Kalanchoe tomentosa, or the panda plant, is a Madagascar native that flaunts gorgeous gray-green leaves bordered with chocolate-brown splotches. For certain reasons, however, you may find the beautiful foliage of your panda plant curling.
In this article, we will explore the known factors that contribute to this condition and how to remedy it.
Panda plant leaves curling
There are three reasons the leaves of your panda plant may curl. The first is overwatering, the second is inadequate sunlight, and the third is unsuitable potting. These may individually or collectively result in your plant’s leaves curling.
When you observe the curling foliage, you can determine which of the three is the culprit. It would also help to better understand how these three factors affect succulents’ leaves, so a deeper dive is in order.
Overwatering is a common enough mistake, especially among those taking care of their very first succulent. Beginners are typically fastidious in their watering duties, but even the more adept can be guilty of this error.
Succulents do not need to be frequently watered. Being from arid natural habitats, they have evolved to make do with little water and retain moisture in their thick, fleshy leaves. While the succulent grower’s heart may be in the right place, the excess water in the pot is not.
Following the “soak and dry” method is recommended by experts when it comes to watering succulents. The trick is to water your panda plant very thoroughly, then wait more or less a week until the soil in the pot is dry before watering it again.
This method ensures that your panda plant gets its fill of water without any detrimental excess. Overwatering will also cause you more problems than just curling leaves. It could also lead to root rot and other fungal issues.
If your panda plant’s leaves are curling as a result of overwatering, simply refrain from watering it again until the soil is dry. If its roots are no longer constantly overwhelmed with water, the plant can slowly begin to recover and the leaves will uncurl.
Inadequate light for succulents is often associated with etiolation, the pathological condition whereby the leaves become elongated as they stretch towards a light source. But another sign of inadequate sunlight is the curling of the foliage.
Panda plants in particular require six hours of bright, indirect sunlight daily. The changing seasons, unsuitable placement indoors, or even a garden with too much shade, will prevent your plant from receiving its required daily dose of sunlight.
As the panda plant continues to receive inadequate sunlight, its foliage will curl more and more. Recognizing the issue early on and averting it will save you and the plant the trouble of curling leaves.
Once you have determined that your panda plant is getting less sunlight than it needs, transfer it to an area where it will be able to receive more light. As its requirements are satisfied, the foliage will begin to heal itself and uncurl.
Your panda plant’s leaves may begin to curl if the proper potting requirements are not met. These include the use of the right size pot with enough drainage holes, as well as suitable potting soil.
As with other succulents, your panda plant needs enough room in its pot to grow and soil that drains well. These conditions are mandatory for it to thrive. Curling foliage is an indicator that these needs are not being met.
Repotting your panda plant in a large enough container filled with the right potting mix will do wonders for it. The proper distribution of water and nutrients throughout the pot will attenuate the curling and encourage healthy growth.
When a panda plant’s foliage curls, the reason is either overwatering, inadequate sunlight or unsuitable potting. Each of these factors can greatly impact a succulents’ health and growth. Fortunately, if the damage is not too far along, simple steps can be taken to remedy it.
Image: istockphoto.com / NancyAyumi