Calathea Leaves Curling [Why It Happens & How To Help]

calathea leaves curling

Calathea Leaves Curling [Why It Happens & How To Help]

Calathea plants are known for their leaves vibrant and beautifully patterned leaves. But Calathea leaves curling is a common issue. This is a sign that something is wrong and your plant is trying to tell you before it’s too late. These issues can range from the air being too dry to the soil being too wet.


Luckily, it’s very easy to fix your plant’s leaves, keeping them healthy and happy. This picky plant can be a bit finicky, but some surefire solutions will immediately improve your plant’s appearance. Here is how to fix your plant’s leaves and avoid Calathea leaves curling in the future!



What Is A Calathea Plant?

The Calathea is a perennial plant known for its bright, patterned leaves and their unique movements. This plant is part of the “Prayer Plant” family, which refers to the opening and closing of the leaves based on the light they’re receiving. This is just one of the ways Calatheas use their leaves to communicate with you. The bright leaves are often used in food dishes and crafts in the tropics of Brazil, where the plant is from.


The Calathea leaves move daily! They often develop a rhythm, with their leaves facing upward at night. This movement follows the sun to maximize light absorption. The Calathea can sometimes be tricky to care for. It’s a bit of a fussy plant compared to some starter flowers. But with the right care, you’ll get a vibrant plant that brightens up any room with a distinctly tropical feel.



patterened leaves beautiful



Is It Common For Calathea Leaves to Curl?

This plant likes to move its leaves. But a lot of times, curling their leaves is a sign of distress. When a Calathea plant curls its leaves, it’s most likely trying to protect itself from the sun and hold on to its water supply longer. This can happen for various reasons, most of which are luckily able to be addressed, saving your plant!



Why Are My Calathea Leaves Curling?

When something is going wrong with your Calathea plant, you will notice more than just curling leaves. While curled leaves are often one of the first signs something is going wrong, you’ll notice other tell-tale signs depending on what your plant is trying to tell you. Here are the most common reasons that your Calathea’s leaves are curling.


Too Much Sunlight

Your Calathea plant doesn’t like too much light. This plant doesn’t like direct sunlight, meaning you shouldn’t place it in front of a window unless you live in an area that’s often overcast.


You’ll know your Calathea plant is getting too much sun if you notice the leaves curling in an attempt to protect themselves from drying out. If they are left in direct sunlight for too long, the edges of the leaves will start to turn brown and become crispy before dying.


Too Little Water

Calathea plants love water. If they aren’t watered regularly, the leaves will start to curl. This is the plant’s attempt to conserve water. A Calathea that’s not getting too much water will have leaves with crispy tips.


Bad Water Quality

Your tap water may be the reason why your Calathea has curling leaves. Tap water contains chlorine, fluoride, minerals, and salts. These build up in your plant’s soil, eventually causing the tips of the leaves to curl up, turn brown, and burn.


Too Much Water

While Calatheas love water, that doesn’t mean it can’t be overwatered if you water it too often. Overwatering occurs when the topsoil stays wet for days after you watered your plant.


Too much water leads your plant’s leaves to curl and turn yellow. The plant itself will start to wilt. Overwatering also leads to root rot, damaging your plant’s roots and eventually killing it.



If you see your plant’s leaves starting to curl, immediately look for signs of pests. Depending on the type of creepy-crawly, pests will either chew holes in the leaves or suck the juice from your plant’s roots.


The most common pest is a spider mite. You’ll notice your Calathea plant’s leaves curling as one of the first signs, which will be followed by small webbing under the leaves. The webbing signifies that the mites have spread.


Too Little Humidity

This plant thrives in humidity. An atmosphere with dry air isn’t too ideal for the Calathea, leading to curled leaves. Your plant may be in a room that’s too dry or could be placed too close to a radiator. Low humidity is one of the main reasons for Calathea leaf curling.



calathea patterns



How Do You Fix Curled Leaves On A Calathea Plant?

It’s luckily easy to save your Calathea! That’s because curling leaves are often the first sign something is wrong, meaning you have noticed a problem before it gets worse. Here is what to do when you see curled leaves on your Calathea plant:


  • Move your plant out of the light: Calathea plants don’t like direct sunlight. Before their leaves are permanently damaged, move them away from any window with bright, direct light. Put them in a spot with indirect light.
  • Adjust the temperature: Make sure the room your Calathea plant is in is around 60 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Increase the humidity: This is often the most common reason a Calathea plant’s leaves will start to curl. Add a humidifier to the room your plant is in, making the room about 60% humidity if possible.
  • Change your watering routine: Make sure you are not underwatering or overwatering your plant. Only water your plant if the soil is near-dry.



Are There Ways to Prevent My Calathea Plant Leaves From Curling?

First, place Calathea plants somewhere with bright, indirect light when you take them home. Avoid placing a Calathea directly in front of a window. Pick a room with natural sunlight that isn’t directly hitting your plant, as this will help prevent it from burning or drying out.


The room you pick should also be between 60 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. This tropical plant can struggle in colder weather. Pick a humid room like the kitchen or bathroom. Or use a humidifier to keep the space humid. You can also mist your Calathea regularly to recreate a humid environment. Place a tray of water beneath your plant’s pot, using pebbles to keep the pot above the water.


Always keep a close eye on your plant’s soil moisture. The soil should be moist at all times but should never sit in water. You can even use a moisture stick to get an accurate reading of your plant’s moisture, ensuring your soil is at the perfect moisture level at all times.


You can further keep your plant’s moisture level just right by using the right kind of pot. Always look for a pot with drainage holes. This will protect your plant from sitting in too much water, leading to root rot and death. When watering your plant, use distilled water. Tap water with too much salt and minerals can be toxic to your Calathea plant. Instead, use bottled water or even rainwater. Using distilled water will avoid poisoning your plant, keeping them healthy and vibrant.



Final Thoughts – Calathea Leaves Curling

Calatheas have a lot of specific needs, and if they aren’t met, these plants will let you know! The first sign something is going wrong is the Calathea leaves will start curling. This can be followed by the leaves turning yellow, the edges turning brown, and the plant developing root rot, so you want to fix the issue ASAP.


The most common reason the Calathea plant’s leaves curl is dry air. Make sure the room they are in is humid enough. Only water your plant if the soil is dry to slightly moist, and keep your plant out of direct light. With the right care, your plant will remain healthy and stunning, with bright, shiny green Calathea leaves!

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