Why Are My Monstera’s Leaves Drooping?

  • Time to read: 8 min.

Monstera deliciosa is a generally resilient plant that can bounce back from abuse. That’s why they’re such a popular houseplant for beginners and green-thumbed pros alike. Still, if your plant’s leaves are drooping, you’ll need to diagnose and cure the issue before your plant dies. 

The most common reason why Monstera leaves start drooping is because of overwatering. Overwatering can lead to root rot, which can cause bending stems and wilted leaves. Overwatering can look exactly like underwatering, causing people to give a drowning plant more water.

There are other causes, however, such as not providing enough water, exposure to cold, and several others that I’ll cover in this article.

So, let’s look at each cause of drooping leaves and diagnose your plant together. I’ll teach you how to remedy these issues in your Monstera so that it can thrive and lift itself upon its strong, resilient stems. 

1. Overwatering

One of the most common causes of monstera leaf drooping is overwatering. Monsteras of all varieties are prone to overwatering, and they need fluffy, aerated soil with ample drainage.

When your Monstera is overwatered, you may notice: 

  • Dark brown, wilted patches on the leaves 
  • Yellowing leaves
  • Soft, bending stems
  • Signs of fungi in the soil or on your plant
  • Waterlogged, wet soil
  • Root rot (very dark spots on leaves, sour-smelling dirt, and dark, spongy roots)

Overwatering a plant will stress its stems and leaves, causing some of the cells that keep your plant solid and rigid to burst, leaving the plant floppy and weak. 

If you suspect that you have overwatered your Monstera, you may need to allow the plant to dry out. To help the soil dry, you can remove your plant from its pot and place the roots in a brown paper bag, mesh bag, or an empty terracotta pot for a few days to help everything dry off. 

If you suspect root rot or fungal growth in your Monstera’s soil, you should repot your plant completely, removing wet, spongy soil from the roots. Prune off leaves with dark brown spots and any areas that have fungus growing on them.

Let your plant dry out with no soil for about a day, then plant it in a terracotta pot with drier soil that includes aerators like peat moss, perlite, coco fiber, or orchid chips. 

You can check out my post on saving overwatered Monstera plants here.

2. Underwatering

Monstera plants don’t need too much water, but they do grow best in consistently moist soil. If you leave them for more than two weeks without any water, or if you live in an arid, hot climate, you may notice signs that your Monstera is underwatered. (I have a guide on it here.)

Here is what you should look out for: 

  • Drooping stems with downturned leaves
  • Leaves that curl inward
  • Wilted brown or yellow leaves that are dry to the touch
  • Dry, crumbling, or cracking soil
  • Stunted growth

To test the soil for moisture, you can use a handy moisture meter like this fantastic SONKIR 3-in-1 light, pH, and moisture detector (available on Amazon.com). I love this meter since it helps me determine when to fertilize, when to water, and where to put my plants in my home. 

If a meter doesn’t work for you, you can push your finger around 2 inches (5.08 cm) into the soil. If the dirt feels moist, your Monstera is getting enough water. However, if it feels dry, it’s time to water your plant. 

To help your Monstera’s soil retain moisture, I always recommend watering these plants from the bottom. To do so, fill up a bucket or deep pot with about 3 inches (7.62 cm) of water and dunk your Monstera for a few minutes. Then, allow excess moisture to drain from the pot. 

If you frequently have issues with underwatering, try to create a schedule that works for your Monstera. You can set a reminder on your phone for every 7 to 12 days to help you remember when it’s time for another dunk. 

3. Too Much Sunlight

Monstera plants aren’t very tolerant of direct sunlight. 

These plants naturally grow in tropical forests where they slowly climb up trees. So, they usually need some protection from the sun’s rays. At the same time, they have to be able to grow in areas with enough sunlight to keep the trees alive. That translates to bright, indirect sunlight when you keep your Monstera indoors. 

If your Monstera gets too much sunlight, you may notice: 

  • Withered brown spots on your plant’s leaves 
  • Yellow or sun-bleached leaves
  • Drooping leaves that show signs of burning 
  • Weak, floppy stems reaching away from the sunlight

If your Monstera plant is in a shady or dark spot, try moving it somewhere where it gets plenty of brightness from a window. Otherwise, you should consider using a grow light to supplement its exposure to light. 

4. Not Enough Sunlight

If your Monstera doesn’t have enough sunlight, it’ll stretch to find a better place, searching for light. 

Some signs that your Monstera isn’t getting enough sunlight are: 

  • Elongated, weak stems that reach towards either bright areas or very dark areas
  • Dying undergrowth
  • Stunted root or leaf growth
  • Your plant’s leaves have no fenestrations (splits or holes)

When a Monstera doesn’t get enough light, it’ll become “leggy” – essentially, it will develop elongated, flimsy stems that search for optimal light conditions.

