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Calathea Leaves Curling: What You Should Know

One of the surefire signs something’s off with your Calathea houseplant is when the leaves start to curl. If you’ve noticed wilting and curling over time, you might be scratching your head about what’s going on with your favorite plant.

In this blog post, we’re going to dig into why this happens and how best to tackle Calathea leaves curling, plus give you some pointers on the right care to help your leafy friend thrive. From creating ideal growing conditions to figuring out when the problem may be more than just curling leaves, we’re gonna touch on everything you need to know about caring for Calatheas.

Calathea Leaves Curling: Causes and How to Fix

Calathea Leaves Curling for several reasons:

Watering Problems

Calathea leaves curling is one of the usual troubles gardeners run into. This can come up for a bunch of reasons, but it’s often down to a watering issue. Whether you are overwatering or underwatering your Calathea, the quality of water can cause leaf curling.


When your plant’s not getting enough water, the edges of its leaves start to curl up and get all dry and crispy. Giving it too much water can mess it up too, because the soil gets too wet and that can lead to root rot which stops it from water absorption.

You’ve been watering your plants too frequently and not letting the top inch of soil dry out. When you water your plant, you might see that the top bit of soil is still damp days later.

The roots will suffer from overwatering, and it could even lead to root rot. If the roots are damaged, they can’t do their job properly, and root rot might even kill your Calathea plant.


When the soil gets just a tad too dry, leaves will curl up.

If the soil’s top layer appears to be dry, check the soil and water your plant. It would be best if you didn’t let the soil dry up past the first half-inch to the first knuckle.

Quality of water

The quality of water you use is a big reason why Calathea leaves curling. Things like the amount of minerals in the water, pH levels, and whether there’s chlorine or other bad stuff can all impact your Calathea plant’s health.

Water with too many minerals, for example, can cause brown spots on the leaves and lead to leaf curling. Hard water, which is water with lots of minerals, can also mess up the leaves. Soft water, or water with few minerals, might not give your Calathea what it needs and can cause the leaves to curl. Tap water’s chlorine is another usual suspect for why Calathea leaves curl up.

To prevent Calathea leaves curling:

  • Keep an eye on how wet your soil is and change how much you water it based on what is needed. It’s super important to avoid overwatering so you don’t end up with root rot.
  • Think about changing how you water your plant to help it stay healthy and keep its leaves looking good.
  • It’s key to know what your plant needs and make sure it’s getting enough water to grow the best it can.
  • If you need to change the pH level of your water, think about adding vinegar or baking soda, depending on whether you need the pH to go up or down.
    If you’re using tap water for your Calathea, it’s a good idea to let the water sit overnight before you use it, that gives the chlorine time to disappear.

calathea watering problems

Low Humidity

Getting the hang of these issues can really help with Calathea’s watering problems. Not having enough humidity is a common cause of Calathea leaves curling. When the humidity’s too low, the edges of the leaves start to curl inwards, and in extreme cases, the entire leaf will curl up tightly.

Most calathea plants like humidity levels of at least 50% in the ideal situation. The care needed to keep a calathea plant happy changes depending on the type. Calathea leaves will probably start to dry out if the air humidity falls below 50%.

Low humidity can also cause brown spots on the tips and around the edges of leaves, which could mean they’re dehydrated or there’s not enough moisture in the air.

To prevent Calathea leaves curling:

  • By making sure the plant has enough humidity regularly, you can make its environment more like the tropical home it’s used to.
  • Spritz the leaves and the air around the plant every day with a spray bottle. Using a humidifier in the same room as the plant.
  • Put plants together to up the humidity.
  • Keep the soil just the right level of damp but not too wet, as this can cause root rot and other problems.
  • Put plants on a bed of pebbles or peat moss that’s sitting in water. Make sure the water’s kept clean so bacteria don’t start growing

Light Problem

Too much sun can make Calathea leaves curl up. This is ’cause they’re not used to harsh or long-lasting sun exposure, and it can cause the leaves to burn or get leaf-scorch. Too much direct sunlight can also dry out the plant super fast and might even slow its growth down.

