If you’re a houseplant enthusiast, you know nothing beats the beauty and grace of a Monstera deliciosa with its large oval-shaped leaves.
But when those big glossy leaves start to curl, it can be disheartening and unsettling. You might be asking yourself: why are my Monstera leaves curling?
In this blog post, I’ll explore why Monstera leaves curl and how to help your plant get back on track.
From realigning growing conditions to diagnosing underlying health issues, I’ll cover all the basics so your precious baby will soon flourish in their lush glory again.
Why Are My Monstera Leaves Curling?
The most likely culprit is incorrect watering. If the soil is too wet or not moist enough, the plant leaves curl to protect itself from over- or under-watering. Other reasons may be due to too much direct sunlight or not enough humidity in the air. Low nutrient levels in the soil can also cause leaf curling.
What is Monstera Leaf Curl?
Monstera leaf curl refers to a condition in which the leaves of a Monstera plant start to curl or fold inwards towards the middle of the leaf.
This can happen to new and mature leaves and occur in one or more parts of the plant.
In some cases, the curling is accompanied by yellowing, browning, or other discoloration of the leaves.
Monstera leaf curl can indicate environmental stress, pest infestations, or nutrient deficiencies.
Identifying the underlying cause to treat the problem and prevent it from spreading to other parts of the plant.
Monstera leaves can curl in different ways and for different reasons, so examine the plant carefully to determine a cause before taking action.
When the leaves curl outwards, away from the stem, it could be a sign of low humidity. If this is the case, increase the plant’s humidity.
If the leaves curl inwards towards the stem, it could mean too many nutrients in the soil, or overwatering has occurred. In these cases, reduce the amount of fertilizer or water.
Check for insect infestations and other problems, such as too much direct sunlight or cold temperatures.
If any of these are causing the curling, addressing them will be necessary to get the plant back to health.
Causes of Monstera Leaves Curling and Solutions
There are several reasons why Monstera leaves may start to curl or fold. Here are some of the most common causes of Monstera leaf curl, along with their corresponding solutions:
1. Soil conditions
Soil conditions play a significant role in the health and growth of a Monstera plant. Improper soil conditions can cause the leaves to curl, droop, or even turn yellow.
Here are some ways in which soil conditions can cause Monstera leaf curling.
Poor soil moisture: Monsteras prefer well-draining, moist soil that is not waterlogged.
Stick your finger about an inch deep into the soil. Water the plant thoroughly if it feels dry, allowing it to drain from the pot’s bottom.
If the soil feels wet, allow it to dry before watering again.
Soil pH: Monstera plants prefer slightly acidic soil, ranging between 5.5 and 7.5. If the soil is too acidic or alkaline, it can affect the plant’s nutrient absorption and cause the leaves to curl.
Test the soil pH using a soil testing kit. To adjust the pH levels, add organic matter such as compost or peat moss to make the soil more acidic, or add lime to make the soil more alkaline.
Compacted soil: When the soil is too compacted, it can impede water and nutrient uptake, leading to root stress and, ultimately, leaf curling.
Compacted soil can lead to poor drainage, which can cause water to pool at the bottom of the pot, leading to root rot.
Loosen the top layer of soil around the plant’s base using a fork or a small gardening tool. Be careful not to damage the plant’s roots while doing so.
To improve soil drainage and aeration, mix in perlite, vermiculite, or coarse sand.
- Ensure that your Monstera is getting the right amount of water.
- Keep your soil within a pH range of 5.5-7.5
- Use soil that is not compacted
2. Insufficient nutrients
Just like humans, plants also require a certain amount of nutrition to stay healthy and grow. When Monstera plants lack important nutrients, the leaves curl or become distorted.
Without proper nutrition, Monstera leaves have difficulty absorbing water, which can further cause them to become dry and curl.
Let’s look at how nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus deficiencies affect Monstera leaves.
Nitrogen is required for plant growth and development. It is responsible for functions like leaf and stem growth, chlorophyll production, and protein synthesis.
