Monstera Leaf Won’t Unfurl? Here’s What To Do

If your once vibrant and rapidly growing Monstera is showing signs of distress, it can be worrisome for any indoor gardener.

The leaves, which typically unfurl like green flags of nature’s victory, are refusing to do so. It’s a sight that can make even the most seasoned indoor gardeners anxious.

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Don’t worry, there are solutions to your plant predicament. But first, you need to understand why this is happening.

Monstera Leaf Won't Unfurl? Here's What To Do

How Long Does a Monstera Leaf Take to Unfurl?

The process of a Monstera leaf unfurling is a fascinating spectacle of nature, but it does require patience.

Depending on the plant’s health, environmental conditions, and the leaf’s size, it can take anywhere from 2 weeks to a month for a new Monstera leaf to fully unfurl.

Monstera leaf curl

It begins with a small, tight roll (sometimes called a leaf bud) that emerges from a stem. Over time, this bud gradually begins to unfurl, revealing a new leaf.

Initially, this leaf appears solid and flat, but as it matures, it begins to show the characteristic slits and holes (fenestrations) Monsteras are known for.

During this time, it’s particularly important to provide optimal care for your Monstera – ensure it has access to plenty of bright, indirect light, keep the soil lightly moist but well-draining, and try to maintain a humid environment.

Understanding Why Leaves Won’t Unfurl

If you notice that the leaves of your plant are not unfurling, it could be a sign of an underlying issue.

Inadequate Lighting

Monsteras evolved in the understory of Central and South American rainforests. In this environment, dappled sunlight filters through the upper layers of the forest, providing bright but indirect light.

Monstera leaves on green wall background, and filtered light

When Monsteras don’t receive enough light, they can’t photosynthesize efficiently, which leads to slower growth and smaller, un-unfurled leaves.

You can gauge if your plant is getting enough light by observing the internodes, the spaces between the leaf nodes. If they are becoming long and leggy, it’s a sign your plant needs more light.

Solution:

If your Monstera isn’t getting enough light, consider moving it closer to a window or into a brighter room.

If natural light is limited, especially during winter months, supplement with a grow light.

Be cautious of direct, harsh sunlight, which can burn the leaves. If your Monstera is near a south or west-facing window, use a sheer curtain to diffuse the sunlight.

Water Stress

Monsteras, like most tropical plants, love a good balance when it comes to watering.

Woman watering Monstera plant

Overwatering can lead to root rot, a fungal condition that prevents roots from absorbing water and nutrients.

Underwatering, on the other hand, can lead to brittle, dry leaves that are unable to unfurl fully.

Instead of sticking to a strict watering schedule, use your finger to test the soil’s dryness. When the top inch feels dry, it’s time to water your plant.

Remember, it’s better to err on the side of under watering rather than over watering.

Solution:

Mastering the watering of your Monstera is crucial. Use well-draining soil and ensure your pot has drainage holes.

Over time, you’ll get a feel for when your plant needs water.

Monsteras prefer lukewarm or room-temperature water. Cold water can shock the roots and slow growth.

Lack of Humidity

Monsteras thrive in humid environments, as it emulates their natural rainforest habitat.

Monstera and air purifier

Dry air can cause the leaf edges to brown and curl, and may prevent new leaves from unfurling properly.

You can increase humidity by placing a tray with water near your plant, grouping plants together, or using a humidifier.

Regularly misting the leaves can also help, but make sure you’re using water at room temperature to avoid shocking the plant.

Solution:

Monsteras love high humidity. Apart from misting and using a humidifier, you can also place your plant in a bathroom or kitchen, where humidity tends to be higher.

If you’re using a pebble tray, make sure the pot is sitting on the pebbles, not in the water, to prevent root rot.

Pest Infestation

Pests, such as spider mites, aphids, or mealybugs, can drain your Monstera of its essential nutrients. This weakening can prevent new leaves from developing and unfurling fully.

monstera pests

Regularly wipe down your Monstera’s leaves with a damp cloth to prevent dust accumulation, which can attract pests.

Also, keep an eye on the undersides of leaves and stem junctions, as these are favorite hiding spots for pests.

Here’s a rundown of commons pests you may encounter with your Monstera: The Ultimate Guide To Monstera Pests: Prevention And Treatment Hacks

Solution:

If you notice your Monstera declining despite optimal light, water, and humidity, inspect for pests. If found, isolate the plant to prevent the pests from spreading.

A mild solution of neem oil and water can be sprayed on the plant to eliminate many types of pests. Alternatively, insecticidal soaps are also effective.

Give Your Monstera Time To Unfurl

Remember, every plant has its own pace and rhythm. Don’t worry if your Monstera’s new leaves are taking a while to unfurl – it’s a normal part of their growth process.

As a plant parent, the best you can do is provide consistent care and enjoy the slow, rewarding journey of watching your plant grow and thrive.

With these tips, your Monstera should be well on its way to healthy growth.

For more Monstera care tips, check out these other articles below:

Monstera Leaning To One Side? Here’s What To Do

Dealing With A Leggy Monstera? Here’s How To Fix It