Your Calathea plant’s leaves will lose their cool white and green patterns and might even fade if they get too much sunshine. Calatheas often curl up their leaves to block out the light. If you move your plant back into the shade within a day or two, the leaves should uncurl.

too much sunlight for calathea

To prevent Calathea leaves curling:

  • Make sure you place your Calathea somewhere it gets indirect or filtered light, and keep a close eye on your plant’s surroundings.
  • Give your Calathea some indirect sunlight and keep it out of the hot midday sun if you can.
  • If you see the leaves are still curling, try moving them a bit further away from the window or put up a curtain or blinds when the midday sun’s at its hottest.
  • You can also give the leaves a spray now and then to give them some extra moisture.

Temperature Changes

Changes in temperature can make Calathea leaves curl. Big swings from hot to cold might make the leaves of Calatheas curl up. When it gets hot, water evaporates faster too. The plant’s leaves will start to curl to try to lose less water.

To prevent Calathea leaves curling:

  • Keep your Calathea away from drafts and sudden temperature changes.
  • It should also be placed in an area of the home that does not receive direct sunlight that doesn’t get direct sunlight and stays at a steady temperature between 65-85°F.
  • Don’t put your Calathea in front of the heating or air conditioning vent right.
  • You can use a thermometer to check the temperature of the area around your Calathea.
  • Keep your Calathea indoors during the cold winter and hot summer and use a heater and air conditioning to keep it comfy.
  • For your Calathea to really thrive, you also need to find a spot that’s out of the sun and facing east-southeast in a room that gets indirect filtered sunlight.

Calathea plants like to grow in conditions that are like their natural habitat. Your plant will curl up to try to keep warm if it gets too cold. The leaves will start to dry out and wither if it gets too hot. Both problems can be resolved by changing the temperature of the plant’s surroundings.

Related: Is calathea toxic to cats? Surprise Truth

Over Fertilizing

Over-fertilizing on the fertilizer is one of the most common reasons why Calathea leaves curl. Too much fertilizer can mess up the balance of nutrients, leading to leaves turning yellow or curling.

Too much fertilizer can also burn the plant’s roots and cause the leaves to curl. If this is the problem with your Calathea, it’s key to dilute the fertilizer and reduce its strength. Over-fertilizing can also cause too much salt to build up in the soil, which can also lead to leaves curling.

To prevent Calathea leaves curling:

  • Give the soil a good rinse with plenty of water. This will help get rid of any extra salts or minerals that might be making the leaves curl.
  • Calathea plants need a balanced fertilizer with equal parts nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
  • Make sure you’re using the right kind of fertilizer for your Calathea plant to make sure it stays healthy and grows well.
  • Be mindful of how much fertilizer you’re using. Over-fertilizing can hurt your Calathea more than under-fertilizing.

If you’re not sure how much to use, ask a plant care professional for advice. Fixing an over-fertilization problem can take some time, but with some patience and effort, your Calathea will bounce back. With the right care and attention, your Calathea should stop curling in no time!

Tips: From spring through the summer, feed your indoor plants every month with a liquid fertilizer. Calathea won’t require fertilization while it is dormant in the winter.

Soil Conditions

One of the most common reasons why Calathea leaves curl up is because the soil’s not right. Soil that’s too dry, too wet, or lacking nutrients can all make Calathea leaves curl. If you think your plant’s soil isn’t good for its health, it’s key to sort this out as soon as possible.

To prevent Calathea leaves curling:

  • Make sure to use a potting mix that drains well and is made for houseplants.
  • You can check if the soil’s moist by sticking your finger into the soil up to your knuckle. If the soil feels dry, it’s time to give your plant a drink.
  • Make sure you avoid over-watering ’cause this can lead to root rot and other problems with Calatheas.
  • Make sure that your potting mix has important nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. These are needed for healthy plant growth.

