One of the most common mistakes people make with the amazing Monstera houseplant is in their watering pattern.
Since they know about the problems caused by overwatering, they tend to worry so much that they water it sparingly. And, this will lead to underwatering.
If your monstera lacks water, you’ll notice the leaves drooping, yellowing, or curling up, your monstera wouldn’t even grow as expected and the leaves would not split.
So how do you save an underwatered Monstera? First, it’s important you find out just how much damage has been done, this would help you know if you’ll need a change of soil mix or not. There is no fancy quick fix, watering your monstera properly should be a priority.
In this article, I will be covering everything you need to know about underwatered monstera so that you can find the real cause and save your plant quickly. The topics include,
- Symptoms of underwatered monstera
- Difference between underwatered and overwatered monstera
- Save underwatered monstera (Step by step guide)
- Lot’s more.
Monsteras are absolutely beautiful, but you’ll need to make an effort to keep them looking good.
So, let’s get started.
Signs of underwatered Monstera: 7 Signs
Some of the most commonly seen symptoms of underwatered monstera include always dry soil, dropping, discoloration, curling and wilting leaves, and stunted growth. Before trying to fix a problem, first, we must be 100% sure that the problem exists and these symptoms help with that.
Let’s have a detailed look into each of these symptoms so that it will be easier for you to understand.
1. Always dry soil
Dry soil is a major indication that your Monstera really needs water. While it’s a good idea to allow the soil to dry out between waterings, you shouldn’t leave your plant in overly dry conditions for long.
Overly dry soil would prevent your Monstera from growing optimally. It can also affect the plant’s roots and prevent the supply of adequate nutrients to the plant generally.
Just because the surface of the soil looks dry doesn’t mean it needs watering. So, you’ll need to test your soil to confirm that your plant is actually underwatered.
You can do this easily by dipping a finger about an inch or a little more into the soil of your plant. If it is dry and not moist, then it’s time to water the plant and stop it from dying.
2. Monstera drooping
You should pay more attention to your Monstera if you discover that the plant’s leaves are becoming limp and leaning over as this could be a sign that your monstera is not getting the right amount of water.
If you find that your Monstera leaves are drooping or the entire plant is beginning to lean towards one side, this could be a sign of underwatering.
Most times, drooping leaves are more obvious in smaller Monstera plants than bigger ones. In this case, you may need to observe the Monstera soil to find out how dry the soil is and how much water it needs.
If the soil is dry about an inch into the plant pot and the plant’s leaves are drooping, then know that your Monstera may soon die as a result of underwatering.
It is important to note that so many other reasons can make your monstera plant leaves droop but if the drooping is caused by underwatering, then be sure that the plant can come up again within a few days of proper watering.
3. Yellowing of monstera leaves
Normally, healthy Monstera plants have dark green leaves. So if you find your leaves turning yellow, then it might be underwatered.
When the soil is too dry, the Monstera’s roots may not receive sufficient nutrients for the plant’s stems and leaves to remain healthy; this, in turn, may cause the leaves to turn yellow.
Monstera plants that receive adequate watering are indicated by leaves that are green, fresh, and waxy.
You must note that leaf discoloration however is not only caused by inadequate watering as other reasons can cause that. Having just a few yellow leaves could mean that your Monstera plant has aged and the older leaves are beginning to turn yellow and die off.
It could also be a result of overwatering, inadequate or excess exposure of the plant to sunlight or pest attack.
But if you notice yellow, brown, or dead leaves in many areas of your plant or even new leaves, the issue is likely underwatering.
So you’ll need to find out if your monstera has got dry soil. If it has, then you will need to save your tender beautiful monstera by supplying adequate watering to it.
However, if you notice that the plant is sitting in water or damp, this is a red light that it is overwatered and you need to stop watering immediately.
4. Monstera leaves not splitting
If you discover that your Monstera is not developing many splits or multiple rows of splits on its leaves, one of the reasons for this could be underwatering.
Monstera leaves not splitting is usually a sign that there is a lack of something. It could be a lack of water and it could also be a lack of sunlight. But you’ll need to be sure that your Monstera plant has actually reached the age of fenestration.
Generally, a nursery Monstera plant receiving adequate watering will typically witness fenestration after about 2 to 3 years. If your Monstera is way past this age and the leaves aren’t just splitting, first, make sure to start exposing your plant to bright indirect sunlight for 6-12 hours if you’ve not been doing this.
If you think the issue is watering, simply check your soil. Check several times a week and make sure the soil is moist. And make sure you do not overwater!
5. Stunted growth
If you discover that your Monstera hasn’t been growing for a long while, it’s likely growth has been stunted due to a lack of water. However, apart from underwatering, your monstera plant could also witness slow growth if it is not receiving sufficient light.
It could also be a result of inadequate fertilizing. You must try to find out which it is that is affecting your plant’s growth.
If your monstera plant is receiving enough sunlight and adequate water supply yet is still not growing well, then it is a sign that you are underwatering your monstera.
6. Curling & wilting leaves
If your monstera leaves are looking much smaller or thinner than usual, take a closer look, you may find out that the leaves are curling. This is a major indication of underwatering.
Curling leaves aren’t a permanent condition, they can be fixed quickly by giving the Monstera plants an adequate supply of water. First, you must check if the leaf curl is a result of underwatering before supplying water to it.
