Why is My Elephant Ear Leaf Curling? [Reasons & Easy Fixes]

The elephant ear leaf plant is one of the most common houseplants because of how beautiful and magnificent it is. This tropical plant is famous for its broad, shiny leaves that make any room instantly attractive.

However, many people will find the elephant ear leaf curling and wonder why this is happening. The truth is that these plants require loads of maintenance. Usually, when they do not receive the right kind of care, their leaves start to curl.

This includes being underwatered or overwatered, not receiving sufficient light, being left in low temperatures for too long, over-fertilizing, and developing a pest infestation.

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Why is My Elephant Ear Leaf Curling

Have you been giving your elephant ear leaf water daily and sufficient light but still find its leaves curling? There are loads of reasons that could cause your plant to curl. Usually, improper care and environmental problems are to blame.

If you want your elephant ear leaf to go back to being healthy and upright, it is essential to know why the leaves on your plant are losing their shape and how to fix this problem.

Here are some common causes and tips that will help you save your precious plant:

Insects and Pest Infestations

Did you know that insects and pests do not only infest outdoor plants? In fact, these annoying creatures can find their way into your home and infest your indoor plants before you notice.

The same applies to elephant ear leaf plants, as mealybugs and spider mites can easily attack these. If you find the leaves of your elephant ear leaf curling, keep in mind that your plant could be infested.

Before you dismiss a pest infestation, let us tell you that it can cause a lot of damage to your plants. Pests suck the juices out of your elephant ear leaf plant leaves and completely destroy plant cells, causing the leaves to curl.

Before you start thinking about how to get rid of the insects from your plant, you need to figure out the root cause of the issue- why are these pests finding their way to your plant?

Here are some things you can do:

  • Clean your plant: Insects love making a home on dusty plants. Hence, if you do not clean your plants often, it is time for you to take a wet cloth and wipe them down.
  • Look for webbing: Flip the plant leaves over and search for webbing of any kind. If you find it, use a mixture of soap and water to clean it so that it does not occur again.
  • Neem oils: Neem oils are a great way to remove insects and pests and ensure they do not find their way back on your plant again.
  • Insecticidal soap: Insecticidal soap is a great and safe way to get rid of pests. You need to ensure that the soap is safe for your plant, your children, and your children and pets. Test the soap on a small leaf before using it on your entire plant.

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Watering Schedule

One of the reasons that cause elephant ear leaf plants to curl or droop is when they are being over or underwatered. This is because elephant ear leaf plants are tropical plants that need moisture to thrive. If they do not receive enough water, the leaves will start curling.

Keep in mind that this does not mean you should up the water supply by five times. All you have to do is keep the soil moist enough so that it is not soaking wet.

If the leaves of your plant are curling because you are underwatering them, you need to rectify the watering schedule as soon as possible. If you do not, the leaves will become dry and, eventually, crispy as if they are baked. This will cause the leaves to curl up even more, and if you are not careful, your plant will die.

The good news is that it is easy to understand your plant’s water needs. All you need to do is understand what makes your plant thrive and stay consistent with the schedule. Of course, this will take a few days to work out, but once you do, your plants will return to being green and beautiful.

Even though these plants love moisture, you must not overwater them. When you start watering this plant, do not cause the water to overflow. Instead, only keep the soil moist.

One sign to look out for is to stop watering the plant when the saucer starts filling up with water. Of course, you will have to empty this saucer so that your plant is not sitting in water for too long.

We would also recommend that you use a moisture meter to be confident that your plant is getting sufficient water every time.

It must also be kept in mind that these plants do not require too much water during the colder season. Hence, you can get away with watering the plant once a week.

Potassium Deficiency

If you find that the leaves of your plant are curling, it could be because your plant has a potassium deficiency. If this problem persists, the leaves could eventually become dry and fall off. Hence, you must fix the issue as soon as possible to ensure your plant does not die.

Fortunately, there are two ways you can fix potassium deficiency:

  • Commercial fertilizers: These fertilizers work as a miracle as they are loaded with potassium sulfate, potassium chloride, or potassium nitrate. All you have to do is follow the instructions on the label and allow your plant to recover.
  • Organic fertilizers: If you are looking for something natural, you can make some compost at home with the help of orange or banana peels or feed your plant some seaweed.

Regardless of the method you choose, you must ensure that your plant is getting sufficient water during this time to absorb the nutrients.

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Low Temperature

As mentioned before, elephant ear leaf plants are tropical plants. This means they thrive in high temperatures and moisture. When put in a cold room, you will find that your plant’s health is deteriorating. The ideal temperature for this plant is between 68- and 86-degree Fahrenheit.

If you have kept your plant in an area where the humidity levels are low, it might cause the plant’s leaves to curl. Hence, we recommend placing your plant in a humidity tray or keeping it with other plants so that the humidity levels in the room start to rise naturally.


Like any other plant, an elephant ear leaf plant cannot absorb too many nutrients at once. This is especially true if your plant is growing in a pot. Even though fertilizing the plant is essential, you must ensure that you do not overwhelm the plant. If you use too much fertilizer, you will end up affecting your plant’s health.

Here are some rules to follow if you have overfertilized your elephant ear leaf plant and want to get it back on track:

  • Use fertilizer during the growing season every two weeks.
  • Make sure that your fertilizer is water-solution, especially during summer and spring.
  • Do not fertilize your plant when the temperature starts to drop in your region.

Final Thoughts – Caring for an Elephant Ear Leaf Plant

Even though a large majority of the population loves elephant ear leaf plants, caring for them can be difficult. This is because you will have to provide these plants with the perfect humid environment so that they can thrive, even in the winters. Caring for them will become much easier if you understand how to keep these plants moist.

  • Give your plant lots of indirect light. However, do not place them in direct sunlight.
  • Only water your plant when the top 2 inches of the soil has become dry.
  • Ensure that your plant is kept in a high-humidity area.
  • Clean the plants every 1 to 2 months so they do not develop dust.
  • Change the plant’s pot every one or two years.

Many reasons could cause your elephant ear leaf plant to curl. Before you try any method, it is essential that you understand what is causing the problem and then attempt the remedy. Once the root cause has been identified, you can use this guide to repair your plant.

Remember, don’t start caring for your plant only when problems arise. These plants are sensitive and require constant care all year round. Hence, follow a consistent routine by giving your plant enough nutrients, light, water, and correct temperatures so that they can thrive.

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