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Calathea droops leaves: 6 causes and solutions to save the houseplant!

No one wants to see their Calathea go from bright and shiny to sad and droopy. Keeping the plant in its full glory requires careful handling of its bright, charming foliage and spirited nature. Calathea will drop leaves if not properly cared for. In this article, we look at the various causes of drooping leaves and how to fix them.

Calathea is drooping leaves: What’s the cause?

Calathea leaves droop when it is not properly cared for

Calathea plants need water to create turgor pressure in their leaves and stem cells so they can stand upright. The plant droops when water pressure is lost in a cell, either because of too much moisture loss or because the plant’s roots cannot absorb water quickly enough.

Now let’s look at some of the reasons why the leaves of a Calathea plant may droop.

There are six main causes:

  • Underwatering
  • Overwatering
  • Low humidity
  • Tangled roots
  • Shock when repotting
  • Dusty leaves

1. because of underwatering the plant becomes limp

Because of underwatering the plant becomes limp

Have you forgotten the last time you watered your calathea? If so, there’s a good chance the plant is going limp due to underwatering. Interestingly, drooping also serves as a survival mechanism for the plant to reduce further water loss by reducing the surface area of the leaves.

This is how you can tell if the plant is getting too little water:

Check with your finger to see if the soil is still moist or dry. Check to see if the leaves are curling, crisping or turning light brown. If this is the case, it may indicate that the plant has not received enough water.

Fortunately, an underwatered calathea can be easily revived: Soak the soil with plenty of water for a few minutes and allow the water to drain completely. In a few hours, your plant should be like new again. Cut off any crunchy, dead leaves, too, so the plant can put more energy into growing new ones. Also, schedule a regular watering schedule for your Calathea to prevent it from being submerged again.

2. calathea leaves drooping due to overwatering.

How to determine whether Calathea was overwatered.

Calathea will droop leaves if it gets too much water. Overwatering eliminates air pockets in the soil, preventing the roots from breathing and absorbing enough oxygen. This eventually leads to root rot, preventing the plant from absorbing water and nutrients.

How to tell if Calathea has been overwatered:

Yellowed and drooping leaves are classic signs that the plant is overwatered. Check to see if the soil is still moist two weeks after the last watering. This is often a sign that the soil is not draining well, allowing water to accumulate. Remove your calathea from the pot and inspect it for root rot. If the roots are soft, mushy and dark brown/black, your calathea has been watered too much.

Here’s how to fix an over-watered calathea: repot your plant in a well-drained and aerated potting soil. You can also add pine bark or perlite to the potting soil to improve drainage. If you notice root rot, you will need to cut off the dead roots and treat them with hydrogen peroxide before repotting them in a new pot. Make sure your pot has enough drainage holes.

3. low humidity leads to water loss.

Low humidity leads to water loss


Remember how water moisture moves from an area with higher to one with lower moisture content? When humidity is low, calathea loses more water through its leaves through transpiration. Since the roots cannot replace the lost moisture quickly enough, the leaves begin to wilt.

How can you tell if a calathea is suffering from low humidity?

Both underwatering and low humidity can cause leaves to curl, droop, brown or crisp. To determine if your plant is suffering from low humidity or drought, invest in a hygrometer.

How to improve humidity for Calathea: Calatheas like a humid environment and do best when placed in a room with humidity above 60%. Purchase a humidifier for your plants and turn it on for a few hours each day between sunrise and noon or when the air feels very dry.

4. tangled roots leave no room for potting soil.

Tangled roots leave no room for soil

The roots of your Calathea are forced to grow in circles and follow the shape of the pot. This eventually causes your plant’s roots to form a tight mass, leaving no room for soil. When there is no more room for soil in the pot, the calathea will no longer absorb water or nutrients. Instead, the leaves droop due to the lack of water.

How can you tell if roots are tangled?

Stunted growth is a common sign. The roots may protrude from the drainage holes and the soil surface because there is no more room for the roots to grow.
To determine if the plant has tangled roots, you will need to remove the entire plant from the pot. The roots will look like a solid pot with roots, indicating that your calathea has been root-bound for too long.

How to fix root-bound calathea: You can simply repot your plant into a larger pot. Another way to propagate root-bound calathea is to use the division technique. You may need to divide the roots with a sharp, clean blade or scissors. Make sure each cutting contains a portion of the root system and is attached to a stem.

5. avoid shock when repotting.

Calathea droops leaves - 6 causes and solutions to save the houseplant.


When repotting, it is possible to avoid damaging the fine roots of the Calathea plant. If damage is done, it can slow down water absorption. If the roots cannot absorb enough water to replace the water lost through transpiration, they will lose vigor and begin to droop.

How to fix transplant shock in Calathea: A plant that has suffered shock needs proper care and time to adjust to the new environment before growing again. Do not give the plant fertilizer at this time, as it can burn the new root growth. Your calathea will recover from transplant shock within three to four weeks.

6. clean dusty leaves

You need to clean dusty leaves regularly

According to one study, the accumulation of dust on the leaves of Calathea can increase the temperature and transpiration rate of the leaves. If the roots cannot absorb enough water to compensate for the loss of transpiration, the plants will begin to droop, as mentioned earlier.

How to clean dusty calathea leaves: The leaves of your plants should be cleaned regularly to prevent dust from accumulating. Set a weekly or bi-weekly schedule to wipe dust off your plants’ leaves. Use damp cloths to gently wipe the top and bottom of each leaf. Be sure to hold the opposite side of the leaves with the palm of your hand to avoid injury to the stems. You can also apply neem oil to the cloth to protect the leaves from possible pest infestation.