Why Are My Dracaena Leaves Curling? (10 Causes and Solutions)


Indoor dracaena  plant in container.

If you can ensure comfortable conditions for dracaena, it will remain healthy with long leaves that have a rich dark green color, uniform throughout their length.

Leaves curling is the most common problem you may face when caring for dracaena. 

If suddenly leaves of your dracaena curling then it is worth taking immediate measures so as not to lose the plant.

To do this, from the beginning you have to identify the causes of this problem.

And only then you can correct the care mistakes and other factors that are responsible for this problem.

Why Are My Dracaena Leaves Curling? Probably the result of too dry air.  Sprinkle dracaena leaves and place trays under the plants with water that will gradually evaporate. Also, remember that the dracaena should not stand directly by the radiator. There are other causes of dracaena that leave curling such as excessive light, heat, improper watering, accumulation of salt in the soil, overdose of fertilizer, lack of nutrients, insect infestation, diseases, and temperature fluctuation. 

Now, let’s dig deep into the details.

Dracaena leaves Curl Because of Dry Air

The edges of the leaves curl and sometimes become dry. Twisting the leaves of plants is a measure of self-defense because this reduces the surface of the leaf and less water evaporates from it. 

This happens when the plant is in a too warm place or receives little water. 

In this case, you have to water the plant until the soil is completely saturated, or dip it in water and hold it. Choose a cooler place for your dracaena.

Dracaena Leaves Curl Because of  Excessive Light

Another cause of dracaena leaves to curl is too much light. If your dracaena is placed in the windowsill and it gets too much exposure to direct sunlight then the leaves may curl. 

Excessive light means higher temperatures. Photosynthesis and other physiological activities will stop when the temperature rises.

So if the temperature increases then the plant uses all its water to cool down its tissues by evaporating. As a result, the leaves curl due to lack of water.

Dracaena leaves Curl Because of  Heat

Too high air temperature negatively impacts the physiological process of dracaena. If your indoor temperature is high in winter due to the radiator, your dracaena leaves may show curling symptoms. 

Heat and dry air make the plant evaporate more water. Because in this way it cools down itself as a defense mechanism. As a result, the leaves of dracaena curl.

Dracaena leaves Curl Because of  Overwatering

Watering indoor potted dracaena with a jug.

You must water regularly to keep your dracaena healthy. But you should carry out watering frequency depending on the season. Also, stagnant water in plant pots is a dangerous thing for the plant.

Excessive watering and stagnant water will cause root rot of your dracaena. Then the root will not be able to absorb enough nutrients from the soil. This will make the plant unhappy and result in curl leaves. Make sure you have a working drainage system.

Dracaena leaves Curl Because of  Too Little Water

Another reason for curling dracaena plant leaves is lack of water. If you do not water your plant enough, the plant will show symptoms like curling leaves or drying out.

You need to let the soil dry up between watering. Check the soil moisture from time to time. The topsoil layer of 2-3 cm thick can remain in a dry state until subsequent watering, but then you should water the soil.

The Accumulation of Salt In Soil May Cause Leaf Curling

Normal tap water contains different mineral salt which accumulates within the potting soil. You may know that salt makes the nutrients unavailable for the plants.

So, the plants do not get enough nitrogen and phosphorus to flourish its green leaves. Ultimately the leaves start to show symptoms like curling.

To avoid this try to use filtered or settled water. Keep the normal tap water for 24 hours then it is ready to use. Because within this time the salt minerals will be deposited at the bottom. 

Dracaena leaves Curling  Due to Overdose of Fertilizer

Excessive feeding will also lead to the loss of the normal state of the leaves. The plant shows the symptoms by curling the leaves. 

An overdose of fertilizers is considered to be detrimental to the plant. They can burn the roots and the dracaena will not be able to supply nutrients to other parts. 

Dracaena leaves Curling  Due to Lack of Nutrients

Nutrients are necessary to grow your dracaena well. Nitrogen plays a vital role in thriving rich green leaves. Also, nitrogen is necessary especially for the formation of green leaves.  Lack of nitrogen causes the curling of dracaena leaves.

To restore the curling leaves, it is necessary to fertilize with liquid fertilizer with high nitrogen content. It is convenient to use water-soluble fertilizer for dracaena. 

