What Makes Calathea Droop?

Everyone doesn’t want to watch their Calatheas fade from sparkling and beautiful to sadness and droopy. It is important to apply a delicate touch to keep your calathea in top form due to its vibrant stunning foliage, beautiful colors and temperamental nature. With a bit of knowledge and persistence, you’ll will have it glowing and lush.

Calathea leaves drop due to stress caused by water, like drowning or overwatering. There are other causes that could be causing this problem, such as low humidity, a lack of lighting, repotting shock and stress from temperature. Although drooping leaves are frustrating, they’re simple to correct. Most of the time, it’s an issue of altering the plant’s light or water levels.

Let’s look at the most common causes for droopy leaves of calathea, and the best way to correct the problem.

Causes of Calathea Drooping


Calathea is often referred to for its role as Prayer Plants, thanks to their gentle, continuous movement. Also known as nictinasty Calathea’s leaves shift position in the course of the day.

In the morning , the leaves drop and then return at night. Similar to many indoor plants, the calathea originate from rainforests and their dance routine is in response to the changing lighting levels in their tropical habitats.

Before taking any drastic action, look at the leaves at a few different times during the course of your day. Do the droops correct themselves every night? If so it’s just the natural process of this fanciful plant.

Lack of Water Make the Plant Droopy

A plant that is thirsty is a weak plant regardless of the species. I can tell that I am exhausted when I require an ice-cold glass of water and plants are no different. Put a finger in the soil for about three inches. If you feel that the soil is dry, there is an issue.

Water When The Soil Dries Up

Give your skin an enjoyable soak in the purest or distilled water. Then, make sure to ensure that they are topped up with a calendar application. Set a reminder on your calendar so that you don’t forget.

Calathea does not require a lot of water, so it’s best to water at least once a week. Plants that are exposed to intense light require a bit more and I would recommend every week to water those.

Lack of Nutrition

Calathea isn’t the most hungry plant however it can benefit from fertilizer during the growth season. The drooping of leaves could indicate an absence of the essential minerals that plants require to create strong leaves.

Apply a Balanced NPK Fertilizer

An all-purpose, balanced fertilizer, like a ratio of 10:10:10 to Nitrogen Phosphorus as well as Potassium is the best choice. In the spring and summer it is recommended to apply the fertilizer with care and avoid the stems and leaves once per month. The first time you water your calathea, make sure it is getting nutrients.

Be careful not to be overly aggressive because too much fertilizer could cause problems of its own. You’ll be able to tell you’ve got the right balance with beautiful foliage, and maybe even flowers.

calathea roots exposed

Overwatering Damages the Root System

The most important thing to keep a healthy calathea in good health is to master how to water. They can be extremely fussy and very specific about the amount of water they drink. The soil should be moist but not wet.

Soggy soil can cause a variety of issues. Calathea is a delicate plant with shallow roots that are prone to decay. The presence of standing water in their tray or saucer is a sure sign that you’ve been overly enthusiastic with your watering container. The soil of your pet should not be more than a little damp.

How To Fix

Let your calathea air dry slightly. Clean any trays or saucers and ensure they are dry. When your plant is no more swollen, you can resume the watering. Every other week, once a week is sufficient, but up to once per week during the summer and spring.

A small amount of water that has been filtered or distilled are the best choice, without water flow.

Calathea loves good drainage. The pot you choose must have drainage holes as well as an open-flowing medium. If that’s not the case, it’s likely to be worth repotting.

A natural mix containing perlite and peat moss is the ideal mix. This allows for free drainage, while also retaining the proper amount of moisture to allow your calathea to flourish.

The most likely cause is over-watering. reason for your leaves to drop however, it’s simple to fix by taking less water!

Temperature Stress

Take note of the temperature in the environment in which your calathea is. They are tropical plants and I cannot stress enough how adorable they require a warm and comfortable home to thrive.

How To Fix

Try to maintain a temperature between 65 and 75oF (18-24oC). Although they are able to take a few degrees lower but you will not see any growth.

Stable is the key word. Even in a room that is cool, cold drafts can strain the plant. Hot air blasts will dry out the plant, while cold breezes can harm the leaves. Be sure to check the temperature and ensure that the calathea is in an area that is free of drafts.

Low Humidity

Calathea is known for being extremely fussy regarding humidity levels. The distinctive glossy leaves draw in moisture from the surrounding environment and dry faster when the humidity is low.

