Temperature. The Monstera will grow in most household temperatures, but a temperature between 65-85℉ is ideal. They can survive in temperatures as low as 50℉, but the cold temperature will stop growth.

Do you water immediately after repotting? ›

Right after repotting

I prefer to give plants a bath (bottom water) as step one, a day or two before I repot, then I like to thoroughly top water drench after repotting, as top watering also helps flush out excess dirt and silt from the new substrate. Up to you.

How long should I wait to water a plant after repotting? ›

Plants may appear wilted and thirsty, but take care to refrain from watering until about a week after re-potting to ensure that any roots damaged during re-potting have healed.

What is the best way to water a Monstera plant? ›

We find that the best way to water your monstera is to put it in the sink or use a watering can to slowly add water until it starts to run out the drainage holes. Empty the drainage tray immediately. Don't soak the soil, and continue to empty the drainage tray as excess water runs out. Try not to get the leaves wet.

Do monsteras like to be repotted? ›

'Your monstera should be repotted every one to two years to keep it happy and to encourage growth. We'd recommend repotting your plant in very early springtime – as this is the time that your Swiss cheese plant will come into a bit of a growth spurt.

Should monstera roots be exposed? ›

There is no reason to do anything with the aerial roots on a Monstera deliciosa. But, if you don't like the look, they can be pruned back.

How do you treat leaf curl in plants? ›

To control leaf curl, spray with PLANThealth Copper Fungicide soon after pruning, just before bud burst happens in Spring. To cure and prevent further spread of leaf curl and the insects that may transmit the disease on ornamental plants spray with PLANThealth Spectrum. Do this every 10-14 days.

How long does it take for a Monstera leaf to uncurl? ›

How long does it take for Monstera leaves to uncurl? What causes Monstera leaves to curl in the first place affects how long it takes them to uncurl. After the initial appearance of the shoot, it will take anything from 1 to 7 weeks to achieve fresh growth curls.

How do I keep my plant leaves from curling? ›

Misting your plant's leaves is one way to stop them from curling up due to heat and light. One of the main reasons why a plant might be curling its leaves is simply because it's been exposed to too much heat or light.

Should I remove leaves with leaf curl? ›

Clean up any fallen leaves from previous infections and dispose of in the bin to minimise hiding places for the fungus spore. If a tree is already infected, remove all distorted leaves and fruit and destroy (bin or burn them).

Can plants recover from leaf curl? ›

In fact, unlike, many of the other problems your plant can face, curled leaves are often completely reversible. All you'll need to do is address whatever is causing the leaves to curl and they should return to their former glory over the course of a week or so.

Should I remove curled leaves? ›

Remove the puckered leaves as they curl and keep them from piling up under the tree and releasing spores that will further infect the tree and its neighbors.

How do you get rid of leaf curls naturally? ›

The most common method of treating leaf curl is to spray sulfur or copper after leaf drop in the fall and again in the spring.

Does Epsom salt help with leaf curl? ›

Leaf curl is just one symptom of a magnesium deficiency in your plant. Leaf curl is when the tips of the leaves of your plant curl inward towards the base of the leaf. To combat this, simply apply Epsom salt to your soil to begin increasing the magnesium levels.

What spray do you use for leaf curl? ›

Yates Leaf Curl Spray is a broad-spectrum fungicide that is suitable for use on fruit, vegetables and ornamentals, for controlling leaf curl, leaf spots, blights, downy mildew and many more fungal diseases.

How often should you water a Monstera? ›

Water every 1-2 weeks, allowing soil to dry out between waterings. Expect to water more often in brighter light and less often in lower light. Pro tip: Monsteras can benefit from filtered water or water left out overnight before using.

How do you keep Monstera plants straight? ›

The best way to keep a Monstera Deliciosa growing upright is to stake it using a support such as a moss pole, trellis, or garden stakes. These natural climbers can be tied and trained to grow up these poles and will be supported as they grow.

How do I know if my Monstera plant is dying? ›

Put simply, there will be clear signs that your plant is unhappy. You should see the first signs of ill-health in the leaves. Wilting, curling at the edges, yellowing, turning crispy and brown at the edges… These are just some issues that you might come across.

Do curling leaves mean too much water? ›

Overwatering. SYMPTOMS: Drooping leaves, curling downward from the stem to the tip. CAUSE: Overwatering is a more common problem in indoor gardens than underwatering, but it is not always the result of giving plants too much moisture.

Should I spray water on the leaves? ›

Misting houseplants is a very simple and effective way to boost humidity. "Misting is also an easy solution to the risk of overwatering your plants," he adds, instructing to, "pay attention to the color and texture of the leaves on your plant. Plants with brown or dry leaf tips will benefit from regular misting."

What deficiency causes leaves to curl? ›

Calcium (Ca)

Calcium is needed by plants to produce new growing points and root tips. Deficiency symptoms: New foliage, buds and roots have stunted growth. Younger leaves curl downwards with browning of leaf edges and leaf tips, also known as tip burn.


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