Calathea plants are beautiful plants with colorful foliage; however, they are also temperamental and expressive plants that will not fail to show when they are unhappy. One way they protest unfavorable conditions is by curling their dramatic leaves, thus signifying that something is wrong.
Why do Calathea Ornata leaves curl? The leaves often curl because of dehydration. It is the plant’s defensive mechanism from losing more water. You will likely see Calathea‘s leaves curling if the plant is underwatered; the room has low humidity, root rot due to overwatering, high temperature in the room, overfertilizing, and disease.
We will discuss these factors and how to fix them in a short while. If you correct the problem and keep your plant relaxed, you will see it uncurl its leaves and return to a healthy appearance.
You might also enjoy reading: Why is Your Calathea Leaves Curling And Turning Brown (And how to fix it!)
Calathea Ornata Overview
Calathea Ornata is known for its large leaves with distinctive patterns and effervescent colors. The table below shows an overview of Calathea Ornata.
|Scientific Name||Calathea ornata|
|Common Names||Pin-stripe calathea|
|Light Requirements||Pinstripe Calathea does exceptionally well in bright conditions without direct sunlight. Find a well-lit spot to seat your Calathea|
|Temperature Requirements||The ideal temperature is 65 – 75°F (18-23°C). Ensure the temperature does not drop below 60°F (15.5°C).|
|Soil||To thrive, Calathea ornata requires a peat-based potting mix.|
|Watering Requirements||During the winter, it is vital to keep the plant watered but allow the topsoil to dry out between watering.|
|Fertilizer Requirements||Fertilize your plants every few weeks with a diluted balanced fertilizer, only during the growing season from April to October.|
|Humidity||Ensuring the air is not too dry will encourage the leaves to thrive; therefore, I suggest you use humidifiers or pebble trays to maintain humidity levels. You can also mist the leaves daily during summer.|
|Propagation||The best method to propagate Calathea Ornata is by division.|
Factors Causing Calathea Leaves To Curl
Look out for the following reasons when you see your plants’ leaves curl.
1- Excess Light
Calatheas grow and thrive under the canopies of tall tropical rain forests in their wild habitat. The trees provide shade that filters direct sun rays, allowing Calatheas to grow in low-light conditions similar to the one in a traditional home.
Calathea plants cannot withstand direct sunlight. Harsh sun rays can fade the plant leaves and interfere with their beautiful display of white and green markings.
Furthermore, the Calathea plant will likely curl its leaves to reduce the surface area exposed to light. It is their method of keeping their beautiful leaves luxuriant for you.
How To Fix Calathea Leaves Curling From Excess Light:
- You can move the plant pot away from direct sunlight, and you will notice the leaves uncurl within one or two days.
- Even better, you should not place the Calathea plant near a sunny window, especially the west-facing window.
- Look for a shady spot near the window with moderate indirect light.
- If you must place your plant near a window with bright light, you can use curtains or blinds to filter the light.
- You can also place the plant in a dark or dim room and use a mirror to reflect light on the plant. This provides less intense sunlight that will not curl or scorch the delicate Calathea leaves.
Note: Placing your Calathea plant on the north-facing window will lead to inadequate light for your plant. This can cause retarded growth, yellowing of leaves, and lengthy stems as the plant stretch out to reach a light source.
Regardless of where you place your Calathea plant, ensure it is not a victim of direct sunlight.
2- Extreme Temperature
Under the canopies of tall tropical trees where Calathea plants naturally grow has the ideal temperature. If the temperature drops extremely low, Calatheas curls their leaves to keep them warm. You will likely notice this condition if you place your plant near the window during extreme winter.
Scorching temperatures will also have similar results, with the leaves drying up and withering. Heat accelerates evaporation from the leaves and damages their fragile cells, which leads to curling leaves.
Calathea plants may also curl their leaves to prevent excess water loss from the heat.
How To Fix Temperature Issues:
- Calathea plants thrive in temperatures between 16-29°C, but if your room has this temperature range and the leaves still curl, you want to adjust your thermostat towards 24°C or check other possible causes of the problem.
- Observe how your plant reacts to temperature change in a few days and make necessary adjustments until the leaves uncurl.
