The Alocasia plant is one of the most popular houseplants, and it’s not hard to see why. Between Alocasia Polly (elephant ear), Alocasia Frydek, Alocasia Amazonica, and Alocasia Zebrina, I’m not sure which one I love more.
Why are my Alocasia leaves curling?
The main cause of curling leaves in Alocasia is the lack of appropriate plant care. If the plant’s leaves are curling, there’s a high chance it’s not getting enough light, it’s either being overwatered or underwater, a potassium deficiency, pest infestation, low temperatures, lack of humidity, or even over-fertilizing.
Curling leaves in Alocasias is not an unusual phenomenon. And the great news is, you can deal with the problem if you know what’s causing it. In this article, I’ll discuss some of the common causes of curling leaves in Alocasia and the best way to prevent them on a regular basis. Let’s dive right in.
This beautiful tropical plant is known for its shiny, broad leaves that will brighten just about any room. But all good things come with a price. For the Alocasia plant, the price can be pretty high maintenance.
As much as I love Alocasias, I hate seeing them with curling leaves. Almost as much as I hate dealing with insect infestations.
But have no worries, I know the struggle and can offer a few pieces of advice that I wish I had received.
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What to do when leaves curl up?
You’ve been watering your Alocasia plant religiously and giving the plant ample light, but the leaves can’t stop curling. What are you doing wrong? There are a plethora of reasons why Alocasia leaves curl. In most cases, it has to do with environmental issues or improper care.
To get your Alocasia plant back in tip-top condition, it’s crucial to know what could be causing the problem and how to fix it. Below are the most common causes of curling leaves in Alocasias.
I wish I had known some of these tips when I saw my Alocasia Polly leaves curling. I feel so ashamed just thinking about it. Rest in peace, my green friend.
Pest and Insect Infestations
Pests and insects don’t infest outdoor plants only. They can creep into your house and get on your indoor plants as well. Alocasias are not an exception. This plant is mostly prone to spider mites and mealybugs infestation. If you’ve noticed the curling of leaves in your Alocasias, an insect or pest infestation may be a possible cause.
However, pests and insects can do more damage than you imagine. They can damage the plant by sucking out its juices or kill it off completely by damaging the plant’s cells. Which is how the process of leaf curling starts.
For this reason, it’s crucial to get the problem under control as soon as you suspect you may have an infestation problem.
How to Fix Infestation Issues
Before you attempt to get rid of the pests or insects, it’s vital to find out why they’re attracted to your plant. This way, you’ll deal with the root cause of the problem. To save your plant, try the following tips:
- Keep your Alocasias dust-free: Insects are drawn to dusty plants. Therefore, make sure you shower the plant often or dust it off with a wet piece of cloth.
- Check the undersides of leaves for webbing: Frequently check the underside for webbing. If it’s there, wipe it off using soapy water to prevent a recurrence.
- Use neem oils: These oils are effective for removing pests and insects and keeping them off your plants.
- Use an Alocasia–friendly insecticidal soap: You can also use insecticidal soap to kill all the pests. Just make sure the insecticidal soap you get is safe to use for Alocasias and around pets and kids. Test it on a small leaf before continuing with this treatment
Lack of correct watering schedule
A sign of alocasia leaves curling under or drooping may be an indicator that it’s either being underwater or overwatered.
Alocasias are classified under tropical plants. Therefore, they require sufficient moisture to stay alive. If you’re not giving your plant enough water, one of the signs you should expect is leaves curling under. However, this doesn’t mean you should drown the plant with water. The soil should be moist but not soaking wet.
If you notice your Alocasia leaves are curling and you suspect it may be an issue with under-watering, it’s crucial to fix the problem immediately. Failure to do so will make the leaves dry up and become crispy. When this happens, the leaves will curl up even more, and the plant will be at risk of dying.
How to Fix Inconsistent Watering Issues
Thankfully, fixing an under-watering problem is simple. All you have to do is learn how you’re supposed to water Alocasia plants and maintain a consistent routine. It may not happen overnight, but you’ll eventually notice a difference in the appearance of your plant’s leaves.
So, how should you water Alocasia plants?
These plants love moisture, but you shouldn’t overdo it. When you water the plant, strive to get the soil moist and not overflowing with water. When the water starts flowing into the saucer, that’s a sure sign to stop watering. But don’t forget to empty out the saucer afterward. You wouldn’t want your plant to be sitting in water. And this rule applies to every. single. plant.
Watering the plant once a week will suffice. However, it’s advisable to use a moisture meter to ensure you’re giving the plant enough water every time you do it.
Also, note that Alocasias are dormant during the winter. In this season, the plant requires less water. Reduce the amount of water to 2 to 3 weeks to maintain the plant. Otherwise, dry soil in the winter won’t do your plant any harm. In the winter, the plant won’t be using as much water, and it will take some time for the water to evaporate from the soil.
Overwatering plants is a common issue and difficult to avoid if you don’t know the basics of watering plants. A way to tell if your Alocasia plant is overwatered is by the color of its leaves. It will turn yellow if the soil is too saturated. It may also start wilting from having excess water.
Overwatering is a much more difficult issue to deal with. Especially since it can destroy a plant’s health condition pretty quickly. There’s no proper air circulation for the roots to breathe since the soil is so soggy and bogged down to an excess amount of water within the soil. This will easily lead to a plant’s root rotting.
Other signs to determine if you overwatering are the leaves wilting or drooping and the brown spots.
Some quick ways to fix overwatering issues include:
A quick and easy fix to overwatered plant is to allow the soil to dry before watering again. You can also use that same tool to poke holes in the soil to increase aeration to the roots
- wait until the first 2 inches of the soil is dry before watering again
- drain any excess water from the saucer if needed.
