Leaf tips curling down and crispy are a common thing you’ll encounter when growing delicate decorative house plants like cannabis plants and others. If the leaves of your houseplants are curling, you shouldn’t despair, but you should probably know that it can be due to several factors.
Understanding how to read each of these will help you save and help your plant get back on track, so let’s get started.
- Why Are Plant Leaf Tips Curling Down and Crispy?
- How To Resolve Leaf Curling and Crispy Leaves on Plants?
Why Are Plant Leaf Tips Curling Down and Crispy?
The reason why plant leaf tips are curling down and crispy is due to heat stress, nutrient problems, and root problems, in addition to being due to pest infestations. Moreover, it can be the lack of humidity, the quality of water, and the dryness of old leaves.
Plenty of different reasons your plant leaves may be getting crispy and curling. It’s important to notice that some plants are more resilient than others. For example, your calathea and plants with meatier leaves won’t be curling that easily, while cannabis plants will show signs of negligence as soon as they don’t get what they need.
– Heat Stress
Plants lose water quickly when it’s hot, so they curl up in an attempt to hold onto the precious moisture. It’s a common problem that can happen when plants are placed too close to powerful lights or in a specialized cannabis grow room with persistently high temperatures of 80 degrees Fahrenheit or more.
Even when the grow lights are off, the edges of the leaves will still curl inward from light burn and form that cup-like shape. This is especially true for the upper leaves, so make sure to keep an eye on those high-temperature zones.
– Nutrient Problems
When it comes to plant nutrition, each deficiency has its own unique pattern of impact. Nitrogen toxicity hits the older cannabis leaves first because the plant redirects the nutrient from the existing leaves when new ones aren’t getting enough to grow, causing nutrient burn.
As plants approach harvest time, a nitrogen deficiency is normal since all the energy should be focused on producing fruit or flowers instead of leaves. This is why “bloom” stage nutrient formulas contain low nitrogen levels. This is when they would have the lack of, and this aspect begins to show.
Phosphorus deficiency starts at the bottom of the plant and moves upwards if left untreated. For many crops, the need for phosphorus will be at its highest when the plant begins to produce buds.
And finally, potassium deficiency will cause nutrient burn, but if your plants are at least 12 inches away from high-intensity light or using cool LEDs, the problem may be a lack of potassium. Plants require high levels of this nutrient during the budding and flowering stages, and if this is the key issue, you would see it boldly through the leaves.
– Root Problems
Be careful not to love your green babies too much, because overwatering can be a common problem, and this is due to the fact that sometimes a matter of giving them too much moisture. If you overwater your plants for a prolonged period, it can lead to strange deficiencies, even if the pH balance is perfect!
If your plant is consistently droopy, it’s probably a sign that it’s drowning in too much water, and you’ve likely caused root rot as well. This is a serious condition when the plant no longer breathes and is suffocated on the very thing giving it life.
– Pest Infestation
Bugs can be a nightmare for plant parents, and there are a few tiny terrors you should be aware of. Aphids, the most common of these pests, come in all sorts of colors, and they love to cluster on the undersides of marijuana leaves, where they feast on sap. Their feeding habits can cause leaves to yellow and wilt, and they’re not just content with ruining one plant — they can spread like viruses to others.
Spider mites are tough to spot, but their damage isn’t. They use their sharp mouths to pierce plant cells and suck out fluids, leaving unsightly yellow, orange, or white speckles. And they breed like crazy – a single female can spawn thousands of new mites in less than a month.
Whiteflies might look like cute little moths, but they can be a real menace. They hang out on the undersides of leaves, sucking the fluids from new growth and causing fresh leaves to be stunted or twisted.
On thee other hand, this matter can also be due to thrips, as they are less than 1/25 of an inch and puncture plants as they absorb out the sap from the inside, leaving behind tell-tale streaks and introducing viral pathogens to plants. They can ruin your whole crop if they get into your flower buds. All of these will excrete a sticky substance that black sooty mold loves to grow in.
– Lack of Humidity
Some of our leafy plants, like ferns, Calathea, Maranta, and Anthurium are suckers for humidity. Even different types of plant species’ leaves will enjoy it, but too much of a good thing can quickly turn into a nightmare.
For instance, when you take the tackle of powdery mildew, it is a disease that wreaks havoc on new leaf growth and flower buds, causing them to wither and die, and the first way is through the leaf tips. As the infection spreads, leaves turn brown and fall off, choked by the fungal buildup thriving in moist and stagnant air.
