Why Are My Monstera Leaves Curling?


Also known as the Swiss Cheese Plant, Monstera deliciosa is one of the most incredible plants you can ever have. The plant’s beauty is dependent on its striking leaves which look like cheese with holes.

So, when you see those beautiful leaves looking misshapen, it’s time to take action! The two most common reasons for Monstera leaves curling are underwatering and low humidity. But there are also several other factors that could cause this problem including heat stress and insect damage.

Let’s take a detailed look at some of the reasons why leaf curling happens and how to fix the problem with your plant. 

Why do Monstera leaves curl?

Monstera leaves curling can be caused by a variety of reasons. Before you try to fix your plant, you must correctly identify the root cause of the problem. 

Underwatering

This is the most common reason for Monstera leaves curling. If your plant is not getting the right amount of water, it won’t be able to execute physiological processes, and this will manifest through curling leaves.

So how can you find out if this is the cause?

First, check if the topsoil is dry, and look for leaves that are turning brown, or leaf edges that are starting to get crispy. You can also feel the weight of your pot. If it is dry, the pot will feel much lighter than normal. If you found these signs on your plant, underwatering is most likely the cause of the curling. 

The way to solve this problem is to ensure you are watering your Monstera well. To give it an immediate boost of hydration, soak the soil in water for a couple of minutes and let it sit until the water completely drains. 

Another thing you can do is to regularly check if your plant is hydrated or not. Simply stick your finger or a stick around 3 inches into the soil. If it comes out damp or with clumps of soil, there is no need to water it. But if it comes out dry, it means your Monstera deliciosa needs watering. 

When watering your Monstera, slowly add the water until it seeps out of the pot’s drainage holes. Then, empty the tray. Make sure you water the soil of your Monstera directly instead of focusing on the leaves. 

Low Humidity

Another common reason why your Monstera leaves are curling is because of low humidity. But what does humidity have to do with your plant?

Your Monstera releases water through a process called transpiration. When your plant is in an area with low humidity, the leaves will lose more water and it will start to curl up. You can confirm if low humidity is causing your plant leaves to curl by looking for dropping, crisping, and browning leaves. 

It is recommended to place your Monstera in an area with 40% to 60% humidity. If the room humidity level is below the recommended amount, a humidifier, or pebble tray can help. You can also group more houseplants together.  

Heat stress

Did you know that when your Monstera plant experiences a sudden temperature change, its leaves will start to curl?

Ideally, ensure that the temperature remains between 65-80oF (18-27oC). Although Monstera is considered a tropical plant, it can still experience temperature stress. When the temperature is too high, the plant’s physiological process quickens and the plant will curl its leaves, so it won’t lose water quickly.

To fix this problem, it is recommended to keep your plant away from fireplaces, or appliances that emit heat. This is especially a problem during the colder months.

During the summer months temperatures close to a window can get quite high. This is especially the case if you have a south facing window. You should check the temperature on sunny days and ensure that the leaves are not receiving too much direct sunlight as this can cause damage and make them curl inward.

Root Bound Pot

Another reason that causes Monstera leaves to curl is your plant may have grown too big for its container. Healthy Monstera growth may lead to a root system that is bigger than the pot currently housing your plant. At some point, it must be transferred to a bigger container.

So how can you identify a root bound pot? If you see the roots of your Monstera plant poking through the drainage holes or the sides of a plastic pot is misshapen, your Monstera may be root bound.

To solve this problem, make sure to repot your Monstera in a container that is 2 inches larger than its root ball. This will give it more space to grow.  

Insect infestation 

Despite caring for your Monstera deliciosa well, it may still experience problems that will cause it to curl up. One of them is insect infestations. Some of the most common sap-sucking insects that can prey on your plant include thrips, spider mites, and aphids. These insects feed on the nutrients from your Monstera and cause it to curl. 

Check your plant by looking for live insects, webbing, insect damage or sticky residues. Look at the underside of leaves, as well as the tops, as insects are often found on the lower surface. If you are noticing changes in leaf color and texture, insects may be the issue, especially if your plant’s leaves are yellow, spotted, or speckled.

You can deal with these insects by using rubbing alcohol, diluted dishwashing liquid, or other non-chemical methods. However, an insecticide may be needed for severe infestation cases.

Final Thoughts on Monstera Leaves Curling

With its large and vibrant foliage, your Monstera deliciosa truly makes a huge impression when added to any space. While it’s not hard to keep this plant healthy, you may still run into problems such as Monstera leaves curling. Now that you know how to handle this problem, you can save your plant from damage.  

About the author 

Paul - Better Houseplants

Loves orchids and foliage houseplants. Always trying to be a better plant parent. Let's get growing!

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