Blog Philodendron How To Prevent Philodendron Leaves From Curling

How to Prevent Philodendron Leaves from Curling

Tired of your philodendron’s leaves curling? Read on for ways to treat this issue and prevent it from happening in the future.

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Kiersten Rankel
Dec 14, 2021

How to Prevent Philodendron Leaves from Curling

The Philodendron plant is a tropical plant with fresh and bright leaves. They’re an indoor plant and can bring a sense of liveliness to any space in your home. There are many different types of philodendrons, from pink princess philodendrons to heart leaf philodendrons, and also come in different sizes as well. However, sometimes this house plant’s leaves can curl, which diminishes the beauty of the house plant. Keep reading to find out why some philodendron types experience curling leaves, what you can do about it, and how to prevent it from happening in the future. 🌱🌿

Causes and Treatments of Philodendron Leaves Curling

Your Potting Soil is Too Dry

Philodendrons are tropical plants, which means they require a tropical environment to thrive and grow. A tropical environment is characterized by high moisture levels in the surrounding air and terrain. 

If your soil is too dry and consistently under-watered, it can result in philodendron leaves becoming dehydrated and curling inward, losing their color, and even dying if not treated in a timely manner. This is because the plant is trying to reduce the leaf's surface area to reduce water evaporation. 

  • Check the soil to determine when your philodendron requires watering. Allow the top layer to dry completely, and then insert your finger an inch into the soil; if the soil inside is moist, your philodendron has enough water. If not, you need to water it. Water the plant slowly, until water runs out of the drain hole to ensure the plant is getting water to the roots. Light exposure and plant placement––hanging or placed on the floor––both affect the amount of water it needs and the frequency it needs it.

Looking for detailed, step-by-step instructions on watering philodendrons? By using physics and machine learning to predict the water needs of any plant in any environment, the Greg plant care app will help you grow healthy plants with confidence. Download the app today! 🌿

Image by Fantasystache

Too Much Fertilizer 

Too much of anything is just as bad as too little. Curling of philodendron leaves can also be a sign of over-fertilization of the root. If the leaf curls downwards instead of inwards, you might be overfeeding. 

Too much fertilizer can cause the roots of the indoor plant to shrivel up, which lowers the amount of water the roots can absorb. If there is a crust of fertilizer on top of the soil, you’re definitely overfeeding your plants. Black or brown spots on the leaves are also a sign of overfeeding, whereas philodendron leaves turning yellow could signify a nutrient deficiency in the plant.

  • To treat over-fertilization, allow the soil to leech and reduce application immediately. If you’ve used slow-release fertilizer, the plant needs to be repotted. In growing season, it’s best to use slow-release fertilizers, while in colder months, you should fertilize after 6 to 8 weeks. To prevent over-fertilization, you can also use natural potting mix and fertilizer options such as compost, manure, and decomposed leaves, as they release their nutrients slowly. 

Too Little Nutrition

If a philodendron isn’t getting enough nutrition, this can also cause plant leaves to curl and wilt. It can be a result of high pH in the soil, as well as ineffective absorption of nutrients through the roots. 

Nitrogen deficiency can directly affect chlorophyll production in the plant and cause leaf curling. Stunted or damaged root growth and phosphorus deficiency can have the same effect. 

  • Ensure that your soil has a pH between 4.5 and 6.0. To boost nutrition in the soil, add compost and fertilizer, such as ammonium sulfate and urea. 

Temperature Doesn’t Suit

Philodendrons can withstand a wide range of indoor temperatures. However, since they are a tropical plant, they don’t always thrive in cold weather. 

This is because the lower temperature causes damage to the leaf cells, causing the cell sap to freeze. The frozen sap increases in volume and damages the cell membrane, causing cell death.

Similarly, if the temperature is too high, the plant’s leaves lose too much water quickly, causing dehydration, and then curl inward. Temperature stressors in direction can be damaging to philodendrons. 

  • To treat philodendron leaves curling due to temperature stress, remove the damaged leaves as soon as possible. Keep the plant away from direct heat or cool air, and maintain a temperature between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Light Exposure Doesn’t Suit

Similar to temperature stress, if your philodendron is getting too much or too little light exposure, it can cause the plant’s leaves to curl. If the plant is exposed to too much light, dehydration can occur, resulting in inward curling and discoloration. 

If Philodendrons don’t get enough light exposure, it directly affects how much nutrition they get. Remember that plants create their food through photosynthesis. 

  • To support its tropical sensibilities, philodendrons should be kept in shaded areas away from direct sunlight while allowing enough indirect light to keep it healthy. Keep it in bright indoor rooms and rotate it around to make sure all areas are getting enough light. Dust the plant leaves to ensure their pores aren’t clogged.

Photo by Michaela

How to Prevent Philodendron Leaves from Curling 🍃

  • Water the plant regularly with filtered, room temperature water. 
  • Fertilize wisely. 
  • Learning how to propagate philodendrons is important!
  • Ensure you repot when it outgrows, or will soon outgrow its current pot.
  • Allow ample indirect light to the plant. You can use an artificial light system for this purpose. 
  • Use a room humidifier to maintain a low humidity level in the area. 
  • If your philodendron leaves are curling, don’t despair. Simply figure out the cause and treat your plant accordingly. If you haven’t waited too long, the plant should survive just fine! 

Extra Tip: Make sure you keep your plants away from pets as philodendrons are toxic to cats and dogs!