This is because there could be other factors that are causing the leaves of your monstera curl and wilt. If you supply water to the plant when the soil is already wet and moist, it could lead to overwatering and this is a problem too!
7. Drying leaves
This is one of the basic signs that your Monstera plant is not receiving enough water. When your plant is not adequately watered, it causes the soil to dry and this sends a signal to the root of the plant.
The root of the monstera plant eventually begins to rot and cannot supply nutrients from the already dried soil to the stem and leaves of your monstera. This would eventually lead to leaf discoloration and dryness and may make the leaves die and drop.
Once you notice that some parts of your monstera plant are drying up, immediately check for soil dryness, water up immediately, and carefully prune dried leaves.
Difference Between Underwatered & Overwatered Monstera
Both underwatering and overwatering are dangers to the monstera plant as both can adversely affect the plant’s growth.
But it could be a bit difficult trying to figure out what is wrong with your monstera plant as both underwatering and overwatering have similar signs on the plant. Not to worry, we’ll help you tell the difference here.
One of the major differences between underwatered and overwatered monstera is in the pattern of yellowing of the leaves.
If your Monstera is getting too little water, all the leaves of your plant will start to turn yellow, probably starting with the newer leaves.
On the other hand, the older leaves of an overwatered Monstera start turning yellow before the other leaves. An easier way to tell an underwatered monstera from an overwatered one is the moisture level of the soil.
An underwatered monstera’s soil would feel dry more than a few inches below or can read dry on the gardener’s moisture meter on the scale of 1-2.
But the overwatered monstera soil may still feel moist in less than 2 inches below the surface and read wet on the gardener’s meter when you haven’t even watered for some days.
If you notice several signs and you’re not sure what the problem is, the best place to start is the soil.
How To Save Underwatered Monstera?
If you’ve noticed the above-listed signs on your Monstera and you’re certain that the issue with your plant is underwatering, it’s time to take the right steps and save your Monstera.
If you follow the steps below, your Monstera will bounce back and recover in a few days.
Step 1: Assess the severity of underwatering
This is the first step you need to take to save your underwatered monstera. You have to find out to what extent your plant has been damaged from underwatering so that you could know to what extent to supply water to the plant.
If you don’t check for the severity of underwatering, it may lead you to overwater the plant. You could check for the severity of underwatering by dipping a finger into the plant soil.
This would help you to supply water adequately to the underwatered monstera.
Step 2: Water your monstera thoroughly
To thoroughly water your monstera plant, try lowering it in a sink or use a watering can. Slowly top the water till it runs out the drainage holes, then empty the tray for drainage instantly. While you water the plant, be careful not to soak the soil or wet the monstera leaves.
Make sure that the plant’s pot has good drainage and that the soil doesn’t remain wet for a long time after watering. It’s also very important to supply your monstera with indirect sunlight because direct sunlight can burn the leaves.
Step 3: Assess the quality of underwatered monstera’s soil mix
Chances are that the underwatering may have damaged the soil mixture of your monstera plant. Therefore to save your monstera plant, you may need to check and access the quality of your soil mix.
If the soil mixture is damaged as a result of underwatering, you may need to prepare a new soil mix to repot your monstera plant. Simply prepare a new soil using a mixture of peat moss, vermiculite, and perlite.
This mixture is great for your monstera because it can absorb moisture effectively and may help in resisting dampness. But keep in mind that this soil mixture doesn’t come with any nutrients so you may need to supply fertilizer to it consistently.
Step 4: Repot the underwatered monstera in a new soil mix
The next step is to repot your monstera plant with your new soil mix. If you are unable to prepare the soil mix yourself, you can purchase it from the gardeners’ local shop.
First, you need a pot that has adequate drainage holes so that excess water can find a way to run out. Then remove all the old soil from the roots of your plant and put in one-third of the new soil mixture in your monstera pot.
Now it’s time to place the plant’s base on the soil top and fill it in with the rest of the soil mixture. Finally, properly water your monsters and you’re good to go!
Underwatered Monstera – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
If you have a look at the common forums and houseplant forums, a lot of people seems to be asking the same doubts and queries regarding the underwatered monstera. And, I’m going to answer some of them in this section so that you don’t have to go and research.
How to know if my monstera is underwatered or overwatered?
The best way to differentiate underwatered monstera and overwatered monstera is by introspecting the soil. If it’s wet or moist most of the time then you are overwatering and vice versa.
Most other symptoms are the same for both overwatering and underwatering. So, it is very important to be able to differentiate them so that you can find a perfect solution for the underlying problem.
How often should a monstera be watered?
The scientifically accepted watering frequency for your monstera plants is once or twice every week. But, it is not a hard rule and you have to analyze the climatic conditions and the type of potting mix before setting up a watering schedule.
If you can get a moisture meter, then measure the moisture level of the soil every time before watering.
Now that you’ve saved your monstera plant, you’ll need to ensure you water it properly henceforth. You’ll want to pay attention to your plant’s needs as opposed to sticking with a schedule.
Monstera plants can be pretty easy to care for once you’ve mastered what the different signs tell.
Monstera plants are gorgeous and impressive, but they’ll only stay that way if you care for them the right way!