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Why Do Prayer Plant Leaves Curl – 4 Alarming Reasons!

If you are a house plant enthusiast, you would have heard of the prayer plant at some point in your life.

Prayer plants, scientifically known as Maranta leuconeura, have leaves that look like praying hands. It has a delicate, bright, and beautiful pattern all over the leaves, which makes it one of the most wanted plants for indoor house decor.

There is one issue with keeping prayer plants at home. They are not easy to take care of as they thrive in a tropical environment.

So, if you don’t have such environmental conditions around you, the plant leaves may start to curl up to show stress.

So, why do prayer plant leaves curl?

There could be several reasons for it, such as not enough moisture.

If your prayer plant has been showing signs of stress by curling up, keep reading to find out the answer to your query.

Prayer plant leaf—why do prayer plant leaves curl
Why do prayer plant leaves curl? – Image via feey.

Why Do Prayer Plant Leaves Curl? | Reasons & Solutions!

Prayer plant leaves mostly curl up when an essential environmental prerequisite for the plant is not provided to it in adequate amounts, such as temperature or sunlight. The prayer plants may sometimes curl up to protect themselves from pest attacks.

Under such conditions, the plant leaves may curl up from the edges and towards the middle vein.

Fortunately, the curling of the prayer plant leaves is not a sign of irreversible damage.

Instead, it shows an underlying stressor that could be rectified to remedy the situation, such as adding more water.

So, if your beautiful prayer plants are curling up and you don’t know what to do, all you need to know is why do prayer plant leaves curl.

Let’s find out!

1. Dry Soil Due to Lack of Water

Prayer plant leaves are glossy and soft, and this is due to the plenty of moisture they absorb from the soil.

Since they are tropical plants, prayer plants need ample water to keep their soil moist. So, if you neglect to water the plants after several days, your plants may end up with dry soil.

The effects of dry soil can be seen on the leaves as they immediately start to curl from the edges due to lack of water. You will also be able to see the tips of the leaves turning brown, another indicator of inadequate moisture.

The solution here is simple—add more water.

However, it might not take in water easily if the soil is too dry.

  • You will have to water the base for a long time until the soil softens and absorbs water.
  • If you see that the water is directly passing out from the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot, it means the soil is not absorbing enough water. In that case, you may have to use warm water.
  • Also, water regularly and continuously until the soil becomes moist again. Then, you can return to the regular watering routine.

A golden rule is to check the top 1–2 inches of the soil. You can water again when the top inches are dry.

2. Excessive Watering

Giving too much water to the prayer plant can also have the same effect and cause the leaves to curl.

If the soil has too much moisture, it will become clogged. There will be issues with oxygen passing through it, which can even lead to root rot. Excess moisture in the soil also provides a better habitat for fungi to grow on plants.

To avoid overwatering the plant:

  • Make sure the top 1–2 inches of the soil are dry before going for another round.
  • Check the drainage holes regularly to ensure they are not blocked and let water out properly.
  • Do not let the water collect in the saucer or the tray under the pot. Always throw it out before it accumulates.

Ensuring a proper watering schedule can help the plant to thrive at its maximum potential.

3. Extreme Changes in Temperature

We use heating and cooling devices, radiators, vents, and more in our homes to maintain the room temperature.

This extreme variation in temperature can lead to several issues like drying of the air and lack of humidity for the plants.

The prayer plant will curl up to protect itself against the lack of humidity and extreme temperature variations.

Prayer plants thrive in a stable, warm temperature with lots of humidity. The artificial temperature control in the house can vary the environmental conditions.

Try to keep the plant away from vents, grafted windows, and other sources of heating and cooling.

4. Lack of Humidity in the Surrounding Air

The issue with prayer plants is that they are mostly kept indoors as house plants.

The inside of the house usually has less humidity, especially during the winter when the heating is turned on.

Heaters dry up the air in the house, dropping the humidity levels inside. This environment is not suitable for a prayer plant as it needs humidity. The prayer plant may curl up if the surrounding air is dry to save water.

The obvious solution is to keep the plant away from heating sources or grafted windows.

  • You can spray the leaves regularly with a spray bottle to keep them misty.
  • Also, wash the plants even when there are no signs of curling up.
  • Washing the plants will take away all the dirt and insects as well.
  • You can also keep a bowl or tray of water near the plant.
  • Some people keep the pots inside a tray or box filled with water, pebbles, or stones. As the water evaporates, it increases humidity levels in the air around the plants.
  • Investing in a good humidifier for plants is also a wise decision.

With that said, here’s a video to help you understand the problem better.

Why do prayer plant leaves curl? | Calathea Collection – Understanding Prayer Plants: Browning, Curling, Wilting – YouTube

Well, that was all about why do prayer plant leaves curl.

Let’s head to the conclusion.


I hope this article clears up why do prayer plant leaves curl.

You need to remember that the prayer plant is a tropical plant that does well in warm environments.

So, keeping them in a house where there is a lack of humidity and warmth can lead to curling up. Make sure to keep watering the plants regularly.

Take care of the requirements, and you will be able to enjoy the company of these stunning plants.

I hope this helps!