Will Calathea Leaves unCurl? find out why and how

Will Calathea Leaves unCurl after repotting ? Calathea plant might be so frustrating when those gorgeous green leaves start crisping and curling at the edges. But don’t worry, with a little detective work we can get to the bottom of what’s causing this, and get your calathea back to its vibrant self!

In this article, we’ll explore the top reasons calathea leaves can go crispy and curled, along with solutions to restore them to their natural glory. I’ll share what’s worked for me after troubleshooting a few cranky calathea over the years.

Will Calathea Leaves Uncurl in Summer?

One common cause of curled calathea leaves is low humidity. These tropical plants thrive in the moist, warm conditions of rainforests, and our homes just can’t always provide that. When the air is too dry, the leaves lose moisture and curl up to prevent further water loss.

Luckily, the increased humidity of summer can help with this! As the natural humidity rises outdoors, it will also increase the humidity inside your home. This helps reduce moisture loss from the leaves, allowing them to uncurl and return to their normal, flat shape.

Calathea Leaves plant

To maximize this effect, you can:

  • Mist your calathea frequently to supplement humidity
  • Place a humidifier nearby
  • Set the pot on a pebble tray filled with water

With the extra humidity of summer, your crispy curled leaves should start improving in no time! Just keep an eye on watering, as increased summer heat can also increase the plant’s thirst.

Will Calathea Leaves Uncurl After Repotting?

Repotting into fresh, suitable soil can also help curled leaves return to normal. Why? Because improper soil is another culprit behind crispy, curled calathea leaves.

Here are some common soil issues that can cause curling:

  • Soil dries out too quickly: Calathea need consistently moist (but not soggy) soil. If the soil dries out frequently, the leaves lose moisture and curl up.
  • Poor drainage: While calathea like moist soil, it still needs good drainage to prevent waterlogging. Soil that takes too long to dry out after watering will cause root rot and curled leaves.
  • Incorrect soil pH: Calathea prefer slightly acidic soil with a pH around 6.5. Soil that is too alkaline can prevent the plant from absorbing nutrients properly, leading to crispy leaves.
  • Lack of nutrients: Soil depleted of nutrients after months or years of growth may not provide enough nitrogen, calcium, magnesium, and other elements calathea need to stay healthy.

Repotting into fresh, high-quality potting mix formulated for calathea can correct all these common soil problems. Just make sure the new pot has drainage holes, and only water when the top inch or two of soil dries out. The improved soil environment should allow your calathea leaves to return to their normal shape.

Calathea Leaves Curling Inward

If the leaves are curling inward, folding up lengthwise with the undersides exposed, it’s a sign of real distress. There are a few possible causes:


Calathea need consistently moist soil, but not soggy. If the soil dries out too much between waterings, the leaves will start to curl inward to conserve moisture. Check the soil moisture by sticking your finger in the top few inches – if it’s dry 2-3 inches down, your plant is thirsty! Water thoroughly until it runs from the drainage holes, and the leaves should start to uncurl within a day or two.


While calathea don’t like direct sun, they do need some bright filtered light daily. If the lighting conditions change and the plant gets too much harsh direct sun, the leaves can curl inward to minimize sun exposure and prevent burning. Move it back to its preferred bright, indirect light location.


Spider mites and other sucking pests can also cause curling. Check the undersides of leaves and along the stems for tiny insects or webs. Wipe leaves with a damp cloth to remove any pests, and spray neem oil or insecticidal soap if needed. Curling caused by pests should improve once the bugs are removed.


Bacterial and fungal diseases like leaf spot can cause cell damage and inward curling. Look for spots, oozing lesions, rust-colored markings or other signs of disease. Remove affected leaves, treat with a fungicide, improve air circulation, and reduce watering frequency until healthy new growth returns.

With some tlc to resolve the underlying issue, your calathea’s curled leaves should return to their natural splendor. Just be patient – it can take weeks to normalize after stress.

Calathea Leaves will

Why is My Calathea Leaves Curling and Turning Brown?

Seeing those vibrant green calathea leaves turning ugly brown at the edges is disheartening, but don’t lose hope! With some detective work we can figure out what’s causing the burn and how to fix it.

