Monstera deliciosa, leaves curling is one of the most common conditions – but not the one to be taken lightly, as it’s not stemming from a single cause.
Analyzing your Monstera and determining the cause for its leaves curling – which can include under-watering and over-watering, low humidity, pests and lack of fertilization – will determine how successful you’ll be at nursing it back to health!
Today we are going to walk you through all the causes of your Monstera leaves curling up on you and how you can fix the issues.
- Why Are Your Monstera deliciosa Leaves Curling?
- How Can You Treat a Monstera deliciosa Plant With Curled Leaves?
Why Are Your Monstera deliciosa Leaves Curling?
Your Monstera deliciosa leaves are curling due to underwatering or overwatering, low humidity or temperature shocks. Other common culprits can be various types of pests or fungal diseases. Improper fertilization might also cause curled leaves, so you should address that as well.
Monstera deliciosa – also known as the Swiss cheese plant – is an elegant but sturdy and highly resistant plant from the philodendron family. The plant comes from southern Mexico and Panama and has characteristic holes in leaves, which are a beauty to behold.
What can happen to those beautiful leaves can turn them ugly and fast, and things can go especially sideways if a monstera develops signs of root rot or if the leaves suddenly start curling up and going black.
If you spot your monstera leaves have begun to curl up, don’t despair just yet – your monstera is miles away from dying, and there are simple steps to nurture it back to health!
Of course, curled monstera leaves may be a sign of a much more serious disease, so you should act as fast as you spot this symptom.
Early detection and proper reaction are lifesavers for your plant! In this article, we’ll go through every possible cause of monstera leaves curling inwards and how to deal with each specific case!
The number one culprit of your leaves shriveling up is an underwatered monstera. This will dry up the soil, which will, in turn, deprive the roots of nutrients and water, which then won’t be sent to foliage. The entire thing will result in your leaves slowly but steadily curling up on themselves.
Whenever you experience your monstera leaves curling up without any particular reason, you should first assume that you’ve been underwatering the plant. You can quickly check this by giving your soil inspection and a close-up look.
If the top soil layer has gone dry and the first few inches of soil don’t feel moist to you, underwatering is your most probable problem. Curled-up leaves will soon turn black, so don’t wait to water it!
– Low Humidity
If your monstera is going weak on you even with the right water regime and with drainage-promoting soil, you’re probably having humidity issues in your air! Your monstera, like any other natural living thing, is an opportunistic grower. As such, it will attempt to drink water from anywhere it can, and this means air, too.
If the soil has left your monstera thirsty, it will borrow water from the air around it. If your air is having low humidity levels, your monstera may develop blackness on its leaves, and curl up on you.
The ideal humidity levels for your monstera should be around 50 to 60. You can easily find out this by buying a humidity meter, but it’s never too bad to try and raise humidity a bit in the area your monstera grows in!
Overwatering is what will ultimately kick off your root rot disease, among other things, and should be taken very seriously. Yet this is the most common error beginner growers make! Overwatering can be caused by many factors.
The bottom line is that all of these factors add to water accumulation near the roots. Your roots should always feel and look like a wrung-out cloth instead of being completely wet, and just like any living thing, they need air too, and not only water to live!
That’s why you should avoid watering your monstera plants too often . Always check your soil before watering, and don’t rely on any scheduled watering regime. You should always rely on your senses – feel and look at the soil! If the topsoil is dry to the touch and it appears dry to the eyes, you’re free to give your plant a good splash.
As soon as you repeatedly break this rule, you’ll begin to have overwatering issues. Improper drainage will also add to this problem. Pick a pot that has several large drainage holes at the bottom. Plant your monstera in the inorganic matter and pine bark mixture! These soils have larger particles which will dry out faster and aerate your roots properly.
On the other hand, too much clay and organic soil will add to the issue. You should also avoid too big a pot for your Monstera, as water will surely take longer to evaporate in larger pots!
– High And Cold Temperature Stress
The temperatures at which you keep your monstera will largely impact its development and growth! Monstera is a tropical plant that loves warm and moist areas with plenty of sunlight. If you don’t allow these comforts to your monstera, it will rebel with curved-up leaves.
Monsteras are large plants with huge green parts and as such, won’t tolerate prolonged cold spells. They will need plenty of warmth and energy to warm their bodies, and the lowest a monstera can go is around 50 degrees!
Frost and temperatures under 50 degrees Fahrenheit will affect the sap. This will slow the flow inside the plant and cause your plants to stop growing. As a result, prolonged cold periods will even cause the sap to damage the tissue and make parts of your monstera black and curled up!
Sunburns are often considered a beginner’s mistake. We all know that the sun is good for the plants but leaving them under prolonged heat stress isn’t something that’s advisable for any plant!
Brown spots, toasted, and curled leaves are all good signs that your plant has been overexposed to direct sunlight! When this happens too often, your plant begins to lose moisture quickly! All of the water gets rapidly sucked out of the ground and plant parts, leaving your monstera dry and it quickly begins to shrivel and fry in the sun.
– Pest Troubles
The most common insects attacking your monstera plants will be those small sap-sucking insects. Aphids are a common pest seen munching on monstera leaves. The issue with aphids is that they are rather small and often go unnoticed before anyone can spot insect infestation.