- During the hot summer, do not keep your Calathea plant in front of an air conditioner, while during harsh winter, do not place it under a heating vent as this could shock the plant and lead to curling of leaves.
Note: Desktop computer CPU, ovens, and nearby heat sources can increase the temperature of Calathea plants; therefore, ensure that you place these plants away from heat sources.
Since the general office space temperature may not be similar to the actual temperature where the plant is growing, do not rely on office thermostat reading; use a thermometer to confirm the temperature of Calathea plant soil and the environment.
Once you realize the temperatures are high or low, look for ways to normalize them for better growth.
3- Incorrect Watering
All house plant, including Calatheas, needs the right amount of water to thrive and stay healthy.
Underwatering will make the leaves curl up because insufficient water keeps the cells less buoyant. Following an irregular watering schedule often results in underwatering, and with dry soil and a high evaporation rate, the leaves will curl and dry up.
Overwatering also leads to Calathea leaves curling because excess water drowns the plant and rots the roots. If the roots are rotten, they cannot absorb water or nutrient, resulting in the curling of leaves and eventually death.
How To Fix Incorrect Watering:
- If your plant leaves are curling because of underwatering, you can follow a schedule that allows you to water Calatheas regularly. However, you should remember that the watering frequency is determined by seasons, weather conditions, and plant size.
- For instance, your summer watering schedule is different from your winter watering schedule.
- On the other hand, drain the water in the pot if the leaves are curling due to overwatering. You can also remove the plant with soil roots intact, remove any rotten roots, and replant it in new soil.
- Before watering your Calathea plant, confirm with your fingers if 2 inches of the soil from the top is dry. If yes, use a special watering can to pour water on its soil or soak the pot in a sink or bathtub.
Note: Ensure you use water at room temperature since cold or hot water will shock the plant and lead to curling leaves.
4- Poor Water Quality
Calathea plants can also curl their leaves as a sign of distress from unsuitable water. For instance, tap water can cause a build-up of minerals in the soil, making the plant sick.
High salt levels in tap water can wilt your Calathea plant or cause yellow edges and salt build-up on the pot of soil surface.
How To Fix Poor Water Quality:
- You can install water purifiers and filters to remove the salt and minerals before using them on your Calathea Ornata plant.
- However, if it is expensive to install water filters, you can leave the tap to settle overnight until chlorine evaporates and minerals settle before using it to water plants.
- Alternatively, you can use distilled, bottled water or collect rainwater for your plants.
5- Shock From Transplanting
Your Calathea plant will likely curl its leaves when you transplant it to a new pot. You can repot it to a bigger space because it has grown, or you want to remove fungi or rotten roots.
The plant experiences shock before it adapts to the new environment is often seen in the curled leaves.
How to fix Transplanting Shock:
- Remove it with contact soil when replanting your Calathea plant for an easy transition.
- You also want to provide adequate watering and maintain other conditions like humidity, temperature, and fertilizers.
- Otherwise, you can do little to remedy the situation; give the plant a few days, and the leaves will straighten.
Some house plant owners think that when they give their plants lots of fertilizer, the plant will appear healthy. While it is true that fertilizer help facilitates growth, overfertilizing cause soil salt saturation around the plant roots.
Excess salt at the root draws moisture from the plant through osmosis, thus affecting the plant’s ability to absorb water. And when the plant dehydrates, the leaves curl up.
If the problem is not diagnosed early, the roots will dry, killing your Calathea plant.
How To Fix The Overfertilization Problem:
You first want to confirm if the problem is due to excess fertilizer. Check out signs such as crusty build-up on the pot and soil surface, yellowing or browning of leaf margins, and black-brown root rot.
If these signs exist, you can remove the Calathea plant from the pot mixing and chop off rotten roots. Fill the pot with new soil and replant your Calathea. Avoid applying excess fertilizer; follow the packaging bag’s guidelines.
Calathea plant is a real beauty that can give your interior décor a new look; however, it requires proper attention and care. If you see your plant leaves curling, you know there is an underlying problem, and Calathea is crying for help.
It could be underwatering or overwatering problems, overfertilization, excess light, transplantation shock, and extreme temperatures. However, it is easy to fix the leave curling problem when you correctly diagnose its cause. Take care of your Calathea plant; you may not see its leaves curling.