Why is My Monstera Plant Droopy? (How to Save it)


Why is my monstera drooping

Monstera is one of my favorite houseplants, so imagine my dismay when I see the monstera I gifted looking droopy the next time I see it! I set about the challenge of restoring my friend’s Monstera plant to its former glory. In this post, I include all the steps, tricks, and hacks I used to revive my droopy-leafed friend…

The most common reason for monstera leaves drooping is due to drought stress from underwatering and low humidity. Monstera needs the soil to be evenly moist after watering and prefers 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 pole for their ariel roots to climb to prevent the whole plant from drooping down under its own weight.
Monstera drooping after repotting:Monstera often droops 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 airflow.

Keep reading for my personal odyssey on my mission to save the drooping monstera…

Why is My Monstera Plant Drooping? (Monstera Vines need Support)

For us to save our monsters, it is important that we understand how they grow in the wild so we can emulate these conditions in our homes.

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 that we provide your monstera plant with a structure that it can climb up as it matures, otherwise it droops over.

Some responsible retailers include a special supportive pole that 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 come with a supporting structure, and you have to buy one yourself, which I buy from my local garden center.

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.

Good tip: I always use string to tie my monstera as it is softer than 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 you water, as monstera needs high humidity.

Why is My Monstera Drooping After Repotting?

If your monstera is drooping after repotting, then I would not worry, as 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, I find 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 grows 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 contrasts in temperatures, humidity, sunlight, and airflow 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 closely replicate the conditions of its preferred native environment (Central America).

This is how I created the optimal environment for my monstera plants to alleviate the stress caused by the repotting, and it recovered in 3 weeks…

  • Always re-pot 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.
  • Re-pot your monstera in potting soil that has been amended to improve its drainage. I use a 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.
Potting medium for propagated monstera cutting
This is the potting mix I use for Monstera (in this case, a cutting that I propagated).
  • I used a terracotta or unglazed clay pot rather than glazed ceramic or plastic. Terracotta and clay are my favorite pots as they are naturally porous, which allows the potting soil to dry more evenly after watering. This reduces the risk of root rot, which can cause the leaves to droop.
  • Try to maintain the same environmental conditions as the monstera’s previous location. Monstera prefers bright, indirect light rather than full sun, temperatures of between 60°F to 85°F (15°C to 30°C), and high humidity. I increase the humidity by misting the leaves, support, and the monstera’s ariel roots daily whilst the leaves droop (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 mine perked up from its drooping appearance after 3 weeks.

Why is My Monstera Drooping and Turning Yellow?

If the monstera leaves are drooping and turning yellow then, from experience, this is usually an indication of overwatering.

Monstera needs 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.

However, I would bear in mind 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 much 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 reason your monstera is droopy because damp potting soil combined with cold temperature can promote the conditions for root rot causes the leaves to turn yellow droop and die back.

Other contributing factors to yellowing drooping leaves can be a lack of nutrients in the soil or cold temperatures.

How to Save it…

  • I recommend scaling 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. I use my finger to detect when the soil is drying out. You can also monitor the soil 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 area. Sometimes, the monstera leaves can be in contact with the glass of a window, which can be significantly colder than the ambient room temperature.

My monstera looked so much better when I relocated it to my bathroom, as the natural humidity, warmth, and bright light were perfect for it to thrive.

I would caution that it is also possible that your 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 this case, I would 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).

Why are my Leaves Drooping and Curling?

If the monstera’s leaves are simultaneously drooping and curling, then I have found 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 it 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.

What I recommend doing is scratching 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.

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 your 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, I find 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 pot’s base. The potting soil needs to be evenly moist after watering so the roots can access the required moisture.
  • Water your monstera when the top inch of the soil feels dry. This watering cycle 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 them every day. This reduces the rate of water loss, which should alleviate the stress that initially caused the leaves to curl.
  • Locate your monstera on the other side of the room from any source of heat. If the temperature is too high, then 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 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. As I said previously, I recommend placing your monstera in a bathroom as the humidity really helps.

If your potting soil frequently becomes hydrophobic then it is likely it contains a high proportion of peat. In this case, I recommend repotting it with ordinary potting soil amended with some grit, perlite, or orchid potting mix.

Grit, perlite, or orchid potting mix 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 re-pot in the Spring, as this is when the plant is at its most resilient.

Why is My New Monstera Leaf Drooping?

If a newly emerged monstera leaf is drooping yet the other, more mature leaves appear okay, then in my experience, 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 than the battle-harden leaves that have already adapted to the conditions of their immediate environment.

I can assure you that usually, the leaves recover on their accord if you give them enough time.

However, in the meantime, I would strongly suggest following 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 keeping them out of any unfavorable air currents from open windows, doors air conditioning or forced air.

Eventually, the new leaves should adapt to their surroundings 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).

Key Takeaways:

  • Monstera leaves droop and curl because of drought stress due to underwatering and low humidity. If the soil dries out, 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 rather than droop 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 airflow. Once the leaf matures, it becomes more hardy and resilient to any adverse conditions and should stop drooping.

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