When we think of plants with gorgeous ornamental foliage, we immediately think of monsteras. Their large glossy leaves with distinctively slashed margins are simply unparalleled.
That’s why it’s frustrating for the plant’s owners when the leaves aren’t as perky as they should be.
Consequently, we’re about to address one of the frequently asked questions: “Why is my monstera falling over?”
Read on to learn more about the causes and how to treat them!
Why Is My Monstera Falling Over?
Your monstera, also known as Swiss cheese, is tough, so don’t worry if you see the stems fall over. The plant is simply drawing your attention to something that needs to be adjusted.
There are typically four common reasons why your lush buddy isn’t growing upright:
1 – Absence of a Support Structure
This tropical plant is classified as a climber rather than a self-supporting one.
Climbing plants have roots anchored in the ground and flexible aerial roots that can wrap around supporting structures.
You’ll almost always find monsteras growing vertically up a tree in their natural habitat. Such plants develop this trait to help them survive in the wild.
You see, they could die if they remained on the ground without access to more favorable growing conditions, such as more sunlight.
Because climbers require mobility, their vines are soft and can’t support the weight of the leaves when they mature.
That’s why your Swiss cheese will fall over if it doesn’t have something to climb on.
How to Fix
Give your houseplant a sturdy structure to grow on. That is, assuming your monstera hasn’t already clung to some nearby furniture; they can be quite invasive!
There are multiple supporting structures to consider, including:
- Moss poles
- Bamboo stakes
Moss poles are our go-to option for monsteras, which is why we’ll go into more detail about them below.
However, if you want to explore more structures, our second favorite is bamboo stakes. They’re both sturdy and lightweight. We also love how they boost the natural aesthetic of plants.
Trellises are great, but they’re our last resort for this species. Monsteras like to grow wildly, so eventually, a trellis won’t be able to support its weight and might collapse.
Besides, if the vines aren’t styled properly on the trellis, the plant won’t look as bushy as it usually does.
2 – Insufficient Lighting
In general, the majority of houseplants’ stems will gravitate toward the sun. This is due to the presence of auxin hormones.
These hormones control plant growth and play a vital role in their orientation as well as shape.
Interestingly, auxins are found in larger quantities on the side of the plant that receives the least amount of sunlight.
As a result, the shaded side of the monstera elongates significantly and strongly, causing the stems to curve toward the light.
This process of growth re-orientation in plants is known as phototropism, and it can give the impression that the plant is sagging.
How to Fix
The magical word is rotating! To get your favorite Swiss cheese to grow upright and symmetrically, simply rotate its pot.
A popular and effective technique is to give your houseplant a quarter turn every time you water it.
We also advise applying this method to any other plants you may have besides monstera. This will make them grow healthier and bushier.
Alternatively, if you have an area in your home where sun rays enter from multiple angles, you can relocate your tropical plant there.
Yet, keep in mind that monsteras aren’t fans of direct sunlight. So, ensure that this location receives bright, indirect sunlight.
3 – Overfertilization
Overfertilization is a major issue for any plant. Its signs aren’t limited to the plant collapsing; there are other indicators.
Monstera should be fertilized monthly during the fast-growing seasons of spring and summer. Most balanced houseplant fertilizers will work well for this species.
If you fertilize at a higher rate than recommended, your plant won’t appreciate it. It’ll begin to exhibit symptoms such as:
- Stunned growth
- Dried leaf margins
- Salt buildup on the topsoil
Fertilizers are typically high in salt content. Overusing them reduces the roots’ ability to absorb water and nutrients.
Naturally, when the root system is compromised, your monstera will appear weak and may lean forward.
If this happens in addition to the other signs listed above, your plant isn’t just falling over; there’s a bigger problem to deal with.
How to Fix
To save your overfed plant, remove any salt or fertilizer buildup and leach it with water.
Place the pot in the sink and turn on the water to thoroughly flush the plant. This is to ensure that any excess fertilizer at the root system is removed as well.
Leach up to four times to ensure there are no more accumulations. Don’t do them consecutively; instead, wait until the plant has fully drained before restarting the process.
We strongly advise you not to fertilize your houseplant until it fully recovers. This usually takes between three and four weeks.
4 – Unhealthy Watering Schedule
This tropical species is forgiving, it won’t object to irregular watering every now and then.
Monstera will only start acting up if it’s subjected to an unhealthy watering schedule, whether it’s underwatered or overwatered.
It thrives with 1-2 weekly waterings. If you consistently deviate from this recommended rate, your plant will droop and show other symptoms depending on the situation.
Overwatering and underwatering share several symptoms. The soil’s texture is the distinguishing feature used in telling them apart.
You’ll know that the plant is underwatered if the soil is super dry to the point that it’s detaching from the pot.
Whereas, overwatered plants have mushy soil and a foul odor (which develops as a result of root rot).
The signs that they have in common are as follows:
- Browning along the leaf margins
- Leaves turning yellow
- Slow growth
How to Fix
If your monstera is leaning over because of underwatering, it’s time to rehydrate!
Allow your plant pot to soak in a bucket of water for up to 30 minutes. This will allow water to reach all parts of the plant. Then, take it out and let it drain completely.
Moving forward, try not to forget to hydrate your plant, and it’ll return to its lively form.
To save your overwatered plant, first determine whether it has root rot. If there is, you must treat it. If there isn’t, simply stop watering the plant and move it to a brighter location.
Mist the wilted leaves and make sure the pot has adequate drainage. In the future, don’t water your monstera unless the top 1-2 inches of soil are dry.
How to Attach a Monstera to a Moss Pole
A moss pole is an ideal addition if you want your Swiss cheese to grow more vigorously and with lusher foliage.
You can find it at nurseries or plant stores, but if you’re a DIYer at heart, you can make your own!
What distinguishes this supporting structure is how well it mimics the natural habitat of climbing plants.
To clarify, the moist moss used to make these structures encourages the plant’s aerial roots to grow toward the pole.
Fixing a moss pole in your houseplant may take some time, but it’ll be well worth it. It’s also an inexpensive process because all you’ll need are ties, strings, or something similar.
Here are six easy steps to using this structure:
- Push the pole down into the soil until it’s securely in place
- Identify the major stems of the plant
- Style the stems around the pole to find the best spot for holding them upright
- Once you’ve decided where you want to secure the stem, grip it tightly with your hand
- Wrap the string 360° around the moss pole, then around the stem
- Tie the string firmly around the moss pole, and repeat on the remaining stems
The next time you wonder, “Why is my monstera falling over?” you’ll have four suspects to investigate!
We love how resilient this species is; once you’ve identified the root cause and treated it, the plant will recover spectacularly.
Just remember that the sooner you work on the problem, the better the chances of the plant returning to normal.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.