Often quite an underrated member of the Prayer Plant family, the Never Never Plant (Ctenanthe burle-marxii amagris) is an incredible addition to any urban jungle. However, if you have started to notice the leaves curling then it may be a sign that something isn’t quite right. Luckily for us, curling leaves often signifies the beginning of an issue which means you have probably caught the problem quite early which increases your chances of bringing your Never Never Plant back to full health.
Below we will be going through the different factors that may be causing your Never Never Plant to curl its leaves.
Underwatering can cause curling leaves
One of the more common factors when it comes to curling leaves on a Never Never Plant is consistent underwatering. Never Never Plants will forgive you if you occasionally forget to water it. However, your Ctenanthe cannot go for weeks on end without a drop and signs of unhappiness will start to show, often starting with curling leaves which will often be turning light brown as well.
Before you go and drown your Never Never Plant with water to hopefully fix the issue, you need to be sure that this is the cause. Watering a plant when it really doesn’t need it will cause a whole range of other issues. To confirm the diagnosis, take your Never Never Plant out of the pot to inspect how the potting mix feels. If underwatered, the potting mix will fall apart and feel very sandy. You will also see that some of the roots on your Never Never Plant have started to crisp up if you have been underwatering for a while.
Once you have determined that your Never Never Plant is suffering from a lack of water, slowly reintroduce water to your plant rather than drowning it. Any dramatic and sudden changes in their environment can cause them to go into shock so water your Never Never Plant a little bit once a day for about a week.
In future, to avoid overwatering your Ctenanthe again, use a moisture meter to check how moist the soil is. This prevents you from having to take your plant out of its pot every time you might want to water. Moisture meters are super affordable and will help with your other houseplants too so are a great investment.
Lack of humidity can cause leaves to curl
If your Never Never Plant has brown dry leaf tips as well as curling leaves, then a lack of humidity may be the cause. Never Never Plants will struggle in homes with quite dry air, especially in winter where heating and a lack of ventilation can often makes this problem worse.
But don’t worry, if the curling leaves are caused by a lack of humidity then there are some really easy and cheap solutions that will instantly get your Never Never Plant looking fresher.
Mist the leaves on your Ctenanthe every few days
This is one of the easiest ways to increase the humidity for your Never Never Plant and solve the issue of curling leaves. Mist the leaves several times per week with a spray bottle. We recommend that you mist the leaves in the morning so that there’s enough time for the water to evaporate off the leaves before the temperature drop. If the leaves are still wet when in cold temperatures, it can cause the leaves to rot which can kill your plant.
Give your Never Never Plant a shower
One simple thing you can do to instantly boost the humidity for your Never Never Plant and stop the leaves curling is showering your plant. Regularly washing your plant down with water also gets rid of dust and potential pests that might be on your plant so we recommend doing it every few months regardless of any curling leaves or other issues. Make sure to shower your Never Never Plant with temperate water so you don’t shock or burn your plant. Oh and also, keep the water pressure relatively low to avoid breaking any of the leaves or stems as they can be quite delicate.
If you have good light levels (and enough space) in your kitchen or your bathroom then we recommend moving your Never Never Plant in there. The humidity level in both of those rooms is often higher than in other areas of your home because of the steam released when showering and cooking. Just don’t put your plant too close to the cooker or the intense heat will burn the leaves.
Buy a humidifier
If you want to take all the worries away from keeping a steady humidity level for your Never Never Plant and prevent more curling leaves, then buying a humidifier is definitely the best option for you. They can be really affordable and will raise the humidity without you needing to lift a finger!
If you want to know more about how to raise the humidity for your Never Never Plant then check out our humidity guide.
Extreme temperatures and drafts can also be very harmful to your Never Never Plant as the Ctenanthe family thrive in warm environments and this can definitely be causing curling leaves. Make sure your plant is not placed near doors or windows that may be drafty. Even though the temperature of your home may be perfect for your Never Never Plant and it is receiving a lot of sunlight, the drafts coming in from the outside may be colder and harm your plant’s health.
We recommend picking up a digital thermometer to check the temperature across the day and night in various spots in your home. This will make sure that you don’t place your Never Never Plant too close to windows or in places where the temperature really drops at night. They are super affordable and the benefits are definitely worthwhile! They’ll help prevent any more curling leaves on your Never Never Plant as well as other issues such as stunted growth and environment shock.
Intense, direct sunlight can also cause curling leaves on Never Never Plants. Though a lack of light can also cause several issues for them, they don’t do well in harsh direct sunlight at all and will shrivel up.
Direct sunlight will very quickly scorch and burn the leaves of your Never Never Plant which is, unfortunately, irreversible. It will dry out and burn the leaves so look out for any scorched patches on the curling leaves that are most exposed to the sunlight.
If you think that direct sunlight is the cause of the curling leaves on your Never Never Plant, move your plant to a slightly shadier spot in your home. If you are unsure how much light your plant is getting throughout the day/year, it can be useful to use a light meter to keep track of how the light level fluctuates throughout the day and across the seasons. Only remove the leaves if they are badly scorched as if the only is curling, this will fix itself once your plant is in a better environment.
Natural movement can result in curling leaves
One of the other reasons why Never Never Plants are so unique is that their leaves curl up overnight and unfold during the day. It almost looks as though the plants are praying.
Sometimes the rhythm of praying can get a little mixed up and they may still be curled during the day. This is nothing to worry about and is just a natural part of your Never Never Plant’s daily routine. It can be easy to mistake the natural praying for a problem with your plant so just monitor the changes in the leaves to see whether or not they naturally uncurl over the next few days.
Those are the most common reasons why your Never Never Plant has developed curling leaves. It’s important to distinguish between the natural praying cycle and a genuine issue. Assess your plant’s care and environment to see which of the above reasons fit and adjust accordingly. Over the next few weeks, it’s important to keep an eye on your Never Never Plant to see if the curling leaves fix themselves or if there are any other issues popping up.
To learn more about caring for your plant, as well as other common issues, propagation and general care tips, check out our Never Never Plant care guide.