Being aware of your soil conditions and making sure they match the needs of your Calathea plant can help prevent leaf curl. Once conditions are corrected and kept consistent, you should begin to see healthier growth and improved appearance.

soil conditions for calathea


Pests such as aphids, calathea spider mites, and mealybugs can cause Calathea leaves to curl. Pests feed on the sap of the plant and can damage the foliage by causing it to discolor, curl or deform.

A pest infestation can often be identified by webbing on the undersides of leaves and small spots around leaf veins. If your Calathea has pests, it’s important to take action quickly as they can spread rapidly and cause significant damage to the plant.

To prevent Calathea leaves curling:

  • Use a bug killer that contains neem oil or imidacloprid. These should be sprayed straight onto the leaves and stem of the plant.
  • Avoid spraying bug killers directly on the soil, ’cause this can hurt the good pests in the soil and cause root damage to the Calathea.
  • Pest killers can also be applied using horticultural oils or soaps. Make sure to follow the instructions on the label carefully and make sure to cover all parts of the leaf thoroughly when spraying.
  • It’s also key to check your Calathea regularly for signs of pests and take preventive steps such as removing infested leaves or keeping new plants away from the others.
  • Making sure to keep the air moving and keeping the leaves clean will help lower the risk of pest invasions.

Taking preventive steps like these can help keep your Calathea healthy and pest-free. Pests can be tough to get rid of and spotting them early is key in preventing an invasion from getting out of hand.

Repotting Calathea

Repotting Calathea can help to correct the root problems that may cause leaves to curl, such as over-watering or poor soil drainage. Repotting also gives your plant room to grow and thrive in a larger pot with fresh soil.

After repotting, it’s pretty normal for leaves to curl, and your plant might look a bit off for a bit. Most of the time, it just needs some time to get used to its new home and it’ll bounce back in a few weeks.

To prevent Calathea leaves curling:

  • Use a pot that’s at least one size bigger than the original. It’s best to repot in spring so your plant has loads of time to settle in before winter.
  • Go for a soil mix that drains well and gives it good water after repotting. Also, be careful not to hurt the roots when repotting, ’cause this can shock your plant and cause even more problems.
  • Once you’re done repotting, make sure your Calathea gets the right amount of light and water for the best health.
  • Keep an eye on your plant regularly to make sure its leaves aren’t curling or drooping.

calathea after repot

Pro Tips for Preventing Curling Calathea Leaves

Pro tips for preventing Calathea leaves curling include:

  1. Put your plant somewhere with plenty of light, but keep it out of direct sunlight. Too much sun can make the leaves curl up and dry out.
  2. Keep the soil damp, but not soaked. Let the top inch of soil dry out before watering again.
  3. Avoid changing temps or drafts, as this can make the leaves curl up.
  4. Keep the humidity level in your house pretty steady by misting your plant regularly and running a humidifier nearby.
  5. Regularly check for bugs since they can damage the leaves of Calathea plants.
  6. Cut off yellowing or drooping leaves to encourage new growth and keep your plant looking healthy.
  7. Fertilize your plant every two weeks during its active growing season with a balanced fertilizer diluted to half strength.
  8. Spin the pot every now and then to make sure all sides of the plant get a fair share of sunlight.

Follow these tips to help your Calathea stay healthy and look great!


After going through this blog post, you now know the usual suspects for Calathea leaves curling: too much or too little watering and what type or how good the water you use is, not enough humidity, too much direct sunlight, overfeeding, bugs (especially spider mites), and the state of the soil.

When you’re looking after your potted plant buddies, knowledge is power – understanding what causes each problem means you can help them bounce back to top health. It’s super important to keep an eye on what your Calathea needs and keep a regular check on everything – from how much water you’re using, to how good the soil is, and whether it’s getting enough light.

With proper care, treatment, and consultation from FamiPlants, you can get your beloved houseplant back to looking beautiful in no time. Together, we can keep our plants happy and healthy!



Hi, I'm Cathleen Clemens. I graduated from Cornell University with a degree in plant science. I gained detailed knowledge about various kinds of plants and how to properly care for them. My experience has enabled me to easily detect any issues such as pest infestations, nutrient deficiencies, or signs of diseases in the plants.

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