The most common reason for monstera leaves drooping is due to drought stress from underwatering and low humidity. Monstera need the soil to be evenly moist after watering and prefer high humidity. If the soil dries out and the humidity is too low then the leaves curl and droop as a sign of stress.
However there are several other reasons why a monstera (Deliciosa, Adansonii, Obliqua) may droop unrelated to drought stress: I have summarized the most common reasons for droopy monstera plants in the table below:
|Symptoms of Drooping Monstera:||Reasons for Droopy Leaves:|
|Monstera leaves and vines drooping due to a lack of supporting structure:||Monstera are climbing vines that need a support for their ariel roots to climb to prevent the whole plant from drooping down under its own weight.|
|Monstera drooping after repotting:||Monstera often droop after repotting due to the sudden contrast in conditions and the stress of the root structure being interfered with. New pots can also retain too much moisture for the monstera to tolerate.|
|Monstera leaves drooping and turning yellow:||Yellowing drooping leaves indicate stress from overly damp soil from overwatering. Cold temperatures and a lack of nutrients can also be contributing factors.|
|Leaves drooping and curling:||If the leaves are curling and drooping simultaneously, this indicates drought stress due to underwatering, hydrophobic soils and low humidity.|
|New monstera leaves drooping:||New leaves are less tolerant of adverse conditions and are more sensitive to a fluctuation in humidity, temperature or air flow.|
Keep reading for why your monstera plant has drooping leaves and for how to implement the solutions to save it…
Monstera Plant Drooping (Monstera Vines need Support)
In their natural habitat, monstera plants are semi-epiphytic plants with climbing vines that anchor themselves to nearby trees with their specialized ariel roots so that they can climb the tree to avoid competition from the forest floor and seek brighter light.
The monstera starts life as a terrestrial plant on the forest floor and the ariel roots only emerges the plant matures as it looks to climb the nearest tree.
Therefore to grow monstera as houseplants indoors, it is important to provide your monstera plant with a structure that it can climb up as it matures otherwise it droops over.
Some retailers include a special supportive pole which has moss and coconut coir wrapped around the structure to form a more natural surface for the monstera to climb.
However if you have bout a smaller more immature monstera then it is unlikely to have come with a supporting structure and you have to buy one yourself which are available from garden centers and online.
Once you have bought a pole for your monstera you can loosely tie some of the vines to the pole with string to encourage it to climb up, at which point the whole plant should look much better and less droopy.
Always use string as it is softer then wire which can harm the monstera’s stems.
It is also a good idea to mist the pole and the monstera’s ariel roots every time your water, as monstera needs high humidity.
Monstera Drooping After Repotting
If your monstera is drooping after repotting then this is likely a temporary reaction to the stress of being repotted and potentially moved to a different location.
When a monstera is moved from its original pot to a larger pot there is often a difference in how quickly the potting medium dries.
A larger pot has more capacity for soil and therefore retains moisture for much longer.
There is also the stress of the monstera’s roots being interfered with.
When the monstera is transplanted into the new potting medium it can take a while for the roots to establish in the soil and be able to draw up moisture and nutrients with the same efficiency.
The potting medium is also critical when repotting your monstera.
If your monstera was healthy and not drooping in appearance then I would seek to use a similar type of potting soil when repotting.
Monstera grow naturally in well draining soil that is aerated, porous and rich in organic matter.
Therefore your monstera may be drooping if it has been repotted into compost that is not porous enough or perhaps you have inadvertently firmed the compost in with too much force which can push oxygen out of the soil and interfere with root respiration.
The monstera has to contend with a contrast in temperatures, humidity, sunlight and air flow if you had to move the monstera in addition to repotting it.
Each one of these factors can contribute to the stress that results in droopy leaves.
I should also emphasize that the best time of year to repot monstera plants is during the Spring as this is when the plant is at its most resilient to the stress of repotting.
How to Save it…
The only way to revive a droopy monstera plant after transplanting is to as closely replicate the conditions of its preferred native environment (Central America).
By creating the optimal environment for monstera plants you can alleviate the stress caused by the repotting and it should be able to recover in the following weeks.
- Always repot monstera plants in a pot that is only one size up from its original pot. Large pots retain too much moisture so if the new pot is only an inch or two larger in diameter then the soil should be able to dry out at a similar rate which reduces the risk of root rot.