You should always be alert and try to inspect your monstera at least once in a while to see if these small, translucent creepy crawlies are traveling around your plant’s leaves.
Spider mites are yet another small insect species, often going about their business unseen before it gets too late! These will use a silky substance to protect themselves while they munch on your leaves and leave them deprived of nutrients and all curled up. This silky webbing is a sure-fire sign that you need to react before their populations get out of hand.
Scale insects are small insects that can be brown, creamy, or black. Most of them are just an eighth of an inch small and are very difficult to spot. Whenever you water your monstera, inspect your leaves closely as scale insects are hardest to get rid of once they begin to multiply!
– Improper Fertilization
Inexperienced monstera growers often have fertilization mixed up. Often it concerns the amount of nitrogen one gives to a monstera. Nitrogen deficit is a surefire way into stunted and degenerative growth and can even cause black spots and patches on your monstera plant leaves.
What causes the monstera leaf curl is overfertilization. It’s not that monstera doesn’t like extra nutrients, but fertilizers are often salty, and salt will suffocate and burn the roots, in turn making your monstera leaves curl up!
How Can You Treat a Monstera deliciosa Plant With Curled Leaves?
You can treat a Monstera deliciosa plant with curled leaves by eliminating/fixing the causes.
You should learn how often to water the plant, increase the humidity if the air is dry, and keep your monstera safe from extreme temperatures. You should also deal with pest infestations when they appear.
– Solving Underwatering
If your monstera is seriously dehydrated, you should give it a serious splash of water, or better yet, a shower! Place your monstera under a 10-second shower or garden sprinkler and allow the water to seep through completely.
Then repeat with another 10-second proper soak-up. If dehydration was the issue, you’ll hear your soil make a sound as if it has been craving water and just came out of the desert – because you’ve likely created such conditions.
Another way of hydrating is placing the entire pot in a tub of water for around a minute. After this, take the pot out of the water and let the water pass through the soil and the pot, and then repeat the entire process once again!
– Increasing Humidity
If your soil goes quickly dry after watering, it is an obvious sign that the air around your monstera plant is too dry, and you need to raise the humidity. If your budget doesn’t allow you too much splashing out, a small humidifier or a misting device is a viable option!
You can also place wet stones at the bottom of your pebble trays – this way, the water will slowly evaporate to the soil and the leaves directly from the stones, making the air directly around your monstera more humid.
Misting is another viable option for raising the humidity in the room you grow your plants in, but the technique shouldn’t be your main watering method. Instead, incorporate misting as a boost to your watering regime. Practice misting every three to five days to raise the humidity of the room and increase soil moisture!
– Fixing Issues With Overwatering
Just like with underwatering, overwatering will often cause curling leaves! Think of your monstera as a living, breathing human being — along with water, its roots also need air to breathe, and giving it some time without water will benefit your plant.
Instead of watering it too often, let your waterings come at the right time and make them an unforgettable splashing experience! Only water your monstera when the topsoil has gone dry to the touch and sight!
– Resolving Cold and Heat Hits
When you notice that your plant is in too cold an area, you should bring it to a warmer place. One common problem growers make is that they keep their growing rooms warm only during the day. At night they turn off the heating and let the temperature fall — this is when monstera takes cold hits.
When moving your monstera to a warmer area, just make sure that you don’t shock them with too big a temperature difference all at once.
If you’re dealing with heat stress, you may want to keep your monsteras a bit further from the windows in the high afternoons. Window glass may even focus direct sunlight on your leaves and create an ever greater burning effect.
– Getting Rid of Pests
As soon as you spot a small batch of insects, it’s time to act, and handpicking is considered an effective solution if you only have a couple of plants! After handpicking, inspect the leaves and make sure there are no pests left.
You can wash the insects away too, but remember the jet has to be strong – and a strong jet can ruin the leaves too! After the cleaning process, you can generously mist your monstera plant – use a mixture of water and neem or horticultural oil! Rubbing alcohol is also a good option to clean away the sap.
– Solving Fertilization Problems
If your monstera is still young, you can use granular fertilizers. You can freely use the one with a lot of nitrogen, as the monstera will need plenty of it for growth! When it comes to fertilization, always guide yourself with the advice found on the label.
As far as fertilization schedules are concerned, apply general high-nitrogen fertilizer in spring and summer, slowly taking away the plant food as you move into fall. Winter doesn’t require any fertilization as your monsteras will largely be dormant during this period.
Understanding why your monstera leaves are curling is more complicated than you’d imagine, as there are many reasons why this can happen!
Just to remind ourselves of the most important ones:
- Remember to thoroughly inspect your monstera after the leaf curling. Not all causes have the same solutions!
- Low humidity and poor water drainage will have the same effect as low fertilization, for example, but overall, the actions you need to take to reverse these are different!
- To avoid monstera leaves curling up, you should ensure that your plant lives in a happy environment. And remember these three factors: good soil, high humidity, and plenty of light will make your monstera stand tall and bright!
Now that you better understand why curling leaves happen, we certainly hope you’ll cure your plants more effectively!
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