In the wild, Monstera plants may grow leggy so they can move towards a brighter spot, searching for the sun. 

Otherwise, they’ll stretch towards a very dark area. This phenomenon is called negative phototropism. Since Monsteras are climbing plants, they search for the tallest trees to attach to so that they can get enough sunlight. So, when they don’t have enough light, they may grow in the direction of darkness, trying to detect a taller, shadier tree to scale. 

However, when your Monstera plant is indoors, it cannot climb, so if your plant seems to be growing in the wrong direction, you need to increase its exposure to light. 

Monsteras usually do best a few feet, or about a meter, from a bright window. Try to place your plant in a window with southern or northern exposure for the best results. When your plant starts growing upwards instead of sideways once again, you’ll know that you have found the ideal spot. 

5. Exposure to Cold 

Monstera plants are tropical, and they don’t tolerate cold temperatures well. 

Here are some signs that your Monstera has too much exposure to cold: 

  • Weak, flimsy stems
  • Brown spots on the leaves from cold-burn
  • Stunted growth
  • Discoloration, usually yellowing on the leaves
  • Dying older growth

Usually, the ideal temperature for these plants is 64º to 84°F (18º to 29°C), but they can survive in temperatures as low as 50º F (10º C). However, when your Monstera is that cold, it won’t grow, and if it’s that cold for multiple months at a time, the plant may start to kill off older growth. 

It’s always best to ensure that your Monstera plant is in a warm place. Don’t put it anywhere where there are drafts or particularly cold windows, and if you have a heating mechanism like a space heater or fireplace, you may wish to keep it close to that in the colder months. 

In a pinch (like if your heater has unexpectedly stopped working), you can also consider insulating your Monstera’s pot with a warm sweater. However, you’ll need to find a more permanent solution if the cold is a longer-term issue. 

6. Too Much or Too Little Fertilizer

All Monstera plants need fertilizer to thrive, especially considering their natural habitat in the dense undergrowth of tropical forests. That said, there’s also such a thing as too much fertilizer, and overfertilization can burn your plant. Similarly, too little fertilizer can result in growth issues. 

Here are some signs that your plant has too much or too little fertilizer: 

  • Weakened stems with drooping leaves
  • No new growth on your monstera
  • Burnt or browning leaves with dark brown spots
  • All the leaves are turning yellow

The ideal Monstera fertilizer is a liquid fertilizer that contains magnesium, calcium, and sulfur in a 1-1-1 ratio. You should dilute this fertilizer to half strength and fertilize your Monstera once a month in the summer and spring for the best growth. 

Monstera plants don’t grow as much in the winter, so you don’t need to fertilize them as often when it’s cold outside. Usually, fertilizing once every two months from November to March will keep your plant happy when the temperatures are low. 

7. Lack of Support

If your Monstera plant is otherwise healthy but still has drooping stems, it might be time to add some support – after all, Monsteras are climbing plants. 

If your Monstera doesn’t have enough support, it will droop, but it’ll otherwise have healthy growth. Usually, support is necessary for large, tall plants like Monsteras, so you may need to add a stake or two to help it keep growing upwards. 

Mature Monsteras have tons of nodes and aerial stems that help support the plant, but without something for it to prop up on, the limbs may bend downward, sending your plant’s leaves closer to the floor. 

If you suspect that your plant has become too heavy for it to hold itself up, you can add a thick stick, gardening stake, or trellis to your plant. 

When using a stick or stake, prop the support somewhere other than inside the soil for the best results. Usually, double-potting my Monstera and sticking the stake in the gap between the two pots works well for me. 

You can also use furniture such as a metal bookshelf to help your Monstera get some support.

Once you’ve found your perfect prop-up device, use some scrap string or ribbon to loosely tie the thickest stems of your plant to the support. Be sure not to tie it so tightly that it bends the stalks. 

Final Thoughts

Monstera leaves can droop for several reasons, such as too much or too little water, sunlight, or fertilizer. The plants may also sag if they get too cold or don’t have anything to help them stay upright. Hopefully, this guide has helped you diagnose your Monstera’s dropping problem – figure out what’s wrong and follow the steps discussed above to remedy the issue and ensure that your plant is pampered, healthy, and happy. 

Some of the most common reasons why monstera leaves droop are: 

  1. Overwatering 
  2. Underwatering
  3. Too much sunlight
  4. Not enough sunlight
  5. Exposure to cold 
  6. Lack of fertilizer
  7. Lack of support

Sources

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