What Makes Calathea Leaves Curl?

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Calathea plants are picky and need specific conditions to grow correctly. Many factors may cause your Calathea’s leaves to curl:

  • too much or not enough sunlight
  • improper watering
  • uncomfortable temperatures.
Calathea leaves curlPin

What Is The Calathea Plant?

Calathea is a popular perennial houseplant that originates from South American rainforests. They have oval-shaped leaves that reach out towards direct or indirect sunlight.

Several of these plant species have varying hues of green layered with striped patterns.

Other common names for Calathea include:

  • cathedral plants
  • peacock plants
  • zebra plants
  • rattlesnake plants
  • prayer plants.

What Are The Causes Of Curling Leaves?

Calathea plants thrive in humid, tropical environments. They respond quickly if their environment or growth cycle changes.

Leaf curling can happen in response to a handful of environmental factors.

Inadequate Humidity

If the leaves begin to curl or fall over, your plant may not have enough humidity in its environment.

All Calathea varieties originate from rainforest environments. It thrives in climates with high humidity. If the plant lacks an ideal amount of moisture, its leaves will fall off or turn brown.

Excessive Exposure to Direct Sunlight

Since Calathea grows beneath the canopies of tropical rainforests, they’ve adapted to growing in low sunlight. If you expose the plant to direct sunlight, its leaves will get damaged.

Inadequate Watering Quality

The Calathea is a picky plant when it comes to keeping up with watering. If not watered enough, the leaves curl. If it’s overwatered, the leaves will also begin curling up.

If you water Calathea with salt water or water with certain minerals, it’ll harm the plant. The soil also needs to have the ideal amount of moisture to prevent its roots from rotting.

Inappropriate Temperatures

Due to their tropical nature, Calathea plants are susceptible to damage from cold temperatures.

They’re also sensitive to sudden shifts in temperature. If it’s too cold, it will curl up to keep warm, and if it’s too hot, the leaves will dry out.

How Can I Prevent Calathea Leaves from Curling?

If you’re having trouble with your Calathea’s leaves curling, there are many ways to unfurl them and keep them healthy.

Several of these remedies are relatively simple to do for daily care. By accommodating your houseplant, you’re less likely to harm it in the long run.

Regulate Its Humidity

An easy way to keep Calathea’s leaves in check is through misting. By spraying your plant’s leaves several times a week, you’ll replicate the moisture found in tropical forests.

If you don’t want to try this strategy, you can also use a humidifier to balance its humidity.

Keep Your Plant In The Shade Or Indirect Sunlight

Another way to keep your Calathea’s leaves from curling is to place them in areas with limited sunlight or light shade. Keep direct exposure to the sun limited to prevent its leaves from scorching or drying out.

Develop Healthy Watering Habits

Calathea leaves won’t curl if you give them a healthy watering routine. If you have a water filtration system, you can use that to improve your water’s quality for your plant.

You can also use rainwater as an alternative to using distilled water or bottled water. Calathea will thrive better if they’re not in standing water.

When watering Calathea, make sure to keep its soil damp with excellent drainage. It would also be best to decrease its water intake during the winter to prevent oversaturation.

Create An Appropriate Temperature-Controlled Environment

Typically, Calathea can thrive in temperatures ranging between 60° to 85° Fahrenheit. Keep it in a room with consistent thriving temperatures. Don’t place your plant near air conditioners or heaters that might disrupt the temperature’s equilibrium.

If you have a thermometer on hand, you can use it to read the plant’s temperature and the room. If it’s below or above its ideal range, you should adjust it.


Calathea’s sensitivity to sunlight, temperature, humidity, and inconvenient watering all make its leaves curl. As a reactionary plant, it’s more likely to succumb to unsuitable conditions.

If you put the time in to readjust how you care for your plant, you can make it last longer in any home and keep its leaves from curling.

While Calathea can be picky, it’s worth the effort to avoid leaf curling for a healthy and long-lasting plant.

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