Calathea zebrina drooping is a phenomenon that can leave plant lovers dismayed and disheartened; it requires a thorough understanding to reviving its vitality and restore its beauty.Calathea Zebrina Drooping

This captivating indoor plant is relatively undemanding under the right conditions, with its vibrantly patterned, velvet, ovate to oblong leaves, often light green with dark green stripes. If you keep reading our comprehensive care guide, you will learn why this problem occurs with practical solutions to address it and restore the splendor of your zebra plant.

What Are Reasons That Calathea Zebrina is Drooping?

The reasons that calathea zerbina is drooping are improper watering and incorrect lighting conditions. It can also be caused by nutrient deficiencies, having a root-related issue, extreme temperatures or humidity inadequacy, pest infestations taking place, and lastly due to plant maturity.

Calathea zebrina leaves might be drooping because of improper care that you are giving it. This could be incorrect light conditions, improper watering, extreme temperatures, or inadequate humidity. But when its leaves begin to droop, even the most seasoned plant enthusiast can get overwhelmed trying to figure out what went wrong and how to address the issues at hand.

– Improper Watering

Water is essential for plant growth and vitality, and it has an important role in maintaining the health of zebrinas. Improper watering can cause its beautiful leaves to droop, signaling distress and the need for adjustment, you may be watering it more than it needs or less than what it requires, which is why the imbalance is stressing the plant.

Overwatering is one of the most common mistakes when caring for calathea plants. When the roots are constantly soggy, they stop absorbing oxygen, causing them to decay. As the roots decay, the plant loses its ability to take nutrients and water, causing the calathea leaves to droop and wilt. Similarly, watering it less than it requires can cause the same problem, as the plant becomes dehydrated and loses its turgidity.

– Incorrect Lighting Conditions

Due to the striking, zebra-like patterns on their leaves, these plants are ones that require special lighting conditions that must be provided constantly to maintain their beauty and avoid drooping. You would see that the ideal lighting conditions for this plant are bright, indirect sunlight.

When deprived of the right amount of sunlight, the plant struggles to photosynthesize, resulting in a decrease in energy production, which affects the turgidity and strength of the leaves. This way, they wouldn’t have the right energy to build up their strength, so now, they will look droopy.

This insufficient lighting can also disrupt the plant’s natural growth patterns, causing the steams to become weak and foliage that droops downward. Additionally, direct or too intense sunlight can scorch its delicate leaves resulting in the leaves curling, leaf tips turning brown, and drooping.Drooping Calathea Plants

– Nutrient Deficiencies

Nutrient deficiencies occur when the plant needs to receive an adequate supply of the essential elements needed to function correctly. For the calathea zebrina plant, a deficiency in magnesium, nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, and other vital nutrients that are essential for maintaining the structural integrity and metabolic processes within the plant can lead to drooping leaves.

When deprived of nitrogen, which is responsible for promoting leaf and stem growth, zebrinas will display pale, yellowing leaves, stunted growth, and an overall weakened appearance, and the stems will begin to look weakened. On the other hand, potassium is responsible for water regulation and the transportation of nutrients. When it is deficient, calatheas exhibit scorched leaf edges or decreased vigor, which can cause the leaves to droop.

Lastly, when they are lacking in magnesium, you will see the leaves look weak, as it is responsible for chlorophyll, which is responsible for photosynthesis. So, a magnesium deficiency can cause yellowing between the leaf veins, weakening the overall leaf structure and leading to the leaves drooping.

– Root-Related Problems

Root health is crucial for the overall well-being of calatheas, and any problem affecting the roots can manifest in the form of drooping or cutting leaves. Root rot is the most common root-related problem that can cause this problem.

When the roots are constantly exposed to excess moisture and become saturated, fungal and bacterial infections develop, causing them to lose their functionality. In this case, you must realize that they can no longer absorb oxygen and take up nutrients, resulting in weakened foliage, and this is why they would look tired and also weakened.

