Why does my Devil’s Ivy have curling leaves?

Last Updated: October 6, 2022

Hailed as one of the most popular houseplants in the world, the Devil’s Ivy (Pothos) definitely has a soft spot in our hearts. This can make it extra devastating to see that your plant is struggling and has started to develop curling leaves.

However, don’t worry as you have come to the right place. Below we will go through each of the causes of curling leaves on your Devil’s Ivy plant to ensure that you can successfully diagnose the treat the issue. 

Underwatering can kill your Devil’s Ivy

One common reason why Devil’s Ivy plants can start curling their leaves is due to a lack of moisture in the soil. This is one of the earlier signs so should hopefully mean you’ve caught the issue before it has caused more serious issues. However, other more serious symptoms of underwatering include dry brown leaves and leaf tips, droopy stems and leaves falling off your plant. 

You want to be sure that this is causing the issue as increasing how much you water a plant that doesn’t need it can be pretty damaging.  

To confirm the issue, take the plant out of its 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. You also want to check over the root system to see if it has turned crispy as this indicates the issue has been going on for some time. 

It’s really important with underwatering that you don’t just pour a bucket full of water over your plant and move on. This can cause shock if the soil moisture goes from one extreme to another. Instead, water your Devil’s Ivy a little bit each day for one week. This will slowly moisten the soil and won’t cause any shock.

To prevent underwatering causing curling leaves or other problems on your Devil’s Ivy, you want to make sure that you water a little more than you were previously to stop the problem from happening again. This can mean watering more deeply each time or increasing the frequency of watering. Whichever you decide to do, it’s crucial that you monitor the moisture levels continuously to ensure you are watering correctly.

Curling Devil’s Ivy leaves can also suggest overwatering

What’s strange about curling leaves is that both too much and too little moisture can often have the same impact. This is because both extremes damage the root system which means the plant is starved and dehydrated, even if the potting mix is waterlogged. 

To diagnose the issue, check the moisture levels in the soil and see if the roots have started to rot. If so, they will be soft to touch and very dark in colour. If your Devil’s Ivy plant is suffering from root rot and has waterlogged soil then it’s very important that you act quickly to fix it. Replace any soggy soil and trim rotten roots to encourage new healthy growth. 

Moving forward, ensure that you cut back on how deeply or how frequently you water your plant. During the growth months, you should be watering your Devil’s Ivy on average once a week, during the colder months, once every two weeks is definitely enough. As well as checking the moisture at the top of the soil before watering, we also recommend picking up your Devil’s Ivy before and after watering so you get an idea of much your plant will weigh when it needs water.

Low humidity could be to blame

Although slightly dry air won’t immediately kill your Devil’s Ivy it can cause curling leaves and over time it’s not uncommon for these plants to develop brown leaf tips as a result. This is because curling leaves is one of the mechanisms plants often use to prevent moisture loss.

There are several different easy and cheap methods you can use to increase the humidity for your Devil’s Ivy:

  1. Mist the leaves regularly 

    This is something you should build into your regular Devil’s Ivy plant care routine as it’s really great for their overall health and can prevent permanent brown leaf tips as well as curling leaves. We recommend misting the leaves a few times per week to boost the humidity.

  2. Give your Devil’s Ivy a shower

    This is a more short-term solution but is great for overall plant health as it gets rid of dust and pests that might be secretly living on your plant as well as providing a nice humidity boost for your plant. Whilst they don’t have the most delicate vines, we still recommend having a slightly lower shower pressure to avoid damaging your plant.

  3. Invest in a humidifier

    Humidifiers are a must-have for any plant parent and are a great investment in the long-term health of your plant! They will do all the work for you and your low humidity worries will be a thing of the past! 

Curling leaves can also mean high temperatures

Hotspots and consequent heat stress can also cause your Devil’s Ivy to curl its leaves. This happens because your plant is trying to reduce moisture loss through its leaves. 

Hotspots can occur when your plant is too close to a window that receives a high level of direct light. But it’s not just sunlight that can cause heat stress to damage your plant. Check that your Devil’s Ivy isn’t too close to a radiator, heating vent or cooker. 

The best thing to do to diagnose this issue is to pick up a digital thermometer to check that your Devil’s Ivy is sitting in its ideal temperature. If necessary, move your plant to a new slightly cooler spot and you should start to see the leaves uncurl.

Those are the most common factors that can lead to your Devil’s Ivy plant starting to curl its leaves. We strongly recommend that from now on you conduct regular plant check-ups if you aren’t already. This will help you spot any early warning signs of issues and unhappiness on your plant. Your number one weapon against all of these issues is catching them early! 

Check out our Devil’s Ivy care guide to learn more about how to keep your plant happy and healthy for years to come

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