If you notice curling leaves on your monstera, it could mean that the humidity levels are too low or the soil is too dry for the plant to handle, causing the leaves to curl up as a way of preserving moisture. However, if the leaves are yellow and curling, it may be a sign that the soil around the roots is too wet. Additionally, if you recently repotted your monstera and notice curling leaves, this could be due to transplant shock.
Overusing fertilizer can lead to the accumulation of salts in the soil surrounding the roots of a monstera, which can hinder the roots’ ability to absorb water and cause the leaves to become curled, wilted, and dehydrated.
Continue reading to discover the reasons behind your monstera (Monstera deliciosa and adansonii) leaves curling and how to apply the remedies to restore them.
Monstera Leaves Curling Due to Low Humidity and Drought
Monstera leaves tend to curl due to low humidity and drought, as they are tropical plants that thrive in high humidity with evenly moist soil. The indoor air has lower humidity levels, which leads to moisture loss from the leaves and eventually causes them to curl downwards as a sign of distress.
Monstera plants are native to the tropical forests of Central and South America, where they grow as a semi-epiphytic climbing vine. To keep them healthy, they need high levels of humidity and temperatures between 60°F and 85°F (16°C to 30°C), with evenly moist (but not saturated) soil.
Monstera plants usually thrive in filtered light, protected from intense sunlight by the trees’ upper branches.
Monstera leaves curling and occasionally browning is typically caused by a combination of factors, rather than a single cause.
- Indoor heating or air conditioning can cause low humidity, leading to dryness in both the monstera’s leaves and soil.
- Infrequent watering or inadequate watering of the soil.
- Excessive exposure to direct sunlight.
- Indoor temperatures above 85°F (20°C) can be too high for Monstera plants.
Monstera plants thrive when the soil is watered generously, allowing the roots to absorb moisture as required.
When the monstera is not watered frequently and the indoor temperature is high, its potting soil can become hard and prevent water from infiltrating properly, causing it to run off the surface of the soil and down the side of the pot instead of reaching the roots where it is needed, ultimately resulting in inward curling of leaves.
How to Revive Monstera with Curling Leaves due to Low Humidity and Drought Stress
- To revive a Monstera with curling leaves, it is recommended to mist the plant’s leaves with water every day while they are curling.
- This creates a humid micro-climate that imitates the tropical conditions of the Monstera’s rainforest habitat and prevents excessive moisture loss due to dry indoor air, which can alleviate the stress causing the leaves to curl.
- If daily misting is not feasible, using a plant humidifier is suggested as an alternative, allowing you to adjust the humidity level according to your Monstera’s needs.
- Soak the pot of your Monstera in a basin of water for 10 minutes. Monstera plants need soil that is evenly moist, but the surface should be allowed to dry out slightly between each watering session to prevent overwatering. If the soil has become hard and dry, submerge the root ball in a basin of water so that moisture can penetrate the soil and reach the roots where it is needed. (Read my article, to learn how much and how often to water Monstera deliciosa).
- To prevent the curling of Monstera leaves, it is recommended to place them in an area with bright indirect sunlight instead of a sunny window sill. Monstera plants require bright but indirect light to thrive and support their leaves without damaging them due to direct sunlight exposure.
- Avoid exposing the monstera to direct heat and air currents as they prefer a stable temperature range of 60-85 degrees; during winter, heating sources can dry out the soil, while air conditioning in summer can dehydrate the leaves, so it’s crucial to consider these factors when deciding where to place your monstera indoors.
By regularly misting the plant to increase humidity, consistently watering the root ball, and relocating the monstera to a more suitable spot, it is possible for the curling leaves to regain their original appearance.
Nevertheless, if a section of the Monstera leaf or its edges have become brown, crispy, and curled, it will not regain its green color.
If a Monstera leaf is mostly brown, you can opt to remove it entirely, or you can use pruning shears to trim the edges of the leaf and bring back its green color.
