Monstera Leaves Curling: Symptoms, Causes, Solutions & All

Monstera plants, with their striking split leaves and vibrant green color, have become a popular choice among indoor gardeners.

However, like any other houseplant, they can face issues. One of the common concerns is when Monstera leaves start to curl.

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve deep into the potential causes behind this phenomenon and provide actionable solutions to help your Monstera thrive.

Table of Contents

Understanding Monstera Deliciosa

Botanical Overview

Monstera deliciosa, also known as the Swiss cheese plant, is a fascinating member of the Araceae family.

This epiphytic vine, native to the rainforests of Central and South America, boasts unique aerial roots and large, glossy, fenestrated leaves.

These natural leaf fenestrations, which resemble Swiss cheese, are characteristic of mature Monstera Deliciosa plants.

Popular Varieties

Apart from the classic Monstera deliciosa, there are several noteworthy varieties:

  • Monstera adansonii: Recognizable by its smaller, more delicate leaves, and distinctive hole patterns, this variety is often referred to as the “Swiss cheese vine.”
  • Monstera obliqua: This variety is particularly rare and highly sought-after due to its extremely fenestrated leaves. It’s important to note that true Monstera obliqua is exceptionally hard to find in the market.

Understanding these different varieties can provide valuable insights into the specific care requirements of your Monstera, as each may have its own unique characteristics and needs.

Read: Mini Monstera: Origins, Care, Propagation, Challenges & All.

Monstera Leaves Curling: Symptoms, Causes, Solutions & All
Credit: Reddit/eaticecream

Symptoms of Curling Leaves

Leaf curling is a common concern among Monstera owners. Understanding the various aspects of this issue is crucial for effective diagnosis and treatment.

Types of Curling

Upward Curling:

When Monstera leaves curl upwards, it’s often indicative of specific environmental stressors. This curling pattern is a natural response to reduce the surface area exposed to intense light.

Potential causes include:

  • Excessive Light: If the plant is subjected to prolonged periods of direct sunlight, the leaves may curl upwards as a protective measure.
  • Underwatering: When a Monstera doesn’t receive sufficient water, it may respond by curling its leaves upwards to minimize water loss through transpiration.
  • Nutrient Deficiencies: Monstera leaves can also be caused by nutrient deficiencies, particularly a lack of nitrogen or potassium.

Downward Curling:

Conversely, downward curling of leaves is another common issue that requires attention. This type of curling is typically a response to overwatering or inadequate light conditions:

  • Overwatering: When a Monstera is overwatered, the roots may suffer from reduced oxygen levels, leading to stress and leaf curling. The excess moisture can also disrupt nutrient uptake.
  • Low Light Intensity: In environments with insufficient light, Monstera plants may exhibit downward curling as a sign of weakened growth.
  • Pests: Monstera leaves can also be caused by pests, such as spider mites or aphids.

Associated Signs

In addition to the distinct curling patterns, there are other signs that may accompany this issue:

  • Yellowing or Browning of Leaf Edges: This can be an indication of various problems, including nutrient deficiencies or even pest infestations.
  • Wilting or Drooping Appearance: If your Monstera appears to be drooping, it’s a sign that the plant is under stress. This could be due to overwatering, underwatering, or other environmental factors.
  • Stunted Growth: If you notice a significant slowdown in the growth of your Monstera, it’s crucial to investigate the potential causes, as healthy plants should demonstrate steady growth.

Recognizing these associated signs alongside the specific curling patterns will provide you with valuable clues as to what may be causing your Monstera’s leaves to curl.

This comprehensive understanding will enable you to take targeted action to rectify the issue and restore your plant to optimal health.

Read: Monstera Plant Disadvantages And Benefits.

Possible Causes of Monstera Leaves Curling

Understanding the potential triggers of leaf curling is a crucial step towards providing the right care for your Monstera.

Environmental Factors

Environmental conditions play a significant role in the health and well-being of your Monstera plant.

