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Philodendron Leaves Curling (What To Do?)

A beautiful green corner in the house will always attract the attention of your guests. Live plants are the best attribute of the room because they emanate energy and beauty. Today’s article is intended to help you solve a common problem with a wonderful indoor plant – philodendron.

Dry air flow, cold damage, over and under watering are the main reasons why the philodendron leaves curl. To fix the curled leaves, give philodendron at least 60-65% humidity and eliminate all cold drafts. Also, only water the plant when the soil in the pot is half dry. Use well-drained soil and pots with drainage holes.

Excessively dry air can cause philodendron leaves curling

Dry air can cause significant damage to almost any plant. If we are talking about succulents, of course, they can withstand very low humidity. But as for philodendron, it is much more demanding in terms of humidity than most plants. This is because in native conditions philodendron always grows in places where the air is very humid.

If you want a healthy plant, you have to provide humid air for the philodendron. Otherwise, the leaves will curl upwards to reduce the area of moisture evaporation. Over time, the leaves may crack and turn brown.

Philodendron leaves curled because of excessively dry air.

Philodendron leaves curled because of excessively dry air.

Symptoms:

  • Leaves curl upward.
  • A brown edge may appear on the leaves.
  • Leaf plate may crack starting at the edge.
  • The humidity in the room is below 50%.

Solution:

  • The humidity in the room where the philodendron grows should be 60-70%.
  • To increase the humidity, place a tray or other container with rocks and water near the philodendron.
  • Another way to increase humidity is to put a humidifier in the room where the philodendron grows.
  • Avoid spraying the leaves with water because this can lead to fungal disease.

Cold draft

Cold is the next enemy of philodendron. This tropical plant is used to living in warmth, so cold conditions are not for him. For this reason, philodendrons are grown as indoor plants. But it can also be too cold indoors. For example, you opened the windows and a cold draft could damage the leaves and they curl up.

Another case is when the plant is placed close to a refrigerator, air conditioner, or ice maker. Even a brief flow of cold air can be enough to cause the philodendron to suffer.

Also, sometimes owners move philodendrons outside in the summer. Outdoors during the day, the plant is fine, but at night the temperature can drop below 55°F (12°C). A few cold nights like that and the leaves will curl inward.

Philodendron leaves curled because of cold draft.

Philodendron leaves curled because of cold draft.

Symptoms:

  • Leaves curl upward.
  • Leaf tips turn brown and crispy.
  • Leaves turn yellow.
  • There are cold drafts in the room.
  • Philodendron placed outside.

Solution:

  • Remove badly damaged leaves.
  • Provide the philodendron with an air temperature of 70-80°F (20-26°C).
  • Do not place philodendron near coolers or heaters.
  • Avoid taking philodendron outside if temperatures fall below 55°F (12°C) at night.

Regular underwatering

Philodendron evaporates a lot of water because of its huge leaves. Therefore, it needs to constantly replenish its liquid supply. If the ground is constantly dry, the leaves will begin to droop and curl inward. This way the plant protects itself from excessive moisture evaporation.

Philodendron can be in partly dry soil for a while, but the prolonged drought will definitely harm its health. If you want to have a healthy plant you have to avoid drying out the soil in the pot. This is especially important during the summer months when the soil can dry out very quickly.

Philodendron leaves curled because of underwatering.

Philodendron leaves curled because of underwatering.

Symptoms:

  • Leaves curl upward and turn yellow.
  • The edge of the leaf turns brown and the leaves die off.
  • The potting soil is completely dry for several days.

Solution:

  • Install a soil moisture meter.
  • Check the soil moisture every day.
  • If the soil is 40-50% dry it is time to water the philodendron.
  • Place the pot in a basin of water for 10-15 minutes. Allow the water to soak well into the soil.
  • Pull the pot out and let the water drain through the holes in the bottom.
  • Place the philodendron back in its original location.

Root issues

The next common cause of philodendron leaf curl is a root system problem. If the roots are not working for some reason, the water will not flow to the leaves and they may become discolored and curl.