- Repot your monstera in potting soil that has been amended to improve its drainage. Mix around 70% ordinary potting soil with either orchid potting medium or horticultural grit/perlite. This should create an aerated potting medium that retains moisture yet allows excess water to efficiently drain away so that the roots can respire and transport water and nutrients to the leaves.
- Try to use a terracotta or unglazed clay pot, rather then glazed ceramic or plastic. Terracotta and clay are naturally porous which allows the potting soil to dry more evenly after watering. This reduces the risk of root rot which can can cause the leaves to droop.
- Try to maintain the same environmental conditions as the monstera’s previous location. Monstera prefer bright, indirect light rather then full sun, temperatures of between 60°F to 85°F (15°C to 30°C) and high humidity. Increase the humidity by misting the leaves, support and the monstera’s ariel roots everyday whilst the leaves are drooping (if it is a mature plant). Try to avoid any air currents from draughty areas, open doors or air conditioning.
Once you have ensured the monstera has the optimal conditions for growth and it is repotted into the ideal pot size, material and potting medium then the monstera should improve with consistent care and stop drooping.
Monstera Drooping and Turning Yellow
If the monstera leaves are drooping and turning yellow then this is usually an indication of overwatering.
Monstera need the top inch of soil to dry out between each bout of watering. If the monstera is consistently overwatered to the point the potting medium is saturated then this exudes oxygen from the soil.
If there is no oxygen in the soil then the roots cannot respire (roots need oxygen in the soil to function properly) and therefore cannot draw up the moisture and nutrients that the monstera requires. Without the moisture and nutrients the monstera’s leaves turn yellow and begin to droop.
A lack of oxygen in the soil (resulting in yellow drooping leaves) can also be due to overly compacted soil or because excess water has pooled at the base of the pot in saucers and trays which keeps the potting soil too boggy for the monstera’s roots to tolerate.
It is also important to acknowledge that monstera plants actively grow in the Spring and Summer and are somewhat dormant in the Winter.
Whilst the monstera is dormant it does not grow and therefore the demand for water decreases significantly. This usually means that the potting soil stays moist for a lot longer after watering.
If the monstera’s demand for water decreases yet you are still watering the monstera with the same frequency in Spring and Summer then this is likely the potting soil is too damp which when combined with cold temperature can promote the conditions for root rot which causes the leaves to turn yellow droop and die back.
Other contributing factors to yellowing drooping leaves can be a a lack of nutrients in the soil or cold temperatures.
How to Save it…
- Scale back the frequency of watering in Winter. Only water your monstera when the top inch of the soil has dried. It is a good idea to monitor how quickly the soil dries from week to week during the period of Fall to Winter by using your finger to detect when the soil is drying out. You can also monitor the soils moisture with a moisture meter or just by picking up the pot and assessing the weight. When the soil is drying out the pot should feel significantly lighter.
- Empty any saucers, trays or decorative outer pots of excess water regularly. Good drainage is essential for preventing yellow and droopy leaves so always check after watering that water is not pooling around the base.
- Keep the monstera in a room that is ideally between 60°F to 85°F (15°C to 30°C) and avoid any significant temperature fluctuations. Consider whether your monstera is too close to a source of heat or in a cold draughty areas. Sometimes the monstera leaves can be in contact with the glass of a window which can be significantly colder then the ambient room temperature.
It is also possible the monstera’s potting soil is low in nutrients. If the monstera does not have any additional fertilizer in the growing season then it can exhaust the soil of nutrients. Without enough nutrients the leaves turn yellow and droop.
In which case use a general all purpose, liquid houseplant fertilizer in the Spring and Summer and the monstera should begin to recover.
(Read my article, how to water monstera plants for all the best watering practices at different times of year).
Drooping and Curling Monstera Leaves
If the monstera’s leaves are simultaneously drooping and curling then this is usually because of underwatering combined with low humidity.
Monstera plants need the soil to be evenly moist after watering. If the soil is too dry from not watering often enough or watering too lightly then the plant suffers drought stress resulting in droopy, curling leaves.
The leaves are curling up as a survival strategy to reduce the surface area of the leaf and therefore reduce the rate of water loss to conserve its limited resources.
Drought stress (resulting in curling and drooping leaves) can occur even if you are watering the monstera regularly.
This is because potting soil often contains peat which can become hydrophobic (repels water) when it dries out.
If you have left its slightly too long between bouts of watering then the soil can bake hard and repel water off the surface and the moisture does not infiltrate the soil and reach the roots where it is required.