The climate-controlled environment is often deficient in the vital atmospheric moisture that calathea requires to flourish. Dry air forces plants into survival mode, and could kill it in the event that it is not addressed.

Calathea prefers 60% or more humidity. Although it might not be practical or comfortable to bring the entire building up to the same degree in humidity but you could make an area of relative peace to your plants.

Increase Humidity to 60%

In the short term, you can spray your plants with clean, distillate water. This will bring the humidity in the area up to a level of two or three hours, long enough to stop slight drop in humidity.

An humidity tray, or an electric humidifier that is placed close to the plant can give it the necessary tropical ambience.

It’s also a good idea to group your tropical plants. Each plant sheds a certain amount of water from its leaves and when you put them together , they can help control the humidity of the air. In addition, the combination of tropical plants makes an impressive feature for any house.

Repotting Stress

Repotting any plant can put it in a state of stress and calathea is no exception. Roots are not able to withstand being exposed to air for prolonged periods of time without suffering damage as well as changes in soil consistency and pH could shock the plant.

A fresh, new pot can be the reason to place the plant into a higher-profile spot, which can result in a shift in light levels, humidity, and temperature.

How To Fix

When repotting, it is helpful to think of it as a kind of surgery. Carefully treat the patient quickly and in consideration of their requirements.

In this instance your calathea requires the same kind of soil with the same levels of fertility and pH. The new pots should be well-drained as the older.

Be sure that the re-potted calathea is put back in the original location within your home whenever it is possible. If the new pot doesn’t fit, you can try to find the closest spot to the original level of humidity and light.

Poor Quality Water

The most common cause of issues for all houseplants is low quality water. It’s tempting to tap water, however the majority of tap water is chock with mineral salts that are dissolved. The salty soil can damage the roots and stops your calathea from consuming the water in any way.

Water The Plant Using Rain or Distilled Water

Cleanse your Calathea using purified or distilled water to get rid of any salts you may find. If you see salts on the surface , you might benefit from repotting completely.

After you have removed all salt from the soil as you can make sure you use the purified or distilled water and avoid the simple route of drinking water by tap. Rainwater is the ideal water for plants therefore, make sure to collect it whenever you are able to.

Insufficient Light

“Low light” is not the same as “no light”. Every plant needs light or else they die. The entire biology of plants is focused on converting the light of sunlight into sugars by photosynthetic processes. Take their sunlight, and then have cut off their food sources.

The ideal calathea light levels are as close to the floor of a rainforest as is possible. Bright but with filtered indirect light.

Move The Plant To A Spot With Bright Indirect Light

Move your plant to a location that has a brighter light. Avoid direct sunlight, because it can cause burns to the leaves. Light that is bright but not filtered is the best.

It’s crucial to be cautious when adjusting your lighting level. You can move your plant in stages so that it can adjust, and then spend one or two days in increasing brightness until you’ve achieved a higher brightness. It is possible to make use of artificial lighting sources in the event that your home does not have access to natural lighting.

Pests Sucks the Life Out of Your Calathea

I’ve often thought about the usage in the use of Calathea leaf in South America to wrap food and presents. This is a sign of the fact that these leaves are devoid of the natural poisons that are common for tropical plant species. They are more prone to insects.

The drooping leaves on your plant could be caused by an infestation. Aphids, spider mites and scale bugs cut the stems of your plants by sharply proboscis taking out fluids and causing your leaves to drop.

How to Get Rid of Calathea Pests

Before doing anything take action, you must move the plant away from the rest of your plants. The parasites can spread quickly and it’s usually simpler to treat one plant than the entire plant!

Have a look around your plant, particularly in the folds and crevices of the stems and leaves. Certain pests are difficult to identify. Thrips and spider mites are tiny, scale insects which hide in a nest of sugar and aphids are a group of insects that hide from sunlight.

If the calathea infestation is not severe, it may be the most effective to trim off the affected region. Make sure you destroy the affected cuttings and don’t place them in your compost!

Certain insects, such as aphids and scale insects, are eliminated with a few hands or rub of alcohol on the tip of a cotton. Other insects, such as spider mites and thrips can be treated by spraying water.

Then apply an insecticidal soap generously to eliminate the nasty crawlies that you might have missed. It is possible for your plants to be treated several times since eggs can be surprisingly resisting treatment.

In the event of more serious infestations, get rid of the pot, plant and everything else. Although it might be difficult it is worth it in order to stop your entire indoor plant life from falling victim to the ravages of infestation.

