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Why Are My Alocasia Leaves Curling? (Causes+How To Fix)

Alocasias are tropical houseplants popular for their shiny and broad green leaves. Alocasia’s care is tricky, so it’s not an easy task to keep them healthy. A lack of appropriate care will cause issues like Alocasia’s leaves curling.

The primary cause for Alocasia’s leaves curling is dehydration and lack of humidity. Besides, your plant might curl if it does not receive sufficient light or nutrients for growing. Other reasons for curly leaves can be pest infestation, over-fertilization, or temperature stress. 

The curling of leaves in Alocasia is not something unusual and happens quite often. The good thing is, you can deal with this problem if you know the reason behind it.

In this article, I will discuss all the reasons that cause your Alocasia plant to curl and how to prevent the same. Keep reading.

Alocasia curling

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Why are my Alocasia leaves curling?

You are adequately watering your Alocasia and giving them the right amount of light, then what’s causing the alocasia plant to curl?

There can be many reasons behind the curling of Alocasia leaves.

In the beginning, we have already mentioned most of the reasons behind your plant’s curly leaves. Most are reasons related to an environmental issue or improper care.

If you want your Alocasia to be in good condition, it’s important to figure out why it creates the problem and how to fix it.

Below are the most common causes of curly leaves in the alocasia plant. 

Underwatering

Alocasias are tropical plants, so proper watering and consistent moisture in the soil are important aspects of its healthy growth.

They do not like to dry out, and curly leaves are an indication that the soil needs more water.

A prolonged period of underwatering will make their leaves dry and crispy.

This condition will encourage the plant to curl up more, and due to this, the plant will be a risk of dying. 

When you are underwatering your plant, the leaves will curl inwards to retain more moisture, and this mostly happens in summer when the weather is hot and dry.

How to fix underwatering?

You can fix this problem is by watering your plant enough to improve the condition.

Alocasia humidity meter

Here are some steps are given below that you can follow to prevent underwatering.

  • If you have underwatered your Alocasia, aerate the soil by poking some holes with a chopstick.
  • Give some water to the soil from the watering can and allow it to soak it.
  • Once the soil has soaked water, give water to the plant thoroughly until the excess water comes out from the drainage holes.
  • Once the soil becomes moist, keep the plant in bright indirect sunlight.
  • Once the plant recovers, keep a check on the soil and water only when the top few inches of the soil feel dry. In summers, they will need frequent watering, while in winters, you can reduce the watering to 2-3 weeks as it is their dormant season.
  • You can also use a moisture meter to check the soil’s moisture level and prevent the underwatering problem.

Also read: How To Water Alocasia Plant? (How Much, How Often & More)


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Overwatering

Overwatering can take place if you do not have a proper understanding of your plant’s water requirements.

A hint to tell if you have overwatered your Alocasia is by looking at their leaves.

Your plant’s leaves will turn yellow and curl if the soil is too saturated.

Overwatering will destroy your plant’s health completely.

The excess moisture in the soil will prevent proper air circulation, due to which the roots will get suffocated and become weak.

Damp soil will cause root rot, and this disease can destroy the roots of your Alocasia.

Your plant’s leaves will start to wilt, droop, curl, and can get brown spots due to overwatering.

How to fix overwatering?

Alocasia overwatered

If you have an overwatered plant, follow the steps given below to fix it.

  • At first, allow the top 2 inches of the soil to dry out completely before the next watering.
  • Place your plant in a bright spot to provide bright light and fresh air.
  • You can also add ingredients like perlite or pumice in the soil to increase airflow around roots.
  • If your plant is still not recovering, you should remove the plant from the pot and check its roots. If the roots are mushy and soft, remove the damaged roots and consider repotting the plant in a new pot with a fresh potting mix.

Also read: How Can You Save Overwatered Alocasia?

Poor water quality

The water you are using for watering your Alocasia is important for its health.

Alocasias will suffer if you use tap water to water them. 

Tap water contains many kinds of minerals, leading to a salt build-up in the soil.

The salts in the soil will absorb all its moisture, so the plant will not be able to take any water from the soil.

