Why Are My African Violet Leaves Curling Upwards or Downwards?

Why Are My African Violet Leaves Curling Upwards or Downwards?

Why Do African Violet Leaves Curl or Reach Upwards?

  • African Violet leaves curl or reach upwards when the light they receive is too low.
  • The stems start growing longer in size and growing upwards as if they are reaching for the light.
  • The leaves no longer grow flat as they usually should, but grow upwards too.
  • This causes the plant to become top heavy full of leaves and just long stems at the bottom.
  • When African Violet plants are grown under low light the leaves start growing upwards.
  • The leaves become thin in texture, deep green in color and the leaf stems become leggy and weak.
  • When a plant grows normally, the rosette pattern of the inner leaves will cover the stems of the outer leaves.
  • This way the stems of the leaves are barely visible in normal growing African Violets.
  • However, under low light exposure, the stems appear “stretched” and further apart and become distinctly visible.

Why Do African Violet Leaves Curl or Droop Downwards?

  • Some African Violet plants have naturally occurring curled leaves, such as the Imps varieties and other bustle back leaves. For more information on African Violet leaf type, can visit blog post, “What Are The Different Leaf Types Of African Violet Plants?
  • If the leaves are not naturally curled then there can be multiple reasons for African Violet leaves to curl or droop downwards; either dry soil, root rot, pot bound/compacted plant, excessive light or cold temperatures.

What Are the Symptoms of Dry Soil on African Violet Leaves?

  • Visually if the middle leaves of the plant look droopy, dull or limp it may be time to water the African Violet. If the leaves are firm, crisp and shiny then they have enough water in them.
  • If the droopy leaves are combined with dry top soil, then the African Violet needs to be watered.
  • To check for dry soil, stick your finger gently in the soil (1/2 inch deep). If a lot of soil sticks to your finger and feels damp, then no watering is required. However, if your finger is clean and only a few dry specks are attached to your finger, then its time to water the African Violet.
  • Remember to only water the soil when its dry, do not over-water. African Violets are very susceptible to over-watering, it can lead to root or crown rot.
  • For more information on how to water African Violet plants, can visit blog post, “How To Water African Violet Plants?

What are the Symptoms of Root Rot on African Violet Leaves?

  • The leaves will seem to droop down and the leaf stems of the bottom leaves will become brown and mushy.
  • The leaves may also become mushy.
  • The leaves will start to seem faded in color.
  • The leaves will not be firm, but soft and droopy to touch, seem wilted in appearance.
  • For more information about root rot remedy, can visit blog post, “Root Rot On African Violet Plants”.

What are the Symptoms and Remedy of Root Bound Soil on African Violet Leaves?

  • The leaves become limp and droopy and start to hug the rim of the pot.
  • An African Violet plant is completely root-bound, when the whole soil surface area is tightly covered with roots, the roots are growing out of the pot holes underneath the pot and the roots are showing on the upper surface of the soil.
  • African Violets like to be slightly root bound which promotes flowering.
  • Root bound is when the roots start to grow out of the pot holes underneath the pot or when roots show on the upper surface of the soil.
  • If the soil mixture is old, the roots will not be able to absorb water and nutrients.
  • This will over time affect the overall health of the African Violet plant and its leaves.
  • If a plant is root bound, it is time to repot the African Violet.
  • African Violets should be re-potted in fresh soil every 6 months and kept in the same size pot.
  • For more info on repotting, can visit blog post, “How Often To Change African Violet Potting Soil Mix & Why?”

What are the Symptoms of Excessive Light on African Violet leaves?

  • Symptoms of excessive light on African Violet plants are leaves drooping down or curling inwards.
  • African Violet leaves also crowd together with no space in between when exposed to excessive light.
  • The first initial telltale signs will be drooped down leaves and curling inwards.
  • Then if African Violets are still left in the bright sun, leaves start turning yellow.
  • They start to develop brown spots and scorched marks.
  • The blooms will start to fade and eventually drop.

How to Remedy Curling/ Drooping Leaves Due to Excessive Light in African Violet Plants?

  • First you have to pin-point that curling/drooping are due to excessive light by identifying above symptoms.
  • Once symptoms of excessive light are identified, place a thin tissue paper over the plant, to block out excess light.
  • Can also move the plants to a lower shelf away from bright light or move the plant from bright direct light to a window with low filtered light.
  • Leave the plant in the low light area for at least a month or until the leaves start to lay flat and symmetry of the African Violet is restored.

What are the Symptoms of Low Light on African Violet Leaves?

  • When African Violet plants do not receive enough sunlight there growth slows down.
  • The leaf stems start to become elongated/leggy.
  • The leaves start to grow upright/upwards as if trying to reach for the light.

How to Remedy Curling/ Upward Reaching Leaves Due to Low Natural Light in African Violet Plants?

  • The best option when it comes to low natural light, is to move the plant to a location which receives indirect bright light.
  • Remember to rotate or turn the African Violet plant a quarter-turn once a week to maintain their symmetrical rosette form.
  • If a different location is not an option, you can move the plant slightly away from the window or natural light source.
  • African Violets require at least 8hrs of light per day and at least 8hrs of darkness per night to thrive.
  • For long lasting blooms, 12hrs a day of natural sunlight is ideal. African Violets need bright light during the day.

How to Remedy Curling/ Upward Reaching Leaves Due to Low Fluorescent Light in African Violet Plants?

  • If the light intensity is too low for your African Violet plants, you can move them closer to the fluorescent lights.
  • Either move up the shelf or lower the lights down closer to the plants leaves.
  • You can adjust the distance between the plant and bulb, till the plants starts to grow like a flatter rosette shape again.
  • You can also move the plants towards to the center of the plant stand, as light intensity is stronger in the center of the fluorescent bulbs compared to the ends of the bulbs.

What Are the Symptoms of Curling/Drooping Leaves due to Excessive Heat in African Violet Plants?

  • Symptoms of curling/drooping leaves due to excessive heat in African Violet plants are bunched up smaller leaves at center of plant.
  • African Violet leaves curling up or inwards.
  • African Violet leaves crowding and growing closer together.
  • Outer leaves dry up and become crispy brown.
  • Plant growth slows down and stops to bloom.

How to Remedy Curling/ Drooping Leaves Due To Excessive Heat in African Violet Plants?

  • Remedy would be to try to lower temperatures in plant area below 80F.
  • Another option would be to move the plant to a slightly cooler location in the house.
  • Alternatively can draw the curtains or close the blinds to block out excessive light and make the area cooler at the same time too.
  • The leaves will start to flatten out and straighten, but over a period of several weeks. It will take time if symptoms are due to excessive heat.
  • Another option, if growing under lights, would be to reduce the number of hours to 8-10 hrs under lights.
  • Alternatively, you could keep the lights off during the day and keep them on at night, when temperatures are too hot and cannot be controlled.
  • Make sure to increase watering during this period of hot days and not let the plant soil to dry out too much.
  • The African Violet plants can tolerate excessive heat for a few days, but prolonged heat will damage the plants permanently.

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