African violets are popular and pretty plants that many people like to take care of. They are quite common because of how good they look, but some people get nervous about keeping them.
These plants can be a little trickier to care for than other popular options, but this doesn’t mean that it’s incredibly hard to care for them.
If you’ve recently started keeping African violets in your home, you might be worried if you’ve noticed its leaves start to curl. Leaf curling can be a very bad sign that something is off, but it can also just be normal depending on what type you’re talking about.
Keep reading to get more information about African violet leaves, why they might be curling, and what to do to keep them healthy.
1 – Too Little Light
One of the most common reasons why African violet leaves will start curling is that they are receiving too little light. If you’ve noticed that your plant’s leaves are curling upward, this is a sign that it needs more light.
What the plant is doing is trying to get more sunlight by growing upward, and this is causing its leaves to curl up like that.
When an African violet starts to grow upward like that, it’s going to encounter some problems. The most noticeable issue is that the plant is going to start to get top-heavy. This can totally throw off the balance of the plant, and that’s a good reason to try to fix the light issue.
Thankfully, getting your plant back to normal isn’t going to be all that tough. If your issue is just related to your plant not getting enough sunlight, getting it in a better position is going to help.
You can ensure that your African violet is getting enough sunlight so that it can thrive and get back to looking more normal.
Generally, you’re going to want to filter the light that your plant is getting to protect it. Most African violets will thrive with bright to medium intensity light.
If your African violet is a darker green than usual, it might have higher light requirements than one that is lighter in color.
You might also wish to turn the plant every so often so that its leaves or flowers won’t start reaching out toward the sunlight. Simply turning the pot that your African violet is in can help to keep things equal so that your plant will look its best.
Plant owners that pay attention like this will definitely have the best experience raising African violets.
2 – Cold Weather
Cold weather can definitely cause your African violet to have a number of different problems. If the weather has taken a turn and things are quite cold now, you might notice that your plant will curl its leaves in response.
African violets are usually going to thrive in temperatures of around 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the day, and they also don’t want the temperature at night to get much cooler than this.
If your African violets are outside, they will definitely be in danger of having issues such as leaf curling. Even when nights start to get as cool as 50 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s going to present problems.
When your plant is out in the cold for longer periods of time, it’s going to start to get brittle and you might notice the leaves curling under.
There are other signs that your African violets are too cold that you can look out for as well. You might notice that the leaves will have extra fur on them when the plant is too cold.
Also, center leaves might be tightly bunched together in an attempt to survive the cold temperatures.
The solution to this problem is one that you probably could have guessed on your own. You need to move your African violet to a spot that is much warmer than the one that it is currently planted in.
People who keep African violets indoors will likely not have to deal with issues like this due to having their plants in a temperature controlled environment.
Most people like to keep the temperature in their homes around 70 degrees Fahrenheit or a little warmer than that. This will be perfect for your African violet plants, and they should be able to do well inside so long as you can get them enough sunlight.
It might be best to move your African violets indoors when things get cool if you want to keep them healthy, but you could also try to find a warmer position outdoors if you can find one.
3 – Issues with Mites
One of the most troubling reasons why African violets might start to have problems will be due to mites. A mite infestation can cause your plant to experience symptoms that are very similar to what you will see when an African violet gets too cold.
It might have stunted growth and will look damaged in certain ways that will make it hard for you to tell if it’s from cold weather or mites.
The problem with identifying mite damage is that the mites that like to attack African violets are too small for the naked eye to see. They’re usually going to start feeding on the new center growth of your plant, and this makes it the place to start investigating.
You might notice some damage there, and this could give you the right evidence that tells you that you have a mite problem.
Many plant owners will just go ahead and dispose of a plant when it has been infested by mites. This is often the safest course of action since you don’t want those mites to pass on to other plants in your house or gardens.
However, you can also choose to try to save the plant by getting rid of the mites.
Dealing with a mite infestation involves using insecticide that is often referred to as miticide when being used to dispose of mites. You can buy the right insecticide from your local garden centers or nurseries, but you could look online for the right stuff if you would rather order it.
