As striking as monster plants can be, they won’t look as great if they start having droopy stems and leaves. For newbies, it might be especially discouraging to notice how limp newly bought monsteras may become—it was like that for me too. But flagging in these wonderful large-leave plants is commonly quite easy to fix once you know what’s causing it!
Monstera plants can droop because of 1) underwatering, 2) overwatering, 3) poor drainage, 4) erratic light, 5) temperature stress, 6) low humidity, 7) excess fertilizer, 8) transplant shock, 9) lack of support, 10) insufficient space, and 11) pest infestation.
More often than not, it’s quite easy to revive wilting monsteras. Once you finish reading this, you’re bound to find it much easier to prevent droopy monstera plants altogether as well!
The most common cause of dropping in monstera plants is underwatering. Monstera plants that are underwatered can wilt, curl, and even drop their leaves before dying.
Best-case scenario, having some leaf soften and wilt on your monstera simply means that it’s time to water it again.
However, when you forget to water your monstera regularly it’s bound to experience chronic underwatering. That’s where more serious problems actually start rearing their ugly heads.
Despite being relatively drought-tolerant plants, the monstera can sustain damage to their roots and become more prone to catching diseases.
When the monstera is repeatedly underwatered it won’t just show signs of wilting.
Your thirsty tropical plant will start getting curly leaves, brown leap tips, yellow lower leaves, and black new growth.
Monstera needs ample water for them to stay lush and upright. Having enough water in their soil that they can easily access will also induce the development of bigger leaves.
Because it requires moderate watering, make sure to never let the soil go bone dry between waterings. To do that, thoroughly water it once the top 2–3 inches (5–8 cm) of its soil has dried up.
Adding 2–6 inches (5–15 cm) of mulch will help the soil of your plants stay sufficiently moist even during the hot summer months. Use materials like wood chips, moss, and coco coir.
When overwatered, monstera plants also droop completely. Affected plants may also start slowly dropping leaves. More importantly, monsteras can develop root rot.
On the other end of the scale on watering issues with plants, overwatering can also lead to seemingly weak and limp monstera plants.
Leaf discoloration, from yellow to brown, is also another sure sign that your monstera has been getting too much water. This could happen after you start seeing its leaves sweating.
Remember, monsteras want their soil moist, not waterlogged. They’ll suffocate and basically drown if you keep their soil highly saturated.
So when you grow them at home, especially when they’re kept in containers indoors, you need to keep in mind that you don’t need to water monster plants every single day!
Also, the roots of your monstera will probably start rotting in such a saturated growing medium. They’ll turn soft, mushy, brown, and smell pretty bad. Even the stems of your monstera plant can rot if they’re always wet and show the same symptoms.
Always check the soil for moisture before watering the plant again. Only water your monstera once its soil is dry starting from at least 2–3 inches (5–8 cm) from the top. Some even
You can use your finger, a toothpick, or a simple wooden chopstick for this. If it’s dry and clean after you pull it back out, you don’t need to water it again for now.
Also, it’s best to cut back on watering overall if you have it indoors—especially during the cold winter months. Otherwise, it’ll likely get root rot.
3. Poor Drainage
Monstera plants in pots without drainage holes are highly likely to droop. Although these plants prefer moist soil, they can’t tolerate being flooded conditions for long.
For your monstera to grow lush and all perked up, its soil should have great drainage. It doesn’t like having a lot of stagnant water surrounding all of its roots.
Discover the importance of drainage holes in planters!
You see, though it originates from the tropical forests of Central America, monstera thrives there because it has considerably deeper soil there which prevents it from having wet feet!
In fact, most monstera plants are rather well-adjusted to growing in the well-draining, alkaline, and chalky soils of Miami-Dade County in Florida.
So if you’re going to grow monstera outdoors, make sure it’s planted in an area that won’t get flooded after heavy rainfall. Indoors, regularly check if the drainage holes of the pot have been clogged. Remove any material that’s causing the blockage.
Mix in some perlite or vermiculite into the potting soil as well to further improve drainage and prevent monsteras from drooping.
4. Erratic Lighting
Floppy monstera stems and leaves may be caused by prolonged exposure to sudden changes in lighting intensity. They may also drop leaves and get discolored.
Contrary to popular belief, monsteras are actually pretty tolerant of a wide range of lighting conditions. It’s the sudden changes in lighting that’s actually the problem!
Monstera plants can grow with full sun to complete shade. During winter, it can handle 2–6 hours of direct light while some shade may be needed in the summer.
Extreme and sudden changes can quickly lead to wilting. They may also drop lots of leaves gradually or quickly depending on the changes in lighting.
Moreover, monsteras that are abruptly exposed to intense light along with high temperatures will result in sunburn—affecting both old and new growth.
On the other hand, insufficient light can cause it to become weak and eventually wilt.
Place your monstera plant in an area where it will receive more stable light exposure. You can position it near northern or eastern windows for ample natural light in the morning.
Also, if you want to move it outdoors make sure to slowly expose it to brighter and stronger light bit by bit to prevent it from wilting and burning.
Check out our experiment of drying out plants directly under the sun!
5. Temperature Stress
Native to Central America with more stable temperatures year round, monstera can become floppy due to extreme temperature stress. This can also result in the death of new growth.
When the weather gets too warm or too cold all of a sudden, your monstera will sure to suffer either way.
Due to such temperature extremes, your entire monstera plant can wilt, drop its foliage, and produce only blackened new shoots.
Temperatures of 86°F (30°C) and over can make it lose water more quickly—with harsh lighting, it can even get sunburnt. So don’t place your monstera outside in summer or too close to the window indoors as the direct afternoon sunlight can burn them.
Conversely, temperatures of 50°F (10°C) and below can not only lead to but also the untimely death of your delightful monstera plant. These tropical plants simply can’t handle freezing temps and frost.
The monstera plant thrives in warm temperatures, so it’s hardy to zones 10–12. However, it can easily grow well within the 60–85°F (16–29°C) range.
As such, you can grow them indoors if you want to be able to control their growing environment more readily.
Keep an eye out on the room temperature using a thermometer and set up your thermostat accordingly to maintain stable growing temperatures for this stunning foliage houseplant.
6. Low Humidity
Inadequate humidity around monstera plants can cause them to become droopy. Potted monsteras kept indoors during winter often wilt as the humidity can drop below 20%.
Again, monsteras are native to Central America—from Mexico to Panama. In other words, it likes it quite humid.
Monstera plants need moderate to high humidity for their large stems and leaves to remain upright and stand tall. This is also essential for fruiting!
Overly low humidity levels dry out your monstera greatly and quickly. Unlike succulents, they need humidity levels to reach at least 40% to continue living and growing well.
Besides drooping, the leaves of your monstera will also start curling and drying up with persistently dry air around it.
Have a hygrometer placed near your monstera so you can regularly monitor the humidity around it. Ideally, it should stay around the 40–60% range.
When it gets the air gets too dry, boost humidity by placing your potted monstera on a tray with a layer of rocks or pebbles and clean water. Room humidifiers are also very effective.
Others may advise you to regularly mist your houseplants to maintain a good humidity level around your plants but that is often ineffective.
7. Excess Fertilizer
Too much fertilizer leads to drooping in monstera. Such plants don’t demand high amounts of fertilizer regularly, especially as they’re typically grown as houseplants.
Monstera plants grown as houseplants—which is the norm in the US and UK—are not heavy feeders, to begin with.
Regardless of whether it’s mature or not, excessive fertilizer application for this plant leads to wilting as well as fertilizer burn.
Also, even if the plant nutrient of your choice is referred to as complete and balanced, that doesn’t mean that your plant can’t have too much of it. It’s quite the opposite actually.
Complete and balanced fertilizers simply refer to products containing all essential plant nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in equal proportion.
Excess fertilizer will collect in its soil and all that salt will accumulate. Needless to say, this can be harmful to a foliage plant like monstera, especially if it’s potted.
Reduce fertilizer application to only 2–3 times per year during the time it grows actively. To be more specific, monstera plants are generally active during the spring and summer months.
It’s best to also stay on the side of moderation when it comes to adding soil amendments like chelated iron and micronutrients such as magnesium to prevent limp monstera plants.
8. Transplant Shock
After being transferred to another pot and area, monstera plants will start wilting unless they are given enough time to acclimate to the change in their environment.
Similar to us humans, monsteras and pretty much any other plant in existence here on earth need some time to adjust to any change in our lives.
This is true for all factors affecting their growth. Watering, lighting, temperature, humidity—everything. Moreover, root loss during repotting can weaken the plant and lead to wilting.
Any change in their growing environment can greatly affect them if they aren’t used to it all. What’s more, it’s just the mature monstera plants that can suffer from abrupt changes.
Ever noticed how cuttings seem to flop around? Are droopy monstera cutting after propagation normal?
Newly propagated plants, including monstera cuttings, can also wilt and die from unstable growing conditions.
Explore this in greater detail in our article on monstera propagation!
Keep your monstera plants happy and healthy by looking into possible extreme weather events which can potentially injure and kill your houseplants.
Doing so will allow you to prepare in advance to prevent drooping from the shock of transplanting during such a time. Opt to transplant or repot them around spring, so they have enough time to start actively growing once again before going into dormancy.
Help the stem cuttings from your mature plant survive and thrive by keeping them in a more enclosed area to be able to control their growing environment more easily.
