Money Trees are a great low-maintenance tropical houseplant but that doesn’t mean there won’t be any problems that crop up from time to time. If your Money Tree’s leaves are curling then is a sign that something is wrong with your plant. If you can identify the problem and react quickly, then your Money Tree’s leaves should uncurl without any permanent damage.
The main reason Money Tree leaves start curling is due to dehydration and it’s a mechanism the plant uses to reduce water loss. Leaf curling is most commonly due to underwatering, low humidity, or excess heat. Ironically, curling leaves can also be caused by overwatering because once the root system is damaged, it cuts off the plant from needed moisture and it becomes dehydrated.
In this article, we will cover the main reasons why Money Trees start curling their leaves as well as how to diagnose the issue and treat it properly.
Direct sunlight can cause curling Money Tree leaves
Money Trees prefer medium to indirect bright light and don’t deal so well with intense direct sunlight. This can very quickly cause their leaves to begin curling inwards which happens for two reasons.
Firstly, curling leaves is a mechanism that a lot of plats use to avoid moisture loss which can happen quickly when the leaves are dried out by intense hot sunlight. The second reason plants can start curling their leaves is to protect themselves from direct sunlight by minimising their light exposure.
If you have caught the issue fairly early and the only sign of unhappiness is curling leaves, then the issue should resolve itself by moving your Money Tree to a shadier spot in your home.
Temperature extremes can also cause curling Money Tree leaves
Money Tree plants like to grow in temperatures that mimic their native environment. If your plant is exposed to cold temperatures, it can start curling to avoid too much heat loss. If it gets too hot, the leaves will start to dry up and shrivel.
The best temperature for your Money Tree plant is between 60-85°F (16-29°C). Using a digital thermometer can help keep track of any large fluctuations that might be causing the curling leaves.
When it comes to plant placement, there are quite a lot of things that can cause temperature extremes. For example, heating vents, radiators, air conditioning units and cookers. If your Money Tree is exposed to extremely hot or cold air it can shock your plant and damage the leaves.
The average room temperature on your thermostat doesn’t always reflect the actual temperature of where your Money Tree is sitting. This is why it’s important to get a portable thermometer that you can place next to your plant to check for any fluctuations. They are very affordable little devices and have saved us a lot of heartache when it comes to preventing plant issues. A must-have for plant parents!
Dry air can also cause the leaves on your Money Tree to start curling
As they are native to tropical areas, a good humidity level is key to a healthy and happy Money Tree. These plants absorb moisture through their large leaves and if the air is too dry, it can cause your plant to curl up in response.
Raising the humidity level is easy and there are many free or cheap methods to do this. It’s a good idea to get into the routine of misting your Money Tree as this is a great way to instantly boost the humidity. It’s best to do this mid-morning if possible so that the water droplets have time to evaporate off the plant before the temperature drops at night. This helps prevent leaf rot.
Another method you can use is to build a pebble tray. This allows the water to evaporate around your plant throughout the day and is a slightly more long-term solution to misting.
However, if you are really struggling to increase the humidity for your houseplant then a humidifier is the way to go. These keep a nice stable humidity level without you having to lift a finger.
Incorrect watering often causes curling leaves on a Money Tree
As we mentioned above, watering and dehydration is the number 1 reason why Money Trees start to develop curling leaves. Consistent underwatering will cause the root system to crisp up and the leaves will curl to prevent as much moisture loss as possible.
On the other hand, overwatering can also cause similar issues such as curling leaves. This is because waterlogged soil can rot the roots of your Money Tree so that it is unable to pull in moisture from the soil. This actually then dehydrates the plant even though the soil is soggy.
The best thing to do to diagnose the issue is to check the moisture levels regularly using a chopstick or your finger. This will help you keep track of how much water your Money Tree needs and you can adjust your watering habits accordingly.
If you do find that the potting mix is waterlogged, then replace it immediately so that it doesn’t cause any more damage to your Money Tree.
To prevent root rot, you also want to make sure that your Money Tree’s pot drains properly. Ensure the drainage holes aren’t blocked and adding in some perlite can really help.
Water sensitivity can also cause curling leaves
Money Tree leaves curl up as a sign of distress and one of these problems could be with a high level of fluoride or other minerals in the water.
If your Money Tree is suffering from sensitivity to hard water, you’ll notice that the leaves have yellow edges, and you might even see a buildup of salt on the surface of the soil.
Try switching your plant to distilled or bottled water. You can also collect rainwater to use on your Money Tree to prevent the leaves from curling further.
Those are the most common reasons why Money Trees develop curling leaves. As soon as you spot the issue, try to diagnose it and make changes as soon as possible. Catching and treating the issue early will give your plant the best shot at survival.
Check out our Money Tree care guide for more information on how to keep your plant thriving.
Written by Billy Dawson