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Why Are The Leaves On My Prayer Plant Curling?

Written by Ivy

Nov 17 2022

Why Are The Leaves On My Prayer Plant Curling?

This article explores the potential causes of curled Prayer Plant leaves as well as remedies for getting the plant back to health. Why do the leaves of the Prayer Plant curl? Curled leaves can be caused by a variety of factors, but the most frequent problems have to do with watering, sunlight, or humidity. We can prevent curled leaves and encourage Marantas to flourish in our homes by simulating a Prayer Plant's natural rainforest habitat.

The Most Likely Reasons Your Prayer Plant is Curling

What is making your Prayer Plant's leaves curl will determine the steps you need to take to fix them. The most typical causes of curled leaves on prayer plants are listed below. Before you take any action to fix it, read on and determine the cause.

Poor Watering Habits

When Maranta leaves curl, it's probably due to water problems, either too much or not enough. The short version is that Prayer Plants can be ungracious if they receive too much or too little water. I will discuss proper watering in the section below. It is best to maintain the soil consistently moist but not wet in order to prevent these two situations from causing leaves to curl.

Poor Water Quality

Curling leaves can also be caused by water quality. Since rainwater is the closest to what plants would receive in nature, I always advise using it to water potted plants. Additionally, it stays away from elements found in tap water like fluoride, chlorine, and salt that are bad for plants. These can accumulate in the soil and result in the browning and curling of the leaf tips.

If rainwater cannot be collected, you can use aquarium water, distilled water, or (at the very least) wait a while before using tap water to let some of the chemicals evaporate. These actions will go a long way in assisting you in obtaining the glossy, flat leaves for which Prayer Plants are renowned.

Too Much Direct Light

In its natural habitat, Maranta Leuconeura grows low to the ground beneath a canopy of tropical trees.

Because of their natural environment, these plants have many qualities that help conserve light.

Typically, these plants are small and located beneath the shade of taller trees or forests, where they tend to absorb any available light and transform it into sugars for food.

Another reason they have white or maroon bottoms is to completely trap and store the light for later use, preventing it from passing through the leaves. In doing so, it makes the most of the light that it actually receives.

In order to protect themselves and retain moisture that can be easily lost to the atmosphere, leaves that are exposed to excessive light often curl or turn inward.

Exposure to Cold

Curled Prayer plant leaves may be the result of the plant becoming too cold if watering and water quality are not the problem. When exposed to cold air or drafts, marantas will exhibit a response. Marantas don't like the cold because they're from warm, humid climates. Keep this plant away from open windows, but average indoor temperatures are ideal.

Pest Problems

Curled leaves may also be a symptom of plant-eating insects. The most likely culprits for this appearance in the leaves are those that harm the plant's cells by sucking nutrients from the leaf. To rule out other pests, carefully inspect your plant for aphids, scale, or other insects. Neem oil is effective against all of these insects after a few applications, if you happen to come across any.

Humidity Or Direct Light

Finally, curling leaves can occur due to low humidity or too much direct sunlight, but typically this symptom occurs in conjunction with other, more pronounced ones. Prayer Plants prefer indirect light and higher-than-average humidity, so in these circumstances you might also notice brown, crispy edges on the leaves as well as possible areas of discoloration.

Pest Problems

Plants are vulnerable to a variety of pest-related issues. The three pests that are most prevalent are scale, mealy bugs, and root mealy bugs. Pests like spider mites and fungus gnats are less frequent.

Scale and mealybugs both harm plants by sapping the plant juices from the leaves, leaving behind weak, wrinkled, and occasionally curled and bent plants.

Things to Consider before You Change Your Care Routine

Natural movement and new leaves are the only two circumstances that should not raise any alarm if your Prayer Plant is curling. Verify that neither of these two causes—or a combination of both—is the cause of the curl before concluding that your Prayer Plant is unhealthy.

Maranta leuconeura's common name refers to the way the leaves rise up and converge, giving the impression of praying hands. This movement is entirely normal and not cause for alarm. In actuality, it's among the endearing and defining characteristics of Prayer Plants.

See if your plant has flattened its leaves in the middle of the day. Around midday, you should notice that they are nearly flat. If the leaves are still curled, the plant's natural movement is most likely not the cause, so you should look into the issue further.

Keep in mind that fresh Prayer Plant leaves begin by rolling up tightly and gradually unfurl over the course of a few weeks. The edges of the new Prayer plant leaf might appear to be brown and curling before it fully unfolds. New leaves are typically simple to spot because of their pale color in comparison to the plant's more mature parts. The natural growth of a Prayer Plant includes this kind of curling leaf, which does not signify any issues.

The Best Light for Prayer Plants

The Maranta Leuconeura grows close to the ground beneath a canopy of tropical trees in its natural habitat. Given those roots, it does not require or prefer to be located in an area that receives a lot of direct sunlight. Maranta leaves are very delicate and thin, so if they receive too much sunlight, they could easily burn.

Brown spots on the leaves, curled leaves, and color loss are all symptoms of sunburned prayer plants. If you think your Maranta is receiving too much sun, try moving it to a more shady location and remove any damaged leaves. An east or north-facing windowsill or a few feet away from a window that receives more direct sunlight will provide the best light for Prayer Plants.

This plant is somewhat low-light tolerant and is occasionally marketed as being suitable for low-light environments. But a Prayer Plant won't flourish if you try to grow it in a dim area. As it tries to grow toward the light source, you might notice that it becomes leggy. It will also grow new growth much more slowly.

