This post may contain affiliate links. Read the full disclosure here.
There are four main reasons that your Monstera deliciosa might be drooping:
- There’s an issue with its environment – often insufficient light
- There’s an issue with its root system
- It needs external support
- There isn’t enough turgor pressure
- The new leaf hasn’t hardened off yet
Unfortunately, there’s a plethora of sub-reasons within these five main topics.
Also, Monstera are naturally pretty droopy plants. They have big, heavy leaves, and long petioles, so they often weigh themselves down.
If your Monstera is a little droopy, but otherwise growing well, I wouldn’t worry too much.
If it’s droopy and isn’t growing/looks generally unwell, keep reading.
Environmental issues cause droopy Monstera
Lack of light
Monstera like a LOT of light. Whilst they don’t need it like succulents do, the growth will be a lot easier to manage, and the plant will droop less.
Increasing the light to your Monstera can help stop it from drooping in several different ways::
- Less stretching towards the light = shorter petioles = better able to prop itself up
- Faster growth = shorter internodes = less droopy
- Soil dries out faster = less chance of root rot = less change of…droopage(?)
If you’re interested in learning more about the might requirements of Monstera deliciosa, these articles will be useful:
It’s too hot
Whilst a lot of light is great, too much heat isn’t.
When it’s too hot, the leaves curl and droop to try to minimise water loss through their stomata.
Also, as moisture is lost from the leaves they collapse under their own weight because water keeps them plumped up.
If temperatures exceed 85˚F/30˚C, move your Monstera out of the heat if you can. Another option is to try to increase the humidity, but that’s not easy to do on short notice.
Once temperatures lower and you rehydrate your Monstera, it should go back to normal.
It’s too cold
Monstera tend to droop in winter because they’re getting less light. They don’t like the cold, but can tolerate it as long as there’s no frost.
However, if your Monstera does get caught by the frost, the water in the cell walls and between the cells freezes and forms ice crystals. There's less dissolved organic matter between the cells so the freezing point is higher. This causes water to move from inside the cells to condense on the ice. All the water ends up frozen, and when there's no liquid water in the leaf, it'll wilt. Monstera leaves won't recover from frost damage. (source)
Your humidity is really low
Monstera aren’t fussy about humidity levels. They can grow perfectly happily in humidity levels as low as 40%.
That being said, if you have super low humidity, or a really tall plant, you may find that higher humidity stops Monstera getting so droopy.
It has pests
Pests can cause Monstera to droop.
They can be hard to see, so if your Monstera is looking droopy, give it a good clean. Wipe down all the leaves thoroughly. It won’t get rid of 100% of pests but it’s a good start. Then keep a close eye out for any pests.
A lot of houseplant pests like thrips and spider mites bite holes in the leaves and suck out the juices, hence the drooping.
Lack of water
We’ve already mentioned temperature causing Monstera to droop because they don’t want to lose too much moisture. Slight dehydration also has the same effect.
This is really common in summer because not only do Monstera use more water to grow, but they also lose it from their leaves AND it evaporates quickly from the soil.
Frequent dehydration can cause root problems so you may need to either water more frequently or adjust the soil so that it retains more water.
- When to water Monstera deliciosa
- The best soil for Monstera deliciosa
- How to stop your soil from drying out too quickly
Unhealthy roots = droopy Monstera
Droopy leaves on a Monstera is an awesome way to find out it has root issues. Certainly better than massive black spots on the leaves, anyway.
Root rot happens when oxygen can’t get to the plant’s roots. Anaerobic bacteria builds up to dangerous levels and cause root rot.
Common causes of root rot are:
- Overwatering your plants
- Using too dense of a soil mix
- Using too big of a pot
Monstera deliciosa are pretty chill about being underwatered (and I say this as a chronic houseplant neglecter) but there comes a point when staying too dry for too long will cause the roots to dry up.
This will reduce the amount of water that the plant can absorb, and cause droopy leaves in the same way that general dehydration does.
You can either rehabilitate the roots or start creating another root system by developing one of the existing aerial roots.
As well as being underwatered, you can inadvertently cause dehydrated roots by allowing Monstera to get rootbound. Being rootbound in itself isn’t usually an issue (unless it gets really bad), the issue is that roots displace soil so there’s nothing to retain the water.
Another issue is when you have multiple plants in one pot. One will become dominant and suck up the lion’s share of the moisture and nutrients, leaving the other one sad and droopy. it doesn’t always happen, but it can cause issues.
Stem rot severs the link between the roots and the leaves, and you’ll need to chop and prop.
It’s usually caused by the stem lying on the soil or being buried too deep.
Without external support, Monstera will droop
Monstera are epiphytes, and need something to climb.
Ok, strictly speaking, they’re hemiepiphytes, because they grow both in the ground as epiphytically.
Regardless, they need to be staked.
If they’re not staked, the entire plant will droop, and eventually snap under its own weight.
I often get asked how to make my Monstera grow bushy rather than tall, but the unfortunate answer is that it’s practically impossible to get a Monstera to grow to do that.
Monstera aren’t bushy plants. They’re climbers, and to stop them drooping, you need to either stake them, or keep them cut to a height at which they can stand up without drooping.
- How to grow a bushy Monstera
- Why does my Monstera only have one stem?
- How to stake a Monstera deliciosa
Increasing turgor pressure goes hand in hand with staking Monstera.
Turgor pressure is the movement of water within a plant to keep it rigid. A bit like a water-based skeleton (and think how droopy you’d be without a skeleton).
When you have a super tall Monstera and only one root system (i.e. the one in the soil), the turgor pressure can often decrease at the top of the plant for a couple of reasons:
- The roots can only absorb so much water, and it’s prioritised for use in processes like…keeping the plant alive over keeping it looking aesthetically pleasing
- Monstera are tall plants, and the water flowing to the topmost leaves will have to fight hard against gravity
This doesn’t affect every Monstera – it’ll depend on things like humidity and the size of the root system. There are a few things you can do to help increase turgor pressure:
Increase the humidity
This will allow any aerial roots to absorb moisture from the air. They’re not that efficient at doing so though, so don’t expect amazing results.
Add a moss pole
Moss poles allow the aerial roots to develop into a secondary root system within the moss. The new roots can absorb water and nutrients from the moss (provided you keep it well-hydrated with nutrient water) and increase turgor pressure.
This only really works with proper moss poles. Coir poles and other solid stakes don’t have the same impact, because the aerial roots can’t develop as well.
Put the aerial roots in water
I’ve tried this (for research purposes) and it works fine. It doesn’t magically cause new leaves to grow, but it works in broadly the same way as a moss pole. You’ve increased the root volume so more moisture can be absorbed.
It’s basically air layering, but in water rather than moss.
It’s also further up the stem so the water won’t have to fight quite so hard against gravity.
You are, however, stuck with having to change the water every few days, and if you have pets, it’s another thing for them to knock over. And if you decide to remove it, you’re back to square one if the roots dry out and perish.
New leaves are droopy
Monstera leaves are droopy when they first unfurl. Its perfectly natural and they’ll start standing up by themselves when they harden off.
Leave new leaves alone. They’re delicate and can be easily damaged by the slightest touch. Be patient.
And so completes this article on droopy Monstera. If you have anything to add, please leave me a comment below. I reply to all the comments but for privacy reasons, I can’t send you a notification when I do. If you have a pressing query, there’s a contact form at the bottom you can use instead.
Beefore you go, you might find these articles interesting: