Curling Potted Plants

Curling leaves on potted plants are extremely common, especially in houseplants. If your plants are showcasing signs of curling leaves, there are several factors to take into consideration. These include incorrect care and insect infestations. The lighting conditions and the environment you place your plant into may also be having an impact.

To ensure your plants can thrive, it’s always best to do your research when purchasing a new one. As we demonstrate here, considering both the location and giving detailed attention to your new plant’s needs will be key to preventing numerous ailments, including curling leaves.

Are curling leaves always a cause for alarm?

The simple answer is no. In most cases anyway! Once you pinpoint the issue, you’ll be able to address it with a tried and tested solution, quickly and efficiently. These solutions are easy to administer and promise to pick your plants up in no time, leaving you with a healthy-looking shrub.

If your plant’s curled leaves are not budging, it may be time to prune them, as this will allow your plant, shrub, or bloom to preserve all of its energy for future growth.

Lighting conditions

When mature plants show signs of curling leaf tips, this is usually due to too much light. Newer leaves on the other hand may show more signs of ailments – for instance, brown edges or tips may also represent that light conditions are too intensive. Another key pointer indicating too much light is that the leaves may be smaller in size.

To fix this problem, first try moving your new plant away from the source of light, such as further back on a windowsill or into a different room. Alternatively, invest in a sheer curtain. This will avoid the leaves becoming burnt from direct sunlight.

Numerous houseplants which are native to tropical locations enjoy bright, yet indirect sunlight. These shrubs thrive when placed near a window. When positioning on a window ledge, place slightly further back so that direct rays never hit the leaves or foliage as this can scorch the leaves.

If you do need to move your plant around, it’s important not to move it too regularly, so it has time to adjust to its new conditions.

Too much water

Too much water is never a good thing for the vast majority of houseplants. When the leaves on the lower levels of your plant begin to curl under, this is likely due to overwatering the shrub, bloom, or plant.

Although your plants necessitate water to survive, the soil should never appear soggy. Wait until the top layer of soil is dry to the touch before watering the potted plant again. The excess water should freely drain through the pot’s drainage holes, which are located at the base of the container.

If the soil is becoming soggy, these drainage holes could be blocked. Meanwhile, if you have saucer-catching water set at the base of the pot, you must remember to empty that saucer after 20 to 30 minutes.

Leaving the base saturated and overwatering your plants can cause root rot, which could ultimately kill your plants. Note that the water requirements for your plant will vary depending on its native growing conditions, and those from wet climates will require a greater deal of watering.

Heat conditions

Heat is another important consideration to keep in mind when positioning new plants in your home, especially if you wish to avoid curling leaves. When leaves curl under and turn a shade of yellow, it’s likely your plant is suffering from an overdose of heat.

For best results and to ensure your plants and blooms thrive, avoid placing them near radiators or other heat sources. When facing a southerly window, strong sunlight also hits a windowpane directly, heating up the glass and radiating the heat directly onto the plant.

If you often travel for work or take a holiday in the height of summer, remember to reposition your plants before going away and turn any air conditioning units off. If not, you may come back to some poorly-looking potted plants, many of which will likely showcase an abundance of curling leaves.

Aphids and other unwanted pests

Aphids are extremely common on houseplants, but fortunately, they’re also easy to get rid of. These pests come in the shape of minuscule, oval insects, which suck the nutrients from traditional houseplant foliage.

As these pests remove the liquid from the shrub, the leaves begin to change shape and curl up. Thankfully these pests are easy to spot and can often be found living in colonies, located on the base of the plant’s leaves. To rid your blooms of these bugs, it is wise to remove any severely infested leaves.

You can dislodge these insects by spraying the shrub or bloom with water. Another fail-safe method includes investing in insecticidal soap, which kills these bugs on contact.

However, if you plan on using this method, it’s important to note that it may take numerous attempts and treatments to get rid of the aphids entirely.

Until you’re 100% sure the aphid problem has been fixed, it’s wise to put the plant into isolation, in a place where other healthy plants aren’t positioned. Once you’re sure the issue has been fixed, you can put all of your plants together again.

Curling leaves means it’s time to take action!

Curling leaves can occur at any time, but thankfully (when you know how) they’re not difficult to address. If your current plants are suffering from curling leaves, check for any of the above issues, including pest infestations, water levels, lighting, and soil.

If you’re still unsure of the conditions your plant might need, an online florist should have the information you need, or alternatively, search online for care instructions for your specific type of bloom.

Once you address these potential problems or prune the curling leaves, you should be left with a thriving houseplant that can breathe new life into your living space.


Lily Calyx is our in-house flower whisperer, an expert on all things botanical and an enthusiastic orchids collector. She loves discussing the insights of the secret world of flowers, shares her gardening tips and hacks and moons over the latest additions to Serenata Flowers flower range. Ask Lily anything about flowers and we can guarantee she will have the answer.

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