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

Philodendrons are easy to care for and can adjust to different environmental conditions. If something is wrong in the care routine of your philodendron, you might see curly leaves on it. If you are wondering the causes of curly leaves in philodendrons, you are at the right place.

Dry soil, poor water quality, and hot or cold drafts can lead to curly leaves in philodendrons. Some other reasons include overwatering, low light, and pest infestation. Increase the humidity around the plant and keep the plant away from drafts to prevent curly leaves in philodendron.

Philodendrons have unique leaves that come in different shapes and colors. It is sad to see these beautiful leaves curling and making the plant look unhealthy.

If you figure out what is wrong with your philodendron and start taking proper care of the plant, you can cure the curly leaves.

Let’s find out the causes behind curly leaves in philodendron and ways of keeping your philodendron healthy.


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What causes curly leaves in philodendrons?

Philodendrons don’t require much care, but they can get affected by environmental changes and lack of care. Curling of leaves might be a result of any of these.

The main reason behind the curling of leaves in philodendrons is stress. Your job is to find out the reason behind that stress.

There can be different types of curling, such as curling up, down, or sideways. If you notice that the old leaves are curling, but the new ones are doing good, you should not be worried.

We have listed some of the main reasons behind curling leaves in philodendrons.

Dry soil

Philodendrons like the soil to remain slightly moist, so the plant will have problems if you let the soil get too dry.

Dry soil is caused due to under-watering. If you neglect your philodendron for too long and don’t give it enough water, the soil will get dry. Due to this, the roots will not get any nutrients or water from the soil.

Due to a lack of water and nutrients, and the leaves will curl.

Philodendrons can survive with less watering for some time, but if it persists for long, the soil will become dry, and the plant will get dehydrated.

You should not neglect your philodendron and water whenever the top layers of the soil get dry.

Also read: What Type Of Soil Does A Philodendron Need? (Best Soil Mix)

Overwatering

When the leaves start curling downwards, you should understand that it is due to overwatering. The plant will show different signs when there is root rot, including curling leaves, yellowing, and drooping.

If the tips of the leaves start curling, it is the initial sign of root rot, and you can start the treatment of the same.

You need to place the philodendron in a bright area to get enough indirect light to let the soil dry. You should take your philodendron out of the pot and place the roots under indirect light to get dry.

If the root rot is more severe, you should repot your philodendron after pruning the affected roots. When the roots remain wet due to overwatering, they suffocate due to a lack of oxygen. The roots can neither breathe nor function properly due to this.

Stop overwatering your philodendron and water the plant only if the soil is dry.

Also read: How Much Water Does A Philodendron Need? (Water Requirement+How Often)



Lighting issues

If your philodendron is getting exposed to excess or direct sunlight, the plant’s leaves will start curling because of sunburn.

Excess light makes the soil dry, and the plant gets dehydrated, and all these lead to curled or wilted leaves.

Consider moving your philodendron to a shady area where it gets indirect light and water the plant thoroughly to hydrate it.

Your philodendron can have curled leaves due to insufficient light.

Philodendrons require 6-8 hours of indirect light to carry out all their regular activities. If you notice that the lower leaves are curling along with some leggy growth, you should understand that your plant is not getting enough light.

If you don’t get enough light in your house, purchase the grow lights that provide light and heat to your plants.

Try to find a bright place near a window or balcony, and relocate your philodendron to that spot.

Also read: What Kind Of Light Does A Philodendron Need? (Light Requirements)

Overfertilizing

Philodendrons require fertilizers for faster growth, but the roots will burn, and the leaves will start curling if you overdose it with fertilizers.

If you fertilize too frequently or give the plant a strong dose every time you fertilize it, the philodendron will become over-fertilized. The excess fertilizer will build on the soil and make the soil acidic.

Excess fertilizers will lead to root burn, leaf burn and will damage your philodendron if you keep over-feeding it.
You must fertilize your philodendron once a month during the growing season with a 20:20:20 fertilizer. However, instead of giving it the prescribed dose, dilute it and make it half-strength to avoid over-feeding.

If you have an over-fertilized philodendron, you must stop fertilizing it and wash it thoroughly so that the excess fertilizer gets washed. You might need to repot the plant if required. Fertilize only after your philodendron recovers.

Also read: What Kind Of Fertilizer For Philodendron? (Best Fertilizer+Fertilizer Ratio)

Poor water quality

If you use regular tap water to water your philodendron, the plant’s leaves can start curling due to the poor water quality.

Regular tap water often contains minerals such as calcium and chlorine in excess that damage the plant by discoloring the leaves or curling and wilt.

