Why is My Calathea Not Closing at Night?

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You are doing your best to keep your Calathea plant happy but have noticed the leaves stopped moving during the day and night cycle. Or maybe they haven’t really moved since the first day you brought your plant home. So, why is your Calathea not closing at night? Learn what caused this and what you can do to get it moving again.

Calatheas are well known for their gorgeous foliage and, as they are prayer plants, for their wonderful leaf movement.

If you have a happy and healthy calathea you should see some level of leaf movement.

As the night falls, your plant should fold its leaves up, closing them and showing the undersides of the leaves.

Why is My Calathea Not Closing at Night?

Do all Calatheas Close at Night?

No matter which type of Calathea you have, it should move its leaves, even if just a little. Some varieties do it more dramatically than others, though. If you have a bunch of different Calatheas, they will move their leaves differently. That is normal. Some are pretty subtle at it.

If you are noticing slight movement with your plant, all is well.

Why is My Calathea Not Closing at Night? Number one reason

Calatheas droop their leaves during the day and fold them up at night. If you don’t see this movement, but your plant is otherwise healthy, the reason can be your plant getting too much light.

Just think of the plants in their natural environment and how dark the night gets. Having your plant exposed to too much light and for too long during the day may make the calathea stop moving its leaves.

Leaves Moving
Leaves movement Calathea White Star

If your plant is exposed to some artificial sources of light at night – this light can be coming from outside or from within your home – it may mess with its diurnal cycle too.

Move your plant to a darker area and the leaves should start moving again.

If your plant is healthy and only a couple of leaves, especially older ones, aren’t closing at night, you shouldn’t worry about it. As the leaves get older, they die off, and the plant “cuts them off.”

Another reason for a couple of leaves not moving in an otherwise healthy plant is the damage on the part of the plant (just under the lead) that makes the movement possible. If that part got damaged, but the leaf is still healthy, it will live on without movement.

If these are the reasons why the leaves on your Calathea stopped moving, you don’t have to worry about it. The plant will be OK even if you don’t move it and the leaves never move again.

What else Can Cause Calathea not Moving its Leaves?

There are also other, more serious causes for your Calathea not closing at night. This can be the first sign of trouble, and your plant will progressively deteriorate, or your plant is already looking poorly or showing other signs of trouble before the leaves stopped moving.

Proper care and regularly inspecting your plant for pests and trouble are key to making this plant happy.

Read: caring for calathea plants

Find out what are possible causes for your Calathea leaves not moving anymore.

1. You are overwatering your plant, and it stopped moving

While Calatheas are very thirsty plants and require frequent watering, they don’t like their roots to sit in water. The soil should be moist but not wet. If you feel the top layer of the soil and it feels soggy and wet hours after watering (as opposed to moist or damp), you are likely overwatering your plant.

When the soil is too saturated with water, the roots can develop root rot, and your plant will suffer, amongst other things, this can show as Calathea not moving the leaves anymore.

You should also notice the leaves drooping, plant wilting, and leaves starting to go yellow. Unpleasant soil smell can be present too.

Leaf Movement of Calathea Ornata

2. You are underwatering your plant

If your Calathea isn’t getting enough water, it too might stop moving the leaves. If the soil is consistently dry on top, you can be sure you are under watering it.

The leaves of an under watered plant can also curl or drop.

Read: how often should you water calatheas

Calathea Rufibarba during day and evening

3. Pests: you have uninvited guests on your Calathea

Inspect your plant for pests as they could be the reason for the issue.

As far as pests go, spider mites are usually the culprit. They like to invest the part of the leave that is responsible for the movement and suck out the nutrients.

Spider Mite infestation
Spider Mite infestation on Calathea Flamestar

Carefully inspect the plant. We recommend using a magnifying glass with a red light as spider mites when they are few in numbers are hard to spot. Getting from a few to a large infestation happens really quickly, a couple of days even.

Tiny dots moving on the leaf’s underside and the stem, which can be either red, brown-white, or black are spider mites. As their numbers grow, you will also spot (and this is easy to see) their signature webbing. The webbing will usually be located where the stem and leaf meet.

They can even kill your plant so spotting them and getting rid of them as fast as possible is necessary. They can spread to your other plants pretty quick, too, so they can turn into a true nightmare.

Get rid of spider mites, and if the leaf wasn’t too severely damaged, the movement should return.

Other pests are also possible but are usually easier to spot.

4. Humidity and temperature issues

High humidity and average warm temperatures are ideal for your plant. If the plant isn’t getting the humidity it wants and the temperature is off, this can affect the leaf movement.

However, if these two are slightly off, and everything else is OK – the plant is healthy, and you see new growth – the leaves should still be moving. They can move less vigorously as before, when you brought it home for the first time or when the conditions were better (different season), but this shouldn’t have a dramatic effect.

Leaf Movement in Calathea

Now you know what is the reason for your Calathea not closing at night, act accordingly and you should see the movement starting again pretty soon.

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