How do I stop my alocasia leaves from curling?

When you see a large Alocasia, the leaves immediately draw you in with their large, umbrella-like size. Unfortunately, these are the first parts of the plant that show signs of stress when something is wrong with the plant. The most common issue that people report is curling and drying leaves. 

But the leaves curling doesn’t necessarily tell you what is wrong or how to fix the problem. So what does curling Alocasia leaves mean, and how do you fix it? To stop your Alocasia leaves from curling, first identify if it’s a pest infestation, watering issues, nutrient problems, or cold temperatures, then take steps to correct the problem, such as removing pests or changing your watering routine. 

If you want to know more about how to prevent Alocasia leaves from curling and to learn more about your Alocasia’s health, continue reading below. 

Why Are My Alocasia Leaves Curling?

Pests

While it is harder for pests to infest indoor plants, it is still possible. And once they infest one plant, they can quickly take over all of them, leaving you a whole mess. It’s important to try and catch any insects as soon as possible to prevent their spreading and to keep your plant healthy.

For Alocasia, mealybugs and spider mites are the most common pests. Both of these infestations can cause severe damage to your plants. They usually eat by sucking out the liquid in your plant leaves, which is what can cause curling in your Alocasia leaves.

Checking for pests is pretty straightforward. Just take something flat and white, like a sheet of paper, and put it under some of your plant leaves. Then, shake the leaves. If something small and gray or black falls onto the paper, that is a good indication that pests are wreaking havoc on your plant.

The best way to keep pests away is to keep your plant dust-free, as pests are often attracted to dusty plants. Make sure you frequently wipe down the underside of the leaves and check for webbing, as this is usually where an infestation starts.

There are also insecticidal soap and neem oils, which can help remove pests and keep them away.

Watering Issues

bucket of water flowing
Both overwatering and underwatering can lead to Alocasia leaf curling. Alocasias are tropical plants and require quite a bit of water. However, that doesn’t mean you can just water them all the time.

Determining if your plant is overwatered or underwatered is an easy enough process. You can get a moisture meter if you frequently have issues with not knowing how much to water your plant. This will tell you when the water in the soil is getting low and needs to be replaced.

If you don’t have one or don’t want to buy one, you can also use your fingers. Simply stick your finger most of the way into the soil and pull it back out. If the soil is clinging to your finger and feels wet, and you haven’t watered it for a few days, you are likely overwatering it.

If the soil is dry and hard to get through, it has likely been underwatered for a while, and the soil has been dry for more than a day or two.

If you are overwatering, you want to wait until the top 2 inches (5 cm) are dry before watering again.

If you have been overwatering, give your plant a little water now, and keep a close eye on how long it takes until the soil is dry again to establish a fairly consistent schedule.

Too Many or Too Little Nutrients

Regarding nutrient issues, the most common problem that causes the leaves to curl is a lack of potassium for Alocasias. On top of curling leaves, usually, there will be yellowing around the edges of the leaves, and the leaf color might change to become lighter than it usually is.

While it is normal for new leaves to be lighter in color, if your already established leaves start changing color to become a lighter green or yellow, that might be a warning of nutrient potassium deficiency.

Even if you provide your Alocasia with fertilizer, it may not have potassium. You want to find one that is high in potassium in some form. Usually, a ratio of 20-20-20 nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium is best.

You can also over fertilize your plant fairly easily. Besides curling leaves, you will also see the tips turning brown, slower growth, and even a possible crust of fertilizer on the surface of the soil.

Usually, in the growing season, fertilizing once every two weeks is ideal. You preferably want to use a liquid fertilizer as it soaks through the soil easier and evenly distributes the nutrients better.

In winter, you want to avoid fertilizing, as the plant isn’t growing as much and won’t be using the nutrients at all.

Improper Temperatures

Alocasias enjoy having a pleasant, warm temperature. If it gets colder, your Alocasia leaves may start to curl. They do best in 65 to 85°F (18 to 29°C). 

If it gets much colder, your plants will begin to curl and may even go dormant and drop off all their leaves. 

Is it Normal for Alocasia Leaves to be Curling Under?

Alocasia plant
While it may happen often, that does not mean it is normal. If your Alocasia’s leaves are curling, that usually means that your plant isn’t getting the appropriate care that they need. 

They may not receive the best conditions and may need to be given extra care and attention until you can determine what is wrong. 

Can You Reverse Leaf Curl?

It depends on the cause of the leaf curl and how long the leaves have been curled. With things like lack of water or cool temperatures, if you fix the problem early, the leaves will bounce back. 

However, if your leaves were burnt by too much sun and are brown and dying, they will likely not recover.

Why Are My Leaves Folding Like a Taco?

The most common deficiencies are calcium and magnesium if your leaves are folded in half, similar to a taco. Sometimes, the pH in the soil can be too low to allow your plant to absorb the nutrients they need.

Folding leaves are rare in Alocasia plants, but they can happen. If it does, ensure your soil isn’t too acidic or basic. Usually, they prefer a soil acidity of around 5.5 to 6.5. If the pH is leaning more towards basic, it is likely causing the roots to struggle to gather the nutrients they need in the soil.  

Why Are My Leaves Cupping?

If your Alocasia leaves are cupping instead of curling, this is usually a good sign of your plant being dehydrated. They cup to retain water. However, pests and herbicides can also cause issues, so make sure any unnecessary chemicals or pests don’t attack your plant. 

Why Is My Alocasia Leaf not Unfurling?

If you’ve made the necessary changes you need to make to make your plant happier, but notice that after a few days, some of the leaves aren’t unfurling, then it is likely because those leaves are too far gone. 

Some leaves may not recover from poor conditions, and those curling up will eventually wither and die. Many plant owners usually decide to trim these leaves, as it gives the Alocasia plant more energy to grow and heal rather than keep dying leaves alive for as long as possible. 

Do Leaves Droop at Night?

Most plants do have leaves that droop at night. While trees are the most common, it is also possible to see this in Alocasia leaves. This is because the plants are essentially sleeping.

With no sunlight around, they don’t need to stretch fully out to get energy from the sun and relax their leaves and stems late at night until the sun comes back in the morning. 

As long as the plants recover in the morning and return to their usual self, there is no reason to be concerned for the plants if they are a little droopy at night. 

Summary

Alocasia plants have large, elephant-eared leaves, usually a brilliant dark green with light green veins. With the leaves being the main attraction for these plants, it makes sense that you may start noticing when something goes wrong with them, and they begin to curl. 

To stop your Alocasia leaves from curling, you must first identify the problem; pest infestation, watering issues, nutrient problems, or cold temperatures, and then take steps to correct the problem, such as getting rid of pests or changing your watering routine. 

Usually, curling is due to too many or too few essential parts of a plant’s diet. Things like temperatures, watering levels, pests, and nutrients can make these plants start to struggle. Usually, the leaves begin to go first, curling and drooping when they aren’t getting what they need.