– Water Quality
Tap water can be a convenient choice; many gardeners even swear by it, but there are some things worth considering before going for the tap to fill your watering can. You may need to look for alternatives if you live in an area with particularly hard water. While chlorine in tap water is generally harmless for plants, fluoride is another story.
Certain plants like spider plants, corn plants, and palms may show signs of sensitivity to fluoride, reacting with brown tips on the leaves. If you plan on using a water softener, steer clear of sodium-based ones. The sodium can be toxic and cause harm to your green friends.
– Dryness of Old Leaves
As your plant matures, the lower leaves become a bit crispy or yellowish. Don’t fret! This is a natural part of the aging process when leaves that aren’t in contact with the sun no longer serve the plant. Dryness on the oldest leaves is no reason to stress out. It’s quite common for the initial sets of leaves to wither and turn yellow after a while.
How To Resolve Leaf Curling and Crispy Leaves on Plants?
To resolve leaf tips curling down and crispy on plants, you should improve the water quality and try to adopt an appropriate watering flow. You must also increase the humidity in a healthy way, avoid fertilizing overly, and make sure to tackle pests and diseases.
– Improve Water Quality
If you have ultra-hard tap water, consider an alternative source because this can be what causes the crispy and curling leaves’ condition, as one option is to install a rain barrel in the garden. Your plants will benefit from chemical-free rainwater, and you’ll reduce water consumption. Consider using a water filtration system to purify your water; you may also opt to buying gallons of filtered water may be a feasible option if you haven’t that many plants.
– Adopt Appropriate Watering Flow
Give your plants a good soak, as you would take your plant to the sink and let the water flow until the soil is thoroughly saturated. Once the water drains away, return your plant to its designated spot.
But beware, don’t let your plant’s soil go bone dry for too long! While some plants like cacti and succulents prefer arid conditions, even they have their limits. Neglect them for too long, and they’ll become deflated and parched.
For most leafy, tropical plants that hail from humid jungles, a good rule of thumb is to soak the soil and then wait until the top few inches of the potting mix are dry before watering again. Get to know your plant’s specific needs, and you’ll have a happy, hydrated houseplant.
– Increasing Humidity the Healthy Way
Increasing the humidity around your beloved plants is a great place to start, as it will be able to help create a lush, humid atmosphere; consider bringing your plants together in a green oasis. As they release moisture, they’ll help create their own little microclimate.
Place small plants on a tray filled with pebbles and water, and the evaporating water will add moisture to the air and benefit your plants. You can also invest in a humidifier — it’s a game-changer, especially in dry winter. Moreover, you must also remember to avoid putting your plants next to heating vents because this can lead to unwanted scorching and drying, which can harm your plants.
– Avoiding Fertilizing Excessively
Give your plants the boost they need to thrive, but do it only when they’re active and this will usually be during spring and summer when nutrient deficiency should be avoided. Fertilize your green babies with balanced slow-release fertilizer, or you can always opt for specialized species-appropriated ones.
A general rule here is to add a teaspoon of fertilizer to a gallon of water and feed your plant, or simply follow the instructions on the fertilizer label. If you have accidentally overdone it, you can simply flush the soil or repot the plant to wash away the excess fertilizer.
– Tackle Pests and Diseases
Aphids alone can produce a whopping 12 new offspring a day, so you must act fast to keep them from taking over your indoor garden. You can start by using insecticidal soap spray twice and once for the initial application, and then again a week later to take care of the next generation.
Before bringing a new plant into your collection, give it a thorough bath on both the top and bottom of its leaves to eliminate any mites that thrive in dry conditions. It’s important to check underneath your plant’s leaves weekly to catch any new infestations.
If you want an extra layer of protection, try using sticky traps to capture any pests that might slip through the cracks. While they can work well to protect a few plants, they’re most effective as an early warning system for larger indoor gardens. Growing some companion plants is always a great option, with basil and other scented herbs doing wonders to protect your plants.
Cannabis leaves curling are nobody’s cup of tea, and if you can spot your culprit early on, you may just save your plant from the worst; now, to repeat what we’ve gone through:
- Always keep an open eye and analyze first. There can be several reasons why your plant is behaving like it is and recognizing the exact one will win you half the battle.
- You’ll likely be dealing with your own approach to plant care, but sometimes pests and diseases can slowly creep up on you.
- Most plant leaves, like those on cannabis, will love extra humidity around. It’ll do them best if you can enable them their own house space where they can keep their own micro-climate.
In any case, just follow these steps, and your plants will grow happily ever after.
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