Fungal Diseases Causing Droopy Calathea

The exact hot, humid conditions in which calatheas need to flourish are ideal for the incubation of the disease.

The precise watering that is required by the calathea makes them susceptible to fungal disease, and the root and stem decay can be a major issue with these delicate but beautiful plants. If a closer inspection of the roots uncovers mushy, black areas which could be rotting, it is likely to be the root cause of your unhappy leaf drop.

How to Fix

The treatment for calathea root rot can be twofold : a new container as well as less water. Root rot-affected plants will require repotted using more of a free-flowing mix in containers with drainage holes. Clean the roots thoroughly in free-flowing water in order to remove the dead roots.

It’s an excellent idea to trim the leaves. If your plant doesn’t have a sturdy root system, they’ll probably die anyway. Eliminating them gives your plant the chance to re-grow its roots, without having to cater to the needs on its leaf.

As with many things it is better to prevent than treatment. Don’t leave your calathea in water that isn’t moving, and take care not to over-water. Be sure that your area is adequately ventilated. It’s not only good for your plants, but also for youtoo.

Excess Application of Fertilizer

Fertilizer is a powerful product It’s also easy to make mistakes with the application. Overuse of fertilizer could burn your plant, causing damage to the roots and feed the bacteria and fungus that cause illness.

Along with drooping leaves, over-fertilization can result in yellowing of leaf’s lower parts, yellowing of the edges and tips of the leaves and in extreme instances, visible accumulation in the dirt of the plants.

Apply Fertilizer Sparingly

The best way to deal with over-fertilization can be to wash the plants, which effectively removes all fertilizer that is left in the soil.

  • The first step is to remove any visible buildup of fertilizer that might be evident on the top of the soil.
  • Then, thoroughly water the plant until it is flowing freely out of the draining holes, allowing all water to drain out of the pot. Repeat this process two or three times.
  • Then, trim any damaged or yellowed leaves.

Avoid fertilizing your plants for at least one month, and since this procedure also deep-waters your plant, it is a good idea to stop irrigation till the soil is given the chance to dry out.

It is best to fertilize only during the summer and spring months when the plant is putting forth new growth. Make sure you water the plant prior to fertilizing so that the mix can get to the roots of the plant.

Root Bound

If a plant becomes to be too big in its pot, the roots start to connect with each other. The tangled plant can’t get access to nutrients or water in the soil. Consequently, the plant starts to suffer.

This is how you can identify roots-bound calathea plants: Place two fingers around the bottom of the plant. Turn the pot gently and then pull the plant out of the pot.

If the whole weight of your plant easily disappears from the pot in a single mass, it’s time to pot it again. Roots that are drooping above the pot edge or extending out through drainage holes can also be indicators.

Repot the Plant

Calathea generally needs an upgrade every two or three years It is recommended to plant them again in the spring. But a root-bound plant requires rescue immediately.

Pick a pot that is one or two inches wider than the one you have previously. Although it’s tempting to offer the plant that is bound by roots a bigger pot to spread its roots into the ground, it’s difficult for the plant to expand its roots, and the new soil will likely be stagnant, making the ideal habitat for further root decay.

This is an excellent chance to make sure that your plant has the drainage it needs. A mix of potting soil with lots of perlite and peat moss is the best choice. Make sure that the pot you are buying is fitted with at least two drainage holes that flow – for calathea. The more the better.

However efficiently you pot, it may take some time for your calathea rebound, so be patient.

Why Is My Calathea Drooping After Repotting

A lot of times, when you move plants from one location in another place, you will need cut off some the roots. This is because it is difficult to remove them from their pots or because they had grown to the point that they were unable to be removed.

Exposure to direct the sun or air could cause damage to the roots, therefore they shouldn’t be exposed to such conditions. They are extremely fragile and their function could be damaged if handled.

There may be an appearance of droopiness when you transfer it to the new pot due to this reason. Do not overwater immediately after the transplant, as this could cause more damage.

  • Make sure to change the pots of your plants when it is necessary. Make sure you have a drainage capacity soil mix.
  • Transplanting is best done in spring and summer months when the days are longer and there is little direct sun.
  • Take the plant out as fast as you can without taking off your root ball. It is not necessary to remove the soil that is clinging to the plant so long as it seems healthy.
  • Give it some time to adapt to the new environment by regularly watering it. Soon, it will appear radiant and healthy again.


Went from a bad gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)