Polka Dot Plant With Crispy Leaves [How to Fix]

Polka dot plants brighten up your space with their fun, colorful leaves. However, if your plant’s leaves start to become crispy, it not only ruins their aesthetic but can also make you worried about your plant’s health.

Your polka dot plant has crispy leaves either because it is getting too much sun or you are overwatering it. Other probable reasons include underwatering, a pest infestation, the air around it might be too dry, or you are using too much fertilizer.

In this article, I will go into more detail about the above six common causes of crispy leaves and tell you how to solve them. Let’s dive right in!

1. Your Polka Dot Plant Is Getting Too Much Sun

Plants need the sun to survive, but too much sun could be harmful to your polka dot plant. If you place your plant in direct sunlight, it will be getting too much sun. This level of sun exposure adds too much heat to your plant and is akin to putting it next to a fireplace. Excess heat dries out the leaves; they become crispy and can later fall off.

How To Fix Sun Overexposure

While polka dot plants enjoy bright light, they do not need direct sunlight. If you have an indoor polka dot, move it out of direct sun rays and into a bright location. Try placing your plant near a north or south-facing window instead of an east or west-facing window.

The sun rises in the east and sets in the west, so if your window faces that direction, your plant will surely get too much sun.

If your plant is outdoors, keep it in the shade, but make sure it still gets enough light.

2. You Are Underwatering Your Polka Dot Plant

Polka dot plants need enough water combined with the right amount of sunlight to complete photosynthesis. Essentially, photosynthesis is how plants eat. They use sunlight, water, oxygen, and carbon dioxide to create energy and grow.

If your plant does not get enough water, it can’t accurately complete photosynthesis. The polka dot plant leaves dry out and eventually drop off. This process is your plant’s way of keeping itself alive. Dropping leaves allow it to conserve water.

How To Fix Underwatering

You will notice you are under-watering if the top of the soil remains dry. To properly water your polka dot plant, give it enough water to soak the soil surface. Once the top half of your soil dries out, water it again.

Remember to water your plant often when you first get it, and then a bit less in the winter when the days are shorter, and there is less sun.

You can also try bottom watering. This is a method where you water your plants from the bottom for strong roots, and water will not have to touch the leaves. To practice bottom-up watering:

  1. Fill a bowl or container halfway with water.
  2. Make sure this bowl is bigger than your pot.
  3. Allow your plant to soak for 10 to 20 minutes.
  4. Remove your pot from the water source and allow any excess water to drain.

3. You Are Overwatering Your Polka Dot Plant

Polka dot plants love water and moisture but there can be too much of a good thing. When you give your plant too much water, the roots swell and intake as much H2O as they can, while the rest sits in your soil.

When you overwater, the excess damp soil can cause mildew and cause root rot. Root rot is when plants can’t get the oxygen they need to breathe. You will notice a musty smell coming from your plant combined with weak, fragile roots. If the roots are suffering, your polka-dot plant leaves can wilt, turn crispy, and drop off.

How To Fix Overwatering

To fix overwatering:

  1. Check to see if your polka dot plant has root rot.
  2. If there are root rot symptoms, remove any damaged roots and repot the plant.
  3. When watering, allow the top portion of the soil to dry before watering again.

Sometimes, your watering routine may be perfect, but your pot may not be draining well enough. Ensure the pot you choose contains ample holes for water to drain out and ensure you don’t pack your soil too densely for drainage.

4. The Air Is Too Dry Around Your Polka Dot Plant

Polka dots thrive in humid environments. They flourish in rooms and climates with lots of moisture in the air. However, if the air where you place your plant is too dry, the leaves will turn brown and crispy because your polka-dot plant will not be receiving enough moisture.

How To Fix Dry Air Exposure

Having your polka dot plant outdoors is perfectly fine, but be sure to mind the humidity level. If you live in a dry climate, like Phoenix, Arizona, or Denver, Colorado, you may want to bring your polka dot indoors to keep it healthy.

Have an indoor polka dot plant? The air surrounding it may be too dry, still. Try out a humidifier as a fix. I suggest the Orgtoy Quiet Cool Mist Humidifier (available on Amazon. com)—it is quiet, made with plants in mind, and easy to clean.

Place the humidifier next to your plant, leaving enough room for it to vent. Run it for 4 to 5 hours in the morning, so your polka dot can absorb the moisture during sunlight hours. Running it too late can provide too much moisture for the plant to absorb.

If you don’t want to spend money on a humidifier, try misting your polka-dot plant to add moisture. To mist, fill a spray bottle with distilled water and spray your plant a couple of times a day.

5. Your Polka Dot Plant Is Pest Infested

Polka dot plants are not immune to pests; they are susceptible to aphids, mealybugs, and whiteflies. Pests like these feast on your plant and suck away the cell contents.

Besides, the secretion they leave behind can kill a portion of the leaves. Over time, they can kill your entire plant. Aphids can even give your plant a virus.

You will know you have a pest outbreak if the edges of your leaves start turning crisp or you find holes in the leaves. You may also notice them crawling around the underside of your polka-dot plant’s leaves.

How To Fix a Pest Outbreak

Using a fungicide or insecticide can help you with your pest problem. The Garden Safe Fungicide (available on Amazon.com) is a fungicide and insecticide all in one. Spray the insecticide as soon as you notice pests on your polka dot plant and every four days until you notice them disappear.

Going forward, check your plant for pests every time you water it. It is best to catch a pest outbreak early on before it causes severe damage to your polka dot.

6. You Are Using Too Much Fertilizer on Your Polka Dot Plant

If you use fertilizer on your polka dot plant, you are already prioritizing its health and growth. But just like with water and sun, there can be too many good things.

Fertilizer works by adding nutrition to your plant through soluble salt minerals. Over-fertilizing puts too much salt in the soil, lowering its PH and drying out your plant, which leads to crispy leaves.

A higher level of fertilizer can also weaken your roots and cause root rot. Your plant’s roots must work harder to pull water from the soil because they shrivel up. Excess fertilizer can also make your polka dot plant more susceptible to a pest outbreak by weakening it.`

How To Fix Your Fertilizer Levels

To fix over-fertilization, repot your plant with fresh soil. Check for and remove any pests or damaged roots before placing your polka dot plant in a new pot.

You should be using a liquid fertilizer on your polka dot. Look for a balanced formula, such as 20-20-20. I recommend the Fitleaf Leaf Vitality All Purpose, available on Amazon. Mix half a teaspoon of the fertilizer with a gallon of water, then spray the mixture directly onto your soil and the underside of the leaves.

Fertilize your plant every other week in the spring, summer, and fall, but do not use fertilizer in the winter. Wintertime is when your plant grows the slowest because there is less sunlight in a day—thus, your polka dot plant needs less water and fertilizer then.

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There are various reasons your polka dot plant could have crispy leaves. Fortunately, they all have easy solutions. For starters, make sure your plant gets enough light without staying directly in the sun.

You can also try methods such as bottom-up watering, misting, and humidifying to prevent over or underwatering. Use a fungicide to keep pests away and monitor your fertilizer usage by diluting it and only fertilizing in the months with an abundance of daylight.

If you catch the issue early enough, your plant should have a healthy life full of bright, colorful leaves.

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