Why Are My African Mask Plant Leaves Curling?

I started growing and caring for houseplants during the lockdown to keep myself busy. African mask plants have been my favorite choice due to their little care requirements. But African mask plant problems are inevitable.

So, why is my African mask plant leaves curling? Under-watering and low humidity are the leading causes of alocasia leaves bending or curling. Other causes are incorrect lighting, temperature stress, pest infestation, and fungal diseases.

I wrote this article to go through each issue and help you identify the exact problem affecting your African mask plant. I have also shared tips to prevent these issues from happening again to let your houseplant live longer.

Why Are My African Mask Plant Leaves Curling

Reasons for African Mask Plant Leaves Curling


African mask plants cannot thrive in an environment with too much or too little water. The ultimate African mask plant care involves water regulation and keeping the potting mix relatively moist.

If you stop watering your African mask plant, the leaves will begin to curl. You will also notice brown and crispy leaf edges or tips in extreme conditions.

I recommend rehydrating the potting mix to save the under-watered African mask plant. Test the potting mix moisture content before watering your houseplant.

The golden rule is to water the plant twice a week during spring and summer due to the active growth rate. Reduce the watering frequency during winter due to dormancy.

Pest Infestation

African mask plants are vulnerable to insect infestation. Aphids, scales, spider mites, and mealybugs are the leading sap-sucking creatures that attack African mask plants.

High humidity and incorrect ventilation increase the risk of pest infestations. Inspecting your houseplant while watering will help detect early signs of pest infestations.

Use a hand lens to inspect for tiny insects on the foliage surfaces and petiole. Excessive invasion of pests on African mask plants will result in leaves curling problems.

Use an insecticidal soap spray to eliminate these sap-sucking creatures on your African mask plant. Be sure to isolate the plant from others to avoid the spreading of pests.


African mask plants are among few tropical plants that need fewer nutrients to survive and flourish. The fertilizer nutrients help the plant experience full growth size.

But too much fertilizer application will result in African mask plant leaves curling. Excess salt tends to burn the roots and limit them from carrying out their physiological activities.

Besides that, overfeeding the plant will damage the foliage cells to cause brown leaf tips and edges or curling. Be sure to flush the potting mix every three months to leach excess salt.

I recommend feeding your African mask plant every month during the spring and summer seasons. Stop applying fertilizer to the houseplant during winter due to dormancy.

Lack of Nutrition

African mask plant leaves curling and drying is another sign of nutritional deficiency. The problem usually affects the lower and old leaves first.

I recommend feeding your plant with fertilizer rich in potassium to resolve the problem. Another option is to use homemade fertilizer for houseplants to fix the potassium deficiency issue.

Temperature Stress

African mask Plant prefers a temperature range of 68-80oF (20-30oC) to thrive well. Every houseplant enthusiast needs to ensure the indoor temperature is constant.

The abrupt indoor temperature change could be the cause of the African mask plant leaves curling problem. African mask plants cannot tolerate temperatures below 50oF (10oC).

Use a digital thermometer to help monitor indoor temperature changes. It will help increase or decrease your indoor temperatures.


Overwatering is the leading cause of root rot among African mask plants. Brown spots on leaves or leaves curling are an indicator of root rot.

Watering African mask plants can be tricky since they love high humidity and relatively moist soil. Damaged roots due to overwatering will make your plant experience a water shortage.

Save the overwatered African mask plant by re-potting to a new pot and potting mix. Ensure the container has drainage holes at the bottom to eliminate excess water.

Use sterilized scissors to snip the rotten roots and transplant the plant. Remember to use well-draining soil to avoid water-logging problems.

Water Quality

Many people use tap water to hydrate their African mask plants. But tap water contains numerous mineral salts that buildup in the potting mix to inhibit water uptake.

Insufficient water supply makes the African mask plant leaves curl. Use distilled water or rainwater to prevent the leaves from curling.

Another option is to allow the tap water to sit overnight before using it. The mineral salts will settle at the bottom of the bucket.

Incorrect Lighting

African mask plants prefer bright indirect sunlight to flourish. But too much or too little sunlight might be harmful to your African mask plant.

Direct sunlight will make the leaves curl and scorch or burn. Leaves curling are indicators that the plant cannot withstand direct sunlight exposure.

I recommend relocating the houseplant to a spot that receives bright indirect sunlight. Another option is to use artificial lights to resolve the African mask plant problems.

Lack of Humidity

African mask plants are tropical plants that prefer high humidity to stay happy and healthy. Low humidity will make your African mask plant’s leaves curl and develop brown tips or edges.

Low humidity increases water loss than absorption rate leading to a lack of water within the leaf cells. Insufficient water supply leads to curling and drying leaves.

Use an electric humidifier to boost the indoor humidity level. I do not recommend misting the foliages since it will invite infections.

Related Questions

Why Is my Alocasia Black Velvet leaves curling?

Inappropriate watering and pest infestations are the leading cause of alocasia black velvet leaves curling. Other possible causes are low humidity, temperature stress, and incorrect lighting.

Why are my Alocasia leaves turning brown?

Direct sunlight exposure and over-fertilization could be the reason for your alocasia leaves turning brown. Relocate the plant to a spot that receives bright indirect sunlight and reduce overfeeding the plant.

Why are my Alocasia leaves turning yellow?

Alocasia leaves turning yellow are due to overwatering, nutritional deficiency, and pest infestations. Exercise ultimate alocasia plant care to prevent the leaves from yellowing.

Why are my Alocasia leaves drooping?

Inconsistent watering habits, lack of nutrients, and pest infestations may be the reason for your alocasia leaves drooping. Pay extra attention to your houseplant to resolve the leaf problem.

Final Thoughts

African mask plant leaves problems are inevitable. Leaves curling, drooping, and turning yellow or brown are common phenomena.

Exercise ultimate African mask plant care to overcome the leaves curling problem. The vital care requirements are bright indirect sunlight, high humidity, and a regular watering routine.

I hope this information was helpful. Feel free to share with your friends or family and remember to leave a comment below about your experience handling alocasia leaves curling.

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