- place the plant in a location where it can receive fresh air (but avoid drafty areas)
- use this amazing tool to determine when your plants are thirsty
- poke holes into the soil to allow aeration ((you can also use that same tool but only make a few holes though)
- use a dehumidifier (don’t allow it to dry up completely)
- mix in perlite (this one is amazing) or pumice to increase aeration around the plant’s roots
I know it may be tempting, but don’t repot your plant just yet. Wait until the end of winter or the start of spring or when your plant is starting to look healthy again to repot.
If you’re noticing the curling in lower and older leaves, there’s a great chance your plant has a potassium deficiency. The leaves start curling up and may eventually dry up. Therefore, it’s crucial to fix the problem as soon as you notice it to prevent your plant from dying.
How to Fix Potassium Deficiency
The good news is that you can fix potassium deficiency. There are two ways to do it:
- Using commercial fertilizers: Find a fertilizer (try this miracle worker) that’s rich in potassium nitrate, potassium sulfate, or potassium chloride. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and give your plant some time to recover.
- Organic fertilizers: If you prefer natural treatments, feed your plant some seaweed or make compost with banana peels or comfrey liquid.
Whichever method you choose, be sure to supply your plant with enough water during the treatments to enhance nutrient uptake.
As we mentioned, Alocasias are tropical plants. This means they love high temperatures. If you’ve placed the plant in a cold room or you live in an area with a cold climate, the plant will experience temperature stress. This plant thrives in temperatures between 68 and 86°F and can’t thrive in temperatures below 50 °F.
Another reason your plant leaves could be curling is due to the lack of humidity level. Placing Alocasia in a low humidity area may also lead to leaves curling. Alocasia plants love being in an area with a high humidity level because of where they were originated from.
How to Fix Low-Temperature Problems
The only way to fix temperature stress is to improve the temperature conditions for the plant. If you currently have it in a cold room, it may be best to move it to a room that has a higher temperature.
Alocasia plants may also get overwhelmed with nutrients. This is a common problem among individuals who have their Alocasia growing out of a pot. To ensure the plant thrives in its environment, you need to fertilize it often to ensure it has the nutrients it needs. However, most people tend to overdo it, which causes problems. Curling leaves may be a sign that you’re giving your Alocasia too many nutrients.
How to Fix an Over-Fertilizing Problem
When it comes to fertilizing, it’s crucial to follow the recommended fertilizing procedures. The following tips should get your plant back to normal.
- Fertilize once every two weeks in the growing season.
- Use a water-soluble fertilizer during spring and summer.
- Avoid fertilizing your Alocasia during the winter.
How to care for Alocasia plants
Some quick tips on how to care for Alocasia plants. Some may find Alocasia plants difficult to care for. And I do agree with that statement but to some extent. The main obstacle you’ll have to overcome is providing a humid environment. If you can keep that plant moist, you’ll have no problem caring for your Alocasia indoors.
- Provide plenty of bright indirect lighting (stay away from direct sun)
- Water when the top 2 inches of soil is dry
- Provide a high level of humidity around the plant
- Clean the leaves once every 1-2 months to maintain their vibrancy
- Repot once every 1-2 years
In Conclusion of Why Are My Alocasia Leaves Curling
As you can see, your Alocasia leaves may be curling due to a plethora of reasons. Therefore, before you attempt any fix, explore the plant and consider all possible causes. Once you’ve identified the root cause, use our guide to revive your plant.
However, don’t stop taking good care of your plant when you start noticing a difference. These plants require consistent care to thrive. Therefore, maintain a consistent routine to ensure your Alocasia remains in perfect condition throughout the year. Give the plant enough water, light, nutrients, and temperatures as recommended.
Frequently asked questions of Alocasia plant
How much light does Alocasia need?
Even though it doesn’t do well in direct sun, it loves to be in a spot that has plenty of bright indirect lighting. Do make sure that the spot you chose will have shade every now and then.
Overexposure to lighting (such as more than 8 hours a day), even if it is filtered, may be too much for your indoor plant to handle sometimes. If this is the case, consider using sheer curtains.
How often should you water Alocasia?
Rule of thumb for a proper watering routine: Use either your finger or a bamboo skewer to measure the first 2 inches of soil. If your skewer comes out dry, it’s safe to say it’s thirsty enough to be watered. But if your skewer comes out with speckles of dirt, you should probably leave it for another day or so. It’s better to underwater than overwater.
How do you water Alocasia?
Remember to always check the soil before you decide to water it. Certain houseplants need their soil dry before their next watering session. Make sure your pot has a drainage hole.
That also makes a huge difference in your plant’s healthiness level. If your potting soil is drying up too fast or not fast enough, you may need to change out the soil mix. Having a proper potting mix that allows for proper drainage will help your plant so much more.
Don’t ever let any of your houseplants sit in a puddle of excess water for an extended period of time. This is the cause of many problems with your plants not looking healthy.
Avoid Alocasia plant having wet leaves. It can lead to diseases and infections and that’s just going to stress you out.
Also, avoid tap water if possible. Using distilled or rainwater is best for houseplants. But if you don’t have either option, you can always let the tap water sit out for at least 24 hours before using it.
Do Alocasia like humidity?
Yes, this tropical house plant will typically require a high amount of humidity. If you ever see brown tips or brown edges, it’s a sign that you will need to increase the moisture level around the plant. Use either a humidifier or a humidity tray.
Does Alocasia need sun?
Yes, it needs sun but only indirect sunlight. Direct sun rays will burn the leaves on Alocasia plants, so avoid it at all costs.
Alocasias love being in an area with plenty of bright filtered lighting.
So if the leaves appear to look droopy, you may need to move them to a brighter location.