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Plant Leaves Curling: The Causes and Easy Solutions

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Did you know that leaf folding and curling are the plant’s defense mechanisms against environmental stress? But why do leaves curl and fold in the first place?

Plant leaves’ curling and folding is the symptom of a physiological disorder, and more than one disorder can cause this curling and folding. It depends on the variety of plants, the creation of the structure, where it grows, and the amount of necessary light. The curling of plant leaves cannot be ignored, as it may be the start of a leaf curl disease. 

There are many reasons why the leaves of plants curl up or fold over. Leaf curling and leaf folding are two of the most prevalent signs of plant problems.

It is ideal for keeping the soil as moist as needed by the respective plant because many plants require a lot of water, and many plants don’t need lots of it. It depends on various factors.?

In this article, we will be discussing the reasons for plant leaves curling and folding and how can this problem be solved.

Why Do Plant Leaves Curl?

If you have various plants in your garden, I’m sure you would always want to see them nourish and stay healthy. Because the beautiful plant leaves are just too awesome to look at, right?

As plants provide air filtration, it is important to keep their parts, the leaves, healthy. But why do the leaves start curling?

Most of the time, the reason for the leaves curling upside can be pests, lack or excess of water, bad water schedule, wrong placement, deficiency of important nutrients, etc.

We are going to go through them one by one.

Nutrient Deficiency:

You may or may not know that Nitrogen plays an important role in a plant’s health, as it helps the leaves with chlorophyll (a green color pigment) and for photosynthesis as well.

Simply put, nitrogen is an essential nutrient for leaves’ health, and the deficiency of nitrogen will result in several problems for the leaf.

Due to nitrogen deficiency, the conserved nitrogen in the old or base leaves will be used to fulfill the demands of the new leaves.?

This will create a void in the old leaves, and those leaves will start to curl up.

If you see that happening, if you see your plant leaf turning yellow and then brown, its days are numbered now. But you can prevent it. 

You see, when the plant is preparing for its fruiting, it is going to need lots of nitrogen, and you can make a pretty good guess why.

You should give your plant some supplements of amino acids as an amino acid is responsible for the protein, which helps them take it more required nitrogen.

I have used a cost-effective Liquid Fertilizer called Purived to help strengthen my plant leaves, stems, and their overall health. You can find it by clicking here!

purvied for stronger leaves


You should check if the pests are living in the core of your plant or not. If yes, try removing them ASAP because those pests are usually suckers, and they suck up the nutrients from the inside, forcing the plant leaves to start curling.

An insect known as Whitefly is quite difficult to see on the plant’s leaves’ surface. They are often found at the bottom of the leaf, and they such the moisture out of the leaves.

Getting rid of them first includes spraying insecticides. If that is not an option, you can also use soap water. Keep repeating this process until all the pests are cleared.

Many people use various traps which stick the insects once they sit on them. They do this for two reasons: one is to catch and clear the pests, the other is to see that the number of pests is getting trapped. If the number is high, then there might be a problem with the plant.

Plant Stress:

It is true that plants like a taste of heat from time to time, but as I always say, “Excess of anything is bad,? ask yourself that don’t you need the heat, definitely yes, but lots of it? No! Where’s the A.C?

The same thing happens with plants and plant leaves. Too much heat forces the leaves to take strict action to conserve water due to fast evaporation.

So, if you say that no worries, I water my plant daily, you might be a bit wrong because the rate of water intake and evaporation is more or less the same. This means that plant leaves are not benefitting from your regular watering.

You should change the position of your plant in order for it to survive the heat. A place slightly away from the window might be a good choice. 

If it is still not solving the problem, then take the plant away from the window and put it at the warmest point of the room. Remember giving them enough space.

Do not attempt to place the plant in front of a fan or in front of an AC to help with heat stress. Fans and excess wind can cause unintentional harm to the plant.


Overwatering can result in root rots, and that can become a reason for leaves curling. That is why it said that you should provide water to the plant when needed not when you want to.

After watering, let the surface of the soil dry out completely, and don’t forget to make holes for drainage at the bottom of the plant pot, as it is quite dangerous to leave the soil soggy for long.


You can guess what kind of problem underwatering will cause to the plant leaves, as the plants require water nutrients for growth purposes. Lack of water will mean not having enough nutrients.