Here are some common reasons calathea leaves can become curled and brown:


Lack of water is the most common cause of browning leaf edges. Calathea need consistently moist soil to stay hydrated, but not sopping wet. Check the soil moisture frequently, and water as soon as the top inch or two of soil becomes dry. Brown crispy edges should improve once you find a good watering rhythm.

Low Humidity

Like many tropical plants, calathea thrive in high humidity. When the air is too dry, moisture evaporates from the leaves faster than the roots can absorb it. Low humidity causes brown crispy leaf edges. Increase humidity around your plant with misting, pebble trays, or a humidifier to improve leaf health.

Excess Fertilizer

While calathea need regular feeding, getting overzealous with fertilizer can burn the leaf edges. Let the soil dry out slightly between waterings to prevent buildup, and use half strength or less of the fertilizer recommended on the label. Once you leach the excess salts from the soil, the burning should stop.

Salt Buildup

Regular tap water contains salts, minerals, and chemicals like fluoride. Over time these can build up in the soil and burn the leaf edges. Use distilled or rainwater to prevent further damage, and repot in fresh soil to flush out the salts. New growth should come in healthy.


Spider mites and other sap-sucking bugs can leave behind stippling, dots, or browning patches on leaves. Treat any pests you find with neem oil or insecticidal soap. Curling and browning from pest damage should improve within weeks once the bugs are removed.

Cold Exposure

As tropical plants, calathea are sensitive to temperature drops and drafts. If foliage gets chilly, say below 60°F, the cells can freeze and die, causing brown crispy spots. Keep your plant in a warm room away from cold windows and doors. Damaged areas won’t heal but new growth should be fine.

Here are 3 tables related to the topic of calathea leaves curling and becoming crispy:

Table 1: Common Causes of Curled Calathea Leaves

Low HumidityCalathea need high humidity. Low humidity causes leaves to curl.Mist regularly, use humidifier, place on pebble tray.
Improper WateringToo much or too little water causes leaves to dry and curl.Water when top inch of soil is dry.
Sun ExposureDirect sun scorches leaves, causing curling.Move to bright, indirect light.
Cold DraftsTemperatures below 60°F cause leaf curling.Keep away from cold windows and vents.
PestsSpider mites and other pests cause leaf curling.Inspect and wipe leaves. Apply insecticidal soap if needed.
Poor SoilSoil that is too dry, wet, dense, or nutrient deficient can cause curling.Repot in fresh well-draining potting mix every 2 years.

Table 2: Troubleshooting Crispy Brown Calathea Leaf Edges

SignPotential CauseSolution
Brown leaf edgesLow humidityIncrease humidity through misting, pebble trays, or humidifiers.
Brown leaf edgesIrregular wateringWater when top inch of soil is dry.
Brown leaf edgesTap water chemicalsUse distilled or filtered water.
Brown leaf edgesToo much fertilizerFlush soil and reduce fertilizer strength.
Brown spotsPestsCheck for pests and treat with insecticidal soap.
Brown spotsDiseasePrune affected parts. Improve air circulation.

Table 3: Ideal Growing Conditions for Calathea

FactorRecommended Range
Temperature60°F to 85°F
Humidity40% to 60%
LightBright indirect sunlight
WaterSlightly moist, not soggy
SoilWell-draining potting mix
FertilizerBalanced liquid or slow-release
WaterFiltered, distilled, or rainwater

What Makes Calathea Leaves Turning Yellow?

Finding your calathea’s leaves turning from verdant green to muted yellow can be troubling. But don’t give up hope! With some tlc we can determine the cause and nurse those leaves back to health.

Here are some common reasons behind yellowing calathea leaves and how to resolve them:


The #1 cause of yellow leaves is overwatering. While calathea like moist soil, soggy conditions lead to root rot and yellow foliage. Let the soil dry out about halfway down between waterings, and ensure the pot has drainage holes. Once you find a good watering balance, the yellowing should stop.

Calathea Leaves 4

Low Light

Calathea need bright indirect sunlight daily to remain green and vibrant. In low light conditions, the leaves gradually lose their chlorophyll and turn pale yellow. Move your calathea to a spot with filtered sunlight several hours a day. You may also need supplemental lighting.

