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Its enchanting and exotic-looking foliage makes Monstera immensely popular among fans of indoor gardening. While none of the members of this authentic family is overly complicated to take care of, occasionally you may spot Monstera leaves curling or philodendron leaves curling. Don’t freak out immediately, this is one of the commonly seen issues, so consequently, plenty of ways to tackle it.
There are SIX common causes why this happens. It may be a signal that your plant is not getting enough humidity. Or perhaps you are not watering it enough or you are doing it too often. But, it can also be due to being rootbound, exposed to inadequate temperature, or infested with pests.
For that reason, I came up with this convenient guide which will be your friend in need when your Monstera leaves become curly. Here’s what we shall discuss here:
- What to do if underwatering caused leaves curling?
- How to avoid overwatering it and prevent its foliage from curling?
- Is there a way to deal with low humidity?
- What to do if pests caused foliage curling?
- How does heat make the leaves curl?
- How being rootbound affects its health and look?
Without further ado, let’s see how to save your house plant leaves curling up!
What to Do If Underwatering Caused Leaves Curling?
When your plant is not receiving enough water, its wonderful leaves will start to curl. Believe it or not, this is the number one reason why Monstera deliciosa leaf reacts like this.
Common sense says that the first thing to do in a situation like this is to water it thoroughly, isn’t that so? And that’s precisely what you should do.
What I mean is you should soak the soil fully until all the liquid drains freely from the holes in the bottom of the container. Within a couple of minutes, it will already appear to be more vivid.
Of course, you’ll have to check a couple of details before you irrigate it. Does the container feel a bit lighter than usual? How do the leaves look like? Have they become crispy already or just slightly curly?
Finally, if the container feels lighter than usual, it is undoubtedly a sign that there’s no water in it. Also, always inspect the soil by sticking a finger into it. If it feels dry an inch (or two) below the surface, then yes- give your plant the precious liquid.
Will a precise watering schedule be of help?
To be honest, it won’t solve the issue completely. You see, so many factors determine the frequency of watering, which is why you cannot define the exact day for watering. Some of the factors include the growth speed of the plant, time of year, as well as temperature and humidity of the room your Monstera’s located in.
That’s why I always insist on checking the soil BEFORE watering. It’s the only way to clear away any doubts and be 100% if your plant is thirsty or not.
? Pro-Tip: Are you forgetful? Consider setting an alarm on your phone every few days which should remind you to inspect your Monstera regularly.
How to Avoid Overwatering It and Prevent Its Foliage from Curling?
This one is much trickier than the previously described situation. To make things even worse, it mimics the telltale signs of it, which can only lead to you watering your plant more often.
And day by day, the soil becomes too soggy, the roots die, and lose the ability to absorb water. The plant gradually wilts, and eventually, it becomes very sick. Or even dead.
But, there’s one trick which would help you tell the difference between under and overwatering. When it is caused by an excessive amount of precious liquid, it not only curls but the plant becomes yellow. However, unlike underwatering, it won’t have leaf tips curling down or browning.
So, when your plant is getting more water than it can take, it leads to root rotting and leaves curling. Such a plant, unfortunately, cannot be saved always, but you can give it a try.
You should remove all the affected parts of the roots (brown, black, mushy…) and pot them in the new container, using new soil. Give it a couple of days and hopefully, you will spot some signs of life and progress.
? Pro-Tip: Does your plant have a funky smell? Something that resembles decay? That’s also a signal that its roots are rotting, which means urgent repotting.
Is There Way to Deal with Low Humidity
Perhaps you haven’t thought about it much, but the majority of plants we keep as indoor ones come from tropical rainforests. In these locations, the temperature is constant, as well as humidity. It is consistently high.
Why do I tell you this?
Humidity is often the trickiest part of indoor plant care, and it is the reason why many plants suffer. When spending too much time in locations where humidity is not adequate, they start to suffer.
In most cases, the humidity we have in our homes is significantly lower than the one plants need. And your Monstera will react by leaves curling.
If you ask me which level is ideal for this species, I’d say >40%. Only if the level is notably lower than that, they will start reacting. Aside from leaf curling, you may also spot that the tips of the leaves have become brown (or even worse-crispy).
Related: Grow Light for Monstera
Now, you probably wonder…
…How to tell when humidity caused curling?
How to be 100% that it is not due to over or underwatering?
Quite simply- inspect the soil! If the wetness level optimal (neither dry nor soggy), then you are watering it adequately. Consequently, the humidity is the “guilty one” for Monstera’s curling leaves.
The best way to check is to use some practical gadget such as a digital hygrometer or thermometer to measure the moisture level in the room. This way you will have precise insight into how things stand.