A Monstera t deficient in nitrogen may exhibit symptoms such as leaf curling, stunted growth, yellowing leaves, and weak stems.
Too much nitrogen can also cause problems like excessive foliage growth at the expense of root and flower development.
- Apply a nitrogen-rich fertilizer, such as a balanced 10-10-10 or 20-20-20 fertilizer.
- Add organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, to the soil to provide a slow-release nitrogen source.
- Incorporate nitrogen-fixing plants like legumes into your garden or indoor plant collection.
Phosphorus is crucial for root development, energy transfer, and flower and fruit production.
A Monstera plant deficient in phosphorus may exhibit symptoms such as leaf curling, stunted growth, and weak roots.
- Apply a phosphorus-rich fertilizer, such as a balanced 10-20-10 or 15-30-15 fertilizer.
- Add bone meal or rock phosphate to the soil to provide a slow-release source of phosphorus.
- Ensure your Monstera plant gets enough sunlight, as phosphorus uptake depends on light energy.
Potassium is the third essential macronutrient required for healthy plant growth. It is responsible for water uptake, root growth, and disease resistance.
When a Monstera plant is deficient in potassium, it may exhibit symptoms such as leaf curling, yellowing, and necrosis.
- Apply a potassium-rich fertilizer, such as a 10-10-20 or 15-10-30 fertilizer.
- Add potash or wood ash to the soil to provide a slow-release source of potassium.
Pests affect Monstera plants in several ways. The most common pests of Monstera include spider mites, aphids, scale insects, thrips and fungus gnats.
Some pests feed on the sap of the leaves, which can damage the tissues and cause the leaves to curl or distort.
This is problematic for young leaves still developing, as they are more damage-resistant.
Pests can also transmit diseases or cause wounds, making plants more vulnerable to infections.
When a plant is weakened by pests, it may not be able to properly take up nutrients or water, which can cause the leaves to curl or wilt.
Some pests can also cause damage to the root system of the plant, which can have a ripple effect on the entire plant’s health.
This can lead to reduced water uptake, nutrient deficiencies, and poor growth, which can cause the leaves to curl or yellow.
- Isolate the infested plant.
- Remove the pests using a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to remove pests such as mealybugs and scale insects.
- Use insecticidal soap or neem oil
- Increase humidity levels to help your plant recover from pest damage.
- Maintain proper plant hygiene
4. Plant shock
Plant shock can cause Monstera leaves to curl, disrupting the plant’s ability to take up water and nutrients.
When a plant experiences shock, it can cause damage to the roots, which are responsible for taking up water and nutrients from the soil.
A plant in shock may redirect its resources away from the leaves to try and recover, causing them to curl or yellow.
Plant shock can be caused by several factors, including overwatering, underwatering, transplanting, and exposure to extreme temperatures.
To prevent plant shock, it’s important to provide your Monstera plant with consistent care and avoid sudden environmental changes.
- Ensure that your plant gets enough light but not too much direct sunlight, as this can also cause stress.
- Increase humidity levels
- Avoid repotting it, as this can cause further stress on the roots. Instead, wait until your plant has recovered before repotting.
- Water your plant consistently and only when the top inch of soil feels dry.
Several diseases can cause Monstera leaves to curl, including fungal infections, bacterial infections, and viral infections. These diseases damage the tissues of the leaves.
Fungal infections such as root rot, powdery mildew, and leaf spot can cause Monstera leaves to curl by damaging the root system or weakening the leaves.
Bacterial infections, such as bacterial leaf spots, can cause curling and brown spots on the leaves.
While less common, viral infections can also cause leaf curling, yellowing, and stunted growth.
To keep your Monstera plant healthy, give it the right care and keep it clean. Also, avoid overwatering your plant, as this can create conditions that promote fungal growth.
Ensure that your plant is in well-draining soil, and only water it when the top inch of soil feels dry.
Monstera plants prefer humid environments, but too much moisture can create conditions that promote fungal growth.
To prevent the spread of disease, clean your plant’s leaves and remove any dead or diseased plant material.