If you’re wary of using insecticide, you could always go with insecticidal soap instead.
You want to take your African violets outside to treat them with the insecticide or the insecticidal soap. Separate them from your other plants and then try your best to get rid of the mite infestation.
This should work for you, but the survival of the plant isn’t always guaranteed, and it can often depend on how much damage the mites have done to the African violet.
4 – Dry Soil
You might not be surprised to find that dry soil can actually cause African violet leaves to curl. If you have neglected your plant, you might not have been watering it as often as you should.
In this situation, it’s possible that the leaf curling is just because it isn’t being taken care of properly.
Some people try their best to care for African violets but wind up making mistakes. As mentioned earlier, these plants can be a bit finicky when compared to other common houseplants.
If you want to have the best experience raising them, you need to ensure that you use the right soil.
You can buy special soil mixes from nurseries that are made to help African violet plants thrive. Some people choose to make their own soil mixes using perlite, vermiculite, and peat moss.
Just ensure that you get the right soil so that your plant will do well and you won’t encounter issues.
Watering needs to be handled very specifically, too, and you should always water your plant using lukewarm water. Most African violet aficionados say that you should let the water sit for 48 hours before using it to water your plants.
You also want to ensure that you’re watering the plant at the base without splashing water onto the leaves.
Knowing when to water the plant is going to be crucial as well, and you need to check the soil to figure this out. An African violet plant needs to be watered when the soil starts to feel less moist than usual.
You aren’t supposed to let the soil dry out completely since it can lead to problems such as leaf curling.
5 – Some African Violets Might Have Naturally Curled Leaves
It’s also worth noting that some African violets have naturally curled leaves. There are actually quite a few different varieties out there that you can raise.
Some of them might have leaves that are a bit curled, and you’ll need to get specific information about what African violet you happen to be raising.
If an African violet has naturally occurring curled leaves, it’s not something that you really need to worry about at all. It’s just important to make sure that this is normal for the plant that you’re raising.
Since leaf curling can be a sign that something is wrong, it’s always going to be best to be sure of what you’re dealing with so that you don’t accidentally write off a real issue.
6 – Root Rot
When your African violet plant gets root rot, it’s not going to be able to be saved. Curled leaves could be a sign that your plant is in the beginning stages, but it depends on what else you’re seeing.
To properly understand root rot, it’s important to know what else you should be looking out for.
You’ll often notice that the leaves of your plant will start drooping downward when it is experiencing root rot. They will eventually start to turn brown over time, and they will also start to get mushy when they get to a certain point.
Even the stems can start to turn brown and they will become far less rigid due to the root rot.
You’re just going to want to go ahead and throw the plant out when it gets like this. It will be beyond the point that it can be saved. A plant will get root rot after a long period of time of not being cared for properly, and it’s just not something that can be turned around.
Solve Your Leaf Curling Problems
Solve your leaf curling problems now so that you can get your African violet back in good condition. Of course, if you have a plant that has naturally occurring curled leaves, you don’t need to be concerned.
Otherwise, it’s important to take the right steps to figure out what you’re doing wrong.
You might not be watering your African violets properly or you could be using soil that isn’t quite right for it. It’s also possible that your plant just needs more adequate sunlight so that it can thrive.
If you can determine what it is that you are doing wrong, it’ll be much easier to turn things around.
African violets are gorgeous plants that are well worth taking care of. You are going to have to put a good bit of work into caring for them, but they’re very rewarding plants to have in your home.
If you’re willing to be careful about how you’re taking care of your plants, you should be able to have a good experience overall.
Hopefully, the above information will make it easier for you to understand what you should be doing. Curled leaves can be very problematic, but it might not be a reason to be worried depending on the circumstances.
Either way, you do need to pay close attention to African violets when you want them to do well under your care.
Take the time to learn everything that you need to know about these wonderful plants. Once you’re feeling more confident about what you should be doing, getting them to stay healthy shouldn’t be so hard.
Enjoy your time taking care of these plants and try not to get too anxious when you notice little problems since you can often correct your mistakes.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.