African Violet Leaves Are Curling – What Do Curling African Violet Leaves Mean

Potted African Violet Leaves
av curly leaves
(Image credit: Eduard Lysenko)

African violets are among the most popular flowering houseplants. With their fuzzy leaves and compact clusters of pretty flowers, along with their ease of care, it’s no wonder we love them. But, there can be issues with these houseplants. If your African violet leaves are curling, there are a few potential causes and easy solutions.

African Violet Leaf Curl Caused by Cold

If the leaves on your African violet are curling under, the most likely cause is temperature. These plants grow best when temperatures during the day are around 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 Celsius) and not much cooler at night. Watering African violets with cool water can also be problematic. Let water warm to room temperature.

Being too cold for too long will cause the leaves to turn brittle and curl under. Other symptoms of cold stress include center leaves that are tightly bunched together, stunted growth, and extra fur on the leaves.

The good news is that fixing this problem is simple. You just need to find a warmer spot for your plants. This is most likely to be an issue in the winter when window drafts cause lower regional temperatures. Use some type of plastic insulation on the window to stop drafts. If your whole house is too cold, consider getting a small heat or grow lamp to warm up one area.

Mites Can Trigger Leaf Curl in African Violets

Curling African violet leaves may also be caused by an infestation of mites, although cold is the more likely problem. The mites that invade African violets are too small to see. They feed on the new, center growth of plants, so look there for stunting and damage. Leaf curling is more of a secondary symptom. You may also see flower stunting or failure to bloom with mites.

With mites, it may be easiest to simply dispose of infected plants. Disinfect any tools used on infected plants as well as the pot if you plant to reuse it. If you do want to save a plant from mites, you can find a miticide for houseplants at your local nursery, or you can use an insecticidal soap. Take your plants outside to use any chemical not rated for houseplants.

Sunlight and African Violet Leaf Curl

African violet leaf curl may be caused by too much sun. If cold temperature is not an issue and if you don’t see signs of mites, look at the light your plants are getting. African violets prefer bright but indirect light. Too much direct, hot sunlight can cause leaves to brown and curl under. Move plants out of direct light to see if that stops the curling.

Mary Ellen Ellis

Mary Ellen Ellis has been gardening for over 20 years. With degrees in Chemistry and Biology, Mary Ellen's specialties are flowers, native plants, and herbs.