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5 Signs of an Underwatered Monstera Plant

Monstera plants have many ways to let you know they’ve been underwatered. If you notice dry soil, drooping, curling leaves, discolored leaves, or a lack of new growth, your plant may not be getting enough water. However, each of these signs can also be indications of other problems, like the plant receiving too much or too little light, or even being overwatered.

By following a few easy steps, you can determine whether your plant is underwatered. Once you adjust your watering schedule, your monstera will bounce back quickly.

Underwatered monstera

How Do You Tell if Your Monstera is Underwatered?

Although these signs may indicate that your monstera is underwatered, they also could mean your plant needs something else entirely. For example, a plant that leans to one side could either mean it’s underwatered or overwatered. Brown spots on monstera leaves might point to a lack of water but could also be caused by too much direct sunlight.

Here are some ways to figure out exactly what your monstera is trying to tell you, and whether it needs more water.

Dry Soil

This is the most essential sign of all. If your monstera plant’s soil is very dry, this almost always means it is underwatered. However, you may need to do a little digging to confirm this. Just because the top layer of soil in your monstera’s pot is dry doesn’t mean it’s lacking water.

  • Dry soil almost always means your monstera needs more water.
  • Don’t decide based on the top layer of soil.
  • Dig one finger 1 inch (2.5 cm) deep into the soil. If it’s dry, it’s time to water it.

To be sure, stick your finger 1 inch (2.5 cm) into the soil where your monstera is growing. If the soil you touch is moist, the plant has sufficient water. If it’s bone dry, it’s time to water it.

Drooping, Sagging, or Leaning

If you notice your monstera’s leaves drooping, stems sagging, or the whole plant leaning increasingly to one side, it might mean it’s underwatered. Larger plants are less likely to lean. This warning sign is more visible in smaller and younger monsteras.

  • Drooping leaves, sagging stems, or a leaning plant can indicate it’s time to increase the watering frequency for your monstera.
  • Larger plants are less likely to lean. This is more likely in smaller monsteras.
  • These signs could all indicate overwatering, as well. To be sure, test the soil for excess water.

Keep in mind, these signs are also symptoms of overwatered monsteras as well. If in doubt, it’s best to check the soil. Dry soil means it needs to be watered. Damp soil means something else is putting your plant in distress.

Yellow or Crunchy Brown Leaves

A healthy monstera plant should have dark green leaves with a waxy texture. As part of the plant’s life cycle, older leaves will naturally turn yellow and eventually die. This is normal. However, if you notice many leaves all over the plant are starting to turn yellow, it could be a sign of water loss. This could also mean, in some instances, that it’s getting too much water, so be sure to check the soil before taking action.

  • Healthy monstera leaves are waxy and dark green.
  • Some yellow leaves are a normal part of the life cycle.
  • Frequent yellowing of leaves could mean it’s underwatered. Check the soil to be sure.
  • Brown, crispy edges or spots might mean the plant needs water.
  • Brown spots can also indicate too much sun, or even an insect infestation, so address these first before watering.

Additionally, if your monstera’s leaves are becoming brown and crispy around the edges, or developing dried-out brown spots, it might need more water. This could also be caused by too much direct sunlight, or certain types of insect infestations, so before adding water, first try moving your plant to a shadier area. Additionally, inspect it for signs of pests. Most pest insects that attack monstera can be killed naturally with neem oil.

Curling Leaves

If your plant’s leaves begin to look smaller and narrower than usual, it may be because they are curling inward. If you take a close look at your monstera, you may see the edges of its leaves folding in on themselves and creating a curl. This is a sign of underwatering.

  • If leaves start to look narrower, they may be curling in on themselves.
  • Curled leaves almost always indicate underwatering.
  • Curled leaves don’t cause damage and aren’t permanent.
  • After watering, the monstera’s leaves should return to normal in 2–3 days.

While it may look dramatic, curling leaves aren’t damaged leaves and don’t hurt the plant. They also aren’t permanent. Once you water your monstera, you should see healthy leaves return in a couple of days.

No New Growth or No Fenestration

All plants, including the Monstera, go through dormant periods, usually in the winter, when they do not grow. This is normal. However, if your plant doesn’t seem to be growing at all for a long period of time, it’s growth may be stunted by a lack of water.

  • Dormant periods in the winter are normal.
  • If your plant hasn’t grown in a long time, it may be underwatered.
  • Fenestration refers to the unique holes in monstera leaves.
  • If your plant has reached a mature age and isn’t producing fenestrated leaves, it may need more water.

Additionally, fenestration, or holes in the leaves, is what gives the monstera its striking, unique appearance. If your plant has reached maturity and is still not producing fenestrated leaves, it is lacking something. If it’s already well-fertilized and receiving the appropriate amount of light, it needs more water.

How Often Should You Water a Monstera?

A monstera plant, in most cases, should be watered once every 1–2 weeks. It’s important to give the plant’s soil time to thoroughly dry out in between waterings. If you notice the soil is wet, even if it’s been a couple of weeks, hold off on adding water to avoid adding excess water.

  • Water monstera plants every 1–2 weeks.
  • Make sure soil has completely dried out in between waterings.
  • Plants in warmer temperatures or brighter sunlight have higher water requirements.
  • Monsteras in cooler climates with less light can be watered less frequently.

This schedule can also change depending on the plant’s environment. Monsteras in warm climates and bright sunlight will need to be watered more often than those in cooler areas with less direct light.

Do Monsteras Like to Be Misted?

Monsteras prefer a humid environment, so they do like to be misted. However, be sure not to mist your monstera too often. Once or twice a week is enough. More than this can cause the leaves to remain damp for too long in some environments. This can cause a fungal infection or insect infestation to attack your plant.

  • Monsteras prefer humidity, so they like to be misted.
  • Only mist your monstera 1–2 times per-week.
  • Too much misting can attract pests or cause fungus to grow.
  • In drier climates, a humidifier can be a more permanent solution for a healthy monstera.

If you live in a very dry area and would like a more permanent way to offer your monstera more humidity, you might consider investing in a small humidifier. Increasing the humidity near your monstera can simulate the tropical environment where this plant thrives.

Is Your Monstera Underwatered?

If your monstera has very dry soil, droopy leaves, sagging, discolored, or curling leaves, isn’t growing, or won’t produce fenestrated leaves, it may be underwatered. However, many of these can also be signs of other problems like too much or too little light, or overwatering. To tell, feel the top inch (2.5 cm) of soil in your monstera’s pot. If the soil is dry, you have an underwatered plant. Give it some fresh water and watch it bounce back in no time!

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