Temperature Fluctuations:

Monstera plants thrive in stable, warm environments. Sudden drops in temperature, especially if they are drastic, can induce stress and lead to leaf curling.

Air Circulation:

Inadequate air circulation can trap excess humidity around the plant. This can create an environment conducive to fungal issues, which, in turn, may result in curled leaves.

Watering Issues

Proper watering practices are crucial for maintaining a healthy Monstera.


One of the most common problems with Monstera plants is overwatering. When the soil remains consistently soggy, it leads to root rot.

This, in turn, affects the plant’s ability to absorb water and nutrients, causing the leaves to curl.


Insufficient water supply can lead to drought stress. In response, the plant conserves water, which can result in curling leaves as a defense mechanism.

Light Conditions

The amount and quality of light your Monstera receives are essential factors to consider.

Direct Sunlight:

While Monstera enjoys bright, indirect light, direct sunlight can be too intense. It can lead to sunburn and curling of the leaves.

Low Light:

Insufficient light levels can hinder the process of photosynthesis, where plants convert light into energy. This can weaken the plant and lead to curling leaves.

Nutritional Deficiencies

A well-balanced diet is essential for your Monstera’s overall health.

Inadequate supply of essential nutrients, particularly nitrogen, can lead to leaf deformities and curling.

Regularly fertilizing your plant with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer during the growing season can help address potential nutrient deficiencies.

Pests and Diseases

Pests and diseases can wreak havoc on your Monstera’s well-being.

Common Pests Affecting Monstera:

Pests like spider mites, mealybugs, and aphids are known to infest Monstera plants. They feed on the plant’s sap, causing stress and potentially leading to leaf curling.

Recognizing Signs of Infestation:

Keep an eye out for visible pests, discolored or distorted leaves, and the presence of sticky residue, as these are indicators of a potential pest problem.

Treatment Options:

Depending on the type of pest or disease, treatment may involve using insecticidal soap, neem oil, or introducing natural predators like ladybugs to control pest populations.

In-Depth Discussion of Causes

Understanding the underlying factors contributing to leaf curling is essential for targeted and effective care.

Overwatering vs. Underwatering


This is a prevalent issue with Monstera plants. When the soil is consistently saturated, the roots are deprived of oxygen.

This leads to root rot, a common problem in Monstera plants. Root rot impedes the plant’s ability to absorb water and nutrients, resulting in the curling of leaves.


Conversely, underwatering can lead to drought stress. When the plant doesn’t receive sufficient water, it responds by conserving moisture. This can result in curling leaves as a protective mechanism.

To address overwatering, allow the soil to dry out between waterings. Ensure proper drainage and consider repotting if the soil remains consistently waterlogged.

For underwatering, increase the frequency of watering and make sure water reaches the roots.

Light Intensity and Duration

Intense Light:

While Monstera enjoys bright, indirect light, direct sunlight can be harsh. Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can lead to sunburn, causing the leaves to curl.

Low Light:

Insufficient light can impede the process of photosynthesis. This process is crucial for a plant’s energy production. When hindered, the plant weakens, which can lead to curling leaves.

To address intense light, move the plant to a location with bright, indirect light. If direct sunlight is unavoidable, use sheer curtains to filter it.

For low light conditions, consider using grow lights or relocating the plant to an area with better lighting conditions.

Humidity Levels

High Humidity:

While Monstera appreciates high humidity, excessive levels can lead to fungal issues. This, coupled with poor air circulation, can result in leaf curling.

Low Humidity:

In environments with low humidity, especially in heated or air-conditioned spaces, the plant may struggle to retain moisture. This can result in curled leaves.

To address high humidity, increase air circulation by using a fan or opening windows. Avoid over-misting, as it can lead to excessive moisture.

For low humidity, place a humidifier near the plant or use a pebble tray filled with water to increase humidity levels.