You must switch to rainwater or filtered water instead of regular tap water. You can also leave tap water outside in an aerated area and use that to water your philodendron.

Pest infestation

Pests like mealybugs, scales, thrips, spider mites, etc., can attack your philodendron and cause wrinkling or curling of leaves along with yellow patches on them.

Pests absorb the nutrients out of the plant and feed on them. This makes the plant weak, due to which they have irregular growth and deformed leaves or stem.

You should try to eliminate the pests as soon as possible by washing the plants under running water and spraying neem oil solution all over the plant. Continue this for at least 14 days to get rid of all the pests.

You can also use the pesticides that are available in the market. However, read the instructions thoroughly to ensure that it doesn’t contain harmful chemicals that can harm your philodendron.

After eliminating the pests, spray the neem oil solution once a month to keep the pests away from the plant.

Root rot

Root rot is caused due to overwatering. Other reasons contribute to root rot, such as heavy soil and poor drainage system.

If the tip of the philodendron leaves starts curling, it means that your plant has root rot. However, you still have time to save the plant.

First of all, you need to stop overwatering the plant. Overwatering suffocates the roots by cutting off the oxygen supply. The roots fail to function correctly, making the plant weak.

Next, you need to repot your philodendron. Take the philodendron gently out of its pot and prune the soft brown roots with sterilized scissors or pruners.

Take a pot bigger than the previous one and make sure it has drainage holes. Make a well-draining soil mix by adding perlite to peat-based soil.

After putting the soil in the pot, place the philodendron in the pot. Prune the damaged leaves or branches.

Water the soil and place the plant in a bright area that gets indirect light.

Dispose of the previous soil along with the pruned roots and branches. Sterilize the pruners or scissors after use, and wash your hands thoroughly after repotting.

Temperature fluctuations

Temperature fluctuations can stress your philodendron, due to which you will see that the leaves are curling. If this is the case, the leaf tips or edges will curl upwards.

If you place your philodendron in direct sunlight or too much wind, the leaves start curling to save themselves from the heat and also reduce photosynthesis.

Too much heat and light make the plant dehydrated and reduces transpiration.

You should relocate your philodendron to a different spot without direct sunlight and too much wind. Let the plant remain under indirect light and let it recover from the stress.

Keep the philodendron away from the window that gets hot drafts.

In winter, don’t expose your philodendron to cold drafts or low temperatures, as these can also shock the plant and make the leaves curl.

How to prevent curly leaves in philodendron?

It is possible to save your philodendron from curly leaves with proper care. 

Once you understand the basic requirements of your philodendron, you’ll be able to take proper care of it.

  • Provide your philodendron temperature levels between 70-80°F. The philodendrons can survive in low-light areas for a few days only when the temperature outdoors is high.
  • Maintain high humidity levels as the philodendrons are humidity-loving plants. Use a humidifier or mist the philodendron to increase the humidity around the plant.
  • Use neem oil solution and spray it all over the philodendron to keep the pests away.
  • Keep the philodendron away from direct sunlight so that the leaves don’t get burnt. 
  • Prune the leaves and branches to boost the growth hormone. Propagate the cuttings to get a new philodendron plant. 
  • Protect the plant from cold drafts in winter. Don’t expose the plant to low temperatures and move it inside during winter.
  • Add nutrition-rich fertilizer once a month during summer and spring to boost the growth of your philodendron. Avoid fertilizing in winter as the plant doesn’t grow actively and rests during this time.

If you are looking to buy a lot of houseplants to brighten up your space and that too on a budget, try out Cellardoorplants. They offer a wide variety of plants, delivered right to your doorstep, and that too for every budget. If you haven't checked them yet, Try them now!


Tips for healthy growth in philodendrons

Examine the philodendron after bringing it home. Keep it away from other houseplants for the first few days and move it near the others when you are sure that the plant is healthy.

Learn the basic requirements of the philodendron so that you can take care of the plant properly without making any mistakes. If you do the research well, you will understand the problems and fix them before it’s too late.

Make sure to provide the right amount of light, water, and fertilizer to your philodendron.

Let the soil dry between watering and fertilize once a month during the growing season.

If the humidity level is not enough, add humidity by misting or place the philodendron near the aquarium if there’s one in your house. You can also opt for a humidifier as that is the most convenient way of adding humidity to your philodendron.


Ref: Evaluation of Different Species of Philodendron Under Indoor Conditions, University of Florida, University of Vermont, ScienceDirect, Academia, Wikipedia, Britannica.