Why Are My Kalanchoe Leaves Curling? Causes and What To Do

The Kalanchoe plant is native to Madagascar and thrives in tropical and subtropical climates. They are popular houseplants and are known for their easy care and vibrant flowers. Kalanchoes are succulents and have thick, fleshy leaves that store water. 

The plants are drought tolerant and can go long periods without water, but if they do not receive regular water, they will begin to show signs of stress. One of the first signs of stress in a kalanchoe is curling leaves.

Curling leaves can be caused by several different factors. The most common reason is improper watering.

Don’t fret! In this article, we’ll teach you all you need to know about caring for Kalanchoes, one of the most finicky houseplants around. Questions such as, “Why are the leaves on my Kalanchoe curling?” and “What can I do to avoid this from occurring again?” are the ones we’ll be focusing on most.

Kalanchoe Leaves Curling
Kalanchoe Leaves Curling

So Why Are My Kalanchoe Leaves Curling?

Too Much Water

The leaves of Kalanchoe plants often curl because too much water is left resting on the soil’s surface. Those who are just starting out often make this error.

It’s interesting to note that the Latin word for “sap” is “succus,” and that’s where the word “succulent” got its start. This term was given to a group of plants whose leaves can retain water for several days.

A Kalanchoe, like other members of its genus, is a succulent. Because of its ancestry in a dry, hot climate, kalanchoe plants may survive without frequent watering.

To put it plainly, Kalanchoes can’t handle being overwatered, and as a result, their leaves curl, become brown, and eventually die. Fungal patches also become more common when there is an abundance of water.

Sun Exposure or Scorching Heat

Kalanchoe can tolerate extremely high temperatures, however, the plant’s leaves won’t thrive in direct sunlight. In spite of the fact that photosynthesis requires sunlight, the Kalanchoe plant thrives when exposed to significantly less of it.

Kalanchoes require indirect sunshine; yet, they cannot tolerate direct sunlight unless their leaves curl. In other words, your Kalanchoe plant will thrive in a spot that receives filtered sunlight or has a minimal shadow. Kalanchoe has to be relocated after the leaves begin to curl or turn red.

Alternatively, if your Kalanchoe is not getting enough light, it will let you know. To seek light, the plant will go through etiolation, in which its leaves grow longer.

Potting Incorrectly

Kalanchoe prefers well-drained soil that is low in nutrients and has a sandy texture. The wrong medium is planted in Kalanchoe plants by many owners, which causes their succulents to die.

Unfortunately, most potting mixes and fertilizers aren’t designed to support the growth of a Kalanchoe, and we know you want the best for your plant. They just cause the Kalanchoe more strain as it tries in vain to expel the nutrients it doesn’t need.

Curling Kalanchoe leaves are a symptom of being grown in a container that doesn’t drain water well enough. A Kalanchoe has to be repotted every year, even if its soil is OK.

Keep in mind that your Kalanchoe requires three things: well-drained soil, a potting mix formulated for succulents, and a container with several drainage holes.

Tap Water

Watering plants with tap water is a common error since it’s convenient. But what you’re really doing is destroying your plant over time.

Kalanchoe flowers are no different. A succulent cannot survive even a few exposures to tap water, while a select few plants can.

Because of the salt and other minerals that accumulate on the soil’s surface over time, drinking water isn’t the best option.

These hazardous compounds eventually become a part of the soil, changing the pH and making it harder for plant roots to take up nutrients.

This causes the Kalanchoe leaves to get curly and the roots to decay. In addition, a wide variety of areas of discoloration will show up.


Not providing a plant enough water, like overwatering it, is stressful for it. Kalanchoes prefer soil that is neither too dry nor too damp.

True, a Kalanchoe will continue to thrive even in dry conditions, but its leaves will begin to curl and have discolored areas along the veins. It won’t die from being submerged in water, but you should probably keep it out of the water nonetheless.

That is to say, reduce the frequency of watering if the temperature inside or outdoors is below 30 degrees Fahrenheit. If you want your Kalanchoe to thrive, you need to ensure sure the soil never dries up completely.

Curling leaves alone won’t tell you whether your Kalanchoe are drowning; if they seem dry, too, then you know that’s the issue. Reddish browning at the tips might mean your plant needs more water.


Adding fertilizer too frequently has the same effect on a plant’s soil pH as using tap water. Fertilizing a Kalanchoe once a month is all that is required.

