Money tree leaves curling is something that should happen to a happy, healthy plant. So, if you wake up one day and notice this happening to your tree’s foliage, it is time to investigate.
Since there are many possible reasons for curling leaves on money trees, it is important to take the time to narrow down the cause to identify what’s really happening.
Why are your money tree leaves curling? Underwatering is often the reason for this. But root rot resulting from overwatering can also cause curling leaves.
Additionally, lack of nutrients and too much fertilizer both can cause it. Finally, do consider low humidity, lighting issues and extreme temperature.
Why are My Money Tree Leaves Curling?
I’ll start off with some good news.
When new leaves first emerge, they’ll look curled. This is just they way they are. And it is part of the normal life cycle of leaves.
So, if you see new leaves that looked curled don’t be alarmed.
It is actually a good thing because the plat is growing well which means it is healthy and happy.
New leaves emerge then develop from the stem. And they will look curled from the top. But over time, they will naturally unfurl and slowly grow into the mature leaves that the money tree is known for.
So, if you notice this, it is a good thing.
Underwatering is the most common reason for money tree leaves curling. It is how the plant response when it does not have a lot of water stores and is trying to conserve as much moisture as it can.
The reason is that leaves curl to reduce the surface area of its leaves.
In doing so, there is less water the evaporates through transpiration.
In a this is how the plant the adjust when it is short on water, and it does not expect to get new water any time soon.
Unfortunately, the plant can only do so much to limit its water loss.
After a while, it will start wilting. And you’ll see brown leaves as well.
This is why it is important to be consistent with your watering. Note that consistent is different with using a fixed schedule.
I don’t recommend using fixed schedules unless you live somewhere with very steady weather. If the weather is always warm and sunny even through November and December, then you can use a fixed schedule.
Otherwise, adjust based on the how hot or cold the weather is.
Consistency means having a general guideline. With the money tree it is a good idea to water the plant once the top 2 inches of soil has dried.
If you find yourself regularly forgetting that’s fine.
But don’t allow the soil to fully dry. This is when all the issues like wilting, discoloration and others occur.
That said, also try to avoid inconsistent watering.
This can cause money tree leaves to curl as well. The leaves can curl upwards or downwards.
Thus, the best way to keep track it to feel the soil ever few days.
Once the top 2-3 inches of soil has dried up, it is time to water.
Money tree leaves curling can also be caused by overwatering.
Overwatering is very dangerous because it can lead to root rot. But even if it does not reach that point, it can turn leaves yellow and affect their shape.
This is why the money tree’s leaves can curl.
The more water you give the plant, the more moisture they’ll keep in their leaves.
As this happens, their shape becomes distorted due to the extra water content. Instead of being flat, they will curl.
In the case of overwatering, money tress leaves curl downwards.
That’s because they expand to try to hold as much water as they can.
So, if you notice “fatter” leaves that are curling downward or “doming”, check the soil. This is the fastest way to verify if it is in fact overwatering that is causing the leaf curl.
If the soil is wet, soggy or damp, then you have confirmation.
Here, you have two options.
One is to allow the soil to dry on its own. Since it is coming from an overwatered state, you want to let the soil almost completely dry before you add more water.
This will help give the plant time to recover.
And when you water adjust your schedule so overwatering does not happen again.
On the other hand, if you want to play safe and be aggressive, you can repot the plant. This immediately takes the money plant from the overwatered soil to dry soil.
Thus, it can start recovering.
This also prevents any possibility of root rot developing as you wait for the water to dry.
Lack of Light
Low light can also case money tree leaves to curl. This is common for this plant as it likes to adjust to compensate for any excess or shortcomings from the environment.
And its leaves are often where the plant takes action.
Money tree leaves curling happens when the plant is not getting enough light.
The sides of the leaves will curl down causing the leaf to form a dome shape. The center of the leaves will protrude upwards.
This allows the leaves to maximize their surface area to let them collect as much light as they can from the source.
The Monet tree has to do this to compensate for the lack of light.
In doing so, it tried to get as much light for photosynthesis.
Therefore, if you checked the soil and overwatering is not the issue and the does not feel wet at all, then check for lighting.
Make sure the plant gets medium to bright, indirect light indoors.
Outdoors, it needs partial shade.
Avoid low light, dim areas, places where the plant is covered from the sun or completely shaded areas.
Sometimes, it is just the seasonal change in light. Winters tend to have much less light. And even in fall, some locations can have very overcast skies which reduces sunlight.
Therefore, move the money tree to a brighter location like an east or west facing window.
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The money tree prefers temperatures between 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
And it will tolerate up to around 90 degree Fahrenheit heat as well.
However, its I not frost hardy. And while it can tolerate temperatures to 30 degrees Fahrenheit, this is pushing it a bit.
Try to keep it somewhere warmer so you don’t see the side effects like slower growth and curling leaves.
