Why are my Calathea Leaves Curling/ Folding?

Last Updated on October 29, 2021 by Sophie

Calathea plants are also known as prayer plants and can often be identified thanks to their beautiful striking leaves which are often patterned in appearance. Though Calatheas make for beautiful additions to your indoor jungle, they can often be a little fussy when it comes to specific care requirements. And if you’re reading this article today, it’s probably because you’re wondering ‘why are my Calathea leaves curling?’

Goeppertia (Calathea) Warszewiczii Care Guide/ watering and propagating calathea

Calatheas are known as ‘prayer plants’ thanks to the fact that the leaves move a fair bit throughout the day. They are photophilic, meaning that the leaves will stretch out during the daytime so as to absorb the most amount of light on the largest surface possible before curling up again at night time. If you notice that your leaves stand up at night and are spread out during the day, then this is completely normal.

However, Calatheas are susceptible to a number of problems. One of the biggest issues which plant owners will face is that their Calatheas will develop brown or crispy tips on the leaf edges. This is, more often than not, a humidity and watering issue. The second most common problem that indoor gardeners will notice is the leaves curling on their prayer plants.

Why are my Calathea leaves curling/ folding?

Of course, there are a number of reasons that the leaves of your Calathea could be curling, though some are more likely than others. For example, pests can cause the leaf to curl up, though this is often accompanied with holes in the leaves and your plant generally appearing to be in poor health.

The most common reason that your plant has curling leaves is because the plant is simply too dry! In a bid to conserve energy, a dehydrated plant will curl up its leaves and they’ll appear ‘folded’ or ‘shrivelled’. Give your plant a good water immediately.

With smaller plants, you can bottom water your plant. What this means is placing a small bowl of water underneath the plant and allowing it to soak up the water via its roots. With this method, be sure not to leave your plant sitting in water for too long.

Though Calatheas like to be damp at all times, they don’t want to be soaking as this can lead to root rot. After around 24 hours, the leaves should begin to unfurl and your plant should be back to looking bright and happy.

Why are my plant leaves drooping?

If your Calathea is suffering from the opposite problem, i.e. the leaves are drooping as opposed to folded or curling, then this is likely because the plant is receiving too much water. In this case, allow the soil to dry out more between waterings. In the case of completely waterlogged soil, consider changing out the soil so as to prevent the plant from developing root rot.

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Why are my Calathea Leaves Curling/ Folding? Prayer plant problems and how to fix them in your indoor garden

About Author

Sophie Nadeau is a travel, pizza, and history lover who is currently based in Paris, France. A keen indoor gardener, she spends her time at home reading books, looking at too many dog photos, and growing an indoor jungle in her tiny flat!