Why are Alocasia Leaves Drooping?
A healthy Alocasia plant has large, vibrant leaves that range from silvery green to dark green with creamy veins, creating eye-catching contrasts.
The leaves can also be textured, which can also range from rugged, waxy surfaces to smooth or velvety ones.
But when these otherwise strong and vibrant leaves are drooping, it’s a sign of something going wrong.
Unfortunately, there are a couple of reasons for Alocasia leaves drooping, and most are related to watering, but also to environmental factors like humidity, temperature, light, and pests.
Below, I will cover each possible cause for drooping leaves and offer you solutions that you can easily implement.
Reasons Alocasia Leaves are Drooping
If you notice that the leaves of your Alocasia plant are droopy, here are the usual suspects:
– Lack of Watering
Lack of water or the dehydration of an Alocasia plant is one of the main culprits when it comes to causing drooping leaves.
Without enough water, the leaves start losing water and they start to droop. Because Alocasia plants hail from tropical and subtropical regions, they enjoy consistently moist soil.
If you forget to water your Alocasia for extended periods, the plant will start drying out and irreversible tissue damage can set it.
Therefore, to prevent this from happening, make sure to monitor the moisture level of the potting mix.
If you feel like the top layer of potting mix is dry, go ahead and water your plant. Water the soil uniformly, until you notice water pooling at the base of the pot.
Don’t water the plant again until you’ve made sure the top layer of soil is starting to go dry.
Leaves that are already too far damaged by dehydration will not bounce back. A good watering schedule, however, will prevent new growth and healthy leaves from drooping.
– Too Much Watering
There’s a reason why most Alocasia plant care guides describe the watering needs of the plant as ‘moderate’.
The plant doesn’t fare well in extreme circumstances. Neither under-watering, nor overwatering is good for the Alocasia plant.
Therefore, you must keep a good balance by understanding how to correctly water an Alocasia plant.
Overwatering is especially dangerous for these plants that grow best in a well-draining soil that’s well-aerated so that the roots can grow without being strangled by compacted soil or without sitting in water for long.
Overwatering will cause the soil to dry harder and trigger microbiological and chemical processes at the roots, causing them to eventually rot away.
A plant whose roots are rotting is no longer able to absorb nutrients from the soil and its leaves will start to look droopy.
Droopy leaves can make you wrongly assume that your Alocasia is dehydrated. If you continue watering your Alocasia without determining the real cause behind dropping leaves, you’ll just end up making matters worse.
But how can you tell if the roots of your Alocasia are drooping because of overwatering and not dehydration?
Turns out, there are a few other symptoms to look out for in an overwatered Alocasia plant. These are:
- Fungal growth on the surface of the potting mix
- Wet potting mix that takes long to dry
- Blackening at the base of the plant
- Soft, mushy stems
- Foul-smelling potting mix
If droopy leaves are accompanied by these symptoms, it means that you’ve been overwatering your Alocasia and there’s a high risk of root rot.
In case of root rot, a quick fix would be to repot the plant in a fresh batch of potting mix and refrain from watering it for a week or so.
Before you repot the Alocasia plant, inspect its roots. If you notice any rotten parts, remove them. Same goes for any mushy or soft roots. Keep only the strong and healthy parts of the root.
– Lack of Humidity
In their natural habitat Alocasia plants grow in a humid environment. Indoor humidity is usually between 40% and 60%. At least, this is the humidity interval recommended as healthy by specialists.
Alocasia plants need humidity levels on the higher end of that spectrum. Namely, around 60% or above.
This can be difficult to achieve indoors. And when humidity levels drop to 40% or lower, the leaves of your Alocasia plant may start drooping.
Luckily, there are a couple of ways to increase humidity levels indoors. Here are some of my tips on how to achieve higher humidity levels:
- Use a humidifier
- Create an evaporation tray
- Crack a window when it’s raining
- Mist your Alocasia plants
A humidifier is a device that increases indoor humidity through water vapors. Placed in the room where you keep your Alocasia or near the plant itself for smaller devices, it can easily meet the humidity requirements of a tropical plant.
Some humidifiers can be even programmed to maintain humidity levels at the percentage of your choosing.
An evaporation tray is a DIY humidifier that can also offer a targeted approach for when you need to increase humidity around a plant.
To create one of these humidity trays, simply place some pebbles on a tray, pour water into the tray so that the pebbles are covered half-way. Place the potted Alocasia over the pebbles.
You don’t want the bottom of the pot touching the water line because that would mean the roots would be sitting in water.
When water evaporates from the tray, it naturally increases the humidity levels around the plant.
Another method to increase humidity – one that offers only temporary relief – is to crack a window open when it’s raining outside.
This can be especially beneficial if it’s after a period of drought or a heat wave, and it can offer instant relief to your Alocasia.
Misting it’s probably one of the most often used methods to humidify indoor plants. It’s also probably the easiest way to increase humidity whenever it’s needed.