In order to avoid saturating the plant with too many nutrients, only feed them half of what the bag calls for. Remember that all plants require consistent fertilizer throughout their blossoming stages.

During this period, Kalanchoes consider it to be late winter and the beginning of the next spring. Remember to give your Kalanchoe a feeding at least twice a month throughout the appropriate seasons. Additionally, be sure to use good potting soil.

Fluctuating Temperatures

The arid, low-humidity environments where the kalanchoe plant first appeared are ideal for its growth and development. The simple fact is that Kalanchoe plants don’t thrive in situations where those requirements aren’t satisfied.

It’s not healthy for your Kalanchoe if you leave it in the cold all the time. Curling leaves are a symptom, but black patches and gray mold will soon follow.

Kalanchoe prefers somewhat shaded locations that do not receive direct sunlight, however this does not indicate that it will flourish in damp or chilly spots. Kalanchoes thrive at temperatures between 32 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

On extremely hot days, sprinkle the leaves of your Kalanchoe with water. Also, a damp cloth can be used to clean them. While not strictly necessary, this does assist maintain the Kalanchoe’s glossy look.

Humidity levels that are Low

As we’ve already established, high humidity is ideal for a Kalanchoe’s growth. Kalanchoe can’t adjust to new environments because it evolved in arid regions.

The worst season for a Kalanchoe, for example, is winter. Its leaves curl as a result of the combined effects of low humidity and cold temperatures. Even when kept indoors, Kalanchoes shouldn’t be placed near radiators or other sources of direct heat.

This is especially true during the warmer months when air conditioning is in widespread usage. A Kalanchoe will thrive in the sunshine and heavy humidity outside during those periods.

As a general rule of thumb, keep your Kalanchoe away from drafty vents, heaters, and radiators as much as possible. To sum up, the leaves shouldn’t be exposed to any air at all.


Your plant has turned into a pest breeding habitat if any of the preceding circumstances hold true. A Kalanchoe insect infestation can be caused by, among other things, inadequate air circulation, underwatering, and inconsistent cleaning.

The leaves will simply curl, droop, and eventually fall off as a result of this. However, Mealybugs, Whiteflies, Aphids, and Red Spider Mites are among the most prevalent pests that attack a Kalanchoe. As a rule, these bugs congregate near the plant’s leaves or its base to feed on its juices.

Leaves will develop mold patches and get darkened if these insects aren’t dealt with. Because of this, the Kalanchoe will perish. Using a natural, DIY pesticide is the most effective method of elimination.

The Best Way to Fix Curled Kalanchoe Leaves

Taking care of everything we discussed above can seem impossible now. The good news is that fixing the problem of curled Kalanchoe leaves doesn’t take a lot of time or effort.

We’ll show you how simple it is to take care of your Kalanchoe by sharing some of our best practices for nurturing this stunning plant.

Plants should be replanted as needed

At least once a year, preferably in the spring before the flowering season begins, you should repot your plants. In general, all you need is a suitable container and dirt to get started.

Kalanchoes may need repotting if their leaves begin to curl or the soil around their roots dries up completely. If the container you’re using has a drainage hole, you may simply swap out the old soil with a new batch of potting mix.

Soil should be appropriate for Kalanchoe planting. If you’re worried that your plant is getting too much fertilizer, repotting is another excellent option to consider. You may wait at least six months before fertilizer is needed again after repotting.

Regularly water your plants

It takes a lot of practice to get the hang of watering a Crassulaceae plant. When you water your Kalanchoe for the first few times, it’s typical for the leaves to curl because of your mistakes.

You may trust the fingertip rule of thumb. Watering requirements are determined by inspecting the top inch of soil (about the size of a fingertip). Don’t water right now if the ground is already damp.

Keep in mind that the frequency with which you water Kalanchoe will change depending on the season. As an example, if the temperature is high, the soil will dry up more quickly and require more watering.


If the leaves on your Kalanchoe plant begin to curl, it’s a warning indication that your plant needs attention.

Infrequent watering and poor conditions in the plant’s environment are the most prominent causes of this problem. Other possible reasons include overfertilizing the Kalanchoe, planting it in the incorrect container, or using the wrong soil.

The good news is that you can stop the Kalanchoe leaves from curling by taking the necessary precautions.

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