Calathea Not Closing At Night (Reasons And Solutions)

Calathea is a plant native to the tropical forests of South America such as Brazil, Columbia, and Ecuador. This plant usually lives in the lower layers of the forest and under the canopy of large trees. Many people love growing Calathea plants in their homes and offices because they have beautiful green foliage and contrast in the sunlight. In addition, this plant also can purify the air and improve the surrounding environment.

Calathea plants are also known as prayer plants because they often fold their leaves at night like humans clasping their hands to pray. However, you will find that Calathea plants cannot fold their leaves at night as usual. Why is my Calathea not closing at night? To answer this question, let’s find out the causes and how to fix them in detail in the article below.

Why Is My Calathea Not Closing At Night?

Normally, all plants in the Marantaceae family including Calathea plants (also called galangal family) fold their leaves at night. Therefore, plants in the family Marantaceae are often referred to as prayer plants. Plants can open or close their leaves by different mechanisms, but they still close their leaves at night.

However, Calathea plants not closing their leaves at night can be caused by a variety of reasons. Some of the underlying causes are too much light, too much watering, lack of water, inadequate humidity, low temperature, or pest infestation. Below is detailed information on the causes of Calathea’s leaves not closing at night.

calathea not closing at night

Too Much Light At Night

As you know, plants also have a life cycle that repeats every 24 hours. Their 1-day life cycle is similar to that of humans. We will wake up during the day when the sun rises and go to bed at night when the sun goes down. Calathea plants are the same way. Their leaves will open at sunrise to absorb sunlight for photosynthesis and close at night.

In their natural habitat, Calathea plants usually live on the lower floors and under dense foliage. So when the sun goes down, they will live in complete darkness and close their leaves soon after receiving no light.

So, the most common reason why the leaves of Calathea plants don’t close at night is because they get too much light. Meanwhile, plants need complete darkness at night for their leaves to close. The artificial light source from the lamp constantly shining on this plant will make it impossible for them to distinguish day and night to perform the normal mechanism of opening and closing the leaves. When plants do not have complete darkness, they do not stimulate the internal organs to close the leaves. So, if the leaves of Calathea plants don’t close at night, consider the light factor first.

How to solve it?

  • Place the pot in a location with good indirect sunlight during the day and complete darkness at night.
  • Place the potted plant in an east-facing window – the ideal location for this plant.
  • Do not place the pot in direct sunlight for a long time as the sun will burn the leaves.
  • Do not use lights at night for Calathea plants to help them open and close their leaves as usual.

Watering Too Much

In addition to the cause of too much light, too much watering also leads to the condition that the leaves of Calathea plants do not close at night. Overwatering will cause the entire plant to stop normal activities such as metabolism, photosynthesis, or leaf movement.

Calathea plants are plants that are native to tropical forests, so they prefer moist environments but cannot live in waterlogging. Waterlogging for several days will weaken the root system due to a lack of oxygen. From there, the root system will be soft, broken, and rotten. During the process of root system rot, it stops the movement of water and nutrients to the whole plant. Therefore, plants will not have the energy to maintain life and daily mechanisms. Therefore, you should not water too much or constantly check the moisture in the soil to avoid waterlogging.

How to solve it?

  • To prevent waterlogging, you should choose potting soil that drains well for plants. Use a mixture of ingredients such as soil, perlite, organic matter, and gravel to create openings for air circulation.
  • The pot must have at least one drainage hole. In addition, you should choose pots made of ceramic material for better drainage. Plastic and glass pots will be harder to drain than porcelain pots.
  • Water plants only when the ground is 2-3 inches dry.
  • Place the pot in a spot with direct or indirect sunlight to promote faster soil evaporation.
  • Do not overwater the leaves and soil at night because a humid environment will create favorable conditions for fungus growth.
  • Regularly check for signs of waterlogging such as yellow, brown, tender, and drooping leaves. In particular, the stump will have mucus and a rotten smell.
  • When the pot shows signs of waterlogging, you should slowly lift the plant out of the pot to clean and remove the rotten roots.
  • Replace the pot with new soil that is dry and nutrient-rich enough for replanting.
  • Water only when the soil is completely dry between waterings to avoid waterlogging.

Watering Too Little

Lack of water is also the reason why the leaves of Calathea plants do not close at night. This is because plants do not have enough energy and water to carry out their normal functions. Calathea plants are a plant that loves wet environments, so they need constant watering every time the soil dries out. In particular, you need to add water on sunny days and high temperatures.

Some of the basic signs of water deficiency in Calathea plants are yellowing, wilting, dry, and brittle leaves. Then, if the water shortage is for a long time, the whole leaves will turn yellow and fall off all at once.

How to solve it?

  • You need to regularly check the moisture in the soil before watering.
  • Maintain the necessary moisture in the soil with a humidifier to provide proper moisture to the plants.
  • Use an automatic watering system in your home to provide a constant supply of water on drought days.
  • Mist plants to provide proper moisture for plants.
  • You should not water according to the available schedule, instead, you should water according to the weather and the actual water needs of the plants.

Low Humidity

Low humidity is also the reason why Calathea plants do not close their leaves at night as usual. As you know, this plant is native to tropical forests, so the humidity in the air is very high.

If Calathea plants live in too low a humidity, they will not have enough energy to perform the normal opening and closing mechanism. Therefore, you need to maintain the right humidity for this plant so that it can grow and develop best.

How to solve it?

  • You can use a humidifier to maintain the right humidity for your plants.
  • Using cobblestone trays and placing pots on top also help provide moisture to the plants.
  • You can place the potted plants next to the aquarium or water trays to take advantage of the moisture that rises from the water.
  • Place pots next to each other to increase humidity and limit moisture escaping into the air.
  • Place potted plants next to wet areas such as near bathrooms or kitchens to maintain the necessary humidity for plants.

The Temperature Is Too Low

Calathea plants prefer room temperature and cannot tolerate extremely low temperatures. The ideal temperature for this plant to grow and thrive is between 65 and 80 degrees F. When the temperature is too cold, this plant struggles to stay active and can’t close or open the leaves as they did.

You should not place potted plants in areas such as air conditioning or outdoors, corridors while the weather is too cold. In winter, you need to regularly check the condition of the plants and maintain the ideal temperature for them.

Destructive Pests

Another common cause is pest infestation that prevents the leaves of Calathea plants from closing at night. Common insects and pests that attack Calathea plants are spider mites and aphids. Spiders will create membranes on the leaves, damaging the cells of the leaves and making the leaves unable to move. In addition, aphids can also attack the cells of the leaves, sucking the sap and causing the leaf structure to be completely broken. From there, aphids suck the sap, causing the leaves to shrivel and completely deform.

How to solve it?

  • Regularly clean the two sides of the leaves. Notice the leaves with black spots and holes in the leaves.
  • Use neem oil to spray on the leaves and the entire plant.
  • Spray organic insecticides to kill insects and pests.
  • Use beneficial insects to kill spiders and aphids naturally.


Calathea plants are plants that open their leaves during the day and close at night. The reason why the leaves of this plant cannot close at night can be related to many different reasons. Some basic causes such as too much light at night from artificial light, too much watering leading to waterlogging, and lack of water making plants, not have enough energy.

In addition, some other causes such as low humidity or pest infestation also cause the leaves to deform and shrink. From there, they cannot perform the normal opening and closing mechanism. Therefore, to prevent and limit this situation, you need to provide Calathea plants with suitable living conditions such as light during the day and complete darkness at night, proper watering, and suitable humidity and regularly destroy harmful insects.

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