Avoid leaving the plant outdoors late fall and in the winter as it cannot take freezing temperatures.
Similarly, leaf curling can also happen with temperature fluctuations.
This is something that the plant does not like.
Therefore, avoid positioning it where the nighttime temperature can suddenly drop significantly from daytime temperature.
The money tree loves humidity. Ideally, it likes humidity to be at least 50% and above.
Therefore, it can be a tricky to care for the plant depending on where you live.
The simplest way to fix this is to move your money tree to the bathroom. However, make sure that there is enough light.
The plant needs medium to bright indirect light.
Note that you may not need to increase humidity depending on where you live. That’s because some cities have good humidity.
This is especially true if you live in a coastal city or near a body of water.
To check, you an get a hygrometer.
This is especially useful if the humidity where you live tends to be on the low end. Many tropical plants need at least 40% humidity or higher to stay healthy and keep their leaf colors.
If you see leaves turning brown especially on the edges and tips, this is a sign the plant isn’t getting enough moisture in the air.
Money tree leaves curling also happens doe to lack of humidity.
If these symptoms occur, then you need to increase humidity around the plant.
You can do so by:
- Misting the plant. But be careful not to mist too much and wet the leaves. This can lead to fungal disease.
- Get a humidifier. This is the most straightforward solution. But it does cost money and requires some maintenance as well.
- Make a humidity tray or pebble tray. You can make either. These are my favorites because they’re easy to make. And you can use old items you already have at home. Plus, it is very low maintenance.
- Group all your houseplants together. This is another simple solution you can use if you have quite a few houseplants.
Lack of Nutrients
If you haven’t fertilized your money tree in a few years, you’ll probably see slower growth, loss of color and yellow leaves.
Money tree leaves curling and foliage dropping off are other symptoms as well.
That’s because the plant needs nutrients.
NPK are the essential nutrients to grow. But secondary nutrients like calcium and magnesium are likewise important.
And always choose a fertilizer the micronutrients as well.
Whenever the plant does not get enough nutrients its growth and development will slow. This is in part because its sustenance is insufficient.
But on the plant’s side, it will also favor slower growth and smaller leaves to try and survive. This allows it to use fewer resources which it has very little of.
Therefore, the plant not only looks weak and ill, its leaves will be small, lack color and curl as well.
This makes it very important to feed the plant.
And you don’t need to do it all the time.
The money tree only needs fertilizing during spring and summer. Apply a balanced liquid fertilizer once a month diluted to half strength.
Don’t feed the plant in fall or winter.
It is not only nutrient deficiencies that cause problems for the money tree, excess fertilizer also does.
So, while it is important to give the plant nutrients, avoid overdoing it.
Commercial fertilizers contain salts which plants hate.
While plants like the money tree are able to tolerate these salts to a certain degree, once enough builds up in the soil it becomes toxic.
So, the more you feed the plant, not only are you giving it more nutrients but also more salt. The salt ends up accumulating in the soil.
When too much salt is present it will burn the roots damaging them.
This prevents the money tree from getting enough nutrients and water since the roots are the ones absorbing these from the soil.
Fewer healthy roots means insufficient moisture and nutrients which not only lead to money tree leaves curling but also wilting, yellow and brown leaves.
On the other hand, let’s say you’re able to balance the amount.
I don’t suggest trying this because it is easy to overdo it.
More fertilizer means a faster growing plant. However, because you’re forcing it to grow faster than it normally wants to, the roots don’t grow along. Only the shoots, stems and leaves develop faster.
This gives you a larger money tress with a smaller root system.
The result is the root system will be unable to support the bigger plant as the roots only have a certain capacity of moisture and nutrients they can absorb.
So again, you end up with an underwatered plant that is lacking nutrients.
So, drooping, yellow and curling leaves will occur followed by leaves dropping.
Therefore, avoid overfeeding your money tree.
Only feed once a month during the spring and summer with an all-purpose fertilizer, ideally a balance formulation. Dilute the dose by 50% each time.
Excess Direct Sunlight
The money tree likes bright, indirect sunlight. That’s because it is used to getting shade from the forest canopy in its native habitat.
As such, while it thrives on plenty of light, it cannot withstand very strong light.
That’s because too much exposure to intense direct sunlight can damage its leaves and cause quite a few side effects.
If you leave the money tree under direct sunlight for more than 2 hours a day, its leaves will eventually turn yellow. You’ll also see yellow or brown spots on the leaves.
And it more extreme cases, the leaves will get sunburned.
So, after a while, they will turn brown as well.
In addition to the color changes, you’ll see money tree leaves curling due to the heat from the sun’s rays. As the temperature gets higher and the plant loses moisture, it will curl to try to limit to water loss.
So, try to keep your money tree away from the direct path of the sun’s rays.
Try to check where they hit at different times of the day so you can position the plant where it gets a lot of light but not direct sunlight.