Chinese Evergreen Leaves Curling: Top 9 Basic Causes

Chinese evergreen also known as Aglaonemas is one of the common plants in homes and offices with its eye-catching patterned foliage. The reason is that this plant is easy to grow, grows well in low light, and is effortless to care for. In particular, their foliage has unique patterns and textures to attract all eyes.

However, Chinese evergreen leaves curling is one of the most common problems you may encounter when caring for this plant. What is the cause of this phenomenon? How to detect and correct in time? Let’s find out the details in the article below.

9 Causes Of Chinese Evergreen Leaves Curling (How To Fix It)

Chinese evergreen has many varieties with different colors such as dark green, red, and silver. Native varieties from Asia are medium-sized, short-stemmed, with narrow leaves and fancy veins.

Many people love to grow Chinese evergreens because they have an eye-catching appearance from the foliage with many unique patterns. These plants are very easy to grow in the home or office because they can survive and grow well in low-light conditions. In addition, they are hardy in appearance and slow to grow, so they are suitable for growing in the home or office.

However, the phenomenon of curling or curling leaves of Chinese evergreen is one of the problems you may encounter if you grow this plant. The phenomenon of leaf rolling will take away the beauty of the unique patterns on the leaves. There are many causes for the leaves of Chinese evergreen to curl, curl or droop to the ground. Here are the top 9 main reasons why the leaves of Chinese evergreen are curly.

chinese evergreen leaves curling

Leaves Are Old

Old and dry leaves will curl, curl, or droop, which is a completely natural phenomenon. When a leaf is old and dry, it will curl up when it does not receive energy from the plant. They are usually the old, low leaves that grow around the pot. So you do not need to worry about this phenomenon because they will only appear one or a few cards at a time.

Overwatering Or Watering Too Much

Over-watering is one of the most common causes of curled leaves of Chinese evergreen. Some early phenomena may be yellow spots, mass yellowing, or drooping. If you do not fix this situation soon, the tree will have root rot and die due to waterlogging. The ideal soil environment for Chinese evergreen is dry soil, not overly moist soil. They need a well-drained, dry top and moist bottom to nourish the soil.

To avoid overwatering Chinese evergreen, you should not water according to the schedule, instead, you need to check the humidity with your finger or a hygrometer before watering the plant. You need to make sure that the pots have good drainage holes and are not clogged with moss or other obstructions.

If you suspect plants have root rot, check their roots through the steps below.

  • Remove the plants from the potting soil and check the color and smell of the soil.
  • Healthy roots will be pale in color, hardy, and free of rotten smell. Meanwhile, waterlogged roots will be dark in color, soft, and have a rotten smell.
  • If the roots of the plants are rotten, you should remove the rotten parts, and wash them with water and solutions to prevent root rot.
  • Then you need to change the new potting soil to get rid of bacteria and mold in the old potting soil. Because they will attack and seriously affect other roots.
  • Stop watering until the ground is dry and the plants are dehydrated.
  • Watering is not recommended in winter as this plant uses very little water.

Lack Of Water

Lack of water is also one of the reasons why the leaves of Chinese evergreens are dry, brittle, and curled. The purpose of this phenomenon is to minimize the area exposed to direct sunlight by the leaves. This condition can be reversed if you detect it early and add water in time.

If your tree is almost dead, you should soak it in a pot of water so that the whole plant can absorb the water quickly. After that, you need to observe and check the soil moisture continuously to water and add water in time.

Low Humidity And Dry Air

Chinese evergreens can tolerate moderate humidity, but constant air will cause their leaves to curl and curl. Leaves may also become brittle, dry, and droopy. Therefore, you need to provide suitable humidity so that plants can grow and develop better. Here are some notes you need to consider about humidity.

  • Chinese evergreens can grow and thrive in medium humidity without a humidifier.
  • Plants will grow and develop better in high-humidity conditions.
  • During the winter months, you should consider using heaters because they increase the humidity in the air.
  • Place potted plants next to mini aquariums or trays of water to absorb moisture from rising steam.
  • Group potted plants together to create ambient humidity and exchange moisture with each other.
  • Placing the potted plant on a dish filled with water is also a simple way to increase humidity.

Unsuitable Temperature

Chinese evergreen is a tropical plant that loves warm temperatures, so if the temperature is too high it will dry out and curl up. The ideal temperature for this plant to grow and thrive is between 70 and 80°F (21 to 27°C). Lower or higher temperatures will also cause this plant to grow poorly. Chinese evergreen will have a hard time growing when temperatures drop below 60ºF (º16C).

Inappropriate Lighting

Chinese evergreens can grow and develop in low light conditions. So this plant will burn or roll its leaves when exposed to too much sun. An ideal solution is to move the pot to an area with indirect light, away from direct sunlight for many hours. In particular, Chinese evergreens can also grow and develop well in the artificial light of fluorescent lamps.

Water Quality Is Not Good

Chinese evergreen is not a plant that is overly sensitive to water quality. However, if you use tap water that has a lot of chlorine or other impurities, it also causes the leaves of this plant to curl. Therefore, you should choose rainwater or pure water to irrigate Chinese evergreens to ensure the growth and development of the tree.

Too Much Fertilizer

Chinese evergreen is not a plant that needs a lot of fertilizer. They can still grow and develop well if the soil has enough organic matter. If you over-fertilize this plant, the salt build-up will stay in the soil and destroy the roots. It will cause the leaves of Chinese evergreen to curl or turn brown because the roots cannot provide nutrients to the plant. Here are some important notes when you fertilize Chinese evergreen:

  • Use water-based or slow-release fertilizers so plants can absorb nutrients for a long time.
  • Use the correct amount of fertilizer according to the manufacturer’s recommendations for dosage or timing.
  • Fertilize only once or twice a year during the growing season.
  • Inorganic fertilizers can work well, but organic fertilizers are safer and gentler.
  • To prevent fertilizer build-up, you should water regularly until the water comes out of the drain hole.
  • If you suspect the plant is over-fertilized, you should water it more often or change the soil.

Lack Of Nutrients

Chinese evergreens that do not have enough nutrients to grow will also cause their leaves to curl. Slightly acidic soil will help the Chinese evergreen absorb nutrients best. A soil mix that is too alkaline can inhibit the uptake of available nutrients in the soil. Test your soil’s pH if you suspect that your plants are nutritionally deficient. So you can add organic matter to balance the nutrients for the plants.

Destructive Pests

Pest attacks also cause the leaves of Chinese evergreen to curl and droop. In addition, pest attacks will also cause leaves to appear brown or black spots. Some of the pests that damage this plant are aphids, spider mites, mealybugs, and other forms of scale.

To overcome this situation, you can use insecticidal soap, neem oil, or products specifically for those types of insects. In addition, humidity will also create favorable conditions for fungi to grow and attack the immune system of plants. Therefore, to limit the fungus, you should not water it at night to avoid moisture in the leaves. In addition, you should regularly clean both sides of the leaves as well as use fungicidal products with natural substances.


The leaves of Chinese evergreen are curled or curled for a variety of reasons. Some of the underlying causes include over-watering, lack of water, low humidity, excessive heat, over-fertilizing, pests, fungi, or lack of nutrients. To prevent and correct these problems, you need to regularly check the condition of the plant’s growth and find the best solution.

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