Nutrient Deficiency

If the soil is depleted of nitrogen, iron, magnesium, or other nutrients essential for chlorophyll production, leaves can turn fully or partly yellow. Fertilize monthly in the growing season with a balanced houseplant fertilizer to restore nutrients. New leaves should have healthy coloring.

Improper Water Quality

Minerals and chemicals in tap water like fluoride and chlorine can build up in the soil over time, leading to yellowing. Use distilled or filtered water for irrigation, and repot annually in fresh soil to prevent damaging mineral accumulation.

Older Leaves

It’s natural for some of the lower, older leaves to gradually yellow and drop off as the plant grows and produces new foliage. Unless many leaves yellow all at once, this normal cycle is no cause for alarm. Just remove the old yellow leaves to keep your plant looking its best.

With attention to moisture, light, nutrients and water quality, those yellowing leaves should turn back to green in no time. A little tlc goes a long way for finicky calathea!

Frequently Asked Questions About Calathea Leaves

Caring for a calathea plant often brings up questions, especially when those temperamental leaves start crisping, curling, and changing color. Here are answers to 13 of the most frequently asked questions about maintaining healthy calathea leaves.

Why are my calathea’s leaves curling?

The most common causes of curled calathea leaves are low humidity, improper watering, sun exposure, pests, and nutrient deficiencies. Increase humidity, adjust watering frequency, move out of direct sun, treat pests, and fertilize to help curled leaves return to normal flat shape.

How can I make my calathea’s crispy leaves turn green again?

Crispy brown edges are often caused by inconsistent watering. Let the soil dry out halfway between waterings, and water thoroughly until it runs from the drainage holes. Once you find the right moisture balance, crispy edges should green up again. Boost humidity too.

What does it mean if my calathea leaves are folding up?

Leaves folding up lengthwise with undersides exposed indicate a stressed, unhappy plant. This can be from underwatering, overwatering, sunburn, pests, or disease. Check soil moisture, adjust watering frequency, move to proper lighting, treat pests, and remove diseased foliage to resolve the issue.

Why are my calathea leaves turning brown on the edges?

Brown crispy edges typically mean the air is too dry. Calathea need high humidity around 50-60%. Increase humidity through misting, pebble trays, and humidifiers. Ensuring proper soil moisture will also help reduce brown edges.

What causes yellow leaves on a calathea?

Multiple issues can lead to yellowing calathea leaves, including overwatering, low light, nutrient deficiency, improper water type, and natural lower leaf yellowing as the plant matures. Adjust watering, increase light exposure, fertilize, and use filtered water to improve leaf color.

How do I make my calathea’s leaves point up again?

Droopy leaves often mean the plant is thirsty and needs water. Check soil moisture and water if top few inches are dry. Leaves can also droop from too much direct sun. Move to a spot with bright indirect light to perk leaves up.

Why are the edges of my calathea leaves turning red?

Reddish edges are a sign the air is too dry. These tropical plants need ample humidity. Increase humidity around your plant by misting several times a day, using a pebble tray, or getting a humidifier. Proper moisture will prevent red tinges.

How often should I water my calathea?

Calathea prefer consistently moist but not soggy soil. Let the top few inches of soil dry out between waterings, then soak the soil completely until water drains from the holes. For many calathea, this means watering about once a week in warm months and every 10-14 days in colder months.

What type of water should I use on calathea?

Filtered, distilled, or rainwater is best. Tap water contains minerals and chemicals that can buildup in the soil over time and damage leaf health. Avoid hard water if possible to prevent leaf tip burn and curling.

How do I raise the humidity for my calathea plant?

Calathea thrive in humidity around 60%. Increase moisture in the air by misting frequently, using a pebble tray filled with water, or investing in a humidifier. Group plants together to create a moist microclimate. Avoid drafty areas.

Why does my calathea have yellow leaves with brown spots?

This can indicate fungal or bacterial leaf spot diseases. Remove affected leaves, prune off affected tissue, treat with fungicides, improve air circulation, and reduce watering frequency until the disease is under control and new growth looks healthy.

How much light does a calathea need?

Calathea thrive in bright indirect light, such as filtered sunlight through a sheer curtain. Avoid harsh direct sun which can scorch leaves. They can tolerate low light but may become leggy with yellow foliage without sufficient brightness.

