Calathea leaves curling inward is a problem caused by several factors like underwatering, improper lighting conditions, temperature stress, insect damage, and overfertilization.

Calathea Leaves Curling Inward

Fortunately, there are some fixes you can follow to stop the curling successfully. Stay till the end to learn all about causes and their easy solutions.

What Causes Calathea Plants Leaves Curling Inward?

The cause of calathea plants leaves curling inward is usually that you are not watering them properly. Furthermore, adding more fertilizers and insect attacks can also cause leaf deformity.

In some situations, environmental stress, like low humidity, high temperature, etc., can also cause the curling of leaves.

– Bone Dry Soil

When you notice curling calathea leaves, the first thing to do is to check the soil moisture. Water is, without a doubt, the most important thing for plants. It is needed to perform internal processes, stabilize temperature, and maintain overall health. Therefore, if the soil becomes dry, all of these things will be affected.

In addition, water is also critical for nutrient uptake. So, no matter how many doses of fertilizers you apply, if you don’t follow the watering schedule, calathea will face nutrient deficiency too, and the leaves will eventually deform.

– Adding Impure or Hard Water

Why do calathea leaves curl at night? Well, it usually happens when you apply poor-quality water. Calathea plants are sensitive to any impurities in the water. Sometimes, the tap water quality can degrade in the city areas.

The high salts, fluorides, and calcium can accumulate in it, making it hard. When you apply such water, these substances will pile up near the root zones. As a result, the water uptake will take a hit.

Furthermore, plants can uptake these substances and transfer them to the leaves. When this happens, photosynthesis will slow down, generating less energy. As a result, leaves will begin to curl inward.

– Too Much Light

If the leaves curl inward and turn yellow simultaneously, they receive more direct light than required. Calatheas love indirect but bright light for about six hours to maintain their shape. So, if you place them under direct sunlight for more hours, leaf burn will happen, and the leaves will ultimately curl.

Reasons of Calathea Leaves Curling Inward

In the leaf or sunburn, cells begin to die. With time, the yellow spots will emerge, and the edges of the leaves will curl. The effect is usually visible on the upper leaves as they are more fully exposed to light than the lower ones.

– Low Levels of Humidity

Low humidity levels can also be the reason behind the curling of leaves. It is, in fact, a defense mechanism of plants when the humidity goes low. Let us explain. Low humidity means the air lacks moisture. So, when there is air stress, leaves transpire at a faster rate. As a result, more water will leave the plant than it can uptake.

So, plants curl their leaves inward to stop or slow down the moisture release. This curling will allow them to save some water to do the physiological functions necessary to maintain overall health.

– Temperature Stress

Another reason behind calathea leaves curling and yellowing is the temperature stresses. Generally, heat stress affects the most, as calathea is sensitive to excess light and heat. This plant can tolerate up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

When the temperature exceeds this limit, leaves evaporate more water to maintain the inner temperature. After some time, the leaves will become moisture-less, and plants will have no choice but to curl the leaves to deal with the internal water stress. If the high-temperature stress persists, leaves will start falling off one by one.

– Inaccurate Fertilization

Have you recently applied fertilizers without considering any factor? Then get ready to see some “calathea leaves curling and crispy spots.” It is because you might have over-fertilized your plants.

When you add more fertilizer doses, minerals in large quantities pile up near the roots. This causes root burn, which impacts the root performance. Similarly, adding more nutrients can change the soil pH. When the pH changes, nutrients will become “locked,” and roots will not be able to uptake them towards the leaves.

Since nutrients are needed for smooth photosynthesis, their deficiency will slow down this physiological process, and leaves will ultimately curl inward.

First, the curling will start from the leaf tips. Then, the sides will also begin to twist, making it hard for the leaves to capture light to conduct photosynthesis. That is why such deformed leaves eventually fall off and die.

– Insect Damage

Another reason behind curling leaves is insect attack. The insects suck the sap of the leaves, causing curling. The ones that love to feed on the leaves of calathea or prayer plants are aphids, spider mites, whiteflies, etc.

– Root Stresses

Different root stresses can also cause leaves to curl inward. If you see calathea leaves curling after repotting, the roots are likely facing transplant shock. Roots try to get acclimatized to the new soil and pot. During this period, the uptake of moisture and nutrients can slow down, causing the curling of leaves.

Furthermore, root rot is another problem that roots face. It is a fungal disease that attacks when you overwater soil. In this, you may also see leaves turning brown and wilting. If root rot gets severe, the whole plant can wilt and die too.

Moreover, if the soil has poor drainage and fewer pores, roots will find it hard to grow and stretch properly. As a result, they will become weak and sick. Such roots won’t be able to absorb moisture and essential minerals from the soil. As discussed above, water and nutrient stress can cause leaf twisting and curling.

How To Stop Calathea’s Curling Leaves?

To stop calathea leaf curling, you should water plants carefully. Keep them from staying overwatered or underwatered to keep leaves vigorous. You should ensure proper lighting conditions and timely fertilization to maintain the structure. In addition, make sure your garden stays pest-free to prevent curling.

– Add Water Smartly

You should water calathea with great care if you want leaves to stay in proper shape. Only add it when the soil becomes partially dry to avoid overwatering. Also, ensure the pothole is unclogged so the excess water can pass through. This will make sure plants don’t face underwatering and overwatering stress.

– Relocate Pots

If plants get excessive sunlight, then relocate them to different spots. Please choose a location where they will get indirect yet bright light for around six hours. For indoor plants, choosing such a spot is easy. You can place them near a window, and they will get the light they need.

– Be Careful With Fertilization

When you face the problem of new calathea leaves not unfurling, chances are the plants are low on energy. It usually happens when you don’t apply or over-apply fertilizers. That is why we suggest you give organic fertilizers, which don’t cause complications.

Way Out for Calathea Leaves Curling Inward

Furthermore, the time of application is important too. Only give nutrients during the spring and summer as plants need them the most in these seasons. During this time, you can also apply all balanced fertilizers after every three to four weeks.

– Protect Plants From Insects

If there is a pest infestation, spray neem oil and insecticidal soap. In addition, you can also apply wood ash, sulfur powder, and baking soda to get rid of all the insects. If you still see many insects on the leaves, spray chemical insecticides as they are most effective.

– Follow Plant Care Measures

It is important to follow calathea care tips if you want leaves to stay healthy and green. In case of high-temperature stress, you should sprinkle some water on plant leaves to cool them down for some time. If the leaves are getting more direct sunlight, do something to provide shade.

When you see calathea leaves curling after watering, remove the excess water as much as possible. You can also remove the topsoil layer and add a well-drained one. Furthermore, you can also apply compost to deal with excessive moisture.

It is also advised to eradicate any weeds near your house plants as they can spread diseases and insects. The experts also recommend cleaning the garden daily of dust, debris, and pet feces. You can also pluck out curled leaves so plants spend their energy developing new ones. Following these points will keep leaves of calathea in their natural shape.

Conclusion of Calathea Leaves Curling Inward


All in all, the leaves of calathea plants can curl when they face many problems. But thankfully, each of them can be fixed easily. Here are the main takeaways of the whole article so you can get all the information about how to deal with curling.

  • Add adequate water and keep the soil somewhat moist to maintain the vigor of the leaves.
  • Give fertilizers in controlled amounts at the right time.
  • Grow calathea where they can get indirect sunlight for around six hours.
  • If insects attack plants, try organic or chemical insecticides to eliminate them.

In addition to these points, you should follow proper care measures to ensure leaves stay in their original shape.

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