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What Causes Dwarf Oyster Plant Leaves to Curl?

Updated: December 24, 2022

Dwarf oyster plants, also known as Tradescantia spathacea ‘Dwarf’, are a popular houseplant due to their attractive foliage and ease of care. However, one issue that can arise with these plants is when their leaves start to curl. This can be a sign of several different problems, ranging from environmental issues to pests and diseases.

Environmental Issues

The most common cause of curled leaves on dwarf oyster plants is environmental stress. These plants are native to tropical regions and prefer warm, humid conditions. If the air in your home is too dry, or if the plant is exposed to cold drafts or excessively hot temperatures, it can respond by curling its leaves.

To remedy this issue, try increasing the humidity around the plant by misting it with water or placing a tray of water nearby. Be sure to keep the plant away from cold drafts and direct sunlight, which can also cause leaf curling.

Overwatering or Underwatering

Another common cause of leaf curling in dwarf oyster plants is overwatering or underwatering. These plants prefer consistently moist but well-draining soil. If the soil is too wet, the roots can become waterlogged and the plant may respond by curling its leaves. Similarly, if the plant is not receiving enough water, it may also curl its leaves in an attempt to conserve moisture.

To prevent overwatering, make sure that your plant is potted in a well-draining soil mix and that any excess water is able to drain away from the roots. Allow the top inch or so of soil to dry out slightly before watering again. If you suspect that your plant has been underwatered, give it a thorough watering and monitor it closely for signs of improvement.

Pests and Diseases

In some cases, curled leaves on dwarf oyster plants can be a sign of pest or disease issues. Spider mites and mealybugs are two common pests that can infest these plants and cause leaf curling. Fungal infections such as root rot can also cause the leaves to curl and wilt.

To check for pests, inspect the plant closely for any signs of tiny bugs or a sticky residue on the leaves. If you suspect that your plant has a fungal infection, gently remove it from its pot and inspect the roots for any signs of rot or decay.


In conclusion, curled leaves on dwarf oyster plants can be a sign of several different problems. Environmental stress, overwatering or underwatering, and pest or disease issues are all potential causes. By identifying the underlying issue and taking steps to remedy it, you can help your plant recover and thrive.


Can I cut off the curled leaves?

Yes, you can prune off any curled leaves to improve the appearance of the plant. However, it is important to address the underlying issue causing the leaf curling to prevent further damage.

How often should I water my dwarf oyster plant?

These plants prefer consistently moist but well-draining soil. Water when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch.

Can dwarf oyster plants be grown outdoors?

These plants can be grown outdoors in tropical climates, but they are typically grown as houseplants in other regions.