If you scratch back the surface of the soil then you can often feel that the soil is dry even after watering.
Low humidity can also sap moisture from the leaves too quickly and exacerbate the stress that causes the curling, drooping leaves. Low humidity can be caused by indoor heating, air currents or draughts.
It is also important to note that monstera plants prefer a temperature cycle where the temperature is around 10°F cooler in the evening.
Indoor heating can raise the temperature at night in a cycle that is contrary to the monstera’s natural cycle which can contribute to the stress that causes the drooping leaves.
(Read my article, if your monstera leaves are turning brown).
How to Save it…
- Place the monstera’s pot in a basin of lukewarm water for 10 minutes ensuring that the root ball is submerged under water. This allows the hydrophobic soil to loosen and absorb water properly to reach the roots. After you have submerged the pot the structure of the soil should improve and you can go back to watering the monster conventionally.
- Always water your monstera thoroughly so that excess water trickles from the drainage holes in the base of the pot. It is essential for the potting soil to be evenly moist after watering so that the roots can access the moisture they require.
- Water your monstera when the top inch of the soil feel dry. This cycle of watering creates the optimal balance of soil moisture to meet the monstera’s water requirements whilst avoiding the problems associated with overwatering.
- Always mist the leaves to increase the humidity. Whilst the leaves are curling I recommend misting the leaves everyday. This reduces the rate of water loss which should alleviate the stress that initially caused the laves to curl.
- Locate your monstera on the other side of the room from any source of heat. If the temperature is too high ten this dries out the soil and the leaves too quickly for the monstera to tolerate.
- Locate your monstera in an area of bright, indirect light. Monstera does not tolerate direct sunlight as it is naturally grows in the dappled light of an overhead canopy. Too much sun can dry out the leaves and cause them to curl.
With the right cycle of watering and increased humidity from regular misting, the monstera’s leaves should recover from their drooping, curling appearance in the following weeks.
If you potting soil frequently becomes hydrophobic then it is likely it contains a high proportion of peat. In which case I recommend repotting it with ordinary potting soil amended with some girt or perlite.
Grit or perlite is a good way to create a more porous soil structure that allows water to infiltrate even when the soil dries out.
However I would wait until the monstera has recovered and ideally repot in the Spring as this is when the plant is at its most resilient.
New Monstera Leaves Drooping
If a newly emerged monstera leaf is drooping yet the other, more mature leaves appear okay then this is because the newly emerged monstera leaf is less able to cope with any fluctuation in conditions such as low humidity, high or low temperatures or unfavorable air currents.
Newer leaves are significantly less hardy then the battle harden leaves that have already adapted to the conditions of their immediate environment.
Usually the leaves recover of their accord if you give them enough time.
However in the meantime I would strongly suggest to follow the best practices of care to alleviate stress on the new leaves. This means misting the leaves to increase the humidity more diligently (as often as every day) ensuring the monster is in a room with a temperature range of 60°F to 85°F (15°C to 30°C) and 10°F cooler in the evening and keep them out of any unfavorable air currents from open windows, doors air conditioning or forced air.
Eventually the new leaves should adapt to their surrounding and mature so they are better able to cope with a differing range of conditions.
(Read my article, how to revive a dying monstera plant).
- Monstera leaves droop and curl because drought stress due to underwatering and low humidity. If the soil dries out then then the roots cannot uptake the moisture it requires and the leaves droop as a sign of stress. Dry air from indoor heating saps too much moisture from the leaves which causes them to curl.
- Monstera plants are climbing vines that require a structure to anchor to for support. If the monstera does not have a supportive structure as it matures the leaves and vines droop under their weight. Use a moss pole for the ariel roots to climb so that the monstera can support itself with drooping over.
- Monstera plants droop after repotting due to the sudden contrast in conditions. If the new pot is too large then the potting soil dries out too slowly for the monstera’s roots to tolerate. If the soil is damp for too long the monstera droops as a sign of stress.
- Monstera leaves curl and turn yellow due to overwatering. Monstera plants need the top inch of the soil to dry out between each bout of watering. If the soil is consistently boggy then the roots cannot uptake the moisture and nutrients to support the monstera’s leaves which causes them to droop.
- New monstera leaves often drop when they first emerge as they are less able to cope with any fluctuations in temperature, humidity or air flow. Once the leaf starts to mature then it becomes more hardy and resilient to any adverse conditions and should stop drooping.