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Why Are My Philodendron Leaves Curling? Common Reasons

Philodendrons are among the easiest plants to care for. However, philodendron leaf curling can be a big headache if you don’t know the proper treatments. So, why are my Philodendron leaves curling? This article will cover all the possible causes and give you the most effective solutions. Let’s read on and learn how to straighten your beautiful philodendron leaves!

Why Are My Philodendron Leaves Curling?

Philodendron leaves are curling due to cold temperatures, a lack of water, or overwatering. Once you’ve identified the causes, you will find the solutions quickly.

Improper watering

Overwatering and underwatering are both terrible for your plants. So how do we determine the exact cause?

  • Underwatering: If you touch the soil and it feels dry, your tropical plants
  • Excessively dry: Other signs include leaves turning yellow, drooping leaves, stunted growth, and leaf scorch.
  • Overwatering: The soil is too soggy, absorbing oxygen from the root system and impacting the tree’s normal function. Hence, your philodendron can’t receive water and nutrients.

The typical sign of underwatering and overwatering is the philodendron’s wavy leaves. They may turn yellow; the soil or potting soil condition can help you identify the cause.


If the soil is dry, water your tropical plant thoroughly. Remember to aerate the soil slowly until you see excess water flowing out of the drainage holes. The soil itself may be the cause when it can’t retain water. In this case, choose a nicely-draining potting soil for your philodendron plant. Cocoa coir and peat moss can help.

If the soil is soggy, drain the excess water from the pot right away. The pot should have holes for drainage. When you water your Philodendron plant, check the soil first. There isn’t a fixed schedule for this task. If the top one to two inches of soil are dry, water the tropical plant.

Philodendron needs periodic watering to thrive

Low humidity

Philodendrons prefer high humidity levels of at least 60%, but they can tolerate levels as low as 40%. Thus, there must be a shortage of humidity if you take notice of yellow or curling leaves. There may also be some brown tips. Winter’s dry air will rapidly drain the leaves of water. To minimize the loss, your philodendron will adjust by curling its leaves.


Increase the humidity around your plant by using a pebble tray. If necessary, move it to places with higher humidity levels, such as the bathroom or kitchen. A humidifier will be necessary if you still can’t fix the issue.

Extreme temperatures

Philodendrons can be sensitive to high temperatures. Otherwise, you will see philodendron leaves curling inward, yelling leaves, and sometimes leaf scorch. The plant will curl its leaves when exposed to high heat to reduce water loss.

Please note that plants stay cool by releasing water inside their bodies, just like we sweat when hot.


The ideal temperature range for philodendrons is 65 to 85°F. You can also avoid the heat by separating the plant from heating sources like radiators, air conditioning, or draft doors.

Too much light

Exposure to direct sunlight for a long time can cause curling and yellowing leaves. You will also find some brown edges and tips. When it gets too bright, the plant will protect its leaves by curling them to avoid contact with sunlight. To keep itself cool, the plant also turns the excess light into heat energy and dissipates it.


You can easily tackle this problem by placing your plant indoors to minimize sunlight access. Choose a place with shade or filtered light if you want to grow it outside.

Choose places with shade or filtered light if you want to grow it outside


Infestation is another common cause of curly Philodendron leaves. The pests may be spider mites, aphids, whiteflies, or thrips. Once they approach, they will take nutrition and water from the plant, making its leaves droop. Some pest signs include sooty mold, yellow or black spots, honeydew, or webbing. These symptoms affect plant growth significantly.


To solve this problem, you must isolate the affected plant immediately. Then, use horticultural or neem oil to spray on the leaves. You can also deal with pests by cleaning the plant and trimming all the yellow and dead leaves.

Lack nutrients

The pH level rises when the soil lacks nutrients. This problem causes the roots to consume crucial nutrients necessary for plant development and vivid leaves.

Nitrogen shortages in the soil can also affect Philodendron leaves. Photosynthesis won’t take place as a result. Additionally, it could result in slowed growth as well as discoloration.


The ideal pH level for this plant is 4.5 to 6. You can measure the soil pH with the pH tester. Another solution for the lack of nutrients is compost, which supplies your philodendron with sufficient moisture and nutrients. It can also prevent diseases.