The causes of root problems vary. First of all, it is a constant overwatering of the plant, in which case the roots begin to lack air and rot. The second is too compact and poorly drained soil, this also leads to root rot. And third is the lack of drainage holes at the bottom of the pot.
All this will lead to a deterioration of the appearance of the philodendron and twisted leaves. You can even smell the rot in the pot.

Philodendron leaves curled because of overwatering.

Philodendron leaves curled because of overwatering.

Symptoms:

  • Leaves curl and change their color to yellow or brown.
  • The soil in the pot is constantly moist.
  • There is an unpleasant odor coming from the pot.
  • The pot has no drainage holes or the soil is too thick.

Solution:

  • Remove the philodendron from the pot.
    Examine the roots, if they are rotten wash them and remove any decay.
  • Treat the wounds with a 10% aqueous solution of hydrogen peroxide.
  • Plant the philodendron in a sterile aroid mix and a pot with large drainage holes.
  • Water the philodendron only when the soil is 40-50% dry.
  • Use deep watering techniques instead of surface watering.

Exposure to direct sunlight

Direct sun is contraindicated for philodendron and some other aroid plants. This tendency is due to the way of life of this plant. Philodendrons grow under the canopy of large trees through which direct sun does not penetrate.

If you place this plant in direct sun, the leaves can get burned and curl up or down depending on the shape of the leaf. The burns will be visible as large brown spots.

Being prone to partial shade does not mean the philodendron will grow without any sunlight at all. This plant needs very bright but indirect sunlight from a southern room. If there is a lack of light, the leaves will elongate and become sluggish.

Philodendron leaves curled because of sunburn.

Philodendron leaves curled because of sunburn.

Symptoms:

  • Leaves curl downward or upward.
  • Brown burns are present on the leaves.
  • The plant is placed in direct sunlight.

Solution:

  • Remove badly burned leaves.
  • Move the philodendron to a location with 6-8 hours of indirect but bright sunlight.
  • If natural light is lacking, install artificial light.

Fungal damage

Direct sun is contraindicated for philodendron and some other aroid plants. This tendency is due to the way of life of this plant. Philodendrons grow under the canopy of large trees through which direct sun does not penetrate.

If you place this plant in direct sun, the leaves can get burned and curl up or down depending on the shape of the leaf. The burns will be visible as large brown spots.

Being prone to partial shade does not mean the philodendron will grow without any sunlight at all. This plant needs very bright but indirect sunlight from a southern room. If there is a lack of light, the leaves will elongate and become sluggish.

Philodendron leaves curled because of fungal disease.

Philodendron leaves curled because of fungal disease.

Symptoms:

  • Leaves curl downward or upward.
  • Brown burns are present on the leaves.
  • The plant is placed in direct sunlight.

Solution:

  • Remove badly burned leaves.
  • Move the philodendron to a location with 6-8 hours of indirect but bright sunlight.
  • If natural light is lacking, install artificial light.

Pest damage

And at the end of the article, I must say a few words about insects because they can also cause damage to the philodendron and the leaves will curl and deform.

The first one here is the leafminer. This pest lays eggs in the leaf blade. When the larva hatches, it begins to eat the leaf from the inside. This causes a chaotic deformation and upward curling of the leaves. A characteristic feature is a yellow track on the green leaf by which the leafminer moved.

Also, thrips, aphids, mealybugs, and mites can settle on the leaves of your philodendron and feed on its juices. This causes the leaves to curl, turn yellow, and fall off.

Philodendron leaves curled by leafminer.

Philodendron leaves curled by leafminer.

Symptoms:

  • Yellow trails can be seen on the leaves, and the leaves curl chaotically.
  • Insects can be seen on the leaves.
  • Leaves curl and change color.

Solution:

  • For aphids, thrips, and other insects, spray philodendron with horticultural oil or neem oil.
  • In the case of leafminer, use a systemic insecticide.
  • In the case of mites, use an acaricide.