Peacock Plant Leaves Curling: Why Does This Happen?

Peacock plant leaves curling is a problematic condition caused by several factors: watering stress, adding poor quality water, temperature extremes, and insect infestation.

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Fortunately, it is easy to stop the curling if you know the causes – such as reversing water stress and avoiding temperature extremes.

Stay until the end to know everything about the reasons behind this problem and how to deal with it successfully.

What Are The Reasons Behind Peacock Plant Leaves Curling?

The reason behind peacock plant leaves curling are dry soil, applying impure water, and environment or temperature stresses. Nutrient deficiencies also cause leaves to wrinkle up and lose their original shape. In addition, leaves can also curl due to insect attacks and any fungal disease.

– Bone Dry Soil

Watering stress is the biggest reason behind the leaf curling of the peacock or calathea makoyana. When you don’t add water adequately, roots won’t have any moisture to uptake. When this happens, the physiological processes in plants will not take place properly, leading to calathea leaves twisting and curling down. 

When the underwatering condition persists, you will see leaves becoming yellow, too. With time, these leaves will start to fall off. This will make plants look weak.

– Water Quality Is Not Good

If you add water to make the soil moist, but it has impurities, then you did not do the peacock plant any good. It is because impure water is rich in calcium, fluorides, and other minerals. So, when you add such water, these minerals will start to build up in the soil.

Roots can start absorbing such minerals and transport them to the leaves. So, this mineral toxicity can impact the Calathea leaf’s health and ultimately cause them to curl. Generally, this problem happens when you add tap water or hard water.

– Low Humidity Levels

Calathea leaves curling and yellowing can also be a result of low-humid surroundings. It is because these plants love to be grown in high humidity. So, the transpiration process speeds up when the levels drop, causing the leaves to curl.

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– Heat and Cold Stress

When you notice calathea leaves curling inward, then chances are the plants are facing temperature stress. Peacock or calathea plant is sensitive to heat and cold stresses and thrives at around 65 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

If the temperature exceeds this limit, then the plants will face trouble. The direct sunlight and hot surroundings will cause the moisture in leaves to evaporate. When this happens, curling and wrinkling will start to take place. In this condition, even a new leaf will start to look old.

Furthermore, cold temperatures can also cause the leaf shape to change. People often ask- why do calathea leaves curl at night? It usually happens because the temperature can drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit at that time. The cold drafts or winds can affect the physiological processes in leaves, causing them to curl up.

– Nutrient Deficiency

You should always regularly fertilize your plants. Failure to do so can lead to nutrient deficiencies, which is also one of the major reasons behind curling leaves. Let’s have a look at how this happens.

Nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, zinc, etc.) are crucial for plants to perform photosynthesis – a process by which plants generate energy to stay healthy. So, when soil lacks these minerals, photosynthesis takes a hit. As a result, plants won’t have the energy to hold the leaf shape and will start to curl.

After curling, you will also see yellow leaves on plants. If this condition persists, leaves will wilt and drop off. This will give an unaesthetic look to plants, and all the effort you made in the past to make them beautiful will go in vain.

– Over-fertilization

Adding too many fertilizers can also lead to curled leaves. Many people make the mistake of adding frequent fertilizers, thinking they will double the growth. Instead, the nutrient lock happens.

A nutrient lock is a soil condition where roots cannot uptake nutrients. It arises because the excess of minerals causes a change in pH. As a result, plants will face nutrient deficiency, and adding more doses will be a waste. Plants facing such conditions have brown tips and wrinkles all over the surface. Then, they curl up and eventually drop off after some time.

– Insect Infestation

The “calathea leaves curling and crispy” problem can also arise due to insect attacks. Lots of insects love to feast on peacocks or calathea, but the common ones you might see are thrips, fungus gnats, and spider mites.

These annoying insects cause damage by sucking the cell sap. Eventually, you will see leaves turning yellow and curling. The worst part about pest infestation is that they lay eggs in dozens. So, if you don’t do anything to control their population, they will multiply at a really fast rate.

Also, the attack of these unwanted creatures won’t be limited to the peacock plant alone. If you are growing calathea orbifolia or prayer plant, calathea zebrina or zebra plant, calathea ornata or pin-stripe calathea, etc., they will also get harmed by insect attack.

– Fungal Disease Damage

When you notice peacock plant leaves turning brown, then chances are the reason behind it is a fungal disease. The common one is root rot, which arises when you add lots of water to the soil.

We all know that fungus grows quickly in a damp environment, and an overwatered calathea is perfect. In this disease, roots start to rot, and you can also smell a bad odor from the soil. When roots get damaged, they won’t uptake water and nutrients properly, leading to more stress. So, leaves will start to curl, wilt, and even die due to fungus attacks. 

How to Stop Peacock Leaves From Curling?

To fix Peacock leaves curling, you should add sufficient water to the soil. Furthermore, adding nutrients can also stop leaves from curling immediately. You should also ensure plants are kept from the temperature if you want them to stay healthy.

– Add Water (With Care)

Calathea plants like their soils to be moist. So, make sure you keep applying adequate water to keep them happy. But don’t over-add water, as fungal attacks happen in such conditions, leading to more leaf problems. 

So, how to add water to Calathea plants? To avoid soil dryness and overwatering, you should add enough water to moisten the first two inches of the soil. This will keep the root ball wet, and the soil won’t be overly moist.

– Deal With Temperature Stress Smartly

It would be best never to let plants tolerate any stress, especially heat. So, provide shade to plants from direct sunlight during a hot day. You should also spray cold water on them to help them stay cool and to decrease evaporation.

For cold stress, it is better to bring the plants indoors if they are outdoors. You can also use heaters to provide some warmth. Moreover, if the humidity is low, you can also use a humidifier for indoor plants. Following these calathea care tips and methods will stop the leaves from curling.

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– Apply Adequate Nutrients

You should never under-fertilize and over-fertilize plants. For this, the best strategy is to use organic fertilizers. These are Compost, bone meal, blood meal, etc. You should add them because they fulfill plants’ nutritional needs and don’t cause a change in soil pH.

Use chemical fertilizers only when you think the nutrient deficiency is severe. But be careful about their application as they are expensive, and applying more doses can lead to nutrient lock.

– Try Insecticides

It would be best not to let insects stay around your plants for long. So, the first step you need to take is to try organic insecticides, as they are cheap and do not harm the environment. The top organic insecticides are neem oil spray, insecticidal soap, and baking soda.

If the insect population is more, then use chemical insecticides. They are fast acting, and you will see the effect of the application shortly. Make sure to wear a mask before you apply chemical insecticides to protect yourself from the fumes. That’s all about how to deal with the curling of leaves.

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