Why Do Calathea Leaves Curl at Night? (Answered)

Calathea leaves curl up at night as a natural way to protect themselves and save energy and water. This is a reaction to changes in light levels called nyctinasty. If the rolling continues even though the plant is getting enough water, it may be because of the quality of the tap water.

Calathea plants have an intriguing nighttime habit in which their leaves curl; studying this occurrence might provide insight into the plant’s coping mechanisms. In essence, the nyctinasty defensive mechanism is what causes the leaves to curl.

Calatheas aggressively expand its leaves throughout the day when there is enough light to perform photosynthesis. They do, however, react by curling their leaves when night falls and the amount of light declines. This nyctinastic movement serves as a safeguard to lessen the amount of surface exposed to the environment. Calatheas may reduce water loss via transpiration, which normally takes place while the stomata (tiny holes on the leaf surface) are open, by curling their leaves.

This action accomplishes two objectives. It first protects the plant’s energy supplies. The plant covers its leaves to avoid wasting energy at night since photosynthesis cannot take place in the absence of light. In addition, it aids the plant in preventing excessive water loss, which is essential in their natural environment where humidity levels might change.

Now, it’s important to think about the quality of your tap water if you’ve seen recurrent leaf curling while believing you’re giving your plants appropriate care in terms of watering and lighting. Calatheas are susceptible to the chemicals and minerals found in tap water. Over time, extra salts and chemicals from the water may build up in the soil, harming the roots and reducing the plant’s capacity to absorb water. In reaction to dehydration, this may cause leaf curling.

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Understanding the reasons behind this leaf curling behavior can help you ensure the health and well-being of your plant. We will explore the exact reasons why Calathea leaves curl at night, providing you with valuable insights into the intricate workings of these fascinating plants. So, let’s dive in and discover the secrets behind Calathea’s nighttime leaf curling phenomenon.

Also Read : Rattlesnake Plant Leaves Folding in Half – 7 Causes & Fix

How to fix Calathea leaf curling?

It’s critical to think about the water quality you’re using if your Calathea has continuous leaf curling while receiving enough moisture. Despite being typically safe for people, tap water’s mineral concentration may make it unsuitable for your plants. Here is a more thorough description of how to handle this situation:

  1. Recognizing the Issue Calatheas are sensitive to the salts, chlorine, minerals (such as calcium and magnesium), and fluoride present in tap water. These compounds may build up in the soil over time, impacting the health of the plant as a whole and resulting in problems including leaf curling, browning, and tip burning.
  2. Change to Filtered Water: To fix this, start filling your Calathea with filtered water. Most of these contaminants are eliminated by filtered water, which gives your plant cleaner hydration. You may use water from a faucet-mounted filter, a water filter pitcher, or even catch rainwater if you can.
  3. Watering Procedure: Make careful to completely wet the soil while watering your Calathea. To assist clear away any collected salts and minerals, let the water to run through the drainage holes in the pot. To avoid the plant sitting in standing water, instantly empty the saucer beneath the pot.
  4. Watering Routine: Calatheas require regularly wet soil, but not saturated soil. Before you water again, make sure the top inch or two of soil is just barely dry. Strike a balance since overwatering may sometimes result in issues like root rot.
  5. Placement and humidity: These plants do well in situations with high relative humidity. If the air in your house is dry, you may want to use a humidifier or put a tray of water next to your plant to enhance the humidity there. Additionally, make sure your Calathea receives filtered, indirect light since direct sunlight might harm the leaves.
  6. Check the soil mixture before planting your Calathea in a container. Typically, a blend of peat moss, perlite, and some organic material is appropriate.
  7. Avoid overfertilizing your Calathea since too many nutrients might make leaf issues worse. Use a balanced, diluted liquid fertilizer every four to six weeks throughout the growth season (spring and summer).
Why Do Calathea Leaves Curl at Night?
Dinkum, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Also Read : Why is My Snake Plant Leaves Curling Outward – 11 Reasons & Fix

How to make Calatheas happy?

