Calathea Leaves Pointing Down (Causes And Treatments)

Calathea plants are one of the very popular plants in the home or office. This plant is relatively easy to grow, easy to care for, and does not take much time to care for. The beauty of Calathea plants is their bright green and healthy leaves. The colorful stripes on the leaves are also the highlight of this plant.

To know the health of Calathea plants, you can look at the quality of the leaves. Calathea leaves pointing down are an indication of unsuitable habitat. There are many different causes of this condition for Calathea plants. In this article, we’ve covered some of the underlying causes and ways to fix these problems.

Calathea Leaves Bending Down – Top 6 Common Reasons

Calathea plants are famous for their beautiful leaves and attract everyone’s attention. These leaves are thin yet sturdy and highly resistant to diseases. If you notice that the leaves of Calathea plants are drooping, you need to quickly find the cause and fix it. There are many causes for the leaves of Calathea plants to droop. Some of the underlying causes are lack of water, waterlogging, root rot, nutritional deficiencies, low humidity, or temperature stress. Here is detailed information on the causes and methods for the treatment of the leaves of Calathea plants.

Lack Of Water Leads To Dry And Drooping Leaves

Water is one of the three most important factors for the growth of any plant. Each plant species has different water needs. So you need to learn about the plants you grow and their water use characteristics. Lack of water is one of the most common causes of drooping leaves of Calathea plants. Lack of water will cause the soil to dry out, losing nutrients and water to nourish the root system. Therefore, the root system cannot transport nutrients to the foliage of Calathea plants. As a result, the cells in the leaves will be dehydrated, dry, and deformed.

Eventually, the cells will die, and the leaves turn yellow, brown, dry, and droop around the pot. In particular, water shortage will become more serious if Calathea plants are exposed to the sun continuously for many days. Whenever you see the leaves of Calathea plants hanging around the pot with dry, brittle leaves and dry soil, water them as quickly as possible. You can also use a moisture meter or your finger to check the moisture in the soil.

How to treat dehydration?

  • You need to water plants with large amounts of water to minimize severe water shortages for the root system.
  • Bathe the entire plant under the shower or watering can continuously until excess water has drained out of the drain hole.
  • Combine with misting in the first few days to increase moisture for plants.
  • You can also place the entire pot in a tub or large container so that the entire plant is covered with water. Repeat this process a few times until excess water has drained out of the drain hole.
  • In the following days, you need to observe and water continuously when the ground is 1-2 inches dry. The reason is that plants will use the maximum amount of water they need to nourish all the leaves, stems, and roots.
  • The level of recovery of each leaf will vary depending on the damage level of each leaf.
  • For leaves that are completely dry and drooping around the pot, you should prune so that the root system can focus on nurturing less damaged leaves.
  • In addition, pruning old and severely damaged leaves is also a way to stimulate the growth of new leaves.
calathea leaves pointing down

Over-watering Leads To Swollen And Drooping Leaves

Over-watering is also the leading cause of drooping leaves of Calathea plants. A simple sign of leaves that you can tell from excess water is softening and swelling. The soil is always so wet that the root system cannot transport nutrients to the leaves. Whole cells of leaves, stems and roots will absorb too much water. The cells will swell because the root system is constantly transporting water due to pressure from within the soil. Therefore, the metabolic and photosynthetic activities of the leaves will be disrupted. As a result, the leaves of Calathea plants will droop, especially in conditions of lack of sunlight.

Poor drainage is also a cause of waterlogging. Long-term waterlogging will cause root rot and seriously affect plant health. The quality of the potting soil also plays an important role in drainage. If the soil mix contains a lot of clay and organic soil, it will also increase waterlogging due to poor drainage.

How to deal with flooding?

  • Open the drainage hole and promote the excess water in the pot to the outside.
  • Move the pot to a sunny area to stimulate metabolism and evaporate from the stomata in the leaves.
  • Do not water the pot until the top of the soil is 2-3 inches dry.
  • If the soil is too wet, you can use a mulch or absorbent material to help the soil dry quickly.
  • Remove severely damaged leaves to avoid leaf rot and the proliferation of fungal diseases.
  • You should not water according to the schedule, instead water according to the actual needs of the plants.
  • Clean the drains regularly because moss or other obstructions can clog their drains.
  • Use potting mixes with a layer of gravel or perlite at the bottom of the pot to enhance drainage.
  • Do not place the dish under the pot because the water that escapes will still remain in the dish and come into direct contact with the bottom of the pot.

Lack Of Nutrients Leads To Affected Leaf Health

Many gardeners often have the habit of skipping fertilizing or improving soil quality for plants after a long time. The reason is that many people always believe that plants for bonsai do not need much care because they have the ability to adapt to real conditions. However, any plant species needs to be replenished with nutrients and improve soil quality after a long time.

Nitrogen and nutrient deficiencies are common causes of stunted or weak leaves of Calathea plants. Therefore, they will droop due to insufficient nutrients to nourish the entire cells on the leaf. Eventually, the leaves will fall off due to insufficient energy to continue to sustain life. After a period of growth, plants will absorb nutrients in the soil. So if you don’t fertilize or improve the soil, the nutrients will be depleted and unable to nourish the plants.