Soil Composition and Drainage

Soil Quality:

Well-draining soil is crucial for Monstera plants. Compacted or waterlogged soil can suffocate the roots, leading to leaf curling.

Root Health:

Root health is directly tied to soil quality. Healthy roots are essential for efficient water and nutrient uptake, which prevents leaf curling.

To address soil quality, ensure the soil is well-draining and aerated. Consider repotting with a well-balanced potting mix. Check the root system for signs of rot. Trim away any damaged or rotting roots before repotting.

By comprehensively understanding these causes, you’ll be better equipped to diagnose and rectify the issue leading to your Monstera’s leaves curling.

This knowledge empowers you to provide the precise care needed for your plant to flourish.

Read: Monstera Soil Mix Recipe: Step-by-Step Guide & All.

Diagnosing the Problem

Accurately identifying the root cause of your Monstera’s leaf curling is a critical step towards providing the right care and restoring its health.

Observation and Visual Inspection

Start by carefully examining your Monstera plant. Take note of any unusual patterns, discolorations, or abnormalities on the leaves.

Look for signs of pests, such as webs, tiny insects, or sticky residues. Additionally, pay attention to the overall appearance of the plant, including the stems and soil.

Soil Moisture Analysis

Gently insert your finger into the soil up to an inch deep. Take note of how the soil feels:

  • Soggy or Waterlogged: This indicates overwatering, which can lead to root rot and subsequent leaf curling.
  • Dry and Crumbly: This suggests underwatering, which can result in drought stress and curling leaves.

Light Assessment

Evaluate the plant’s exposure to light. Consider the following:

  • Direct Sunlight: Is the plant exposed to prolonged periods of direct sunlight? This can cause sunburn and leaf curling.
  • Light Intensity: Is the plant receiving adequate, bright, indirect light? Inadequate light levels can weaken the plant.

Humidity Measurement

Use a hygrometer to measure the humidity level around your Monstera. Aim for a range of 60-70%. If the humidity is consistently too high or too low, it could be contributing to the leaf curling.

Taking these steps will help you gather valuable information about the current conditions and potential stressors affecting your Monstera.

This information will guide you in making the necessary adjustments to provide the optimal care for your plant.

Steps to Correct Monstera Leaves Curling

Addressing the specific issues causing leaf curling is crucial for restoring your Monstera’s health and vitality.

Adjusting Watering Habits


  • Allow the soil to dry out between waterings. Stick your finger into the soil about an inch deep to check for moisture levels.
  • Ensure proper drainage in the pot to prevent water from pooling at the bottom.


  • Increase the frequency of watering, ensuring that water reaches the roots. However, avoid letting the plant sit in water.

Modifying Light Conditions

Direct Sunlight:

  • Move the plant to a location with bright, indirect light. If direct sunlight is unavoidable, use sheer curtains or blinds to filter the light.

Low Light:

  • Consider using grow lights to supplement natural light, or relocate the plant to an area with better lighting conditions.

Addressing Humidity Levels

High Humidity:

  • Increase air circulation around the plant using a fan or by opening windows.
  • Avoid over-misting, as excessive moisture can lead to fungal issues.

Low Humidity:

  • Place a humidifier near the plant to raise humidity levels. Alternatively, use a pebble tray filled with water beneath the plant’s pot.

Soil Amendments and Repotting

  • Ensure the soil is well-draining and aerated. Consider repotting with a high-quality, well-balanced potting mix.
  • Inspect the root system for signs of rot. Trim away any damaged or rotting roots before repotting.

By taking these targeted steps, you can effectively address the specific issues causing your Monstera’s leaves to curl. Remember to monitor the plant’s progress and make adjustments as needed.

Preventative Measures

Implementing proactive care practices can help prevent issues like leaf curling from arising in the first place.

Establishing a Watering Routine

  • Consistent Schedule: Develop a regular watering routine based on the specific needs of your Monstera. Consider factors like humidity levels, temperature, and the moisture retention of the soil.
  • Monitor Moisture Levels: Use a moisture meter or perform the finger test to gauge when your plant needs water. This helps avoid both overwatering and underwatering.