If you notice signs of disease, isolate the affected plant to prevent it from spreading to others.
- Remove any leaves that are affected by curling or other symptoms.
- Applying fungicides or bactericides
- Adjust your plant’s care to help it recover
6. Heat stress
Heat stress can cause Monstera leaves to curl due to a lack of water uptake and evapotranspiration.
When temperatures are too high, plants lose water through evaporation from their leaves faster than they can take up water through their roots, leading to dehydration.
As a defense mechanism, Monstera plants will curl their leaves to reduce the surface area exposed to the sun and reduce water loss.
This curling can be a sign that your plant is experiencing heat stress.
- Mist your plant’s leaves to cool it down and increase humidity
- Increase humidity by filling a shallow dish with water and placing your Monstera in it.
- Provide your Monstera with some shade from direct sunlight during the hottest parts of the day. A sheer curtain or shade cloth can do the trick.
- Move your plant to a cooler location, such as a room with less sunlight or air conditioning.
- Avoid overcrowding Monstera with other plants.
7. Low humidity
Low humidity can also cause Monstera leaves to curl. Monstera plants are native to tropical regions with high humidity levels and thrive in humid environments.
When humidity levels are low, the air can become dry, and this can cause the leaves to lose moisture rapidly through evapotranspiration.
As the leaves lose moisture, they begin to curl inwards as a response to the stress caused by low humidity.
This curling helps the plant to conserve water and reduce the surface area exposed to the dry air.
To prevent low humidity from affecting your Monstera plant, you must provide adequate humidity levels.
- Use a humidifier to increase humidity levels around your Monstera plant. You can set the humidifier to the desired level of humidity, and it will release water vapor into the air.
- Use a pebble tray to increase humidity levels. Place a tray with pebbles and water near your Monstera plant.
- Group plants together to help increase humidity levels in the surrounding area. Plants release moisture through transpiration, which can increase humidity levels.
- Mist the leaves of your Monstera plant to increase humidity levels temporarily. Use a spray bottle to mist the leaves regularly, but be careful not to overdo it, as excess water can cause other problems, such as fungal growth.
Root bound is a condition where a plant’s roots have outgrown its container. The roots then become tightly packed and wrapped around each other, forming a dense mass.
Root bound is caused by a lack of space in the container or pot, which hinders the growth of the plant’s roots. When the roots of a plant can’t grow outward, they wrap around each other.
The plant’s roots can grow so much that they push against the container. This can make less space for soil, which means the plant will not get enough water and nutrients.
When a plant is root bound, its growth becomes stunted, and it may show signs of stress.
For example, in a Monstera plant, the leaves may start to curl or wilt, and the plant may not produce new growth.
In severe cases, the plant may even die. To prevent root bound, choose an appropriately sized container for the plant.
The container should be large enough to allow the plant’s roots to grow freely but not too large that it takes a long time for the soil to dry out, which can lead to waterlogging and root rot.
- Repot the root plant into a larger container with drainage holes.
- Trim the roots of the plant.
9. Poor watering conditions
Poor watering conditions can also lead to the curling of Monstera leaves. This can happen due to underwatering and overwatering, which have different causes and effects on the plant.
Underwatering occurs when a plant does not receive enough water. This happens when the soil is allowed to dry out completely between watering.
It may also happen when the plant is in a pot that is too small for its roots. Curling is the plant’s way of conserving water and reducing the surface area of the leaves exposed to the sun.
Overwatering, on the other hand, occurs when a plant receives too much water. This happens when the soil is waterlogged.
Overwatering can also lead to root rot and other fungal diseases. When a plant is waterlogged, its ability to absorb oxygen properly reduces, leading to insufficient nutrient uptake and stress on the plant.
This, in turn, makes the leaves curl and droop.
To prevent underwatering, regularly water the plant and ensure the soil is moist but not waterlogged.
Water the plant once every one to two weeks, depending on the temperature and humidity of the environment.
Also, ensure that the potting soil is well-draining and that the plant is in a container appropriate for its size.
