If you’ve noticed the leaves of your prayer plant curling or folding up, you might be worried there’s something wrong with your plant. But don’t panic – curling leaves are very common in prayer plants and can happen for a number of reasons. In this blog post, we’ll cover the most common causes and what you can do about them.
What Is a Prayer Plant?
First, let’s start with what exactly a prayer plant is. Prayer plants belong to the Marantaceae family, which consists of flowering plants known for their beautifully patterned foliage. Prayer plants get their name from their unique leaf movements. At night or in darker conditions, their leaves will fold upward in a position resembling clasped hands. It’s like the leaves are “praying”!
Why Do Their Leaves Curl?
Now that you know a bit about prayer plants, let’s discuss why their leaves curl up. There are four main causes:
Prayer plants thrive in bright, filtered light. Without enough light, they’ll weaken and their leaves will start curling or folding up to preserve energy. If you notice curling, inspect your plant’s location. Does it get bright, indirect sunlight? Is it near a window that provides ample lighting? Prayer plants housed in dim offices or dark corners often fold their leaves due to lack of light.
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Prayer plants need consistent humidity between 40-50%. Without enough moisture in the air, the leaves lose water and start curling up. Dry indoor air during winter can create unfavorable conditions. You may notice more curling during colder, drier months if the humidity drops substantially.
While prayer plants hate getting too dry between waterings, they also dislike soggy soil. If you aren’t watering on a consistent schedule and thoroughly soaking the soil, underwatering could cause leaves to brown, dry up and curl. Wait until the top inch or two of soil has dried out before thoroughly watering again.
Changes in Temperature
Rapid temperature fluctuations can stress prayer plants out, causing leaf curling. Avoid placing them near heating and cooling vents, drafts from windows and doors, or other areas with inconsistent temps. Keep them in a stable environment between 65-80°F.
How to Fix Curled Leaves
If your prayer plant’s curled leaves are due to one of the issues above, fixing the problem should cause new growth to unfurl beautifully again. Here are some tips:
- Adjust the light to provide brighter, indirect light without direct sun shining on the leaves. Rotate the plant each week so all sides get sun exposure.
- Use a humidifier to increase moisture in the surrounding air. Misting the leaves can also help boost hydration temporarily.
- Water only after the soil has partially dried out, then soak the soil completely until water drains from the bottom.
- Move the plant to a location with consistent, moderate temperatures between 65-80°F.
Additionally, pruning any severely damaged leaves can encourage new, healthy growth if the issues are corrected. Just take care not to cut off more than 1/3 of the plant at once.
When Should You Worry About My Prayer Plant?
Seeing curled leaves might initially concern you, but don’t panic! Just adjust the care conditions as described above. Your prayer plant should perk up soon if given what it needs. Any pests or diseases can also cause leaves to die and curl, so inspect the leaves and stems closely.
However, if you notice the curled leaves rapidly browning, yellowing or becoming mushy, troubleshoot for additional issues. Root rot due to overwatering can cause severe leaf damage. Or if tiny webs form near curled leaves, spider mites may have moved in. Address any disease or infestation issues promptly to restore the plant’s health.
With the right care and environment, a prayer plant will thrive for many years. Just get to know your plant’s preferences and provide what it needs before curling leaves indicate an underlying problem.