Choosing the Right Pot and Soil

  • Well-Draining Pot: Select a pot with drainage holes to ensure excess water can escape. This prevents water from pooling at the bottom, reducing the risk of overwatering.
  • Quality Potting Mix: Use a high-quality, well-draining potting mix. A mix containing materials like perlite or orchid bark can aid in proper drainage.

Providing Adequate Light and Humidity

  • Optimal Lighting Conditions: Place your Monstera in an area with bright, indirect light. This mimics its natural habitat in the understory of the rainforest.
  • Maintaining Humidity: Consider using a humidifier, pebble tray, or grouping plants together to increase humidity levels. This is especially important in indoor environments with controlled climates.
  • Prune for Air Circulation: Regularly remove any dead or overcrowded foliage to promote better airflow around the plant. This can help prevent fungal issues associated with stagnant air.

Regular Inspection and Maintenance

  • Monitor for Pests and Diseases: Routinely check the plant for any signs of pests or diseases. Early detection allows for prompt treatment, minimizing potential damage.
  • Rotate the Plant: Periodically rotating the plant can ensure even exposure to light and prevent it from leaning or growing unevenly.

Quarantine New Plants

  • Isolate New Additions: If you introduce a new plant to your collection, consider placing it in quarantine for a few weeks. This helps ensure it doesn’t bring pests or diseases into your existing plant environment.

By incorporating these preventative measures into your Monstera care routine, you can create a conducive environment for your plant’s growth and well-being.

Dealing with Pests and Diseases

Identifying and addressing pest and disease issues promptly is essential for preserving the health and vitality of your Monstera.

Common Pests Affecting Monstera

Spider Mites:

  • Identification: These tiny arachnids can be difficult to see with the naked eye, but they leave fine webs on your plant.
  • Treatment: Spray the plant with a strong stream of water to dislodge mites. Apply insecticidal soap or neem oil, repeating the treatment as needed.


  • Identification: These small, cottony insects tend to cluster on the undersides of leaves and leaf joints.
  • Treatment: Dabbing affected areas with rubbing alcohol or applying neem oil can help eliminate mealybugs.


  • Identification: These small, soft-bodied insects can be green, black, or brown and are often found on the undersides of leaves.
  • Treatment: Spray with a mixture of water and a few drops of dish soap. Neem oil is also effective in controlling aphids.

Recognizing Signs of Infestation

  • Visible Pests: Look for insects or their eggs on the leaves, stems, and in leaf joints.
  • Discolored or Distorted Leaves: Pests may cause leaves to yellow, curl, or become misshapen.
  • Sticky Residue (Honeydew): Some pests secrete a sticky substance called honeydew, which can lead to the growth of sooty mold.

Treatment Options

Natural Remedies:

  • Insecticidal Soap: Mix a mild soap with water and spray it on the affected areas. This suffocates pests without harming your plant.
  • Neem Oil: Diluted neem oil is effective against a wide range of pests. It disrupts their feeding and reproduction.

Beneficial Insects:

  • Ladybugs: Release ladybugs near your Monstera. They are natural predators of aphids.

Isolation and Quarantine:

  • If you suspect a plant is infested, isolate it from your other plants to prevent the spread of pests.

Pruning and Removal:

  • Trim away heavily infested areas to reduce the pest population. Discard the affected plant material carefully.

Chemical Treatments:

  • If natural remedies prove ineffective, consider using a chemical insecticide. Ensure it is labeled safe for use on houseplants and follow the instructions carefully.

Remember to monitor your Monstera regularly for any signs of pests or diseases. Early intervention is often the most effective way to mitigate the impact of these issues on your plant’s health.

Monitoring Progress and Adjusting Care

Observing your Monstera’s response to the adjustments you’ve made is an essential part of providing the best care possible.