To prevent overwatering, ensure that the soil can dry out slightly between watering. This allows the plant’s roots to absorb oxygen and prevents the development of fungal diseases.
Also, use a moisture meter to determine the amount of water you need for your plant.
- Increase the frequency and amount of water given to your plant
- Reduce the frequency of watering and ensure that the soil dries out before watering again
Overfertilization can lead to curled Monstera leaves in a few different ways.
Firstly, too much fertilizer can cause an accumulation of salts in the soil, which can affect the plant’s ability to absorb water and nutrients.
This can lead to dehydration and wilting of the leaves, which may appear curled or crispy.
Excessive fertilization can cause a buildup of nitrogen in the plant. This can result in overly vigorous growth and curling or twisting leaves as they struggle to keep up with the rapid growth.
Overfertilization can cause an imbalance in the nutrients available to the plant, which can result in a deficiency of other essential elements.
- Flush the soil to remove any excess salts or fertilizer buildup.
- Repot the plant
- Reduce fertilizer application
11. New leaves
New leaves on a Monstera can lead to curled leaves if the plant is not receiving enough light or experiencing sudden changes in temperature or humidity.
When a Monstera grows new leaves, it requires a lot of energy and nutrients to support this growth.
If the plant is not receiving enough light, it may not be able to produce enough energy to support the growth of new leaves.
As a result, the leaves may become stunted or curled as they struggle to develop properly. Sudden changes in temperature or humidity can also cause new leaves to curl.
Monstera plants prefer warm and humid conditions, and sudden drops in temperature or humidity can cause stress. This stress can manifest in the form of curled or distorted leaves.
- Provide adequate light
- Maintain consistent temperature and humidity
- Adjust watering
Ways To Revive Curled Monstera Plants Leaves
To revive your curled Monstera, use either of the following methods:
Repot the plant
To remove the plant from its current pot, turn it upside down and gently tap on all sides to free the root ball.
Inspect the roots for any signs of decay. If you find any, trim them away with sterilized scissors.
Place the plant in a new pot filled with fresh soil and provide adequate drainage.
Add nutrients to the soil
Use nutrient-rich soil with organic matter like compost and worm castings. You can also add a balanced liquid fertilizer to help revive your curly Monstera’s leaves.
Water it moderately and only when the top few inches of soil feel dry to revive your curled Monstera. Make sure to use lukewarm water to not shock its delicate roots.
You can mist the leaves with a spray bottle filled with filtered or distilled water once or twice a week.
Change the position
You can also revive curled leaves by changing the position of your Monstera.
Place it in a spot with bright, indirect sunlight away from cold breezes or vents.
Fertilizing your Monstera is important for keeping its leaves healthy. Use a balanced liquid fertilizer and apply it once a month during the growing season (Spring/Summer).
During the winter months, reduce or stop fertilizing altogether.
Cleaning the surrounding of the plant
Keep the area around your Monstera clean and free of dust and debris. Use a gentle, natural cleaner like diluted white vinegar or soapy water.
If your Monstera has dead or damaged leaves, remove them immediately to avoid infection.
Temperature and humidity control
Keep the temperature between 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit and the humidity level around 60%. To increase humidity, use a humidifier or mist your plant regularly.
What does an overwatered Monstera plant look like?
Will curled Monstera leaves uncurl?
Why are Monstera Adansonii leaves curling?
Why are Monstera Standleyana leaves curling?
How long does it take for Monstera leaves to uncurl?
In conclusion, caring for your plant is important to keep it healthy and happy. Investigate the issue further if you’ve noticed that your Monstera leaves are curling up.
Check for pests, change the soil if necessary, and ensure your plant can access adequate light and moisture levels. With care and attention, there’s no reason why you can’t have a thriving plant.
Don’t forget to reevaluate your approach if the curling leaves don’t show any indication of improvement.
Sometimes trying a few different methods may be necessary to figure out why your Monstera leaves are curling.
By troubleshooting the problem with patience and diligence, you should be able to get your Monstera back on track in no time.