Caladium plants can be easy to take care of if you live in a warm, bright, and humid environment. Otherwise, they may need a little additional care. If your plant isn’t getting the proper care and habitat to grow, it may start showing signs of stress. One of the common signs of stress in a plant is curling leaves.
Caladium leaves may start curling if pests or a fungus bothers them, but they will also curl when they experience too much heat, wind, or sunlight and too little water.
Caladium isn’t the only plant that does this, either. Most plants will show that they are stressed with wilting or curling leaves. Additionally, there is a disease caused by a fungus that is known as Leaf Curl Disease. As the name suggests, this fungus causes leaves to curl up, turn yellow and red, and grow a velvety layer of fungus on some parts of the leaves.
Why Are My Leaves Curling Up?
Curling leaves in any plant are usually a sign of stress. Often, heat stress is the most common reason for leaf curling. This is because the plants are losing water quickly due to evaporation. Plants that experience too high of a temperature, don’t have enough moisture or humidity, or are in too much light, often face heat stress.
Leaves will often curl up to preserve the moisture they still have and reduce further evaporation. This reduces the areas where plants can lose water.
Caladiums are a bit different. When Caladiums have their leaves curl, the most common issues are:
- Wrong pH in the soil
- Too much sun
- Too much wind
- Improper temperature
There is an easy way to narrow down what may be wrong with your plant. You need to identify how your plant is curling. If the leaves are curling up, it is usually a sign of stress from heat, sun, or wind. If they are curling down, then it is often due to underwatering.
Finally, if there is just general curling mixed with yellowing of the leaves, overwatering is generally the problem.
Why Are My Caladium Hilo Beauty Leaves Curling?
Caladium Hilo Beauty isn’t much different from other Caladium. If the leaves are curling, it is likely due to the same issues any Caladium would face; too much wind, sun, or heat or a problem with watering.
What Are The Symptoms of Leaf Curl?
An additional reason why your Caladium leaves may be curling is due to something known as Leaf Curl Disease. It is a very complex disease with many other symptoms besides just the curling of the leaves:
- Puckering of the leaves
- Yellowing of veins
- Stunted growing
- An excess of branching
- Smaller leaves
Sometimes, the beginning of a leaf curl will occur with red areas on new leaves. This is a sign that Leaf Curl Disease is affecting your plant. Sometimes the thickened areas on the leaf will also turn yellow and white.
Since Leaf Curl Disease is a fungus, you may also see white, velvet-like spores on the surface of some leaves.
Can Leaf Curl Spread to Other Plants?
Leaf Curl can spread to other plants in two ways. First, if the leaf curling is due to pests like aphids or gnats, these insects can move from one plant to another fairly easily. Second, if your plant has Leaf Curl Disease, the fungus can spread from one plant to another via the spores that grow on the leaves.
Both can be very harmful to your plants. For this reason, if you see your plant starting to curl and are not positive about why it is best to quarantine your plant. That way, if it is due to pests or fungus, you can protect other plants in the area.
Once you’ve gotten rid of the pest or fungus or determined it was more of a care problem, you can move your plant back.
How Do You Fix Curling Leaves?
To fix curling leaves, you first have to figure out what is causing your plant’s leaves to curl. Caladium leaves curl for many reasons, and you can’t fix the problem without determining what is wrong.
If your plant is being over or under-watered, you may start to notice yellowing or browning of the leaves, along with the curling. The best way to tell which one is causing the problem is to check the soil.
Stick your finger into the soil about 2 inches (5 cm) down. If the soil is completely dry, it is time to water your plant again. If it is very wet, you may need to try to help your plant dry by putting it somewhere warm.
Additionally, if you seem to be chronically overwatering your plant, ensure that your pot has drainage holes on the bottom. You can also put pebbles in the bottom of your pot to help with further drainage.
If your plant is getting too much sun, it will almost start to look burned, with brown, crispy tips. To fix this, you must move your plant to a different area. Caladium can handle some direct light, often more than other plants, but it still can’t handle much. Only two hours of direct light is ideal for Caladium. Any more than that, your plant may show signs of heat stress.
Caladium, and most other plants, don’t like a large amount of wind, especially if it is cold. If your plant is in a windy area with a cold breeze, it may start to curl up.
Caladiums also enjoy acidic soil, but only very slightly. They do best in pH from 5.5 to 6.5. Any more or less than this, your plant may start showing that it isn’t doing well by curling up its leaves. If you need to increase or decrease your pH, you can use ingredients like sulfur, aluminum sulfate, or coffee grounds.
Most of these are fixed with simple steps, such as just moving your plant or using natural ingredients to change the pH of the soil. With pests and fungus, it is a bit harder. You can use plenty of insecticides and fungicides to help your plant, but you have to be careful when using them to avoid damaging your Caladium plant further.
Caladium can handle a wide range of temperatures. They do best in 70 to 80°F (21 to 27°C) but can tolerate temperatures as low as 45°F (7°C) for a short time. However, if it is too hot or cold for your plant, they may start to show signs of stress by curling up their leaves.
How Do You Treat Leaf Curls Naturally?
There are more natural options if you don’t want to use chemical-heavy insecticides and fungicides.
For fungus, you can try neem oil. Although it works best with insects, it may also work with fungus. Just put a bit of the oil around your plant, especially in the areas where the fungus is growing.
Also, you can spray diluted sulfur or copper on your plant to help kill some of the fungi. When you get a new Caladium tuber, you may want to immerse these tubers in water around 122°F (50°C) for at least 30 minutes. This will help to kill any fungus that may be infecting your tubers.
For pests, spraying neem oil on the underside of your leaves or mixing diatomaceous earth into the soil are good ways to remove most pests. Both cause the outer shells of insects and the skin of other pests to dry out and die of desiccation. For that reason, many pests will avoid plants with neem oil and diatomaceous earth.
Can Plants Recover From Leaf Curl?
If the leaves are too damaged, they may not return, even if the problem is fixed. However, new leaves will be happy and healthy, and some of the leaves early in the curling process may survive and return to normal.
Caladium leaves may start curling if pests or a fungus bothers them, but they will also curl when they experience heat, wind, watering, or sunlight stress.
When leaves on your Caladium, or any other plant, begin to curl, it is a sign that something is causing your plant stress. Common problems include pests, a fungus, too much sun, improper water or temperatures, and even the wrong soil pH.
Taking time to identify the cause of the plant’s leaf curling is key to properly treating the plant. Usually, you need to move your Caladium to a better place that fits its care requirements more. However, occasionally, you may also have to use insecticide or fungicide.