The Monstera leaf, also known as the “split-leaf philodendron,” is quite easy to grow at home. However, just like other plants, you might encounter some issues while growing these greeneries.
One common problem is a Monstera leaf not unfurling. As a gardener, it’s quite frustrating when a plant is taking too long to fully open. This issue arises for several reasons.
Luckily, we’re here to guide you on what to do to fix this problem. Continue reading to know more!
Many factors contribute to the unfurling timeline of Monstera leaves. This includes the humidity level, placement of the plant, sunlight exposure, soil moisture, and plant nutrients.
When the soil has enough moisture, the plant receives a sufficient amount of sunlight and is pest-free. You can expect Monstera leaves to fully open between two to three weeks.
If you’re new to growing plants, you might get anxious if the leaves don’t unfurl right away. Here are the possible reasons why your baby Monstera is taking too much time to unfurl:
The Monsteras are native to Central America, which has a humid, tropical climate. Low humidity can cause these plants to form crisp edges and prevent them from growing well.
In addition, these plants develop secretions and waxes on their leaves that protect them from pests and diseases. If their environment lacks humidity, these waxes will harden and will cause plant deformation.
During the colder months, low humidity is more prevalent because people use heating systems to warm their homes. When this happens, the Monstera leaves won’t unfurl, even if it’s taken care of properly.
If you’re not familiar with turgor pressure, this is an essential part of the plant that promotes growth, development, and flowering. For the turgor pressure to play its role efficiently, the plant must have enough soil moisture.
In case your Monstera plant isn’t unfurling, check the soil moisture level. The top 2-3 inches of soil should be wet. If you have a young Monstera, you can also try lifting the pot. If it’s light to carry, then it probably needs some watering.
One of the essential steps in plant care is ensuring that your plant is receiving just the right amount of sunlight. The Monstera plant can tolerate low light levels; however, this doesn’t mean that you can place them in a dark corner of the room.
If your Monstera plant lacks sunlight exposure, it’ll take more time to unfurl or worse, won’t unfold at all.
The most common types of pests that infest the Monstera plant are spider mites, thrips, scales, and fungus gnats. Even though these are small creatures, they can cause serious problems such as leaf unfurling.
Since the issue here is the unfurled leaves, it might be difficult to check for pest infestation. Try checking the surface and underside of the leaf. It’s also recommended to use a magnifying glass as these pests are barely visible to the naked eye.
If you notice any webbings, sticky substances, or brown spots, most likely, your Monstera plant has pests.
The use of too much fertilizer or not enough of it can also cause a Monstera leaf to not unfurl. If you notice that the leaves changed their colors, it’s probably a sign of nutrient deficiency.
In addition, over-fertilizing can cause chemical build-up and hinder water absorption. When this happens, the leaves might close again.
If your Monstera leaf is taking too long to uncurl, don’t do it yourself. This will cause more damage and hinder leaf growth. Instead, you can try out these methods to encourage Monstera leaf unfurling:
If you want your Monstera plant to grow healthily and survive, you have to place it in an area where the humidity level is over 65%. This helps the plant maintain its vibrant green color too.
To increase humidity level:
- Mist the plant with distilled and room-temperature water
- Keep the plants close together
- Humidity trays are a big help
- Keep a humidifier around
Before setting a schedule, the first thing you should check is the type of water you’re going to use. It’s recommended to use filtered water on Monstera plants.
If you don’t have access to filtered water, tap water will do, as long as you let it sit overnight. Doing so will remove the chlorine and fluoride contents, which are harmful to plants.
When it comes to the watering technique, the best one is bottom watering. Directly pouring water on the Monstera leaves can cause rotting.
If you’ve overwatered your plant, here’s what you should do:
- Remove the plant from its pot
- Allow it to dry out
- Trim the roots one inch above the rot
- Replant with fresh soil
- Wait a day before watering the plant
When we get new beautiful plants such as the Monstera, the first thing we usually do is place them somewhere people can easily see them. However, you need to remember that plants need an adequate amount of sunlight to grow healthily.
The process of photosynthesis is important for your Monstera plant to grow properly. It requires an adequate amount of sunlight to convert it into energy. In turn, this energy will promote leaf unfurling.
When looking for an area to place your plant, avoid the following:
- A dark spot in the corner
- Somewhere with direct sunlight
The perfect place to put your Monstera plant is anywhere that receives indirect sunlight. If you can’t find one, you can buy a sheer curtain to protect your plant from the sun’s harmful rays.
Pesticides can cause soil contamination and plant toxication. Before resorting to this harmful option, try the following natural remedies first:
- Mix dishwashing liquid and water into a spray bottle
- Apply rubbing alcohol to a soft sponge and rub the Monstera’s foliage
- Apply neem oil as a repellent
If some leaves are already damaged due to pests, cut them off as soon as possible.
However, if the natural remedies failed to work, then you can use pesticides. On condition that still didn’t work, you should immediately isolate the plant. This prevents the spread of pests to your other greeneries.
To ensure proper plant growth, you should provide the nutrients it needs. The ideal soil pH level for Monstera plants is around 5.5 to 6.5. A soil pH meter helps in monitoring your soil nutrient level.
The NPK fertilizer also helps in promoting Monstera plant growth. You can use it once a month in summer and once every two months in winter.
According to research, the Monstera plant creates holes in its leaves to fight the strong winds of hurricanes. Others suggest that these holes promote better water absorption.
Although this may be true, the baby Monstera leaves don’t have holes. This plant develops holes as it ages. However, if the mature leaves don’t have fenestration, it may be a sign of low air temperature, lack of moisture and light exposure, or nutrient deficiency.
You can easily distinguish if a Monstera plant is happy and healthy. These plants display deep green and waxy leaves that have fenestrations when they’re properly taken care of.
The Monstera plant should be watered every one to two weeks. Make sure that the plant has completely absorbed the water before watering it again.
New leaf growth happens every four to six weeks. As the Monstera plants mature, they’ll produce new leaves more frequently.
A Monstera leaf not unfurling isn’t an uncommon issue. If you’re new to gardening, there’s no need to panic when this occurs with your plant.
The first step in solving the problem is educating yourself about the reasons why a Monstera leaf is taking too long to unfurl. If you already know the root cause of the unfurling, we’ve provided some steps you can try to fix the issue.
Remember not to unfurl the leaf on your own. Each plant takes its own time to uncurl. Being patient is the key to successful gardening.
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.