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Commonly known as prayer plants, the calathea has interesting leaves that will close at night. This allows them to conserve energy during periods of low light. 

If you’ve noticed your Calathea leaves not opening again, however, this isn’t something you should ignore and is often a way for the plant to let you know they need help. 

This also goes for calathea leaves not closing as this is another sign that the plant is having problems.

So keep reading to find out what may be causing this – and how to fix it. 

calathea leaves not opening beside another calathea plant

Why are my Calathea leaves not opening?

Calathea leaves not opening can be the cause of various problems, most of which are directly connected to neglect or poor care. Not enough sunlight, low humidity levels, and incorrect watering are usually the most common causes of your calathea leaves not opening.

Pests and diseases can also be the reason why your calathea leaves do not open. Sap-sucking insects, such as spider mites, and fungal diseases like root rot can all affect the calathea’s ability to open their leaves.

The good news is that these issues can be fixed and even prevented by simply ensuring the calathea has the ideal growing conditions. 

Remember, calatheas need an abundance of bright indirect sun, high levels of humidity, and they like their soil to stay moist but not soggy. 

How can I fix Calathea leaves that are not opening?

The first thing to check when your calathea leaves are not opening is that the plant is in a location where it will receive at least 8 to 10 hours of indirect sunlight. If not, then move the calathea to an area that can provide this ideal lighting condition. 

During the winter, you may have to provide supplemental lighting to ensure the calathea receives the right amount of light.

calathea leaves not opening on a black pot
Source: charley Rouse (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Additionally, the calathea will need at least 50 percent humidity, which is a bit higher than most homes’ average humidity. Thankfully, you can increase the humidity by either setting the calathea on a drip tray or utilizing a humidifier.

The last issue that can cause calathea leaves to not open is incorrect watering, which means either too much or not enough water. 

On average, the calathea will need to be watered about once a week. However, you should allow the top 2 inches of soil to dry out a little between waterings.

Why is my Calathea not closing at night?

Calatheas naturally fold their leaves up at night. So, your calathea leaves not closing at night is a sign that something is wrong with the plant, with the most common cause being that your plant is getting too much light.

This issue will need to be corrected before the calathea leaves can start to close again at night.

What can I do when my Calathea doesn’t close at night?

Since this issue is typically caused by too much sun, you can correct the problem by simply reducing the amount of sun that the calathea receives. A good general rule of thumb is to provide the calathea with 8 to 10 hours of indirect sun every day.

If the plant is receiving more than that, move the calathea to a different area.

However, you should never allow the calathea to receive more than 16 hours of light a day, since this is too much for the plant. Receiving this amount of light will cause the calathea leaves to not close.

Additionally, never allow the calathea to have access to direct sunlight as this will cause the leaves to scorch and burn. It can also interfere with the plant’s ability to open and close its leaves, and even stunt the growth of the calathea.

Do all Calathea plants close at night?

Calatheas currently contain about 60 species and every single one of them closes their leaves at night. This is a natural response that has evolved over the years, and it helps to conserve energy when the plant is exposed to periods of low light.

Your Calathea leaves not closing at night does signify that there is a problem with the plant that’ll need to be addressed as soon as possible. The most common cause, as mentioned, is too much light, while not enough light is usually to blame for the calathea leaves not opening.

calathea leaves on white pot
Source: Julie Bernard (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Is it normal to see my Calathea leaves moving?

It is completely normal to see your calathea leaves moving. In fact, not seeing the leaves move could mean there is a problem with the calathea. Calathea leaves move so they can absorb light, and you may even see them move at various times throughout the day.

If you notice that your calathea’s leaves are not moving, you may want to give the plant a thorough examination to look for any other signs of potential problems. If the plant is otherwise healthy and not showing any other signs of issues, then the culprit is usually improper lighting.

Aim to provide the calathea with 8 to 10 hours of bright, indirect sun every day. This plant doesn’t do well with more than 16 hours of light in a single day. During the winter months when the days are shorter, you may need to use artificial lighting to ensure the calathea gets at least 8 hours of light.

Why do Calathea leaves move?

Calathea leaves move in order to absorb more or less light, depending on their needs. They can move throughout the entire day, adjusting how much or how little light they receive.

At night when the light is at its lowest, the calathea’s leaves will close. If you get up early enough, you may be able to see the leaves opening back up when daylight starts shining in.