It is like taking the soul out of plant leaves, causing the leaves to curl up. Avoid this problem by providing an adequate amount of water, and not very much.

Light Conditions:

Many plants like lots of sunlight, but some don’t, especially the tropical climate plants, which prefer sunlight indirectly. Exposing them to direct and excessive sunlight will cause rapid and increased photosynthesis.

This will cause the old plant leaves to curl up and also cause the new leaves to have browner tips, a sign of unhealthiness.

If you are interested in a fertilizer that will ensure your plant grows healthy for a long time with minimal intervention, I would recommend Osmocote Smart-Release Plant Food. You can find it by clicking here.

Osmocoat fertilizer

Types of Leaf Curl:

There are two types of leaf curls, Upward and Downward Curls.

  • Upward Curls: Caused by deficiency or excess of water, pests, or light conditions.
  • Downward Curls: Caused by an excess of water, an infestation of pests, or a deficiency of nitrogen.
  • Inwards: This can be due to either new production of leaves or drought conditions. 

How to Fix Curling and Folding Leaves?

Curled plant leaves can be fixed by different methods. These methods vary from problem to problem. We have discussed all the possible problems and their solutions separately.

Do not attempt to physically straighten the leaves.

Any force is placed on the leaves will cause them to tear which in most cases is repairable. 

See our post on torn plant leaves and how you can deal with such incidents.

What Plants are Known for Curling Leaves?

The deficiency of essential nutrients can cause any plant leaves to curl upward or downward. Peach Plants or Nectarine trees are among the plants which suffer from curl problems.

Almost all the other plant leaves do the same as well, with the exception of a few.

Most houseplants of garden plants are prone to curl diseases.

One such plane which exhibits more curling habits is the calathea plant.

Young and freshly produced calathea leaves will come out in a “curled form” which may seem as if something is wrong with the leaves but in fact, it’s just how the leaves are produced.

The Hosta plant is a genus of plants commonly known as hostas which also has a curling appearance and is a shade-tolerant foliage plant.

Banana plants are also known for producing curled leaves as young shoots.

Additionally, succulent leaves will curl because of a lack of water. Under Watering and other associated root problems such as root rot and root-bound syndrome can also limit the succulent’s oxygen supply to the plant which in turn affects the rate of respiration and the amount of water within the leaves.

Why do Calathea (Prayer Plant) Leaves Curl or Fold

Apart from producing young leaves that curl when they emerge, the most common reason calathea leaves curl is that the plant was exposed to drought conditions and has produced a reaction.

In a bid to conserve energy, a dehydrated plant will curl up its leaves and they’ll appear ‘folded’ or ‘curled’

The upward curling reduces the effective surface area which was exposed to the sun, heat, or high winds. This results in less water loss through evaporation.

To reduce or minimize leaf curl in clatheas the soil should be kept moist. One effective method for keeping the soil moist is bottom watering which allows water to reach the entire mass of the soil.

To test the moisture and pH of the soil you can use the cost-effective Trazon Soil 3-in-1 Meter. It not only tests for pH but also moisture content and light intensity. You can find it by clicking here!

Trazon Soil pH Meter 3-in-1 Soil Tester Moisture

Can you Physically Straighten Curling Leaves?

You can do it, but it won’t matter because the curling-up issue is not from the outside but from the inside. Even if you did straighten the curled physically, it would go back to curling.

If you use force to straighten the leaves, they will tear apart but won’t get straight. You could only think of straightening the plant leaves by making them healthier from the inside by providing all the essentials.

Young curled leaves will eventually straighten as the leaf matures, however, leaf curl in mature leaves is generally a sign of altered environmental conditions. 

By identifying the causal factors for the leaves to curl you can effectively reverse the curling and restore the leaves to a healthy state.


The curling or folding of leaves is an alarm. This means that your plant leaves are getting closer to their final stages. This should not go unconsidered, and relevant steps must be taken.

Curling plant leaves is a symptom of a physiological disorder. The extent of leaf curl can vary between plants. A plant’s structure, location, available light, and the amount of pests they are exposed to will determine how much leaves curl. Sucking insects like aphids can also distort leaves and cause leaf curls.

The leaf curling can be reversed if the leaf’s health is restored. This will happen when you use several techniques to find the problems and their solutions.

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