Along with many other tropical plants, Alocasia plants can benefit from regular misting. There are a few caveats, however:
- If you use chlorinated water or chemically treated water, it can affect the health of the leaves
- If misting is done on dusty or dirty leaves, it can cause fungal problems
- Misting can exacerbate existing fungal infections by spreading spores from one leaf to another
Try to mist plants in the morning so the leaves have time to dry during the day. Also, make sure to keep the leaves clean by wiping them off with a soft, damp cloth.
– Lack of Light
Leaves of Alocasia plants can also become droopy if the plant is not receiving enough light. Lack of light is a common problem for Alocasia plants, mainly because their light requirements are often misunderstood.
Alocasia plants receive dappled or filtered light in their natural habitat. Indoors, their light requirements are described as medium.
What this translates to is that the plant doesn’t enjoy direct light exposure, nor does it grow in a dark corner of your home.
Lack of light can make the plant grow lopsided or the leaves can grow wonky, which resembles drooping leaves a lot.
Therefore, managing the plant’s light requirements is important for healthy growth and leaf development.
You can place your Alocasia a few feet away from a western or eastern facing window. As long as the plant receives bright light during the day, without it being under direct sunlight, it will thrive.
To ensure that your Alocasia plant grows evenly, rotate the plant regularly, so that light reaches the plant on all sides.
Ensure bright, indirect light for your Alocasia, which will keep leaves growing normally.
Lack of enough light can also cause problems with the potting soil, especially if you’ve been overwatering your plant.
With reduced light, evaporation is also reduced, hence the potting soil can take longer to dry. This can cause fungal growth on the surface of the soil, but it can also cause rotting if the soil stays wet for too long.
Exposure to strong, direct light for an extended period can also cause drooping leaves because of a sudden increase in evaporation.
Therefore, inadequate light exposure can cause not only drooping leaves, but it can influence how the plant is affected by overwatering.
– Temperature Shock
Temperature shock is another common reason why you might notice drooping leaves on your Alocasia plant.
Both extremes – temperatures that are too low or too high – can induce temperature shock. The ideal temperature range for Alocasia plants is between 60 F and 80 F.
If you keep Alocasia plants outdoors during spring and summer, you will need to overwinter these plants indoors. This is especially important if temperatures in your area drop below 50 F during winter.
Ideally, you should take your Alocasia plants indoors when nighttime temperatures fall below 60 F.
Even indoors, there are still situations in which your Alocasia can get temperature shock. For example, if it’s placed in a drafty window or close to a door that lets in cold air, the plant can suffer temperature shock.
Similarly, if placed close to a heating vent or other source of hot air, its leaves can become affected.
– Pests and Bugs
Pest problems or leaf eating bugs can also damage an Alocasia plant causing discoloration, curling, and drooping leaves.
Pest problems can appear either because of cross-contamination from tools used when trimming the plant or from other plants taken indoors.
Alocasia plants can be infested with several common houseplant pests such as mealybugs, scale, aphids, and spider mites.
Sap-sucking pests can inflict severe damage to the plant, weakening its capacity to withstand diseases and recover.
Whenever you notice pests, it’s important to address the problem right away before it gets out of hand.
Houseplant insecticidal soaps or neem oil can help remove and kill off the eggs of these insects. Treatment times vary. Normally, you’ll need repeat applications until the problem is resolved.
Besides treating pest problems, there’s a lot to be gained from preventing pest infestations in the first place.
Here are my recommendations on how to keep pests at bay:
- Keep your Alocasia leaves dust-free. Wipe off the surface and underside of leaves regularly with a damp cloth.
- Use rubbing alcohol to clean any tools you’re using to trim or prune your plant
- Before introducing any plants in your home, make sure they’re healthy and pest-free. Keep them in a separate room for a couple of weeks.
- Keep the leaves dry.
- Some pests can appear in dry environments, so watch out for humidity levels.
- Spray your houseplants preventively with neem oil.
Some pests are so small that they’re barely visible to the naked eye. You’ll usually only notice them when they’ve already caused some damage in the foliage of your plant.
This is why I recommend spraying your houseplants preventatively, not just when you notice symptoms of leaf damage. Usually, when there are already symptoms, it’s difficult to remedy the situation.
Alocasia plants that are overwintered indoors will usually go into a dormancy period that lasts throughout winter until spring.
Dormancy is triggered by changing environmental factors – shorter days, less sunlight, and lower temperatures.
During dormancy, Alocasia plants do little to no growing. They preserve their energy for the coming spring. Their watering needs decrease.
You should still water your Alocasia, but you will need to reduce the amount and frequency based on the moisture level of the soil.
If you don’t water your Alocasia at all, it can get dehydrated. One of the symptoms of dehydration is drooping leaves.
If you overwater your Alocasia, its root can start to rot, which can also cause the leaves to droop.
As you can see, there are plenty of problems that will cause the leaves of your Alocasia to become droopy.
The key is to manage to identify the underlying cause, especially when it can be remedied by making small changes like providing more light or adjusting your watering routine.
Sometimes, more problems will apply at once, and then fixing only one of the issues may not resolve the problem.
By going over each of the potential causes, try to identify all that might be applicable to your Alocasia plant, and make changes accordingly,