As a result, the plant will dry, and its leaves will curl up.

Which is the best water for Alocasia?

Alocasias are comfortable with most types of water except for tap water.

You can allow the water to sit for a day in a bucket or watering can before giving it to the plant.

In this way, some unwanted material will evaporate, and the water will become fit for use.

However, the best water from them would be distilled or filtered water. 

You can also use rainwater if distilled water is not available.

It is more affordable as compared to distilled water.

Too much or too little light

Alocasia in sunlight

We all know that alocasias are tropical plants that prefer to grow in bright spots, but too much light can be harmful.

In their natural habitat, they thrive under canopies of trees and receive scattered sunlight for carrying out life processes. 

One of the issues alocasia faces with excessive light or direct light is the curling of leaves.

The excess light generates more energy than your Alocasia can use.

Too much light will cause the leaves will turn dry, crispy, and curly. 

On the other hand, if the plant receives too little light, it will not be able to carry out photosynthesis properly, due to which they will become weak and will get curly leaves.

How to fix the lighting problem?

You should place your Alocasia in a location where they will receive bright, indirect light for 6 to 8 hours a day.

Make sure the spot you choose has shade now and then.

The ideal place for your plant would be an east or west-facing window as this spot will provide the ideal bright light to it.

Make sure to keep the plant away from direct sunlight.

Always place it one foot away from the window to prevent intense sunlight.

You can also use sheer curtains to protect it from excessive heat.

Also read: What Kind Of Light Does Alocasia Need? Alocasia Light Requirements

Low humidity

One thing that a tropical plant needs for its growth are high humidity levels. 

Therefore, your Alocasia will need it too.

Alocasias need a minimum of 50-60% humidity to grow well. 

Alocasia will face a humidity problem if you keep your plant where temperatures are too low, or the weather is too cold.

The air in the place causes the plant’s leaves to lose more moisture.

As a result, there will be water deficiency in the plant cells.

This situation will cause drying and curling of leaves. 

How to fix the humidity problem?

Alocasia Humidifier

To keep the alocasia plant healthy, keep the air around it moist enough. 

Here are some ways to increase humidity around your plant:

  • You can use a humidifier to regulate and maintain the correct humidity around your plant.
  • You can group your alocasia plant with another moisture-loving plant to keep the humidity level high in the surrounding.
  • You can frequently mist the leaves of your plant with a spray bottle.
  • You can keep your plant on a saucer filled with water and pebbles. The water from the saucer will evaporate and will add humidity to the air.

Also read: Should I Mist My Alocasia? (Ideal Humidity+How To Maintain)

Low temperatures

Alocasias are tropical plants, and so they prefer to grow in high temperatures.

They will grow well when temperatures are between 65 to 85°F and will not thrive when temperatures fall below 50°F. 

If Alocasias are placed in a cold room or a place with cool temperatures, they suffer from temperature stress.

A freezing climate, cold draughts, and chilled weather are not something that alocasias will tolerate and can go in shock.

Alocasia low temperature

How to fix the problem of low temperatures?

The only solution to fix the problem of low temperatures is by correcting the temperature condition around your plant.

If the plant is kept in a cold place, you need to relocate it to a warm location with high temperatures.

To keep your plant happy, try to maintain temperatures between 65-85°F. 

Keep your plant away from air conditioners, cold, drafty windows, and open doors, stressing the plant.

Keep it in a well-insulated room during winters.

Nutritional deficiency

Alocasia will thrive in a soil mix that is rich in potassium. 

Potassium is one vital nutrient that Alocasia needs to grow their large and shiny leaves.

If your plant’s lower and older leaves start to curl, then understand that it is experiencing a potassium deficiency.

Lack of potassium will cause curling and drying of the leaves.

This is not a serious issue as it only affects the older and lower leaves.

If the whole plant starts to curl up, then you need to do further investigation to out the other causes.

How to fix potassium deficiency?