9. Lack of Support
Due to its large foliage, an unsupported monstera plant can become droopy when it grows too top-heavy and lush. Such floppy growth also makes it look unkempt.
Wondering how you can get your monstera plant to stand up strong and not topple over? Give it some sturdy physical support!
I mean, sure—support structures aren’t necessary for growing monsteras at home. But you still can’t deny that it can help make an overgrown pot of monstera look much tidier.
See, here’s the deal: monstera plants naturally climb tall trees near them in their native habitat. This is what makes it possible for them to reach heights of over 70 feet (21 m).
Avoid having limp monstera plants—whichever varieties you have—by providing them with some strong support. Stakes, bamboo, trellises, and moss poles—all of these work well.
Then carefully secure the drooping stems onto the support using soft garden ties like the one below from Amazon. Other good options include natural fiber strings or twines
Consider also regularly pruning off new growth and propagating new plants from them so that your plant can stay relatively compact and easy to manage.
10. Insufficient Space
Once a monster plant overgrows its container, it can appear to become quite droopy. More of its stems and leaves will also wilt as it becomes root-bound.
As you could probably already tell, these gigantic tropical plants need plenty of growing space to reach their full potential.
To reiterate, monstera plants will make use of all the growing space they can get. This is also why experts advise planting monsteras at least 20 feet (6 m) away from electrical poles.
Now, I’d also like to take this time to also clarify something that I often hear beginner home gardeners say.
Houseplants like monstera plants can tolerate being considerably pot or root-bound. But they don’t necessarily like such limiting growing conditions.
When kept in small containers for years on end, the roots of established large-leafed monstera plants will start trying to seek more soil outside of the pot so they can grow.
If they can’t find more soil—this also includes water and nutrients—to latch onto for growth, they’ll start wilting.
Up-potting monstera plants every 2 years or so can help home gardeners prevent drooping due to the lack of growing space.
Generally, going 2 sizes up is enough to provide more room while also preventing the risks of overwatering—which is common when plants are in overly large containers.
Pruning regularly can also help slow down the time it takes for monstera plants to outgrow their already-large pots.
11. Pest Infestation
Serious cases of pest infestation in monstera plants can lead to them becoming droopy due to the substantial loss of water and nutrients in their body.
If you’ve done all of the above correctly but you still notice that your monsteras are flopping all over the place, then the likely culprit behind your wilting woes are pests!
Although it’s not a common occurrence, damage due to pests like aphids, mealybugs, scale, and spider mites can cause significantly wilting.
Worst-case scenario, an infested monstera will die due to all the injury it has sustained from being sucked dry by these pesky little bugs.
For instance, aphids seem to be quite fond of the new shoots growing on established monstera plants. This may be because they are much more tender than old stems and leaves.
Routinely examine your monstera plants for signs of pest infestation like yellowing leaves, sudden holes or wounds on leaves, and white spots and patches on the leaves and stems.
Pick off larger pests with a gloved finger or remove them from the plant using cotton swabs dipped in rubbing alcohol.
I also recommended applying an organic insecticidal spray containing neem oil and castile soap to prevent repeat cases. Just don’t forget to rinse the plant thoroughly after treatment to avoid soap injury.
Should I remove drooping monstera leaves?
Removing drooping monstera leaves is not necessary as long as they are intact and still considerably healthy otherwise—especially when they do not show any discoloration or deformation. Floppy leaves should only be cut off if it has turned yellow, brown, dry, and/or infected.
How long will it take a droopy monstera to recover?
It can take anywhere from just a couple of hours to several days for droopy monstera plants to perk up after the main cause behind wilting has been properly identified, addressed, and resolved. If underwatering is the cause of drooping, it can recover within just a few hours after being thoroughly watered.
Summary of Why Monstera Droops
Improper care of a monstera plant regarding letting it dry out for too long, watering it too often, not letting its soil drain readily, and feeding it with too much fertilizer can lead to drooping.
Other unfavorable growing conditions such as exposure to erratic lighting intensities, extreme temperature stress, and overly low humidity levels under 40% can all result in the partial or complete wilting of the monstera plant.
Transplant shock, lack of a support structure, insufficient growing space, and a very serious case of pest infestation can also cause monstera plants to become droopy.
- “Monstera deliciosa” by n/a in N.C. Cooperative Extension
- “Monstera deliciosa” by n/a in the University of Connecticut
- “Monstera Growing In The Florida Home Landscape” by Jonathan H. Crane and Carlos F. Balerdi in the University of Florida
- “Split-leaf philodendron, Monstera deliciosa” by Susan Mahr in the University of Wisconsin – Madison Extension
- “Houseplants – Tip Sheet #15” by n/a in the Washington State University
- “Propagating Monstera deliciosa” by Noah Burley and Julie Weisenhorn in the University of Minnesota Extension