Why are My Calla Lily Leaves Curling?

Compared to most ornamental plants, Calla lilies are comparatively easy to cultivate with a straightforward plant care routine. Even a first-time grower shouldn’t have a difficult time.

But, like all things in life, things happen that can throw a  hammer into works of a carefully choreographed calla lily growing plan.

You could wake up one morning and observe the calla lilies leaves curling. ‘Why are my calla lily leaves curling’ is usually the instinctive question that pops into the mind when that happens.

Fortunately, curling calla lily leaves is not the worst thing that can happen to your plants.

More often than not, it is easy to diagnose the problem and deal with it. And that is what this article would be focusing on so you can get on top of the situation like a pro when it rears up.

Why are My Calla Lily Leaves Curling?

Common reasons why calla lily leaves curl include; watering issues, poor soil condition, inadequate sunlight, and pest issues. 

Calla lilies are tropical plants native to the southern part of Africa. Being tropical, they don’t thrive well in winter and would prefer warmer climes.

Curling leaves, though, is not a very common problem with them.

When it happens, it could be as a result and several factors not vastly different from why the leaves of other indoor plants curl.

For instance, if you have other plants, in addition to the calla lilies, it’s very likely their leaves are also curling as if in solidarity with your calla lilies.

Before discussing the possible causes of curling calla lilies leaves, it is crucial to understand the reasons plant leaves curl in general.

This should give you a good grasp of the problem and the needed fix.

#1. Watering issues:

This cuts both ways when it comes to curling leaves in plants. The leaves might curl in response to too much water or not enough water.

A soil that is too soggy as a result of over-watering can lead to curled leaves.

In most cases though, the leaves curling is not even the biggest concern; it might just be a symptom of a more serious issue such as root rot caused by overwatering.

To prevent this problem, it is recommended that you let about 2 inches of the topsoil dry before watering again.

And you got off on the wrong footing if your pots or planters don’t have holes at the bottom for excess water to drain out.

So, go ahead and drill some holes.

On the other hand, the soil might be getting too little water.

Thirsty plants express themselves by curling the leaves upwards to reduce the rate of evaporation.

You want to make sure that the soil never stays dry for too long.

Always water the plant if the top 2″ of the soil is dry.

An easy soil moisture test is to stick your finger to a depth of about 2 inches into the soil. If the soil feels dry, go ahead and water it, but be careful not to overdo it.

#2. Impacted soil

Sometimes, you might be sticking to the best plant watering practices but the problem persists.

If you can eliminate other issues, perhaps it’s time to take a good look at the soil.

If the soil is impacted, enough water might not be getting to the roots of the plant.

The question now is how to tell if the soil is impacted or not?

Diagnosing this requires carefully pulling the calla lily out of the pot or planter.

Examine the roots carefully and check for signs of crustiness. If the roots have a rather dense soil crust in and around them, the soil is impacted.

The best fix here is to re-pot the plant using a better potting mix.

#3. Pest and viral attacks

Various plant pests such as aphids, thrips, and whiteflies can cause curling leaves in different plants including calla lilies.

The soft-bodied aphids, for instance, are usually found on the underside and tips of leaves.

Repeatedly spraying the leaves with insecticidal soap should be enough to get rid of them.

But you might have to cut off the leaves if the infestation is too severe.

The leaves of most potted plants, including calla lilies, curl inwards if they are exposed to viral infestation.

In plants, curling leaves is usually not the only symptom of an outbreak of infection.

The leaves might also become discolored, mottled, and growth might be negatively impacted too.

#4. Light

Too much of it can be a problem to most plants and curling leaves is one of the ways some plants react after prolonged exposure.

Closely related to this is high temperature.

Moving the plants to a shady place should see the leaves go back to normal as long as all other plant care practices are correctly implemented.

Peace Lily Leaves Turning Black

Causes of Calla Lily leaves Curling & Possible Remedies

The general reasons plant leaves curl as outlined in the previous section are also likely causes of curling calla lilies leaves.

In a few cases though, the specific issue could be different considering the tropical nature of calla lilies.

So in addition to the above reasons, your calla lily leaves might be curling because:

Inadequate sunlight

Being tropical plants, calla lilies don’t thrive well in low-light conditions.

They need as much sunlight as possible to remain healthy throughout the season.

Anything less, the leaves would start curling in addition to other symptoms.


Again, you can look beyond the fact that as tropical plants, your calla lilies would dislike low temperatures.

This is a more common problem when growing them indoors.

If the indoor temperature dips below 55°F, the leaves may curl in response to this stressor.

Unless you have a temperature-controlled room or environment to keep the plants, there is simply nothing that can be done.

To show how sensitive the plants are to lowered temperatures, keeping them in a drafty room can trigger it.

How Long Do Calla Lilies Last?

Fertilizer/Nutrient complications

Are your calla lilies getting enough nutrients from the soil? If your potting soil isn’t nutrient-rich, it can lead to leaves curling.

Fertilizers can be used to upgrade the soil to the required level.

First, though, the smart move is to use high-quality potting soil containing all the important ingredients in the correct proportions.

When using fertilizer to resolve the issue, ensure you don’t apply too much as this can lead to a different set of problems.

Dormancy period

Curling calla lily leaves could be the effect of the plants entering the dormancy period.

This usually occurs once a year in late autumn after the plant is no longer producing new flowers.

In addition to curling, the leaves later turn yellow and subsequently to a darker shade or brownish color.

This is normal and you should quit watering the plant and allow the plant to die.

But the dormancy period doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the plant.

You could also prune the foliage above the soil (for potted calla lily) and place the pot containing the rhizome or bulb in a low-humidity, low-temperature environment (not higher than 50°F) for about 3 months.

While in this state, ensure that the soil is never completely dry by watering it sparingly.

In about three months, move the pot to a warm, bright location and resume normal watering.

With care and little fertilizer, your calla lily should bloom again in six weeks give or take a couple of weeks.

Why are My Calla Lilies Drooping?

Wrapping Up

Curling calla lily leaves are not always a cause for serious worry. It can happen even to the best-laid calla lily growing plan.

Sometimes the issue is simply a by-product of a tropical plant growing in a temperate environment.

Other causative factors include insufficient water or too much of it, the nature of the soil, light concerns, and pest/viral infestations.

Most of the problems have an easy fix. But the first action is to identify the cause before applying the fix.

If the problem persists, the only solution is to cut off the offending leaves or even discard the plant and start afresh in extreme cases.

Now, you know why your calla lily leaves are curling, and how to possibly fix it.