You can fix potassium deficiency in your plant in two ways:

  • Commercial fertilizers: You can buy fertilizers rich in potassium sulfate, potassium chloride, or potassium nitrate. Always read the manufacturer’s instructions before application.
  • Organic fertilizers: You can use natural treatment for your plant by using organic fertilizers. You can feed the plant with seaweed or make compost using banana peels to overcome potassium deficiency. 
Alocasia fertilizer

Whichever fertilizer you select, ensure to supply the plant with sufficient water during application to enhance nutrient uptake.

Also read: What Fertilizer To Use For Alocasia? (Ideal Fertilizer+Dosage Guide)



Overfertilization

Alocasias are heavy feeders, but many plant owners make a common mistake by over-fertilizing them without understanding their nutritional requirements.

This issue is quite common during the winter season as this is the period when the plant is not growing, and therefore, it does not need fertilizers.

Curly leaves can signify that you are giving your plant too many nutrients.

The salts from the fertilizers can burn the root system, due to which the roots become weak and stop performing their functions.

Such roots fail to absorb moisture and nutrients from the soil, due to which the plant growth is affected.

Too many nutrients will damage the leaf cell, and the leaves will turn crispy and curly.

How to fix overfertilization?

You can follow the steps given below to avoid overfertilization on your Alocasia plant:

  • If you have over-fertilized your Alocasia, you can flush the soil with water to remove the excess salt build-up. Do it multiple times to get rid of all the salts.
  • You can also scrape a layer of the soil to remove the excess fertilizers.
  • Use a water-soluble 20-20-20 fertilizer for your Alocasia and fertilize every two weeks in the growing season.
  • Avoid fertilizing the Alocasia during winters to prevent over-fertilization.

Pest infestation

Pests and insects can make the leaves of your Alocasia plant curl up. 

Alocasias are prone to pests like mealybugs, spider mites, scales, and aphids.  

These pests will suck sap or juices from the leaves and damage the plant’s cells, and can even kill it off completely.

These bugs will create many leaf problems if not fixed on time. 

Pests are difficult to control, and it’s crucial to take immediate actions as soon as you suspect them on your plant.

Alocasia pest

How to fix pest infestation?

Here are some ways to save your Alocasia from pest infestation:

  • Keep your Alocasia clean: Pests are more attracted to dusty leaves. So, you should occasionally clean its leaves with a wet piece of cloth to prevent dirt accumulation.
  • Check the underside of leaves: Pests usually hide on the leaves’ undersides. So, you should frequently check the underside of leaves for webbing. If you find pests there, wipe off the leaves with soapy water to remove them.
  • Use organic oil: Consider using organic oils such as a Neem oil solution or horticulture oil and spray it on your plant to keep pests away.
  • Use insecticidal soap: You can use insecticidal soap to remove pests. Make sure that the soap is safe for your plant.

Also read: How Do I Get Rid Of Bugs In Alocasia? (+Common Bugs Identification)

Improper pot size

Once the Alocasias grow big, they will require large-sized pots.

If the pot is too small, the plant will not be able to spread its roots properly.

Also, it will not be able to absorb enough water and nutrients from the pot, due to which its leaves will curl.

What is the correct pot size for a plant?

Alocasia soil needs

Generally, you should grow your Alocasia in a spacious pot to prevent leaf curling and drooping.

A right-sized pot will give your plant more space to grow its roots properly without getting rootbound. 

An ideal pot size would be 1-2 sizes bigger than the previous pot.

Also read: When Do You Repot Alocasia Plant? (Ideal Time+How To)

Final words

The leaves of your Alocasia plant may be curling due to several reasons. Improper watering, low humidity, inappropriate lighting conditions are the main causes of Alocasia leaves drooping and curling.

Therefore, before fixing any problem, try observing your plant and considering all causes.

Once you figure out the cause, consider the solutions we have provided in this article and apply those to help your Alocasia recover from curling.

However, do not stop taking care once your plant has recovered. Alocasias need consistent love and care to grow and remain healthy.

Therefore you need to follow a consistent routine to ensure your plant is getting proper growing conditions throughout the year.

Provide your plant with the right watering, temperature, humidity, nutrition to enjoy its beautiful foliage.


Reference: Science DirectPropagation of AlocasiaThe University of Arkansas Division of AgricultureAlocasia sanderianaAlocasia micholitziana.