Why Do Houseplant Leaves Curl?

Houseplants are gorgeous things to have around – they are lovely to look at, and they also help to improve the quality of the air we breathe. If you have been wondering why do houseplant leaves curl, you’ve come to the right place – we are going to look through all the reasons behind this, and what you can do about it.

Why Do Houseplant Leaves Curl?

Why Do Houseplant Leaves Curl

There can be a lot of reasons why houseplant leaves curl, from damage to disease. We’re going to find out what causes the curl!

  • Pest invasion. Sap sucking bugs can cause havoc with leaves, biting into them and causing them to curl up.
  • Disease. Certain diseases can cause plant leaves to curl up, either just the edges or even the whole leaf.
  • Lack of water. If a plant doesn’t have enough to drink, it cannot send the nutrients and fluids around the whole plant, so the edges get left out.
  • Damage. A plant that has been basked, knocked or broken may become shocked, which can cause the leaves to curl temporarily.
  • Too hot. If a plant has too much warmth, it will try to protect itself by curling up its leaves to prevent the majority of the heat from getting to the main plant.
  • Lack of nutrients. Calcium, in particular, helps your leaves to grow straight and true, and if there is a lack of this then you might notice some leaf curl.
  • Not enough humidity. Some plants can demonstrate leaf curl if they are just not getting humid enough. Use a misting technique, or invest in a humidifier.

This little article will tell you all the reasons behind leaf curl.

How Do I Stop My Leaves From Curling?

Of course it’s helpful to know what you can do about leaf curl – but prevention is better than cure, so let’s find out how you stop this happening in the first place:

  • Ensure it has the right conditions. Read up about your plant, find out what conditions it likes – then provide those conditions!
  • Misting regularly can prevent plants’ leaves from curling because they are too dry.
  • Keep them away from direct heat sources. Don’t place your plants too close to a radiator or a fire – this is a sure fire way to dry out your plant!
  • Give them a drink. If your leaves are curling AND the top inch of soil is dry, you have likely found your problem. Give your plant a drink, then keep on top of your watering regime!
  • Check for pests regularly. If you have creepy crawlies on your plants, they can play havoc with the leaves. Keep a close eye on your plants, and deal with a pest invasion as soon as you see signs of it.
  • Work out their light requirements. All plants need light to survive – but for some, too much light can cause them problems such as leaf curl.

Leaf curl is not terminal, and the problems and the effects can be dealt with quickly and effectively – as long as you are on top of it!

Can Curled Leaves Go Back To Normal?

The good news is that, unlike when a plant’s leaves change color, a curled up leaf can actually go back to normal.

Because the plant curls up its leaves to protect itself, once the conditions that caused it to curl up are removed then the leaf can uncurl again.

If a plant’s leaves start to turn yellow or brown, this is a sign that the plant is withdrawing essential nutrients from them, to save itself.

A curled up leaf should still be healthy apart from what is causing it to curl up, so in theory they can return to normal once their conditions have been restored.

What Do Curling Leaves Indicate?

What Do Curling Leaves Indicate?

If the leaf curling is not caused by a specific disease, or by an insect infestation, you can look at what type of curl it is, to determine the problem:

  • Leaf curling up generally means that your plant is getting too much light, or it is exposed to too much wind, or there not being enough airflow in its environment.
  • Leaf curling down indicates that your plant is trying to conserve moisture, and might be a sign that it needs more to drink or higher humidity.
  • Leaf curl at the sides tells you that the plant’s roots have a problem – either with not enough oxygen due to heavy soil, or too much nutrient in the soil

Check out what type of curl you have, then you will be one step close to figuring out how to fix it!

If you like a bit of a visual, check out this video telling us about leaf curl:

Should I Remove Leaves With Leaf Curl?

Whether or not you should remove curled leaves depends on what has cause the problem. Some reasons are fixable, other are sadly not!

If your leaves are curling because of an issue like over or under watering, chances are you can fix the problem, and get your leaves back to normal.

If you have a plant that is affected by a disease called leaf curl, for example a peach tree, then there is very little you can do.

Removing affected leaves will go some way towards controlling the disease, but this is a tricky one to deal with.

If your houseplants are curling near the bottom of the plant but the rest of it is healthy, chances are this is due to the age of the plant.

Plants will naturally shed leaves to make way for new ones, when they reach the end of their life cycle, so if it’s only these leaves that are curling then don’t worry – you can either remove them or they will drop off on their own.

Once you have figured out why your houseplant leaves are curling, you can do something to hopefully get your green babies back to their healthiest state quickly.

Thankfully, as you can see, a few curling up leaves doesn’t have to be a death sentence – just adjust a few conditions and you’ll be right back on track.

Looking for more tips? Here’s our guide to cleaning your house plants leaves.

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