Why Are The Leaves On My Prayer Plant Curling

Proper Watering Habits for Prayer Plants

For Marantas, watering is probably the most difficult thing to get right. The edges of the leaves, which are farthest from the water-absorbing roots, will exhibit the first signs of dehydration if there is insufficient moisture. They prefer not to dry out too much. This is the most likely cause of leaf curl if the soil feels dry or you neglected your Prayer Plant for a few weeks. It should become normal again after a thorough watering.

The leaves of the Prayer Plant can, perplexingly, curl when too much water is added. When diagnosing an overwatered Maranta, look for additional symptoms like drooping, soft stems, and yellowing leaves. If you think too much water is the problem, you might also want to take it out of the pot to check the roots for rot.

Remember that you will probably need to modify your watering for the season. Marantas use up more water during the spring and summer when they are actively growing. Be careful not to accidentally overwater during the cooler months when their activity slows. When the temperature drops, evaporation slows, so adjust your watering schedule.

The watering schedule varies significantly depending on the time of year, the temperature, and the size of the plant's pot. Instead of trying to stick with a strict schedule, use a moisture meter (or the original moisture meter – your finger!) to test how dry the soil is. In between waterings, the top inch or so needs to dry out.

Rotating the Plant

The leaves of the prayer plant may have caught your attention because they move with the light as the day goes on.

Sometimes there is only one consistent direction of light, which can cause a plant to stay in one place.

By giving the plant an equal amount of light coming from all directions, rotating the plant occasionally sheds light on this problem.

Other Common Leaf Issues in Prayer Plants

Poor maintenance practices after propagating Prayer plants can cause your prayer plant's leaves to curl as well as show signs of disease and environmental changes like discoloration and deformity.

Yellow Leaves

Plants that are otherwise healthy but have yellow leaves at the base show natural energy redirection with age.

However, more severe or widespread yellowing is an indication of either overwatering or a nutrient deficiency brought on by poor potting soil.

Solution

With pruning shears, remove any yellow leaves, and wait between waterings until the top 2 inches of soil have dried. To enhance soil drainage, incorporate perlite or coarse sand.

Brown Leaves

When leaves turn from yellow to brown due to underlying root rot, this frequently indicates severe and persistent overwatering.

Conversely, leaves that have only developed brown edges can indicate a water shortage.

Solution

To check that the soil isn't too wet, prune any leaves that are seriously damaged and feel the top few inches of the soil between waterings.

Brown Leaf Tips

Dry and brown leaf tips may be an indication of low humidity levels or sun scorch from spending too much time in the sun. This might also be a result of using tap water of low quality, which leads to salt buildup in the soil.

Solution

Move the plant to a more shady location, check to see if air conditioning or heating systems have affected humidity levels, and use filtered tap water.

Drooping Leaves

A prayer plant's leaves typically droop and wilt due to a lack of moisture in the air or as a result of being submerged in water. This happens because the plant cells lack the moisture necessary to keep them robust and upright.

Solution

Increase the humidity with a humidifier or pebble saucer, and water the soil thoroughly until excess runs off through the drainage holes.

Leaf Spots

While smaller, sporadic yellow or brown spots typically indicate pest damage where the tissue has been perforated, yellow or rust-colored halo rings on the leaves can appear due to a fungal disease.

Solution

To treat and discourage pest-caused spots, spray foliar neem oil or treat fungal spots with an organic fungicide.

Soft Leaves and Stems

Healthy leaves should feel flat and firm, but if they feel warped and squishy and are accompanied by limp, squishy stems, this is usually an indication of overwatering and may even be an indication of root rot if the leaves also appear brown.

Solution

Reduce watering by removing any brown leaves that may attract pests. Prior to repotting in new soil, inspect the roots and cut off any diseased (brown/mushy) areas.

Fading Colors

However, color can also deteriorate if the plant is experiencing nutrient deficiencies due to insufficient or excessive watering. Typically, leaves will turn pale and faded if the plant is exposed to too much direct sunlight.

Solution

Use a moisture meter to check for dry or soggy soil, or cover sunny windowsills with a protective sheer curtain.

Why Are The Leaves On My Prayer Plant Curling

Stunted Growth

Insufficient iron in the soil caused by an excessively high pH can cause growth to slow or stop entirely.

It can also happen when the roots have outgrown their current container and are too crowded, which limits the amount of water and nutrients that reach the leaves.

Solution

Test the pH of the soil (a range of 5.5 to 6.0 is ideal) and, if necessary, add peat moss or iron sulfate to reduce it. Every two years, repotter to a bigger container.

Final Thoughts

The dramatic and alarming symptom of curled leaves on a prayer plant can be brought on by a variety of issues. There are several other potential causes for Prayer Plant leaves to begin curling, though this is the most common one. Keep a close eye on your plant and give it frequent inspections so you can spot any potential issues as soon as possible.

Maranta leuconeura is primarily tolerant of the typical household environment, like the majority of our indoor plants, which is why so many people enjoy growing and collecting plants from this family. However, Marantas and related plants can cause some problems for some gardeners, including dry and curled leaves.

You should be able to identify the cause of the curling leaves with the help of a thorough understanding of the local environmental factors that affect Prayer Plant growth, and you can then take steps to fix the situation. Keep trying even if you lose a few leaves because Marantas can quickly produce new growth. With a few straightforward environmental changes, you ought to be able to grow a lovely specimen.

What Does An Overwatered Prayer Plant Look Like?

Prayer plants that have been overwatered typically have yellow leaves and appear wilted and droopy.

Under the stress of higher moisture content, the stems will also appear floppy or leggy, and some leaf and stem sections may appear black.

How Long Do Prayer Plants Live?

The lifespan of a prayer plant can range from a few months to a year, depending on the conditions of care.

These plants may live for many years in an environment that closely resembles the ideal humidity, light, and water requirements, along with effective pest and disease management.