Can calathea leaves recover from damage?

Damaged areas of the leaves don’t heal, but the plant can still thrive if the underlying issue is fixed. Just clip off the damaged areas. With proper care new healthy leaves will emerge, replacing old damaged growth over time.

7 Tips to Restore Crispy Curling Calathea Leaves

If the foliage on your calathea plant is looking sad and crispy, don’t lose hope! Here are 7 simple tips to nurse those curling leaves back to their lively glory:

1. Find the right watering balance. Calathea need moist soil but can’t sit in soggy conditions. Let the top few inches dry out between waterings, then soak thoroughly. Proper moisture prevents leaf curling.

2. Increase humidity. Mist frequently, use pebble trays filled with water, or get a humidifier to create the 60% humidity calathea crave. Dry air causes curling.

3. Filter the water. Chemicals and minerals in tap water can damage calathea leaves over time. Use distilled, rain, or filtered water for the healthiest foliage.

4. Avoid direct sun. The bright indirect light calathea prefer prevents leaf curling and crisping. Harsh direct sunlight will scorch the moisture-loving leaves.

5. Repot if needed. Sticking with a well-draining potting mix formulated for calathea ensures healthy roots and flat leaves.

6. Watch for pests. Spider mites and other bugs can lead to curled leaves. Wipe leaves and treat with insecticidal soap to restore vigor.

7. Rule out disease. Leaf curl can also signify disease. Treat with fungicides and remove damaged tissue to get your plant thriving.

With some thoughtful tweaks to their care, your calathea will perk up and regain their gorgeous flat leaves and vivid green color in no time!

Reasons for Each Tip to Uncurl Curling Calathea Leaves

Let’s explore the reasoning behind each recommendation for restoring sad curled calathea leaves to their former glory:

Tip 1: Find the Right Watering Balance

  • Calathea have very specific water needs – consistently moist but not waterlogged soil.
  • Underwatering causes leaves to curl and crisp from lack of moisture.
  • Overwatering leads to root rot and curled foliage from associated stress.
  • Balancing frequency and volume takes trial and error to find the sweet spot.
  • When in doubt, let the top few inches of soil dry out before soaking thoroughly.

Tip 2: Increase Humidity

  • Calathea originated in the humid tropics with conditions hard to replicate indoors.
  • When the air is too dry, moisture evaporates from leaves faster than roots can absorb it.
  • Low humidity causes leaves to curl and protect their remaining moisture.
  • Boosting humidity around the plant prevents moisture loss related leaf curling.

Tip 3: Filter the Water

  • Tap water contains minerals and chemicals that accumulate in the soil over time.
  • Buildup of salts, fluoride, and other elements causes leaf tip burn and curling.
  • Filtered, distilled, or rainwater provides moisture without unwanted additives.
  • Avoiding tap water improves moisture absorption and keeps leaves flat.

Tip 4: Avoid Direct Sun

  • Direct hot sunlight can overheat calathea’s tender tropical leaves.
  • Excess light exposure causes moisture loss leading to leaf curling and crisping.
  • Calathea thrive in bright indirect light with no harsh sun rays.
  • Filtered light prevents light-related damage and associated leaf curling.

Tip 5: Repot if Needed

  • Old depleted soil or dense clumpy soil causes problems.
  • Tired soil can’t hold enough moisture leading to curled dry leaves.
  • Poor drainage from compacted soil also creates excess moisture issues.
  • Fresh porous soil formulated for calathea keeps moisture balance optimal.

Tip 6: Watch for Pests

  • Pests like spider mites suck juices from leaves, damaging health.
  • The trauma of pest feeding causes leaves to curl protectively inwards.
  • Getting rid of bugs removes the cause of pest-related leaf curling.
  • Keeping their prey away allows leaves to return to normal uncurled shape.

Tip 7: Rule Out Disease

  • Bacterial and fungal diseases disrupt leaf cell processes and structure.
  • Infection causes leaves to curl, spot, and turn brittle from the cellular damage.
  • Treating disease and improving growing conditions stops progression.
  • With the infection halted, new healthy flat leaves can grow unimpeded.

Understanding “why” for each recommendation helps troubleshoot and prevent future curled calat

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