How to overcome malnutrition?

  • Periodic fertilization and soil amendment are important factors in preventing nutrient deficiencies in Calathea plants.
  • If your plants are still small, you can use granular and high-nitrogen fertilizers to encourage leaf growth.
  • Fertilize with high nitrogen in spring or summer for Calathea plants.
  • Reduce the amount of fertilizer gradually when the growing season is coming to an end, do not fertilize in winter.
  • Use liquid or slow-release fertilizers to provide long-term plant nutrition.
  • Do not over-fertilize during the growing season because plants can be overstressed.
  • You need to follow the frequency of fertilizing and the amount of fertilizer recommended by the manufacturer for each different fertilizer.
calathea leaves pointing down

Root Rot Affects The Health Of All Parts

Waterlogging due to excessive watering or poor drainage is also a cause of root rot. Root rot is one of the most common diseases that kills plants. Fungi that are born in a humid environment are the cause of root rot. Signs of root rot such as the stump has a layer of humus and has a bad smell. Bacteria and fungi attack the root system and destroy all root branches.

The leaves of Calathea plants will also appear yellow, brown, or black spots when root rot is more severe. Harmful fungi and bacteria will quickly spread and attack all parts of the plant. It’s important to spot root rot early before it gets worse. The degree of plant revival will depend on the severity of the root rot.

How to cure root rot?

  • You need to remove plants from the soil and pots to see how damaged the root system is. Take the process gently by removing each layer of soil to avoid damaging the roots.
  • Rinse the stump under running water and remove any roots that have completely rotted.
  • Prune soft and rotten roots with sterilized tools. Also, remove leaves that are yellow or brown to prevent the spread of the fungus.
  • Use a fresh potting mix that has good soil quality, is rich in nutrients, and drains well.
  • Replant the plants and water only a small amount to moisten the soil. Do not water until the ground is dry.
  • Place the pot in a sunny and well-ventilated area to promote plant regeneration.
  • Regularly check the soil moisture and the drainage capacity of the potted plant.

Stress Due To Extreme Heat Or Cold

Temperature is also one of the important factors affecting the growth of Calathea plants. The characteristic of this plant is that it prefers warm, humid temperatures, and sunshine from the sun. Calathea plants usually cannot tolerate low temperatures, especially frost. They need a lot of warm sunlight to warm themselves for the large leaves. Most tropical plants can only tolerate a minimum temperature of 50 degrees F. Temperatures that are too low will cause plants to grow stunted, leaves will curl and fall.

In addition, too high temperature also affects the growth of Calathea plants. Excessive heat will cause sunburn to the leaves of this plant. The leaves of Calathea plants will droop and curl to limit the area exposed to direct sunlight. If this goes on for a long time then they will dry out, curl up, and hang around the pot. Eventually, they will shed a lot due to the cells that have dried out due to extreme heat.

How to overcome excessive heat stress?

  • If the temperature is too cold, you should find a way to keep the plants warm. Move the potted plant into a warm area or use mulch or pergolas to keep out high winds and frost for the plants outdoors.
  • Avoid placing pots in windy areas during times of low temperatures.
  • If the temperature is too hot, avoid placing the potted plant in a sunny area for many hours.
  • Place 1-2 meters away from the window and have curtains to limit direct sunlight.
  • In the summer, you should place the potted plant in an area with shade and indirect sunlight.
  • Make sure the location of the potted plant does not have a large temperature change between night and day to avoid undue stress on the plants.

Low Humidity Causes The Leaves Of Plants To Droop

Humidity is still the cause of the leaves of Calathea plants drooping even when you have the right watering regime. If the air is too dry, the soil will also dry out faster, so the moisture in the soil will be lost quickly. The leaves will have to search for moisture in the air to maintain. Therefore, low humidity will cause the leaves of Calathea plants to droop. High temperatures plus low humidity will seriously affect the health of plants. Therefore, you need to make sure to maintain the humidity of plants at a stable level to maintain plant growth.

How to maintain constant humidity?

  • Using a humidifier is the simplest and most effective way to maintain a steady moisture level for plants.
  • A local humidifier will maintain the ideal humidity for plants in an area without affecting the humidity of the entire house.
  • You can also place the potted plant in the area next to the fish tank or water tray to take advantage of the rising steam.
  • Placing potted plants on trays of water will also help retain moisture.
  • You can also place pots next to each other to take advantage of the air exchange between plants.
  • Mist a few times a day on days when the temperature is too high to provide temporary moisture to the plants.

Final Thoughts

Calathea plants are plants that many people love to decorate their homes or offices. The beauty of this plant is its bright green leaves and healthy veins. However, their leaves also face some phenomena such as drooping, drying, wilting, or the appearance of black spots, brown spots, or yellow spots.

There are many reasons why the leaves of Calathea plants are affected and droop around the pot. Some common causes include lack of water, waterlogging, root rot, lack of nutrients, low humidity, or sudden temperature changes. To overcome this situation, you need to follow the basic principles of plant care such as proper watering, fertilizing in the growing season, maintaining nutrients and improving soil, keeping soil moisture, and maintaining the ideal temperature for plants.

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