Why is my monstera droopy?

Monsteras are one of the most commonly purchased indoor plants around the world, turning homes into indoor jungles in an instant. Unfortunately, they are not without problems. But knowledge of their needs will help you identify and resolve the issue with ease.

Monsteras droop for a number of reasons, but the main cause is usually moisture-related – either too little or too much. Incorrect light levels can also cause wilting, along with nutrient issues. If your plant has been in the same pot for several years, lack of pot space may be the problem. Inspect your plant to determine which is most likely and rectify the conditions to encourage the leaves to return upright and look healthy again.

Here are six of the most common reasons for a droopy monstera plant.

Droopy monstera plant

1. It needs water

The most common reason for dropping leaves in a monstera plant is underwatering. If the soil is left to dry out completely, the cells within the thin leaves will lack the moisture required to fill them out and hold the plant up, leading to drooping.

Never leave the pot to dry out completely to avoid moisture stress. Instead, test the soil every few days with your finger and water when the top layer of soil has dried out. This is better than watering on a strict schedule which can easily lead to under or overwatering due to changes in environmental conditions day by day.

2. It needs to be repotted

In the right conditions, Monsteras are considered quick growers. Their expansive root systems can fill out smaller pots within a couple of months during the growing season.

Although they don’t mind being a little cramped, the plant will start to struggle when roots circle around each other and can’t absorb moisture or nutrients effectively.

Once you notice roots growing through the drainage holes or above the soil line along with drooping leaves, it’s time for repotting.

Remove the plant from its container and transfer it to a pot around two sizes up. Terra cotta pots are preferred as they draw excess moisture away from the roots, preventing rotting in these hemiepiphytes. Keep the soil texture as similar as possible to limit shock and water immediately after repotting.

3. It needs fertilizer

All plants need a wide range of nutrients to grow effectively. Each nutrient performs a slightly different function, but they all work together to create a healthy plant. If your monstera lacks any of these essential nutrients – particularly nitrogen responsible for leaf and stem growth – they will begin to droop and will ultimately stop growing.

Nutrient deficiency usually occurs when the plant has been in the same pot for a long period of time with any fertilizer or new soil. Fertilize regularly with a balanced houseplant fertilizer during spring and summer, applied according to the instructions on the packaging. Repot when needed to improve soil conditions.  

4. It needs more sunlight

Monsteras are known for their ability to handle moderate to low light relatively well. They may lose their characteristic fenestration, but they can still keep themselves alive for short periods.

However, they cannot survive in excessively low light, as in rooms with no windows or small north-facing windows. When the plant lacks sunlight, growth will slow dramatically and your monstera will struggle to function correctly, leading to drooping leaves.

Move the monstera to an area with moderate to bright indirect light. If the conditions are vastly different, introduce the plant to the new area slowly to allow the leaves to adapt to the new light without damage.

5. It needs less harsh direct light

While too little sunlight can damage the plant, too much light can be just as harmful. In their native habitats, monsteras are protected by the canopies of trees, never exposed to harsh and direct sunlight.

They can handle an hour or two of gentle morning sun from an east-facing window, but will quickly burn if left in direct sunlight in the intense midday or afternoon heat. Leaves in direct sunlight will begin to droop as they burn and lack moisture, developing brown patches that won’t turn green again.

Keep your Monstera out of the path of direct sunlight, unless it is very early morning sun. If you only have spots with direct light, filter it using a sheer curtain to provide the ideal conditions for growth. Prune any damaged leaves to promote new and healthy growth.

6. It has root rot

Finally, one of the most concerning reasons your monstera may be drooping is root rot. This can be caused by a number of things, with overwatering the most likely.

As monsteras are hemiepiphytes, their roots are not used to sitting in excessively moist soil for long periods. If you water when the top layer of soil is still wet, this will leave excess moisture around the roots, causing them to become soft and mushy.

But watering frequency isn’t the only consideration. Root rot can also be caused by lack of drainage in the pot the monstera is planted in, or in the texture of the soil mixture. Whenever you repot, ensure you choose a container with plenty of drainage holes and use a well-draining soil mix designed for houseplants to avoid root rot in future.

If the leaves of your plant are drooping due to root rot, repot the plant immediately, removing all the current soil to remove the fungus. Trim any affected roots to prevent spread and replant into brand new soil.

Madison Moulton
Madison Moulton

Madison Moulton is an esteemed gardening writer and editor with a profound affection for plants that took root in her childhood. As a life-long plant enthusiast, Madison’s early captivation with indoor gardening blossomed into a full-fledged profession. Her dedication and expertise in the field have seen her words grace the pages of several national gardening magazines, as well as some of the most popular online platforms.

With bylines in notable gardening publications such as Epic Gardening, Rural Sprout, Homes & Gardens, and All About Gardening, Madison’s voice stands out as a beacon for sustainable and eco-friendly gardening practices. Moreover, her vast experience with tropical plants has not only made her a valuable contributor to our team but has also earned her features in esteemed platforms like Real Homes and Architectural Digest.

While Madison’s extensive writing portfolio speaks volumes about her gardening expertise, her mission remains consistent: to inspire novice and seasoned gardeners alike to approach gardening with both the flora and the earth’s well-being at heart. Outside the digital realm, Madison is hands-on, immersing herself in the rich soils of her home country, South Africa, where she passionately plants and tends to her own garden.

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