Common Causes of Calathea Curling Leaves and Quick Solutions

Calathea leaves do not like to live in continuously changing growing conditions. Steady temperature, correct humidity, and perfect light with clean water are required for happy calathea plants. If you see your calathea leaves curling then this means your plant is in problem.

Something is wrong and you need to fix it soon to unfurl the plant.

Dehydration is the main cause of calathea curling leaves. Change in various growing factors triggers the calathea leaves curling.

In this article, we will explain why your calathea leaves are curling and how to fix them?

What causes Calathea leaves to curl?

Below are the main causes of leaf curling in calathea plants. Read all of them and find out how you can unfurl your calathea leaves.

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Extra bright light

Calathea is a tropical forest plant which means it grows under the shade of large trees. Therefore, it prefers the shady place to grow in your garden. You need to arrange shade for the plant to grow healthy especially if it is growing outdoors.

Protect your plant from direct sun rays. Because they can burn the calathea leaves. To protect itself from harsh high intense sun rays. The calathea curls its leaves to reduce the amount of light that is falling on them. If you change its place the calathea will unfurl in few days.

Extra bright light also reduces the beauty of foliage by removing the marking on them.

Find a shady bright place in your house to grow calathea. Do not put it on the sunny window sill. Always place it few feet away from it. And do not use grow lights to grow this plant, your indoor lighting is perfect to grow it.

Let’s say you want it in the open room near the sunny window. Then in this case you need to install the sheer curtain to protect it from direct sunshine.

Under or Overwatered Calathea

Calathea leaves curling due to incorrect watering routine is common in indoor growing calatheas. Too much water and too little water both can cause curling leaves in calathea.

The calathea soil has to be moist all the time for happy plants. Which is only possible by supplying water to the plants? But calatheas are also prone to root rot disease. So, you need to follow the balanced watering routine.

Before watering it check the conditions of the soil. Water your plant when the top 2 inches of the soil get dry. This will save your plants from root rot which is a result of overwatering.

Do not leave your calathea dry this will leads to calathea leaves curling.  When the leaves lose their moisture, they turn inwards to shrink themselves. This is the natural mechanism of plant protection.

Water the underwatered plants to revive them from leaf curling.

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Extreme temperature

60 to 80 degrees F is the best temperature range for calatheas. If the temperature goes above the range the plant starts losing the water stored in its leaves. This results in leaf shrinking and curling.

On the other hand, calathea curls its leaves to protect it from cold weather. Therefore, you need to set the thermostat to 70 degrees F.

In summers protect your plant from direct air conditioner airflow. This drops down the plant temperature and it curls its leaves for protection. By changing its place, you can uncurl the curled leaves.

Low humidity level

Humidity is the percentage of moisture in the grow room air. It is very important for growing healthy calathea. This plant absorbs moisture from the air through its leaves.

When the air in the room is dry, the plant did not get enough moisture. This results in calathea curling leaves and also makes them yellow in color.

You can prevent calathea leaves curling by misting water on them. Use any spray bottle and clean water to mist on calathea leaves. This technique will help to increase the humidity for less than 4 hours.

But you need a permanent solution of it. The first solution is electric plant humidifiers. Not no need to buy a room humidifier. Because you can buy inexpensive portable small-size humidifiers. Place it next to the plant, turn it On and it will solve your problem.

Amazon is the best place to buy inexpensive and portable plant humidifiers.

In traditional methods, we have the pebble tray method and grouping of houseplants. In pebble tray you fill it with water and place the plant pot over it.

In the second method place all the houseplants close to each other. This will create a greenhouse effect and increase the humidity by 20%.

Bad quality of water

We all know only sick calathea curls its leaves. The concentration of minerals in the water directly affects the health of calathea leaves.

The tap water of our country contains heavy minerals. They get collected in the root area. This interrupts the normal functioning of the plant roots.

To identify a hard water problem, look at the calathea leaves. If the leaves develop yellow edges with curling. This means your tap water contains heavy minerals in it.

To fix the problem change your water, use filtered water for watering calathea plants. To regain your plant health, flush the soil with filtered or distilled water.

The water should be at normal room temperature. Hot or cold water takes your plant to a state of shock. Which again is responsible for the calathea leaves curling.


Fertilizers are good for growing houseplants. They increase the fertility of the potting soil. Plants also need nutrients to grow healthy and fast. But sometimes when you give a high dosage of fertilizers this creates many problems.

The nutrients in the fertilizers are present in the form of salts.

The plant Roots start absorbing the high amount of nutrients. They transport them to different parts of the plants along with water. The moisture in the plant leaves starts to evaporate due to these salts. This causing leaves to curl.

Note: Dehydrated Leaves always curl

To fix this issue, flush the soil with clean water. Take the plant pot near the tap and turn it on for 10 minutes. You will see the salted water comes out of the darning hole. After that turn off the tap and let the plant there for 30 minutes to drain well.

Then move it to its permanent location and do not use fertilizers for the next 30 days.

Calathea leaves Curling after repotting

Frequent repotting of calathea Zebrina puts extra stress on plants. This increases the chances of leaf curling. Repot it once only in its active growing season. Generally, calathea needs repotting once in 2 to 3 years depending upon the growth.

Calathea leaves curling is common in recently repotted plants.

To prevent curling of leaves in calathea use the same soil for the repotting. Give adequate water to your plants. Your problem will get solved in few days.

How to stop calathea leaves curling?

Follow the best calathea plant care guide. There are many calathea caring guides on this website go to the home page and search for calathea.

For now,

Put the plant in low bright light and save it from hot and cold winds. Do not put it in the room where you use the air conditioner on summer days.

Set the room temperature between 60 to 80 degrees F.

Check the soil of the calathea before watering it. On low humid days mist the water on calathea leaves. If necessary, use plant humidifiers.

Limit the use of plant fertilizers. If required only use liquid fertilizers by diluting them in clean water. If you have a good budget for the houseplants then use pre-fertilized soil. Ask the garden store manager about the premixed soil for calathea plants.

This way you do not need to use extra fertilizer and you will not face overfertilization issues.

I hope now you understand the reason behind calathea leaves curling. If you are unable to fix the problem contact us. Send us the images of your calathea leaves. we will replay ASAP.

For more information on calathea and its cousin plants visit our houseplant section. There you will find detailed guides on every common houseplant.

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