Feed your dracaena with fertilizer once a month during spring and summer. You can also split the dose into twice a month.

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Dracaena leaves Curling  Due to Insects

Pests do not infect dracaena often, sometimes you may find scale insects, thrips, mealybugs, aphids, and spider mites to infest the plant. 

Let’s jump into the details of how you can identify the insects and get rid of them.

Scale Insects

These are very tiny insects 2-4 mm in size, covered with a grayish or yellow shield with a wax coating.  They suck the juice from the stems and leaves, which turn pale, curl, and dry. 

You can get rid of this insect with an alcohol solution or soapy water. Soak a sponge or clean cloth with soap water then wipe the infected parts with it. 

I found neem oil to work great against scale insects.  Also, you can use insecticides available in the market. 

Caution!

Handle the insecticides with care. Read the instruction and safety measures before applying.

Thrips

Very small (1-2 mm) insect forming colonies on the lower side of the leaf plate. They suck the juices of the leaves. High temperature and dry air is a favorable condition for this insect.

You can get rid of thrips simply by pruning your dracaena. Prune the infested part of the plant to control the attack of thrips on your plant. 

You can also opt for a mild insecticide like neem oil or soap water. These work really great and organic ways of controlling insects.

Spider Mite

A small reddish-brown insect is no larger than 0.5 mm in size. You find the affected parts entangled in a barely noticeable cobweb. This is a clear indication that your dracaena is infested by spider mites. 

Eventually, you will find chlorosis of leaves and also brown or yellow spots. The growth of the plant is stunted, more susceptible to disease. 

In addition, mites themselves are carriers of a number of diseases. You can treat your dracaena infected with  spider mite treated with hot (about 50°C/122°F) soapy water, then sprayed with acaricide. Like before, neem oil is a great option for this kind of soft-skinned insect.

Mealybugs 

The most common type of dracaena pest. These insects love plant juice.  Gather on a leaf and suck the juices. 

So, the growth of the plant stops and leaves curl. Finding them on the leaves is pretty easy. These insects are white, they also leave a powdery white coating on dracaena.

You can get rid of this kind of mealybug manually. Again, soap solution still becomes one of the main necessary insecticides to fight soft-skinned mealybug. Spray soap water to infested dracaena leaves. Repeat the procedure every 14 days.

Important! 

You can reduce insect attack significantly maintaining a certain air humidity value in the room.

Diseases are the common cause of curling

Various bacteria, fungi, and parasites become the causes of Dracaena diseases. Among them, Fusarium Leaf Spot and root rot is the most common disease you will find occurring to your plant. 

If you do everything correctly and create the optimum conditions for dracaena your dracaena will be happy and healthy. 

Now, we have known the causes and solutions of dracaena leaves curling. It is better to prevent it from happening. Let’s know how we can prevent it from happening.

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Prevention 

You have to make sure of the constant caring of your dracaena. In this way, you will be able to keep your plant from being affected by pests and diseases. Here is the step by step procedure:

  • Place your dracaena in a place that provides bright, indirect light; 
  • Excessive sun exposure can cause damage to the plant leaves; 
  • Dracaena grows successfully in shaded conditions; 
  • You need to maintain moist soil with a high content of organic substances with a pH level of from 6.0 to 6.5; 
  • You should use settled water when the topsoil is dry.
  • When transplanting your dracaena, you need to choose a pot 3 cm wider and 5 cm higher than the previous one.
  • Regularly clean the dust on leaves. spray the plant from the spray bottle and wipe the leaves with a damp cloth. Proper watering is one of the most important points in caring for dracaena.

Here is a helpful video on how to care for indoor dracaena plant.

Conclusion

Now you know why the leaves of dracaena leaves curl and therefore they dry and fall off. In fact, there are many reasons for a plant to get affected. 

It is easy to save the plant if you follow the basic rules  of dracaena care. I hope this article will help you with this difficult task.  

Arifur Rahman

I'm the owner of gardenforindoor.com. After completing my bachelor of science in agriculture, I'm serving as a civil service officer at the Department of Agricultural Extension, Bangladesh. I started Garden For Indoor to make your indoor gardening journey easy and enjoyable.

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