Another root-related problem that can cause drooping calatheas is root binding. This occurs when the plant becomes root bound, has outgrown its pot, and becomes compacted and tangled. This also hinders the plant’s ability to absorb oxygen ad nutrients, leading to subsequent leaf drooping.

– Extreme Temperatures or Inadequate Humidity

Extreme temperatures, whether extreme heat or extreme cold, can stress the calathea plant, resulting in drooping leaves. High temperatures or excessive heat can lead to increased water loss and reduced absorption due to transpiration, as they experience the uprise.

In such a matter, the plant becomes dehydrated, loses its turgidity, and begins to droop. In the same way, you should notice that the excessivee cold or frosty temperatures can weaken the plant’s tissues, decreasing its functionality and causing its foliage to wilt.

Asides from extreme temperatures, inadequate humidity can result in the same problem. Calathea zebrina is a tropical plant requiring high humidity levels to thrive. When grown in an environment with low humidity, the plant will struggle to maintain optimal moisture levels, accelerating water loss through transpiration and resulting in calathea drooping.Drooping Leaves of Calathea

– Pest Infestations

Common plant pests, such as spider mites, aphids, mealybugs, and scales, can cause significant damage to calathea zebrinas and disrupt their natural growth processes. These insects are tiny, almost microscopic, and can’t be seen with the naked eye when in small numbers.

However, they reproduce rapidly, quickly spreading across the plant and piercing its tissues to feed on the sap from the leaves. When this takes place, you should know that the plant will begin to stress, and it may also hinder its development.

As they continue to feed, they cause damage to the foliage, often distorting the leaves and leading to stunted growth, which eventually causes the leaves to droop. These infestations weaken the zebra plant and make it more susceptible to other stressors, such as nutrient deficiencies and dehydration, further contributing to leaf drooping.

– Plant Maturity

The change in the physiological processes of the zebrina plant, as it begins to mature, can lead to its leaves drooping. Older leaves start to decline naturally and exhibit signs of drooping as the plant gets older.

In this case, what happens is that as new leaves emerge from the plant, older ones begin to lose their vigor, naturally droop, and eventually die. This allows the plant to channel its resources to support new growth and ensure survival.

Additionally, factors such as nutrient allocation and energy distribution within the plant prevent older leaves from receiving hydration and nutrition, quickly resulting in drooping and wilting. But, in as much as plant maturity can result in drooping of the plant’s leaves, it is important to be able to differentiate between natural leaf aging and the other factors mentioned above to enable you to take necessary action.

How To Restore Calathea Zebrina From Drooping?

To restore calathea zebrina from drooping, you should repot the plant, and make sure to fertilize it in the right way. You can also integrate proper pest management, adjust the watering practices, regulate the surrounding humidity and temperature, and provide proper lighting.

– Try to Repot The Plant

Repotting effectively revives your drooping zebrinas if they suffer from root rot or root binding. The essence of repotting is to change the soil that might have become waterlogged or compacted and provide ample space for the plant that has outgrown its pot. This is why using a pot about an inch larger than the current one is essential to allow the roots to expand and stop wilting, and it is a great choice to go for it.

Ensure you use a potting mix that is well-draining and properly aerated and that the pot has enough holes for proper drainage. Now, you should carefully try to remove the plant from its current pot, use sterilized scissors to trim away any damaged or decayed roots, and spray with a fungicide to kill potential pathogens.

You would see that this process is also important to prevent repotting shock. Then place the plant in its new pot with the fresh potting mix and resume your regular care routine.

– Fertilize Appropriately

Calthea zebrinas, like every other plant, requires a balanced supply of essential nutrients to grow. Although it is unnecessary to fertilize these plants since they can grow optimally on their own, fertilization helps revitalize calatheas when their leaves droop.