(Check out my article, Revive Monstera with Curling Leaves).
Monstera Leaves Curling And Turning Yellow
Overwatering is the cause of monstera leaves curling and turning yellow, as this plant requires well-draining soil and prefers the soil surface to dry out between watering sessions. If the soil remains constantly saturated due to frequent watering, it can lead to root rot, which is indicated by yellowing leaves.
Monstera plants are native to the tropical regions of Central and South America, where their roots can be found in the nutrient-rich forest floor, composed of decomposing leaf litter.
Soils with a high concentration of organic matter possess the ability to retain moisture while also having a porous and aerated structure that facilitates efficient drainage of excess water from the roots.
Monstera thrives when the soil can retain moisture while remaining porous, allowing excess water to drain away and maintaining the optimal balance of soil moisture.
If you overwater your monstera plant, the soil can become saturated, which deprives the roots of oxygen and hinders their ability to absorb moisture and nutrients from the soil.
When the roots of a monstera plant are unable to absorb moisture and nutrients, the leaves tend to turn yellow or brown and curl inward.
Boggy soil can create an environment that encourages root rot, which can cause the leaves to turn yellow and curl.
It should be noted that the reason for monstera’s inability to tolerate damp soil may be due to:
- Planters lacking drainage holes at the bottom impede the proper drainage of excess water.
- Placing saucers, trays, or decorative outer pots beneath the monstera’s pot can lead to the accumulation of excess water around the bottom of the pot, making the soil too damp for the monstera to thrive.
- A larger pot was used to repot the monstera, resulting in a slower drying rate of the potting soil.
How to Revive Monstera with Yellow, Curling Leaves
If your monstera has curling and yellow leaves, it is crucial to replicate the plant’s natural soil and watering conditions. Ensure that you use well-draining potting soil and allow the top layer of soil to dry before watering again.
If you have been watering your monstera plants more frequently than once a week, it is probable that you are overwatering them, which causes the leaves to turn yellow and curl; therefore, ensure that the soil drains adequately before watering.
For monstera plants, achieving the perfect moisture balance requires a combination of a proper watering schedule and well-draining potting soil.
In my opinion, it is advisable to mix the potting soil with approximately 20% perlite before planting monstera plants to mimic the porous and well-draining soil environment, which creates room in the soil for root respiration, ensuring that the roots remain healthy and can transport moisture and nutrients to the leaves.
If the soil at the base of the pot feels excessively wet, remove the monstera from the pot and examine its roots for firmness and white coloration (although slight brown discoloration from soil is acceptable as long as they remain firm) while ensuring there are no noticeable odors.
- Trim any mushy and brown roots with a sterile pair of scissors or pruners back to healthy growth or the plant’s base if they emit a foul odor.
- After each cut, use a disinfectant-soaked cloth to wipe the pruners to avoid spreading fungal pathogens from diseased roots to healthy ones, and also clean the pot of the Monstera with disinfectant.
- To revive a monstera with curling leaves, transfer it to fresh potting soil mixed with perlite for better drainage, and make sure the pot has drainage holes at the bottom while regularly removing any excess water from saucers or trays beneath the pot.
- Use a sharp pair of pruners to cut off any yellowing or dying monstera leaves, as they cannot recover or regain their green color.
- To alleviate any transplant shock, it is advisable to keep the other leaves properly misted to increase the humidity.
No specific universal guidelines exist for how frequently a monstera should be watered, as this can depend on various factors like pot size, room temperature, and humidity levels.
Nevertheless, provided that the soil has good drainage and you give enough time for the top layer of soil to dry out before watering again, this moisture equilibrium should suffice for the monstera‘s water needs while preventing root rot.
Provided that the monstera is given better drainage and a proper watering routine, it should recover within a few weeks.
Nonetheless, if the Monstera has been in excessively damp soil for an extended period and a significant number of its leaves are turning yellow and curling inward, it may be too challenging to revive the plant.