Patience and Consistency

  • Be Patient: Understand that plants, including Monstera, may take some time to show improvement. Changes in health and growth can be gradual, so be patient and allow the plant time to respond.
  • Maintain Consistency: Continue to provide consistent care in terms of watering, light, and humidity levels. This stability will help your plant acclimate to its environment.

Documenting Changes

  • Keep a Plant Journal: Record any changes you observe in your Monstera. Note the date, specific adjustments you’ve made, and the plant’s response. This documentation can provide valuable insights over time.
  • Photograph Progress: Take photos of your Monstera regularly. This visual record can help you track changes in its appearance and growth patterns.

Seeking Professional Advice

  • Consult with Experts: If issues persist or worsen despite your efforts, consider reaching out to a local nursery, horticulturist, or plant expert. They may be able to provide specialized advice based on your specific situation.
  • Online Plant Communities: Engage with online plant communities and forums. Fellow plant enthusiasts may have experienced similar issues and can offer valuable insights and advice.

Remember, every Monstera is unique, and factors like age, environment, and individual characteristics play a role in its response to care.

By staying attentive and responsive, you’ll be well-equipped to provide the best possible conditions for your Monstera to thrive.


Why are my Monstera leaves curling?

Monstera leaves can curl due to various reasons, including overwatering, underwatering, improper light conditions, humidity levels, and soil issues. Identifying the specific cause is essential for effective treatment.

Is it normal for Monstera leaves to curl?

While some degree of natural leaf movement is normal, significant or persistent curling is usually a sign of stress or a care-related issue.

How can I tell if my Monstera is overwatered?

Overwatered Monstera plants often exhibit symptoms like wilting, yellowing leaves, and, paradoxically, curling due to root rot. The soil may also feel consistently soggy.

Can underwatering cause Monstera leaves to curl?

Yes, underwatering can lead to drought stress, causing the leaves to curl as a protective measure to conserve water.

How can I increase humidity for my Monstera?

You can increase humidity by using a humidifier, placing a pebble tray filled with water near the plant, or grouping plants together. Avoid misting excessively, as it can lead to fungal issues.

What kind of light does a Monstera need?

Monstera thrives in bright, indirect light. Direct sunlight can lead to leaf burn, while low light conditions can result in weakened growth.

Can pests cause Monstera leaves to curl?

Yes, certain pests like spider mites, mealybugs, and aphids can cause stress and damage to the plant, leading to leaf curling.

Can I save my Monstera if the leaves are already curled?

Yes, with proper care adjustments, including addressing watering, light, and humidity issues, your Monstera has a good chance of recovering. It may take time, so be patient.

How often should I repot my Monstera?

Monstera plants generally benefit from repotting every 1-2 years or when they outgrow their current container. Ensure the new pot has adequate drainage.

What should I do if my Monstera has root rot?

If root rot is suspected, carefully remove the plant from its pot and trim away affected roots. Repot in fresh, well-draining soil and adjust watering habits to prevent future issues.


In conclusion, understanding and addressing Monstera leaves curling is crucial for the overall health and well-being of your plant. By recognizing the potential causes, implementing targeted corrective measures, and maintaining a proactive care routine, you can help your Monstera thrive.

Remember, overwatering and underwatering are common culprits, so finding the right balance is key. Pay attention to light levels, ensuring your Monstera receives bright, indirect light without being exposed to harsh direct sunlight. Humidity levels are also important, so consider using a humidifier or other methods to maintain optimal moisture levels.

Regular monitoring and adjustment of your care routine are essential. Keep an eye out for signs of pests or diseases, and address them promptly to prevent further damage.

By following these steps and staying attentive to your Monstera’s needs, you can enjoy the lush, vibrant foliage that makes this plant so beloved among indoor gardeners.

With patience, care, and a little bit of knowledge, your Monstera will continue to flourish and bring beauty to your living space. Happy gardening!

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