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Why Are My Pilea Leaves Curling – 8 Reasons You Should Know!

There are a variety of homegrown plants, all grown for several reasons. Either for esthetics, food, or luck even. Whatever the reason is, taking care of these plants is essential. However, growing these plants also comes with its struggles, and some days, the grower is clueless or cannot even detect the problem.

If you’re amongst those asking ‘why are my pilea leaves curling?’ consider this a tour guide with all the answers.

Why Are My Pilea Leaves Curling 1
Why are my new leaves curling? – via Reddit

Why Are My Pilea Leaves Curling?

Several factors cause the change in the shape of the leaves of Pilea plants.

1. Low light

The leaves of a Pilea plant respond to low light by exposing as much of their surface to the available light. This is in other to utilize photosynthesis. Pilea thrives in bright spaces, not in direct sunlight. There’s no need to scorch a plant so fair and lovely.

How to Fix Low Light Effects

If the Pilea receives direct sunlight, move it away from the window or reduce the amount of direct sunlight by covering the window with sheer blinds. Windows facing north, east, or west are best recommended as their light is not as harsh as south-facing windows.

On the other hand, full shade also leads to Pilea leaves curling, so it is essential to maintain a balance. In low light, leaves curl outward to create more surface area for photosynthesis. If your Pilea is already in the shade, move it closer to awindow to get bright, indirect sunlight.

2. Overwatering

Another answer to the question ‘why are my Pilea leaves curling?’ is overwatering. Distortion in the ordinarily flat shape of these leaves is possible due to excess water absorption.

Pilea leaves, by nature, expand to try and maximize the amount of water that they can hold. In the case of overwatering, If your Pilea leaves are curling, turning yellow, and falling off, overwatering is the likely cause. 

How to Fix Overwatering

If the plant is suspected to be overwatered, the best practice is to let the soil dry out. In addition, keeping the plant in a place with proper ventilation keeps it happy. Then, in a week or two, check that the top layer of soil is dry before watering again.

3. Temperature

High temperatures also cause leaf curl. Most people just assume that Pilea plants will prefer warm temperatures. However, that’s not the case as it thrives better in cool temperatures. When the temperature is too warm, it will cause this Chinese money plant to develop curled leaves.

Quite often, the leaves will indefinitely curl when the temperature gets too warm. A warm temperature leads to an increased water loss from the plant leaves, causing them to become dry. 

The leaves are more likely to curl upwards or become cupped if the temperature is too warm. This is most likely due to the increased water loss from the leaves when temperatures are too high. Keep Pilea at 65-75°F and avoid temperatures above 80°F; that should resolve all issues.

4. Underwatering / inconsistent watering

Inconsistent watering is a common answer to ‘why are my Pilea leaves curling?’ The leaves curl to reduce how much their surface is exposed to sunlight to minimize water loss. When you water your Pilea plant inconsistently, it can also cause leaf curling. Additionally, this situation can lead to the leaves curling up and down. Healthy watering practices to avoid underwatering

Ensure you water your Pilea plant before the soil dries entirely, or it will wilt. Monitor your plant closely and ensure you water when necessary. Don’t stick to a schedule, as this might be the problem.

When there’s water scarcity, and you follow closely with abundance, the leaves will try conserving the water and absorb more water than they need. Therefore, you should avoid repeated cycles as they can deform the leaves significantly. 

Why Are My Pilea Leaves Curling 2
Why are my pilea leaves curling? – via Reddit

5. Nutrient Deficiency

A nitrogen deficiency may cause yellow and curling leaves. The yellowing and curling leaves are often confused with sunburn and potassium deficiency.

How to Resolve Nutrient Deficiency in Pilea

Apply a dilute fertilizer once a month during the spring to summer months. A good fertilizer can provide the necessary macronutrient essential for plant growth. 

While choosing the fertilizer, inspect the description of the packet. There are always three numbers (Ex: 15-20-20) on the package suggesting the percentage of each macronutrient. The amount of Nitrogen is the initial number in the order, while phosphorous and potassium follows closely.

6. Root Bounding or Root Overcrowding

Sometimes the simple answer to ‘why are my Pilea leaves curling?’ is root overcrowding. If you have not repotted your Chinese money plant in a while, its curly leaves may be due to root overcrowding. Root overcrowding often leads to more significant issues of root rot.

Root bounding is quite common, especially with houseplants. It frequently occurs when the roots grow and there’s little room left in the pot. The healthy roots will simply take all the soil in the pot. When overcrowded, the roots will appear brown and tangled. Root crowding inevitably leads to root rotting: which can even kill your plant.

How to Prevent Root Bounding

Repotting is the best method to prevent root bounding and to rot. You should change houseplants’ pots once in two years. Transferring it to an enormous container would provide more room for the roots.

However, choose a pot with more space than the previous pot. Alternatively, you prune the roots of the place and repot it in the same container. The best time to repot the Pilea plant is either spring or summer season.

7. Dry air

Pilea thrives in humid places. The Pilea plant has no business close to heaters or AC vents and increases the surrounding moisture to keep the plant happy. When the air is dry, the Pilea leaves tend to curl.  

Preserving Pilea From Dry Air

Sometimes, a humidifier can improve the humidity in the air can significantly improve the air. To adjust humidity, plant owners can spray water on the leaves. Make sure to mist quite early in the morning. The moisture reaching the Pilea leaves will evaporate before nightfall. Ensure your Pilea leaves are damp at all times.

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Another effective way you can effectively improve humidity around your houseplant is by placing it on a tray containing pebbles and water. The pebble in the tray will minimize water entry into the pot. In addition, the evaporating water from the tray will increase the humidity around plants.

8. Pests

Pests can be the answer to ‘why are my Pilea leaves curling?’ Common houseplant pests, such as mealybugs, spider mites, or aphids, suck the plant sap and distort its shape. This results in leaves curling and drooping. Scrutinize houseplants for any signs of pests.

Pests or insects that suck on the sap of houseplants distort the leaf shape. Monitor your houseplant frequently for signs of problems and if detected, follow the above steps to remove them.  

Dealing With Pests on Pilea

When inspecting, pay special attention to the underside of leaves, as insects often hide there. If you find any problems, isolate Pilea so it doesn’t spread.

Spray the plant with insecticidal soap, diluted neem oil, or rubbing alcohol. This should be consistent every three to four days until the infestation is gone (it may take several weeks).


Keeping house plants can be a fun experience, but it is equally important to take care of them properly. Fortunately, Pilea is easy-going for a plant and can bounce back if the original problem is solved.

If you are confused about the right answer to ‘why are my Pilea leaves curling?’ and can’t decide which of the reasons below is causing the curled leaves, start with minor adjustments and see if the plant improves.

Providing optimal care to the plant, ensuring that all factors for growth are available and in place is the primary key to fixing the curling of its leaves.