We love Prayer Plants as they are one of the most unique houseplants around! Their incredible patterned leaves really stand out in a crowd. But it can be really frustrating when their leaves start curling and we can’t see their beautiful patterns. Below we will go through the most common reasons why Prayer Plant leaves curl inwards to help you diagnose the issue.
Underwatering can cause curling leaves
One common reason why Prayer Plants curl inwards is due to a lack of water. You want to be a little careful with this one because it is easy to overwater a Prayer Plant. So you want to be 100% sure this is the problem, and then make sure you don’t go the other way and give it too much water.
Take the plant out of the pot and check the moisture in the potting mix. If the soil feels very dry then underwatering may be the issue as there is just not enough water getting up to the plant. The worst thing to do at this point is to give your plant loads of water because it will shock it (yes, plants get shocked too by a sudden change of environment). You want to water your Prayer Plant a little bit each day for one week to prevent your Prayer Plant’s leaves from curling. This will slowly moisten the soil and won’t cause any shock.
After a week you should see the leaves stop curling. You then want to make sure that you water a little more than you were doing previously to stop the problem happening again. But monitor the moisture in the soil using a water meter to avoid overwatering.
Temperature extremes can also cause curling leaves
Hotspots and cold drafts can also cause your Prayer Plant to start curling. Hotspots can occur when your plant is too close to a window which gets a lot of direct light each day. Curling leaves can also happen if your plant is near a radiator or heating vent. It can be difficult to notice hotspots because the heat disperses around the room quite quickly so the room won’t feel particularly warm. Make sure you are ventilating the room well and avoid putting your Prayer Plant closer than 1m away from any radiator.
Cold drafts also aren’t great for Prayer Plants and will cause their leaves to curl upwards. A consistent stream of cold air coming in from outside through cracks in doors and windows can be quite harmful to your plant. Especially during winter when temperatures drop down significantly at night. Make sure you draft proof any doors or windows that your Prayer Plant is near and this should stop the leaves from curling. You may also want to invest in a digital thermometer to keep track of how the temperature changes throughout the seasons and make sure your Prayer Plant is in its ideal range.
Curling leaves can also indicate a lack of humidity
Dry air is also a cause of curling leaves in Prayer Plants (and other houseplants too!). Although we can never reach the humidity level found in greenhouses or the tropics, we can do a few things to increase it just a little and our houseplants will love us for it. Here are our top tips:
Mist the leaves regularly
You want to be doing this a few times a week in the morning using a spray bottle to prevent curling leaves. We love these amber glass ones from Amazon!
Shower your plant
Washing down the leaves of your Prayer Plant will not only increase the humidity, but it also gets rid of dust and any pests that might be secretly living on your plant. So it’s good to do regularly if the leaves are curling or not!
Buy a humidifier
This is the long term solution to humidity issues and one of the best things you can buy for your Prayer Plant. We recommend this humidifier from Amazon – we have used it for years and our plants love it!
Water sensitivity can also be causing your Prayer Plant to curl
If none of the above issues really fit with why your Prayer Plant is curling, then it might be a reaction to the tap water. If you live in a particularly hard water area, there is more fluoride and chlorine in the water which might be making your Prayer Plant unhappy. Over time, fluoride might have built up around the roots. To solve this issue, you can either replace the current potting mix of flush it through with purified water. Then to prevent more curling leaves from happening again we recommend using rainwater or purified water as the levels of chemicals such as fluoride are a lot lot lower.
It may simply be natural praying
One of the other reasons why Prayer 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 (hence the name). 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 the plant’s 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.
Do curling leaves mean my Prayer Plant is dying?
Prayer Plants naturally curl up their leaves in the evening and overnight. This is where they get their name from as their leaves look as though they are curling.
This process is totally natural and is actually a sign of a healthy and happy Prayer Plant.
However, if your Prayer Plant isn’t uncurling its leaves during the day then it might mean that something isn’t quite right.
Are curling leaves natural on a Prayer Plant?
A lot of the time, Prayer Plants naturally curl up their leaves but the only time you need to be worried about it is if the leaves don’t uncurl.
It’s best to monitor the movement of the leaves over the next few days to check whether or not there is an issue.
How do you make the leaves on a Prayer Plant uncurl?
The best way to get your Prayer Plants leaves to uncurl is to solve the issue that is causing them. Luckily, curling leaves isn’t a permanent problem in the same way that brown or yellow leaves are so there is a chance to reverse them.
Those are the main reasons why Prayer Plants have curling leaves. Make sure to rule out natural praying before making any changes to your care routine or your plant’s environment.
If you want to learn more about how to care for your plant check out our Prayer Plant care guide.
Written by Joanna Turner