Seeing a Calathea drooping and looking a little sad is actually relatively common for even the most green-fingered home gardeners. These plants have a well-earned reputation for being temperamental at the best of times, and they can be very particular in their needs.
It’s not difficult to treat droopy leaves in Calatheas. So, what can you do to save a drooping Calathea?
Don’t worry, there are a number of solutions that will bring your Calathea back to life and have them looking bright and full of vigor again in no time.
Why Is My Calathea Drooping?
There are few house plants that cause more stress and worry than a Calathea, but they are so beautiful and charming that you can’t help but love them anyway. When you notice your Calathea drooping, it usually means that something about the care that you are providing will need to change.
More often than not, a drooping Calathea is a sign of dehydration and underwatering, as it’s lacking the water it needs to keep its leaves full and open. Drooping combined with browning or discoloration can be an indicator of a lack of nutrients in the soil, overwatering, or even using the wrong type of water.
It is also possible, however, that your Calathea is perfectly healthy, and what looks like “drooping” is actually just a natural part of the daily movements of these fascinating and lively plants.
1. Natural Calathea Movement
Before you start panicking that your Calathea is dying or unhappy, don’t forget that these plants naturally move around more than most species.
Their leaves change position quite significantly throughout the day in a process called “nyctinasty”. It’s the reason they are often called “prayer plants” – because of the way their leaves rise and fall throughout the day.
You can find out more about this curious and slightly magical characteristic via Biology Online.
2. Underwatering Your Calathea
If your Calathea is generally drooping and a bit limp, then it is most likely that it is not getting enough water. Don’t rush to soak its soil straight away, though, as overwatering can be even more deadly. You need to make sure you are giving it moisture in the right way.
You should be watering your Calathea about once a week during the summer and a little less often during the winter. Check the top layer of soil to see if it is dry before watering, and make sure to water deeply so that all of the soil is soaked and the roots can really get a good drink.
Although it might not be essential, most Calatheas also like a bit of misting – about once per week – which should help to keep the leaves full and plump even when the humidity is a little lower.
3. Overwatering Your Calathea
Throwing lots of water at the problem is not healthy either. If you are noticing any significant yellowing/browning, soft mushy leaves, or parts of the plant dying off, then you may be overwatering – which can be even more deadly than underwatering.
Overwatering your Calathea essentially means that the roots will end up sitting in stagnant water, which causes them to rot away and die off. Root rot is one of the biggest problems that house plants face and it is hard to bring a Calathea back once it sets in.
Make sure that both the soil and pot your Calathea is sitting in have adequate drainage so that water does not collect at the base.
It’s a difficult balance. You need to make sure that the soil dries out before you water again, and also make sure that no water pools under your Calathea when you do give it the deep watering that it needs.
4. Lack Of Nutrition In The Soil
Another cause of wilting and drooping can be a lack of nutrition in your Calathea’s soil. Although they should be perfectly healthy for long periods of time, you might need to think about adding some extra fertilizer once or twice in the spring and summer.
Choose a fertilizer that contains a good amount of nitrogen and is made up of high-quality, well-balanced ingredients.
5. Using The Wrong Water
If the drooping on your Calathea is focussed mainly around the edges of the leaves, and combined with the appearance of brown spots, then it may be because your tap water contains too many chemicals and minerals.
It can be a bit of a pain, but these picky plants really want clean natural rainwater rather than water out of the tap. If you can’t gather rainwater then distilled water will work just as well.
More on this plant: Calathea Leaves Pointing Up
So, why is your Calathea drooping? Well, it is most likely because it does not have enough water, either from watering too infrequently or a lack of humidity in the air.
These plants are particularly picky, though, so it may be something else that is causing a bit of droop. They may be overwatered and suffering from root rot, they may not have enough nitrogen in their soil, or they may not like the tap water that you are giving them.
Interestingly, though, Calatheas do move quite a lot throughout the day by themselves, so they might look like they are drooping when they are actually happily bending their leaves in the light.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are my Calathea leaves droopy?
Droopy leaves for almost any plants, Calatheas included, are usually a sign of dehydration. It tends to mean that the leaves do not have enough water to stay full and plump. Calatheas may also “droop” their leaves naturally throughout the day in a process called nyctinasty.
What does Overwatered Calathea look like?
An overwatered Calathea generally has yellowing and discoloration on the leaves, particularly those that are closer to the soil. You might also see the tips of the leaves start to brown and die off.
Why is my Calathea curling and drooping?
A Calathea might curl and lower its leaves a bit to adjust the amount of light that it is receiving during the day, but limp curled leaves often mean that your plant is underwatered. Check to see if the soil is completely dry and ready for a deep watering.
Hey, I’m Lisa and I’ve been an avid gardener for over 30 years. I love writing, talking and living in the garden! Feel free to connect with me on my socials below