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What Causes Elephant Ear Plant Leaves to Curl?

Updated: July 1, 2022

The elephant ear plant, also known as Alocasia, is a popular houseplant that is loved for its large, attractive leaves. However, sometimes the leaves of this plant may start to curl, which can be a cause for concern. In this article, we will explore some of the reasons why elephant ear plant leaves may curl and what you can do to prevent it from happening.

Lack of Water

One of the most common reasons for elephant ear plant leaves to curl is a lack of water. This plant needs moist soil to thrive, and if the soil becomes too dry, the leaves may start to curl up. If you notice that your plant’s leaves are curling inward, it may be time to water it.

To prevent this from happening in the future, make sure that you are watering your plant regularly. The soil should be kept damp but not waterlogged. You can also mist the leaves with water to provide additional moisture.


While a lack of water can cause elephant ear plant leaves to curl, overwatering can also be a problem. If the soil is too wet, the roots of the plant may rot, which can cause the leaves to curl and turn yellow.

To prevent overwatering, make sure that you are only watering your plant when the top inch of soil feels dry. You can also improve drainage by using a pot with drainage holes and adding perlite or sand to the soil mix.

Inadequate Lighting

Another reason why elephant ear plant leaves may curl is inadequate lighting. This plant needs bright, indirect light to thrive. If it is placed in a dark corner or too far away from a window, the leaves may start to curl up as a sign that they are not getting enough light.

To fix this issue, move your plant to a brighter location where it can receive more natural light. You can also use artificial lighting, such as grow lights, to provide additional light.

Low Humidity

Elephant ear plants are native to tropical regions and thrive in high humidity. If the air in your home is too dry, the leaves of your plant may start to curl up. This can be especially problematic during the winter months when indoor heating can dry out the air.

To increase the humidity around your plant, you can place a humidifier nearby or set a tray of water near the plant. You can also mist the leaves regularly to provide additional moisture.


Pests such as spider mites, mealybugs, and thrips can also cause elephant ear plant leaves to curl. These insects feed on the leaves and can cause damage that leads to curling and yellowing.

To prevent pest infestations, inspect your plant regularly for signs of insects. You can also use insecticidal soap or neem oil to treat any infestations that do occur.


Lastly, disease can also cause elephant ear plant leaves to curl. Common diseases include bacterial leaf spot and fungal infections such as root rot.

To prevent disease, make sure that your plant is not overwatered and that it is placed in a location with adequate airflow. If you notice any signs of disease, remove affected leaves and treat the plant with a fungicide.


Can I fix curled elephant ear plant leaves?

Yes, in most cases curled leaves can be fixed by addressing the underlying issue. This may involve adjusting watering habits, increasing light or humidity, treating pests or disease, or improving drainage.

Should I cut off curled elephant ear plant leaves?

If only a few leaves are affected, you can remove them without harming the plant. However, if many leaves are curled or the entire plant looks unhealthy, it may be best to start over with a new plant.

How often should I water my elephant ear plant?

The frequency of watering will depend on factors such as the size of the pot, the amount of light and humidity, and the temperature. In general, you should water your elephant ear plant when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch.

Can elephant ear plants grow outside?

Yes, elephant ear plants can be grown outside in warm, humid climates. However, they are sensitive to cold temperatures and need protection during the winter months.