Prayer Plant Leaves Curling: Causes and Solutions

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If you’re a proud owner of a prayer plant (Marantaceae family) and notice that its leaves are curling, don’t panic. Curling leaves can be a common issue with prayer plants, but understanding the underlying causes and implementing appropriate solutions can help you revive your plant’s health and beauty.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the top reasons why prayer plant leaves curl and provide practical tips to address each issue. Let’s dive in!

1. Insufficient Moisture: Soil Too Dry

One of the primary reasons behind curling prayer plant leaves is insufficient moisture in the soil. Prayer plants thrive in consistently moist potting mix and detest dry conditions.

If your plant’s potting soil has gone completely dry, it can lead to curling leaves and even brown tips. Neglecting watering can be detrimental to your prayer plant’s health, as it does not tolerate dryness well.

To prevent curling due to dry soil, ensure that you maintain a consistently moist potting mix. A good rule of thumb is to water your plant when the top inch or so of the soil feels dry.

If your potting mix has become extremely dry, you may need to water your plant multiple times to recondition the soil to accept water again. Use warm water and make sure to allow excess water to drain away to avoid waterlogging.

Pro Tip: Bottom watering your plant or using a humidity tray can also help ensure thorough soil moistening.

2. Excessive Moisture: Soil Too Wet

Ironically, having soil that is too wet can also cause prayer plant leaves to curl. Good drainage is essential for these plants, and having a drainage hole in your pot is always recommended.

If your plant sits in water for extended periods or the soil remains excessively wet, it can lead to root rot and hinder the plant’s ability to absorb water, resulting in curling leaves.

To address this issue, pay attention to your watering practices and never allow your plant to sit in water. Discard any excess water that collects in the saucer or decorative pot.

Root rot can be a serious concern if the roots have rotted due to excessive moisture. Therefore, it’s crucial to strike a balance between providing enough water and ensuring proper drainage.

3. Poor Water Quality

Water quality can have a significant impact on prayer plants, particularly if you’re using tap water. Tap water often contains various additives, such as chlorine compounds, fluoride, and minerals, that can accumulate in the soil and cause curling and browning of leaves.

Additionally, if you have a water softening system in your home, the replacement of calcium and magnesium ions with sodium ions can be toxic to plants and lead to leaf curling and browning over time.

To avoid water quality-related issues, consider using rainwater, filtered water, or even distilled water for your prayer plant. Rainwater is an excellent choice, but if it’s not readily available, filtered water or distilled water can serve as suitable alternatives.

Investing in a ZeroWater pitcher and filter can provide purified water similar to reverse osmosis (RO) water, ensuring your plants receive the best care.

4. Temperature Extremes

Prayer plants are native to the jungles of Brazil and prefer warm and stable environments. Exposing your plant to temperature extremes, such as placing it in front of cooling or heating vents or near drafty windows, can cause stress and result in curling leaves. Maintaining a consistent and moderate temperature is crucial for the well-being of your prayer plant.

To create an optimal temperature for your plant, avoid situating it near vents or drafty areas. Instead, find a spot in your home where the temperature remains stable and within the plant’s preferred range. This will help prevent curling leaves and promote overall growth and vitality.

5. Low Humidity

Prayer plants are tropical plants accustomed to the humid jungles of Brazil. When placed in our dry indoor environments, they can struggle with low humidity, leading to curling leaves. Increasing the humidity level around your prayer plant can help create a more suitable microclimate for its growth and prevent leaf curling.

There are several ways to increase humidity for your prayer plant. One option is to use a humidity tray or create a pebble tray by adding water and placing your plant on top.

The water will evaporate, creating a humid environment. Another effective method is to use a humidifier, especially if you have multiple plants. Running a humidifier can efficiently increase humidity levels and benefit not only your prayer plant but also other moisture-loving plants in your collection.

Pro Tip: Avoid misting your prayer plant, as it does little to increase humidity and can contribute to fungal diseases if done excessively.

Additional Prayer Plant Care Tips

While addressing the specific causes of curling leaves, it’s essential to provide overall care to ensure your prayer plant thrives. Here are a few additional tips to help you maintain a healthy and vibrant prayer plant:

  1. Light Requirements: Prayer plants thrive in bright indirect light. Avoid exposing them to intense sunlight, especially during mid-day. Situate your plant in front of a northern or southern window to provide adequate, indirect light. If you have super sunny windows, use a sheer curtain to diffuse the sunlight and prevent leaf curling.
  2. Proper Potting: Ensure your prayer plant is potted in a well-draining soil mix. Using a pot with drainage holes allows excess water to escape, preventing waterlogging and root rot.
  3. Avoid Overwatering: While a consistently moist soil is necessary, overwatering can lead to issues. Always check the moisture level of the soil before watering and adjust your watering frequency accordingly.
  4. Fertilization: Prayer plants benefit from regular fertilization during the growing season. Use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer formulated for houseplants and follow the instructions for application.
  5. Pest Control: Keep an eye out for common pests like spider mites and take prompt action if you notice an infestation. Regularly inspect your plant for any signs of pests and treat them using appropriate organic or chemical methods.

By following these care tips and addressing the specific causes of curling leaves, you can ensure that your prayer plant remains healthy, vibrant, and free from leaf curling issues.

Remember, each plant is unique, and it may take some time and experimentation to find the perfect care routine for your prayer plant. Pay attention to its individual needs and make adjustments as necessary.


Understanding the causes of curling leaves in prayer plants is essential for providing the right care and ensuring their well-being. By addressing issues related to moisture, water quality, temperature, and humidity, you can prevent leaf curling and maintain a thriving prayer plant.

Remember to consider the specific needs of your plant and provide a suitable environment for it to flourish. With proper care and attention, your prayer plant will reward you with its stunning foliage and vibrant growth. Happy gardening!

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