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Why Are My Coneflowers Curling? 4 Reasons Leaves Twist and Distort

Why Are My Coneflowers Curling? 4 Reasons Leaves Twist and Distort

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Coneflower plants are well known for their ability to brighten up garden beds. Their blooms resemble daisies, and they have an interesting cone-shaped center.

For the most part, caring for these plants is pretty easy. They thrive when placed in full sun, and you typically don’t have to worry about too many pests bothering them.

This is why it’s so alarming when they start having issues. If you’ve noticed that the leaves on the plant are starting to curl, you’re likely concerned about what’s happening.

Why would coneflower leaves start curling? Is there anything that you can do to turn things around?

Keep reading to learn about the common causes so you can help your plants thrive.

1 – Aphids Can Cause Leaf Curling

Although many pests don’t bother coneflower plants, it’s possible that aphids could become an issue. Generally, aphids won’t be able to destroy the entire coneflower plant unless there is a very large infestation.

However, even a small number of aphids can cause these plants to have problems. You might notice that the leaves on the plant will start to distort a bit and turn yellow.

Eventually, you’ll see the leaves start curling as well. Sadly, this might not be the end of the problem as things can get worse in certain ways.

Aphids excrete honeydew onto the plant, and this can cause black mold to form on the stems. It’ll ruin the appealing look of your plants if you don’t take action.

It’s best to try to kill the aphids as soon as you notice them. You can do so by applying insecticidal soap sprays to your plants.

Three applications of insecticidal soap spray should be enough to solve this issue. Wait five days after applying the spray to do the next application.

2 – Leafhoppers Are Also Problematic

Leafhoppers are another pest that can become problematic for your plants. These tiny insects are capable of doing a lot of damage to the foliage of the plant.

If aphids aren’t the problem, there’s a good chance that you’re dealing with leafhoppers. The damage to the leaves will look very similar when leafhoppers are to blame.

You’ll see that the leaves on the plant will start to curl eventually. The plant will also experience distortion and yellowing.

Leafhopper control methods mostly involve using insecticide on your plants. There are many insecticide options that should handle them well such as permethrin or carbaryl.

3 – Whiteflies

Whiteflies sometimes cause the leaves on your coneflower plant to curl, too. These are tiny insects that will suck the juices out of your plant.

As the insects do so, the foliage is going to start looking worse. You’ll see curling, yellowing, and distortion when dealing with these pests.

The biggest issue with whiteflies is that they’re tough to control using standard insecticide options. Sometimes people just choose to remove infested plants from their garden beds in the hope of saving other plants.

You could also try using a hose or vacuum to get rid of them. Many have found success managing whiteflies using these methods.

Washing the insects away with a hose won’t be too difficult to do. You might also want to try to control them using whitefly traps such as sticky paper.

4 – Aster Yellows Disease

Aster Yellows disease is something that is well known to cause leaf curling in these plants. The disease itself is caused by bacteria such as Phytoplasma.

Bacteria spreads to your plant when it gets infested by pests such as leafhoppers. It can spread this infection from one plant to another.

When you see the leaves on the plant start to curl, it might be a sign of disease. This is especially true if you notice that the leaves appear to be narrow.

You might also see that the veins will stay green while the rest of the leaves will turn yellow. That’s one of the easiest ways to differentiate this disease from some other type of pest issue.

Taking care of this problem will require you to do many things. You’ll want to get rid of the infected plants so that it doesn’t spread to other plants while also removing the soil.

Try to use mesh fabrics to keep leafhoppers away and consider preventative insecticide treatments. There are also disease-resistant coneflower plants that you can purchase if you’d like to be safe.

Simply keeping your garden weeded can be a good safety measure as well. You’re more likely to have leafhoppers in your garden if it’s full of weeds.


Some new plant owners might mistake leaf curling for wilting. These two things aren’t the same, but it’s still good to know how to avoid wilting issues.

Your plant might wilt if it isn’t getting enough water. You want to water this plant when the top two inches of the soil have dried out.

Coneflower plants are drought-resistant, but they do need to be watered to thrive. Watering too much can cause wilting issues, and this is why you should always check the soil using your fingers before watering the plant.

So long as you’re caring for the plant properly, it should be possible to avoid wilting issues. Do your best to give it the right amount of water and sunlight.

Final Thoughts

Now you know about the different things that can go wrong in regards to leaf curling. Coneflower plants are truly lovely, and it makes sense to want them in your garden beds.

You just need to be aware that certain pests can cause issues with these plants. They’re not as delicate as some plants, but they still need to be protected if you want them to look their best.

Be on the lookout for pests such as aphids, whiteflies, and leafhoppers. If you can prevent these bugs from bothering your plants, you’ll be in a much better position.

Also, it’s wise to observe the plant to determine if it might have Aster Yellows disease. You’ll need to react accordingly depending on what is wrong with the plant.

So long as you’re paying attention, it should be possible to figure things out. Hopefully, you’ll simply be able to get rid of pests such as aphids without needing to discard your plant to solve the issue.

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