Why Are My Calathea Leaves Drooping? (9 Causes & Solutions)

By | Updated on November 9, 2023

Calathea leaves may droop due to water stress, be it from underwatering or overwatering. Ensure the soil is consistently moist but not waterlogged. Address humidity levels by misting or using a humidifier. Check light exposure, avoiding direct sunlight. Additionally, monitor for pests and consider the plant’s adjustment to a new environment. A balanced care routine promotes the well-being of your Calathea.

If you’ve noticed your Calathea leaves drooping, you’re not alone. The Calathea, often called the prayer plant, is a frequent choice for indoor gardening. Unfortunately, drooping leaves are a common issue with this plant, but there are various causes and solutions to explore.

The Calathea, appreciated for its stunning dark green foliage, graces many households as a popular indoor plant. Despite its beauty, the tendency of Calatheas to exhibit drooping leaves can be a source of frustration for plant owners. In this discussion, we’ll delve into the primary reasons behind Calathea leaves drooping and effective solutions to address each issue.

1. Underwatering

Underwatering is a common cause of drooping leaves in Calathea plants. Insufficient moisture in the soil prevents the plant from absorbing the necessary hydration, leading to wilting and drooping foliage. This issue is often compounded by high temperatures and low humidity levels, exacerbating water loss from the plant.

To remedy the situation, increase the watering frequency for your Calathea plant. A general guideline is to water these plants at least once a week, though adjustments may be necessary in hot or dry weather conditions. Before watering, check the soil to ensure it is moist but not overly wet or soggy. When watering, provide enough water to saturate the soil thoroughly, reaching the bottom of the pot.

By addressing the underwatering issue and adjusting the watering routine accordingly, you can promote the health and vitality of your Calathea plant, preventing further drooping of its leaves.

2. Overwatering

Overwatering is a common issue leading to drooping leaves in Calathea plants. This occurs when the plant cannot absorb the excess water effectively, resulting in the characteristic droopiness. In more severe cases, the leaves may exhibit yellowing or brown discoloration.

The key solution to this problem is to adjust the watering frequency. Calatheas generally require watering once a week, and in cooler, drier conditions, you may even extend the interval to two weeks. It’s crucial to assess the soil moisture before adding more water; the soil should be slightly dry to the touch.

Various methods can help you determine the watering needs of your Calathea. First, a simple touch test involves inserting your finger into the soil. If it feels wet, refrain from watering. Alternatively, using a moisture meter can provide precise readings of humidity levels. If the humidity falls below 50%, it’s an indicator that your Calathea may benefit from watering.

Additionally, monitor the water level in the pot. If the water surpasses the soil line, it’s advisable to withhold further watering. By incorporating these practices and being attentive to the plant’s moisture requirements, you can effectively address and prevent drooping leaves caused by overwatering.

3. Low Humidity

Calatheas, native to tropical rainforests, thrive in high-humidity environments. In homes with lower humidity, these plants may experience stress, leading to drooping leaves. Dry air exacerbates the issue by causing increased water loss from the plant. Typically, indoor air is drier, resulting in the edges of Calathea leaves curling up. Calathea leaves are particularly sensitive, drooping when humidity falls below 40%.

To address drooping caused by low humidity, raise the humidity levels in your home. Options include using a humidifier, placing the plant near a water source like a fish tank or fountain, or misting the leaves daily. Growing Calatheas in a terrarium is an alternative solution for maintaining higher humidity levels.

4. Temperature Stress

Calathea plants are susceptible to temperature changes, leading to droopy leaves. Maintaining an ideal temperature between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit is crucial. Leaves may droop if the temperature drops below 60 degrees Fahrenheit or rises above 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Fluctuating temperatures can adversely affect Calathea plants, causing their leaves to droop.

Address temperature-related drooping by maintaining a consistent temperature. Use a thermostat to regulate your home’s temperature or relocate the plant to a room with a more stable climate. Adjust the plant’s placement to receive direct sunlight by placing it in front of a window or moving it to a shaded area. If temperature consistency is challenging, consider using a grow light to supplement natural light.

5. Light Stress

Calathea leaves may droop due to various reasons associated with light stress. One primary cause is insufficient light. If the leaves stretch towards the light source, it indicates that the plant isn’t receiving adequate light. To remedy this, relocate the plant to a brighter spot.

On the flip side, excessive direct sunlight can also lead to drooping. Calathea leaves are delicate and prone to scorching when exposed to direct sunlight, resulting in droopiness. If you notice scorched or browned leaves, it’s a sign to move the plant to a location with indirect or filtered light.

