Monstera Leaves Curling

With their exquisitely shaped split leaves, Monstera is a lovely addition to any room or office space. Relatively easy to care for, these plants are often popular pot plant choices. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that they don’t come with their issues. One of these issues is leaf curl, and there are several reasons this could happen, so let’s go through some of the causes that would make a Monstera’s leaf curl.

There are nine main reasons for curling Monstera leaves. Including under-watering, over-watering, pests, low humidity, temperature stress, watering with chlorinated water, over-fertilization, and root-bound plants. New growth also presents as curling leaves. All issues are fixable if caught in time.

Knowing what can cause a Monstera’s leaves to curl is just the beginning. This article can help you determine the cause of the leaf curl on your Monstera plant and help you rectify the problem. In most cases, once you have addressed the issues, your Monstera should bounce back to its usual pre-issued self.

What Causes Monstera Leaves To Curl?

Monstera Leaves Curling

There are nine primary causes of Monstera’s leaves curling:

  1. Under-watering
  2. Over-watering
  3. Pest problems
  4. Low humidity
  5. Temperature stress
  6. Watering with chlorinated tap-water
  7. Over-fertilization
  8. Root-bound/ pot too small
  9. New leaves

Curling Monstera Leaves Due To Under-Watering

The primary reason for Monstera’s leaves curling is under-watering. If you think you have been under-watering, your first step should be to check if your soil is too dry, sticking your finger into the topsoil to check for moisture. If your soil is dry when you touch it, then you have probably been under-watering your plant.

Other signs that your plant has not received enough water include:

  • Leaves turning brown
  • Leaves getting crispy edges

The Solution

Your first step when it comes to a dried-out plant is to give it a good soaking. Place your pot into a water basin, allowing it to soak up water from the bottom, and water it from the top. Once the soil is soaked through, take it out of the basin and let it drain.

From now on, you should make sure you water your Monstera once every 1 – 2 weeks. Plants placed in areas that receive good lighting and heat will need more water than plants in shaded, colder places. Also, you will find that you should be watering your plant more often in the summer than you do in the winter.

Related: Monstera Leaves Turning Yellow

Curling Monstera Leaves Due To Over-Watering

If your Monstera leaves are curling and you think it could be due to over-watering, you should hold off on watering your plant again until the first 2 – 3 inches of soil are dry.

If other symptoms of over-watering accompany the curling leaves, you might have root rot. Other symptoms of over-watering include:

  • Yellowing or browning leaves
  • Black spots on the leaves
  • Rotting stem
  • Drooping leaves
  • Soggy soil
watering a monstera

The Solution

If you fear that your roots might be rotting, you will need to take your Monstera out of its pot to check. If you find white or light-colored roots, then your problem isn’t root rot. Alternatively, if you see brown or black roots that are mushy, you know your plant is suffering from root rot.

Here, you will need to remove the infected roots with a pair of scissors and leave the plant out of its pot to dry out a bit. Wash your pot thoroughly with soapy water and fill it with new potting soil containing enough perlite and gravel to give your plant good drainage.

Re-pot your Monstera and place it where it will receive good bright indirect sunlight.

Curling Monstera Leaves Due To Pests

Spider mites, mealybugs, and thrips like to suck the juices out of plants’ stems. If your Monstera has any pests, their unwanted attentions can make the leaves curl and wilt.

If you think your problem is pests, there are a few signs you can look out for:

  • Mealybugs: are oval, tiny insects that will secrete a powdery wax substance as a protective coating. This cotton appearance makes mealybugs easy to identify on plants’ stems and leaves.
  • Spider mites: these little critters are related to ticks and spiders and are extremely small. You can recognize them by the fine silky webbing that they spin on plants.
  • Thrips: more troublesome than most pests because the damage they cause often resembles a disease or nutritional problem. Tiny, slender insects thrip infestations are hard to identify until they become huge.