As a result, when you are trying to choose a fertilizer for these plants, it is best to use a light, balanced feed containing nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus in a 10-10-10 formulation as well as other macronutrients. This is because, as you do so, you should try to be detailed and not apply in a generous way and constantly; as the plant grows, it shouldn’t be stressed as well.

You should dilute the fertilizer to quarter strength before application to avoid burning the plant and causing additional problems. Place this fertilizer during the growing season and reduce or stop it entirely in fall or winter when they become dormant.Restore Calathea from Drooping

– Integrated Pest Management

Suppose your calathea leaves are drooping due to a pest infestation. In that case, implementing an Integrated Pest Management system can be a highly effective solution, especially if you’re trying to minimize the use of chemicals. You can start by practicing proper sanitization around your plants by removing plant debris, fallen leaves, and weeds to avoid providing a hiding place for pests.

This also involves regularly checking your plants for signs of infestation, such as small webs on the undersides of leaves, the presence of ants around your growing area, honeydew on leaves and stems, and tiny insects around the plants; the earlier you detect them, the faster you can control them before severe damage is done. You can then use horticultural oils, insecticidal soaps, neem oil, or introduce beneficial predators to control these pests.

– Adjust Watering Practices

Calthea zebrinas require regular watering to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged. However, The watering frequency depends on how quickly the soil dries, which changes with the season, humidity levels, and the environment.

To determine how quickly the soil dries, stick your finger into the first few inches of the soil. If it feels dry, it is an indication that watering is required. Otherwise, wait a day or two for the soil topsoil to dry before watering, and this would be a good option to help it recover.

Only use room temperature water that has been distilled or gotten from rain. This prevents the accumulation of minerals and salts in other types of water. Also, avoid overhead watering and water in the morning so the plant can dry out before nightfall as you are watering the plant.

– Regulate Humidity and Temperature

The ideal humidity level for calatheas is above 60 percent, which is easy to achieve if you’re growing them outdoors in a tropical climate. This is a key notion that you should keep in mind when you are growing this plant because you must adjust the environment and the surroundings to avoid any drooping.

However, if you’re growing them indoors or in an area outside their USDA zones, this may be hard to achieve without supplementary measures. Humidity levels inside the home are usually below 50 percent, so you must use a humidifier or a humidity tray to meet the ideal levels for your calatheas.

A humidity tray is a small plate containing pebbles and water. As the water evaporates, it raises the humidity levels around the area. However, you should also be detailed, and ensure that the bottom of the pot isn’t submerged in the water to prevent root decay.

The zebra plant thrives in temperature levels between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are growing it outside its USDA zones, placing it where it can receive consistent and moderate temperatures throughout the day is advisable. Avoid placing it near drafty windows, air conditioning vents, or other heat sources. If you’re growing it outside, it is advisable to overwinter it indoors during the cold season.

– Provide Proper Lighting

The proper light requirements for calathea zebrinas are bright, filtered, and indirect sunlight as they are native to the understory of tropical forests. So to prevent your plant from drooping their leaves, place them in a location where they can receive bright but filtered sunlight for the better part of the day. You can achieve this indoors by placing it in a north or east-facing window.

On the other hand, you should also keep in mind that too much direct sunlight or exposure to harsh rays can scorch their leaves. This is why, if your plants are placed where they receive direct light, you can use a sheer curtain or cloth to filter it. You can also use LED growth lights if you don’t have access to bright sunlight. Ensure the lights are placed at least 12 to 18 inches above the plants.


We’ve revealed the secrets behind why your calathea zebrina leaves are drooping and practical tips, and in your journey to restore your zebrina to its former glory, take note of these points:

  • Proper calathea zebrina care is vital to prevent their leaves from drooping.
  • Consider that aging might be responsible for their leaves drooping.
  • Integrated Pest Management is an effective way to eliminate pests causing the leaves to droop.

So with your new-found knowledge, you can revive your tropical plants and beauty to your indoor space.

5/5 - (13 votes)
Evergreen Seeds