If light stress is causing your Calathea’s leaves to sag, the solution lies in adjusting its exposure. Calathea plants thrive in bright indirect light, so ensure they are placed where they receive ample natural light. Alternatively, consider using a grow light to supplement natural light.

If the leaves lean towards the light source, try rotating the plant every few days. This ensures that all leaves receive an equal amount of sunlight, promoting balanced growth.

6. Overfertilization

Overfertilization can be a common cause of drooping in your Calathea plant. When Calathea plants receive an excess of nutrients, their leaves often exhibit a yellow hue and start to droop. This occurs because the plant struggles to process the surplus nutrients, leading to stress.

Beyond the visible symptoms of droopy leaves, overfertilization poses additional risks, including the potential for root rot and other complications.

To address this issue, the primary solution is to cease fertilization altogether. Allow the plant to recover by withholding fertilizer until the leaves return to their normal color. In the meantime, consider flushing the potting soil with water to eliminate any lingering excess nutrients.

It’s important to note that Calathea plants have modest fertilizer needs. Restrict fertilization to the necessary times, ideally once a month during the growing season, which spans spring and summer. When you fertilize, opt for a water-soluble fertilizer, using only half of the recommended dosage to prevent overloading the plant with nutrients. This mindful approach ensures the well-being of your Calathea while preventing the issues associated with overfertilization.

7. Adjusting To a New Environment

If you notice your Calathea drooping, it might be in the process of acclimating to its new surroundings. Transplanting or relocating Calatheas can induce stress as they adapt to the changes in their environment, often resulting in drooping leaves and loss of color. Calatheas are particularly sensitive to variations in light and temperature, and sudden shifts in either can contribute to leaf drooping.

When your Calathea is drooping due to the adjustment phase, the key is patience. Over time, the plant will acclimate to its new environment, and the leaves will regain their usual color. Consider gradually introducing the plant to its new location to expedite this process. Maintaining consistent temperature and light levels in the new setting can also aid in the adjustment. With proper care, including these measures, Calathea plants will eventually thrive in their new surroundings.

8. Root Rot

If your Calathea appears to be drooping, it might be due to root rot, a condition triggered by excess moisture that can lead the plant’s roots to suffocate and deteriorate. This decay prevents the roots from supplying the necessary water and nutrients for the plant’s survival, resulting in drooping leaves that eventually turn brown.

To address this issue promptly, follow these steps:

  • Remove from Pot: If you suspect root rot, promptly take the Calathea out of its pot. Examine the roots for any signs of decay; they must be removed if they appear black or mushy.
  • Allow Drying: Allow the plant to dry out completely before replanting it in fresh soil. This helps prevent further moisture-related issues.
  • Replanting: Replant the Calathea in new soil, ensuring the roots are healthy and decay-free. Be cautious not to overwater during this period.
  • Moderate Watering: Water the plant sparingly until its roots have fully regenerated. This cautious approach helps prevent a recurrence of excessive moisture and root rot.

Root rot poses a severe threat to Calathea plants, potentially being fatal. Acting swiftly and effectively is crucial if you suspect your plant is affected by this condition.

9. Pest Infestation

If your Calathea is exhibiting signs of drooping, the cause might be a pest infestation. Common culprits include aphids, spider mites, and mealybugs, all of which can target Calatheas. These pests extract sap from the leaves, resulting in yellowing and eventual leaf loss. Notably, aside from causing leaf drop, pest infestations can pave the way for fungal diseases like powdery mildew and leaf spot.

To address this issue, take proactive measures. Isolate the affected Calathea from other plants to prevent the pests from spreading. Consider treating the infestation with neem oil or insecticidal soap, but follow the instructions diligently. Dealing with pest infestations can be challenging, often requiring multiple treatments for effective eradication. Additionally, ensure the surrounding area is thoroughly cleaned to eliminate any lingering eggs or pests.

Swift action is crucial. If you detect a pest infestation early on, it can be treated more easily, contributing to the overall health and vitality of your Calathea.

Final Thoughts

Taking care of your Calathea is straightforward, but there are key considerations to guarantee the well-being and happiness of your indoor plant.

Calatheas thrive in high humidity, making regular leaf misting essential. To maintain their optimal condition, position your plant in an area with indirect sunlight if it’s placed near a window. Avoid direct sunlight exposure.

If you notice your Calathea’s leaves starting to droop, don’t be alarmed. Typically, this signals a need for water. Ensure you provide a thorough soak and monitor the plant to prevent the issue from recurring. Your attention and a consistent care routine will keep your Calathea flourishing.

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