The Solution

With mealybugs and spider mites, identification should be relatively easy. When it comes to thrips, one identification method is to place a white sheet of paper under your Monstera leaf and shake your plant. If you have thrips, some will fall off, and you will be able to see them on the white paper.

If you have found pests infesting your plant, separate it from any other plants in the house. Dealing with pest infestations can be challenging, but keeping at it should remove the problem. You can treat your Monstera with a pesticide, an insecticidal soap, or organic neem oil.

Curling Monstera Leaves Due To Low Humidity

Monstera is a tropical plant and needs a minimum humidity level of 40 – 45 percent. If the room’s humidity is too low, their leaves will curl, turn brown, and ultimately fall off. So if your Monstera is in an area that does not have high enough humidity and they start to present with the before mentioned symptoms, you know that you have a humidity problem.

The Solution

The easiest way to combat this problem would be to start misting your Monstera relatively often. You can also buy a small humidifier and place it close to your plant. Another way to combat this problem is to establish a pebble tray filled with water underneath your Monstera’s pot.

Curling Monstera Leaves Due To Temperature Stress

Extreme temperatures can harm your Monstera plant. If your plant is in an area where it is subjected to a cold draft or near an air conditioning or heating vent, it can experience quick temperature changes that will result in curling leaves.

The Solution

If you discover that your Monstera has been subjected to extreme cold or heat, immediately move it to a different location. Keep your eye on the plant and balance its temperature conditions properly.

Curling Monstera Leaves Due To Chlorinated Tap Water

Water quality can harm your Monstera. If your tap water’s chlorine content is too high, it can result in the death of many of the beneficial microbes in your soil. The extra chlorine, and often fluoride and other chemicals can build up in your soil as well.

High chlorine levels can cause your Monstera leaves to curl and negatively affect your plants’ growth in the long run.

The Solution

You should avoid using chlorinated tap water for your Monstera. If you have to use water from the tap, leave it to sit overnight before using it on your plant. Other options for watering your Monstera include RO water and rainwater.

Curling Monstera Leaves Due To Over-Fertilization

Soil fertilizer

Too much fertilizer can cause your Monstera’s leaves to curl. Excess fertilizer causes a salt build-up in the soil, burning your Monstera’s roots, thus disturbing the roots’ ability to absorb moisture.

So if you have recently fertilized and now notice that your plants’ leaves are curling and the edges are turning brown, you have probably over-fertilized. Overfertilization can cause stunted growth in your Monstera.

The Solution

To fix the over-fertilizing, you first need to remove the topsoil and scrape away any white crust that might have formed there. Then you need to flush your plants’ soil with filtered or distilled water until you can see the water coming out of the bottom of the pot. Repeat this process 3 – 4 times!  

Curling Monstera Leaves Due To The Plant Being Root Bound

A healthy growing Monstera will eventually outgrow its pot if the pot is on the smaller size. If you notice that your plant seems rather large compared to its container and its leaves are starting to curl, this could indicate that it is root-bound.

Being root-bound means that your plant has too many roots in the small space that it occupies. Overcrowded roots make it difficult for them to absorb water.

The Solution

If you start to notice roots peeking through your topsoil and your stems looking a bit overcrowded in their pot, then it’s time to re-pot your plant. A good practice is to use a container one or two sizes bigger than your plant previously occupied, and don’t go for anything bigger than that because a too big pot can damage a plant.

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Curling Monstera Leaves Due To New Foliage Output

If you notice smaller leaves that are curling, these leaves might be new growth. When fresh leaves come out of your Monstera, they start all curled up before they slowly unfold. If you see these kinds of curled-up leaves, then it’s an indication that your Monstera is growing and happy.


There are nine primary reasons for your Monstera’s leaves to be curling and each of these reasons has its identifying indicators. Once you have been able to identify the cause of the leaf curling problem, you can implement a rectifying solution, and your Monstera should go back to its usual happy self.