Now, after confirming that low humidity is the reason, the next thing to do is find a way to fix it. There are many ways to do so.
For example, start misting your plant more often. Then, put a pebble tray under its container. Finally, consider investing in a good humidifier. If you are already a plant lover, then it will be a smart one, as it will make all your plants grow healthier. And happier.
? Pro-Tip: If you have more than one plant- perfect, as you can use them to boost humidity level in your place. Group them and they will form some sort of microclimate due to transpiration and ensure the desired level of humidity.
What to Do If Pests Caused Foliage Curling?
Even though this family of plants is not prone to pests that tend to attack indoor plants, occasional infestations may happen. The most common enemies are notorious sap-sucking bugs, such as mealybugs, spider mites and thrips. They enjoy sucking the tasty juices from the vast majority of indoor plants.
Now, how come that caused curling?
When these tiny nuisances attack your plants and suck the sap from them, your plan loses water. Even though the plant itself constantly feeds on nutrients and water from the soil, when attacked by these enemies, it cannot develop properly.
What you should do is inspect your Monstera (and other plants) from time to time. Check the top of the leaves, as well as the underside. Some of these bugs can be spotted immediately, but the others are quite miniature. Get a magnifying glass.
How to get rid of them?
If you have spotted signs of infestation, then the next logical thing to do is clean your plant. If it is still mild, then chances to save your plant are higher.
Of course, when a plant is affected, isolate it from the others. You don’t wanna end up cleaning 15 infested houseplants, do you?
You can use rubbing alcohol or a mild solution of water and soap to clean the leaves. If you do this regularly, you will minimize the possibility of a plant getting attacked.
? Pro-Tip: When you buy a new plant, keep it isolated from the other ones. This goes not only for Monstera but other species as well. Why so? To make sure it has no intruders, that is-pests.
How Does Heat Make the Leaves Curl?
Higher temperatures can be the reason why leaves on Monstera curl. In addition to this, warmer drafts can have the same effect.
This sudden change in temperature level may seem insignificant to you, but it’s not good for your plant. After all, it is much more sensitive than us humans, which is why you need to pay special attention to temperature as well.
This also goes when you relocate your plant. If you move it to a place where the temperature is drastically different than the one where it resides at the time being, be sure that it will react.
That’s because the heat and the airflow lead to faster consumption of water, and eventually loss of it. Your plant gradually becomes drier and drier, and its foliage starts to curl.
What you should bear in mind is that conditions are ever-changing. You cannot predict them, but you can be responsible and check and adjust them regularly. That’s the only way to keep it healthy and make it prosper.
? Pro-Tip: When the seasons shift, you should consider moving your plant accordingly. While Monstera is pretty happy and satisfied in an east-oriented window for most of the year, it would be wise to find another place during the warmest summer months.
How Being Rootbound Affects Its Health and Look?
Once I mentioned that when a plant is in a too-small container that feeling is the same as when you wear smaller shoes than you should. It’s tight and uncomfortable, and neither you nor your plant like it.
As your plant develops, its watering requirements grow as well. The roots become bigger, and logically, they “drink” more water.
And sooner than you realize it, the root system has grown so much that your plant feels like wearing overly tight shoes. But the bigger problem is that it is not getting enough precious liquid– which leads to leaves curling.
If the is dry only a daz or two after watering, then chances are the container and soil are not keeping enough humidity. That’s why you should transplant it to a more comfortable container.
? Pro-Tip: When you spot roots branching from the drainage hole, it’s an alarm to repot your plant in a larger container with more soil ASAP. Those poor roots which have no room inside look for some sort of exits, and that’s why they grow out of the holes.
Eventually, the reason may be none of the abovementioned. If you have inspected and checked all six reasons, and your Monstera looks healthy but still has curling leaves, then congrats! It’s the babies- aka monstera new leaf!
Jokes aside, but when new leaves emerge for the first time, they are curled up. They unfurl slowly, and their color is a bit lighter than the one older leaves have.
That’s why you will have a Monstera leaf curling or even a couple of them for a few days until they opens to the world. Monsteras are magnificent, aren’t they? As I said, if you are taking proper care of your plant, there are no reasons for it not to prosper and bring a touch of tropical paradise to your home.
As you could see, Monstera leaves curling can be triggered by a couple of factors, but none of them is impossible to deal with. All you have to do is check them all, one by one, and eliminate them until you find the main suspect.
None of the plants from this amazing family is too complicated to take care of, at least not the ones kept commonly. What you should do is ensure optimal temperature and humidity, and the majority of potential issues, along with curled leaves, will be eliminated.
How do you maintain an adequate level of humidity to prevent the foliage on your Monstera from curling? Hit the comments section below, I’d like to hear your very special tips and tricks!