These plants need a high content of phosphorus and nitrogen, which are abundant in urea and ammonium sulfate. Thus, give them those fertilizers for the best result. Choosing the right fertilizer is a favor for your plant.

Lack nutrients could result in slowed growth as well as discoloration


Repotting may cause shocks because your plant changes its environment. This treatment will cause the leaves to curl. Brown tips or falling leaves can also occur after repotting in Philodendron species, like the Red Emerald Philodendron.


There’s nothing you can do about the repotting’s side effects. Just try to maintain your plant’s ideal light, humidity, and temperature.


The lack of nutrients will lead to several problems. However, it doesn’t mean you must feed your plant excessively. A lot of fertilizer can result in philodendron leaf curling. The salt buildup around its root system will prevent water absorption and cause many issues. Moreover, overfertilization raises the chances of disease. You may quickly notice the yellow leaves as a result.


Here are some remedies for overfeeding:

  • Only apply fertilizers in the autumn and spring.
  • Check your soil’s condition and its nutrient content before fertilizing.
  • Compost, manure, and bone emulsion have a better effect than artificial fertilizers.
  • If the current pot becomes overwhelmed with fertilizer, repot your plant.


Rootbound happens when the plant outgrows its pot. As a result, it can’t receive enough water and nutrients. Signs of root-bound growth are roots forming from drainage holes, leaves falling, leaf scorch, and stunted growth.


Pull the plant out of the container to inspect for compression or twisting roots on the container edges. In that case, you must repot your plant. Use a pot that is two to three inches wider than the old one.

Rootbound happens when the plant outgrows its pot


Old leaves will curl. It’s also normal for them to turn yellow or fall.


You can’t bring youth back to your plant. The best thing to do in this case is to remove the philodendron curling leaves.

Cold draft

This problem is similar to temperatures, which means “cold” in this case. Yet, we prefer talking about this part separately because many philodendron keepers make the mistake of exposing their plants to frost. Philodendrons are tropical plants. Hence, they like warmth, and cold is their enemy. This enemy comes in two forms: the environment’s temperature (like in the winter) or cold-releasing objects (like ice makers).


Give your plant the ideal temperature and keep it away from cold sources. For example, the suggested optimal range for Philodendron Golden Dragon falls within 65 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit (F) during daylight hours and 60 degrees Fahrenheit (F) at nighttime.

Fungal damage

As aforementioned, these plants do not like direct sunlight. Exposure to the sun may also lead to fungal damage. The leaves will burn and curl down or up, depending on their forms, if you position them in sunlight. Large brown areas are visible where the burns were.

The philodendron is susceptible to partial shade, but that doesn’t mean it can live in the dark. This plant requires southern-facing light that is very shiny but not direct. The leaves can lengthen and turn sluggish in the absence of light. In a too-dark environment, you will experience philodendron-curled leaves. Other signs include brown burns.


It’s essential to put the plant where it can receive six to eight hours of bright yet indirect sunlight. If there isn’t any natural light, use artificial light instead.

Exposure to the sun may also lead to fungal damage

How To Eliminate Curly Leaves From Philodendrons?

With the appropriate support, there won’t be a philodendron with wavy leaves. Here are some tips to take care of your plant:

  • Provide philodendrons with temperatures between 70°F and 80°F.
  • These plants are humidity-loving, so they keep humidity levels high.
  • To prevent pests, spray a neem oil mixture on the plant.
  • Keep your philodendron out of direct sunlight to protect the leaves from burning.
  • Prune branches and stems to stimulate growth hormones.
  • Avoid exposing your plant to extreme cold and bring it inside in the winter.
  • To encourage your philodendron’s development during the summer as well as spring, offer it nutrient-rich fertilizer every month.


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Kelly Lawrence

Kelly Lawrence

Kelly Lawrence is the CEO of Swipe Garden. Over 10 years in the writing and passion for gardening, she brings a wealth of expertise and creativity to the world of gardening. Kelly Lawrence has cultivated a community of plant lovers, making gardening accessible and enjoyable for all.