Calatheas need certain maintenance procedures to maintain their health and gorgeous foliage. Here is a thorough instruction on how to please Calatheas:

  1. Watering: Calatheas grow best in soil that is consistently wet, but it’s important to avoid waterlogging the soil. The secret is frequent yet light watering. Instead of tap water, which could include chemicals that might damage the plant, use distilled water, filtered water, or rainfall. To avoid root rot, make sure that extra water can drain away from the pot. It’s important to water consistently, particularly from spring until fall.
  2. Calatheas are endemic to tropical areas and enjoy high humidity levels. Maintain the humidity levels surrounding your plant so that they can resemble their natural habitat. Even while misting is a widespread technique, it’s important to remember that it doesn’t greatly improve humidity and might cause fungus problems if overused, particularly in places with poor air circulation. To maintain constant humidity levels, think about utilizing a humidifier in the space.
  3. Calatheas enjoy direct, bright lighting. Keep them away from direct sunshine, which may burn their leaves. To offer the best illumination, put them in an area with filtered or indirect sunlight. If bathrooms have adequate light, they may be ideal since Calathea plants thrive in bathrooms’ greater humidity levels.
  4. Fertilization: Regularly apply a nitrogen-rich fertilizer to the irrigation water to maintain your Calatheas strong and healthy. This contributes to giving them the nutrients they need for development of their foliage and growth. Make careful to adhere to the fertilizer label’s suggested dose.
  5. Calatheas love loose, fluffy, and airy soil that drains easily. Perlite may help to produce the optimal soil conditions when combined with regular potting soil, bark, or compost. When your Calathea outgrows its present container or if you see that the soil has been compacted, repot it.
  6. Pruning: To preserve the aesthetic and health of your Calathea as it develops, you may need to clip any brown or damaged leaves. For this procedure, use a clean pair of pruning shears or scissors.
  7. Seasonal Care: A healthy Calathea will normally sprout a few new leaves each month throughout the spring and summer. Pay attention to how it grows and change your routine of care as necessary.
Why Do Calatheas Fold Up At Night?
Photo by David J. Stang, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Frequently Asked Questions On Why Do Calathea Leaves Curl At Night

Why Do Calatheas Fold Up At Night?

Calatheas fold up at night to retain water and prevent water droplets from evaporating.

How Do You Fix Calathea Leaf Curling?

To fix Calathea leaf curling, try using filtered water to avoid salt and mineral buildup in the soil.

Do Calatheas Curl Up At Night?

Calatheas curl up at night to conserve water and energy.

Why Are My Plant Leaves Curling At Night?

The curling of plant leaves at night is a natural adaptation to conserve moisture and prevent water droplets from evaporating. It helps the plant retain water by folding the leaves inwards.


The phenomenon of Calathea leaves curling at night is a natural adaptation that helps the plant retain water. During the day, the leaves lower or spread out to absorb moisture or catch rain. However, at night, the leaves fold inwards, storing any water droplets that may have accumulated, preventing them from evaporating.

This behavior helps the plant conserve moisture and stay hydrated. If you notice curling leaves on your Calathea, it could be a sign of watering problems. These plants store water in their thick leaves, and when the soil becomes dry, they depend on the water reserves in their leaves.

So, it is essential to ensure that you are correctly watering your Calathea to prevent leaf curling. Additionally, using filtered water can help prevent mineral buildup in the soil, which can also lead to curling leaves. By understanding and meeting the moisture needs of your Calathea, you can keep its leaves healthy and vibrant.


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Amelia Clark

I'm Amelia Clark , a seasoned florist and gardening specialist with more than 15 years of practical expertise. Following the completion of my formal education, I dedicated myself to a flourishing career in floristry, acquiring extensive understanding of diverse flower species and their ideal cultivation requirements. Additionally, I possess exceptional skills as a writer and public speaker, having successfully published numerous works and delivered engaging presentations at various local garden clubs and conferences. Check our Social media Profiles: Facebook Page, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Youtube, Instagram Tumblr

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