Rattlesnake plant leaves curling is a serious problem caused by watering stress, adding impure water, fungus attack, temperature stresses, and insect infestation. 

Rattlesnake Plant Leaves Curling

Luckily, the curling can stop if you follow some specific measures such as adding water properly and growing your plants in the correct location.

To know about causes and how to fix the problem easily, stick with us to the end.

What Causes Rattlesnake Plant Leaves Curling?

The causes of the rattlesnake plant leaves curling are bone-dry soil, low humidity levels, heat stress, nutrient unavailability, and cold temperatures. In addition, if experiencing pest infestations and disease attacks, the Calathea lancifolia’s leaves can also lose their shape and curl up.

– Watering Stress – Extreme Soil Dryness

One of the leading reasons that cause calathea leaves curling inward is under watering or watering stress. There is no denying that plants need water to survive and thrive. They need it to perform physiological functions like photosynthesis, transpiration, etc.

So, if you don’t give water, there won’t be enough moisture for roots to absorb, and all the physiological processes will take a hit. Since most of these processes take place in leaves, they will start to have brown tips first. If the soil stays bone dry for a long time, curling will happen, and leaves will eventually fall off.

– Low Humidity Levels

When you see Rattlesnake plant leaves drooping, then check the humidity levels. It should be above 50 percent for Calathea or Rattlesnake. If it is low, evaporation can get affected, which can cause less moisture in the leaves. When this happens, leaves start to curl.

It is hard for the plants to keep the curling leaves intact. So, the impact of low humidity can cause plants to shed all their leaves. To confirm whether the low humidity is the reason, use a Hygrometer. If it shows any value less than 50 percent, then it is obvious that low humidity levels cause curling.

Reasons of Rattlesnake Plant Leaves Curling

– Heat Stress

Another major reason that can cause Calathea leaves to curl up is heat stress or high temperatures. Rattlesnake or Calathea plants can tolerate up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. When the temperature exceeds this limit, the moisture in the leaves will dry up. This will cause wrinkling on the leaves, and they will ultimately curl up.

Moreover, direct sunlight is not beneficial when the temperature is high. It is because curled leaves can’t do photosynthesis, which will make the whole plant weak. In this condition, you will also see yellowing and browning on leaf tips that will spread to the whole part with time.

– Cold Temperature

Wondering why do Calathea leaves curl at night? Then cold or low temperature might be the answer. Calathea plants can tolerate a minimum temperature of 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Generally, the temperature can drop below this limit at night in the winter, especially in cold areas. When this happens, you will notice the growing tips curling first. After some time, the whole leaf can lose its shape and drop off.

In most cases, outdoor plants face the problems of cold stress. Indoor plants are usually safe because they easily manage the temperature inside. Growers usually use heaters to maintain the temperature to the optimum in the winter.

– Insect Attack

When you observe Rattlesnake plant leaves yellowing, then look for insects. These unwanted pests love to feed on cell sap or juice. It is this sap or juice that maintains the leaf vigor. So, when insects suck it, leaves start to curl. You will also see them turning yellow with time if you don’t do anything to control their attack.

The common insects of calathea are spider mites, thrips, fungus gnats, aphids, and mealybugs. They are small, so you must carefully check the leaves’ stem, soil, and underside to spot their adults and larvae.

In addition, you can also find these insects on the Calathea orbifolia or prayer plant, Calathea zebrina or zebra plant, Calathea ornata or Pin-Stripe Calathea, and Calathea makoyana or peacock plant (if you are growing them).

– Nutrient Unavailability

When you notice, Calathea leaves curling and crispy; chances are plants might be facing nutrient stress. It is highly undesirable because plants need nutrients to perform photosynthesis successfully. It means nutrients play their role in generating energy, which plants use for growth and keeping their shape.

So, a lack of them can cause some complications, and one of them is leaves curling. It is critical to note that when there are not enough minerals or nutrients, you will also see brown patches on the leaves.

– Adding Poor Quality Water

Adding impure or hard water can cause rattlesnake plant leaves to curl up. In such water, there are high amounts of salt, calcium, fluoride, and lime. So, when you apply it, soil soaks these compounds, which roots can uptake too. After some time, you will see the impact on leaves – which is curling.

– Root Rot

Rattlesnake plant leaves turning brown, and curling is indeed a deformity, and root rot can be behind it. It is a fungal disease that attacks when you overwater soils and let the dirt stay near your plants.

In this disease, roots take the most damage. So, affected roots cannot absorb moisture and minerals properly, leading to further problems (like curling). After a while, you will notice yellow leaves on plants. If you don’t do anything to control it, the whole plant can wilt and die.

How Do You Fix Rattlesnake or Calathea Plant Leaves Curling?

To fix calathea leaf curling, ensure soil never goes without moisture. You must apply nutrients and let the plants grow in those spots where they get sufficient light. Moreover, if insects cause the curling, then spray insecticides – but first try organic and then chemical.

– Add Water Properly

It is super important to water calathea with care. As discussed above, this plant is sensitive to any impurity in water. So, make sure you give water quality supreme importance. Never use tap water for irrigation. Use a filtered one with the minimum impurity possible.

Moreover, you should never overwater plants, even if you think the soil is bone dry. Add water in controlled amounts to keep the root hairs moist. This will keep plants safe from fungal diseases.

– Grow Plants in Ideal Location

If you want plants’ physiological processes not to halt, then ensure they get indirect light for at least four hours. If your plants get low or more light, shift them to different spots.

Handling the lighting conditions of an indoor rattlesnake plant indoors is easy. Just put the plant near a window, which will receive optimal lights. If there is no space near the window, then use grow lights.

Solutions of Rattlesnake Plant Leaves Curling

– Go for Organic Fertilization

To deal with nutrient deficiencies, we suggest you try organic fertilizers first. The ones that most gardeners use are compost, bone meal, and blood meal. The reason organic fertilizers should be your first choice is that they don’t cause nutrient toxicity and do not alter the soil pH either.

If you have already added lots of chemical fertilizers or the soil is now polluted due to impure water, then the best thing to do in this situation is to replace the top two inches of soil and add a new layer. These two calathea care tips will keep the leaves from losing their shape due to nutrient or mineral problems.

– Deal With Insects

Insects are one of the biggest enemies of colorful and juicy leaves. So, it is critical to get rid of them to keep the leaves safe from curling. For this, the best thing to do is to use organic insecticides, like neem oil spray, soapy water spray, baking soda, and pepper spray.

If you still see more insects on the leaves after applying organic insecticides, give them a taste of chemical insecticides. Remember to wear a mask and gloves when you apply them, as the fumes can cause skin allergies or breathing problems.

In addition to applying insecticides, you should also uproot any weeds you see around plants. It is because insects love to harbor on them as well. Furthermore, keeping the garden neat and clean will discourage flies infestation. Simply following these plant care tips will also control insect attacks.

Conclusion of Rattlesnake Plant Leaves Curling


You should never let the leaves of Calathea curl if you want the plant to stay healthy. In this article, you learned all the reasons for curling and how to stop it. Here are the important points to refresh every key detail in your mind:

  • Soils should have adequate moisture to keep leaves healthy.
  • Make sure there is enough light and nutrients available for plants.
  • Use insecticides to eliminate insect infestation if you want leaves to stay in shape.

When you do all of this, Calathea leaves will never curl again!

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