(If most, or all the leaves are turning yellow, check out my article, Revive Monstera with Curling Leaves).
Monstera Leaves Curling After Repotting
Transplant shock is the primary reason why monstera leaves curl after repotting. The change in conditions due to repotting causes stress to the plant, resulting in curled and drooping leaves. However, the monstera usually recovers and adjusts to its new environment over time.
The foliage wilts and bends as the roots may temporarily have difficulty absorbing moisture while they adjust to the soil composition.
Provide the soil with a thorough soaking and frequently mist the monstera leaves to raise the humidity, which helps to reduce water evaporation from the foliage, giving the roots more time to absorb the moisture that the plant requires.
On the other hand, if monstera plants are transplanted into a significantly bigger container, their leaves may also wilt and bend.
When a monstera is planted in a larger pot, it can retain more soil and moisture for an extended period, resulting in slower drying out than before, which can mimic overwatering.
Excessive moisture in the soil can limit oxygen supply to the roots, obstructing root respiration and impeding the monstera’s capacity to absorb water and nutrients, leading to curled and sagging leaves.
To avoid monstera leaves curling, it is recommended to repot the plant in a pot that is only one size larger than its previous pot.
Monstera plants thrive best in unglazed clay or terracotta pots because they are porous, allowing for even drying after watering.
It is important to ensure that monstera plants are repotted into pots that have drainage holes at the bottom to avoid water accumulation around the roots following watering.
Monstera Leaves Curling Due to Too Much Fertilizer
If you apply fertilizer too frequently or in high concentration, Monstera leaves will curl due to the excess salts that accumulate around the roots, dehydrating them and preventing water uptake, ultimately leading to drooping and curling of the leaves.
Excessive fertilizer can cause yellowing and curling of monstera leaves over time.
Monstera plants require fertilizer during the Spring and Summer to aid their growth, given their large foliage.
Although Monstera plants are climbing vines that grow in moderately fertile soil in their natural habitat, they do not require excessive amounts of fertilizer compared to other houseplants.
It is recommended to utilize a house plant fertilizer that is general and well balanced, at a reduced strength of half, during the Spring and Summer months every month to promote growth.
If you want to revive Monstera with curling leaves, my suggestion would be to refrain from using any fertilizer for the time being.
To get rid of excess salt buildup around the roots, immerse the monstera in a basin and rinse the potting soil under running tap water for a few minutes, allowing the surplus water containing dissolved salts to drain away from the pot’s bottom.
Reducing the amount of salt in the potting soil can help the monstera plant’s roots to rehydrate and absorb moisture, which can lead to the recovery of their normal appearance and uncurling of curled leaves.
It is advisable to refrain from using any fertilizer until the next Spring and adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions on the fertilizer. However, it is suggested to use the fertilizer at half strength to ensure that the monstera receives adequate nutrients without jeopardizing its health.
Check out my article, Reviving a Monstera with Curling Leaves).
Curling monstera leaves
- are typically a sign of low humidity or dry soil around the root ball, as they curl to minimize leaf surface area and reduce water loss through transpiration during periods of drought or low humidity.
- When Monstera plants are overwatered, the soil around their roots becomes boggy and deprives them of oxygen, hindering root respiration and nutrient absorption, leading to yellowing and curling of leaves as a sign of stress.
Monstera leaves may curl after repotting due to transplant shock, where the leaves curl up to minimize their surface area and reduce water loss while the roots adjust to the new soil.
- If you provide excessive fertilizer to your monstera plant, it can cause the leaves to curl upwards. This happens because the excess fertilizer leads to the accumulation of salts around the roots, which hinders their ability to absorb moisture and causes the leaves to droop and curl.
- If you want to revive your monstera plant with curling leaves, you should replicate the natural conditions of its habitat by maintaining a temperature range of 60°F to 85°F, boosting humidity levels by frequently misting the leaves, planting it in soil that drains well, and waiting for the top inch of soil to dry out before watering again.