Syngonium plants are often prized for their large, beautiful leaves. Even if they do flower, it is rare and not as spectacular as the leaves themselves. While it is always concerning when a plant is showing signs of distress like curling leaves, it is a lot more noticeable with Syngonium leaves than in other plants.
Syngonium leaves may curl because of too little sunlight, over or underwatering, pests or leaf spot disease, too little space, temperatures below 50°F (10°C), humidity below 50%, or too little fertilization.
What Causes Syngonium Leaves to Curl?
Leaves can curl for a variety of reasons. Often, it is due to the lack of an important environmental requirement. With Syngoniums, inadequate levels of water, pests, space, nutrients, humidity, light, temperature, and disease can all lead to leaf curling.
Both over- and underwatering your plant can cause leaves to curl. While Syngoniums can handle a few missed waterings, they do best with a steady supply of water. Most people find that watering their Syngonium once a week or so is best.
However, there is an easy way to ensure that your Syngonium is watered as it should be. Simply take your finger and stick it an inch (2.5 cm) into the soil. If the soil is dry, that is a good sign that it is time to water your plants.
If your water is high in chlorine, you may want to let a portion of water sit out for 24 hours before watering your plant with it. Or you can use filtered or bottled water.
Pests are just a part of life when it comes to Syngoniums and all plants in general. Syngoniums tend to experience problems with pests like scales, spider mites, mealybugs, and aphids.
Aphids are one of the most common pests that can cause leaves to curl. Usually, when they aren’t active, aphids will hide under the leaves. If you notice small black, gray, or white spots under your leaves, it may be a sign that you have some sort of pest.
Using a product like neem oil, diatomaceous earth, or insecticide can help to prevent and eliminate any pests that might be bothering your plant.
Repotting your Syngonium shouldn’t occur too often or you risk stressing out your plant. Generally, Syngoniums only need to be repotted every other year. Additionally, when you do repot your plant, you only want to go up one or two sizes.
Changing pot size too drastically can cause too much dead space in the pot. This makes it harder to water and fertilize your plant properly, as it can all sink to the bottom where your plant isn’t yet able to reach.
Syngoniums need fertilizer about once a week to once every two weeks. Usually, using a liquid fertilizer is best, as it ensures that the plant is getting the nutrients in equal amounts and over time instead of all at once. A ratio of 1:1:1 is best
You can usually skip fertilizing in the fall and winter when the plant is no longer growing and is in a dormant period.
Both over- and under-fertilization of a plant, especially a Syngonium, can lead to curling leaves. You may have to experiment a little when it comes to how much and how often you need to fertilize your Syngonium, but if you start with the recommended amount (as instructed on the bottle), you can adjust from there.
Syngoniums enjoy a lot of humidity. They can handle humidity levels of around 50% or 60%, the range that most houseplants are most comfortable in, but they much prefer levels of around 70% or 80%.
Being in an environment with too little humidity can cause your Syngonium to droop and wilt. To increase humidity, you should either keep plants close together, get a humidifier, or create a pebble tray. For a short-term solution, you can also mist your plants.
Syngoniums, like most smaller tropical plants, prefer having bright but indirect light. If they can receive bright light around six hours a day, your Syngonium should be happy.
Too little sun and your plant leaves may start curling. Too much, and their leaves may start to brown or wilt.
Syngoniums can’t stand temperatures below 50°F (10°C). Even too cold of a breeze can cause them harm. They prefer temperatures around 60 to 80°F (16 to 27°C).
Syngoniums and other houseplants can also suffer from a disease known as leaf spot. This disease can evolve due to the presence of viral, fungal, or bacterial pathogens. Leaf spot not only causes leaves to curl, but also to develop spots.
If you think this may be what has infected your plant, it is best to quarantine it immediately to prevent your plant from infecting others.
While Syngoniums can develop leaf spot disease, they aren’t usually susceptible to the leaf curl virus. Leaf curl virus usually targets garden fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes and peaches. It is a complex disease that causes damage to various plants, but thankfully, your Syngonium isn’t one of them.
How Do I Stop My Leaves From Curling?
To stop your leaves from curling, you simply have to provide them with their ideal habitat. For example, if you are overwatering your Syngonium, allow the soil to dry between waterings to prevent the issue in the future.
If your Syngonium isn’t getting enough light, move it to where it can get plenty of indirect light. Making sure these basic needs are met will help prevent any leaf curl.
However, sometimes it is hard to avoid disease and pests. Keeping an eye on your plant so that you can catch a problem early is also important.
Can Curled Leaves Go Back to Normal?
Most of the time, curled leaves can go back to normal. Like with wilted leaves, once the root problem is fixed, the leaves should return to their normal state.
However, if other damages to the leaf have occurred, such as yellow, browning, or holes due to pests, those will typically not disappear.
Why Are My Syngonium Leaves Not Unfurling?
To unfurl your Syngonium leaves, the first step is to make sure they have an ideal habitat. Usually, moisture is the biggest issue if your plant’s new leaves aren’t unfurling. It might help to mist your plant, especially around the unfurled leaf.
Never try to force the leaf to unfurl. Even if you are being gentle, you will usually end up with deformed or stunted leaves.
Instead, even if it is taking a while, try to be patient and help your plant along by making sure it has enough humidity and sunlight to get the energy it needs to unfurl.
What Causes Leaf Curl Virus?
It is important to note that while both the leaf curl virus and the leaf spot virus cause problems with leaves and leaf curling, they are not the same. While the leaf curl virus doesn’t occur in Syngoniums, it can occur in garden plants such as tomatoes, cotton, or peaches.
Different plant species are infected with leaf curl virus from different sources. For example, in peaches, it is caused by a fungus. In cotton, it is caused by a specific kind of virus, known as begomoviruses. Bacteria can also cause the virus.
Some plant species affected by the leaf curl virus are:
- French Bean
- Ornamental Peaches
What Are the Symptoms of Leaf Curl Virus?
There are many symptoms of leaf curl virus. The disease and the symptoms are considered to be pretty complex.
Some common symptoms are:
- Leaf curling
- Leaf puckering
- Yellowing of leaves and veins
- Stunted growth
- Smaller leaves than normal
Can Leaf Curl Virus Spread to Other Plants?
Leaf curl virus can spread to other plants, proving to be quite a problem in a garden, orchard, or farm. While it only affects certain species, many of your plants may become infected, especially if they are in the same family.
The Peach Leaf Curl is considered one strand of the virus that is especially spreadable as it is caused by a fungus that releases spores.
During a quick search about leaf curling in Syngoniums, you may come across something known as leaf curl disease or virus. While some of the symptoms may be the same, don’t worry, your Syngonium will not be impacted by this problem. If you still think a disease is the source of your plant’s issues, it is likely leaf spot disease instead.
If you notice leaf curling on your Syngonium, it can be due to over or underwatering, pests or disease, too little space, infrequent fertilizing, too low humidity, not enough sunlight, or cold temperatures.
While leaf spot disease can sometimes be the culprit, before making any assumptions it is a good idea to start by examining your plant’s habitat to make sure everything is okay and then adjust conditions as needed.