The strap-like leaves of agapanthus plants are not normally meant to curl too much in any direction. When it does happen, it may cause panic and a longing to know ‘what went wrong?’ But most importantly you will want to know how to fix it.
Agapanthus leaves curl due to Overwatering, Excessive Heat, Diseases, and Pests.
While most of these are preventable, there is no guarantee that overwatered agapanthus plants can be revived. You will have to carry out precautionary measures to avoid scenarios that may result in the curling of your leaves.
Is Agapanthus Leaf Curling Normal?
Agapanthus leaves are long, green, and straight for the most part. The ends of the leaves exhibit a gentle flop. However, the curling of agapanthus leaves is nowhere near normal!
Usually, curling that does not resolve in a few days is a sign of stress. This stressed stance occurs as a result of poor care and environmental conditions. Probably a mixture of the two results in the curling of agapanthus leaves.
To better understand them and how to prevent or fix them, let’s discuss each of the causes in detail.
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Why Agapanthus Leaves Curl?
Leaf curling of agapanthus plants occurs mostly due to pests and diseases but there are a few other reasons it occurs. Read on to find out what they are and what action to take.
#1- Overwatering/Poorly Draining Soil
Curling of leaves is a common side-effect of having too much moisture in and around your agapanthus plant. This excess of water usually arises due to two possible scenarios: overwatering or using poorly draining soil.
NOTE- Curling of agapanthus leaves denotes incorrect watering habits. So, it could be due to underwatering or overwatering! Find the right cause to fix it in time!
Overwatering mostly occurs in situations when the plants do not require the excess water they are given. This is usually fall and winter when temperatures are not high enough to evaporate water.
What Do Overwatered Agapanthus Leaves Look Like?
- Curling or wilting of agapanthus leaves.
- Leaves exhibit discoloration, they turn yellow or brown.
- Poor and deformed growth.
- No new growth at all!
Poor Draining Soil
Agapanthus plants like most other plants do not like to sit in water. But even more so because they have bulbs. Bulbs that sit in wet soil are more prone to developing Root Rot.
This is a disease that affects roots that are left in wet conditions in which the causative bacteria can thrive.
Soils rich in clay are most likely to induce constantly wet soil that affects the agapanthus plant. Clay is a substance that absorbs water rapidly. However, this water eventually ends up accumulating and remains stagnant.
How to Correct It?
Both overwatering and soil with poor drainage results in an excess of water which agapanthus does not take well!
To make the situation better for your agapanthus, you must get rid of the unnecessary water. You can do so by the following:
- Stop all watering efforts immediately as this may make the situation dire.
- Amend the soil if it has high ratios of clay or organic material. The latter absorbs and holds a lot of water, this water may be released at an unfavorable time which worsens conditions.
- Remove the agapanthus from its pot and soil as this can help to escape its over-watered environment.
- If overwatering is suspected, dig up and assess the roots to treat root rot, a common condition accompanied by overwatering.
- Remove the tray beneath potted agapanthus plants to allow the exit of the extra water.
- Provide plants with better ventilation to allow drying of soil and foliage. Place the plant in an area with low humidity.
Preventing overly wet conditions starts with knowing when to water your agapanthus plants. Remember these are drought-tolerant plants and can be easily over-watered.
As a precaution, always dip your finger 2 to 3 inches into the soil to measure soil moisture. Water only when the soil is dry. Before actually planting your agapanthus plant, make sure the soil is fulfilling.
Letting the soil dry out and then correcting it can take a while to happen so make sure the soil is appropriate before you plant them.
#2- Excessive Heat
Plants such as agapanthus can begin to curl when conditions become too hot and leaves begin to dehydrate. But, what makes conditions too hot for a plant? Quite a few, a mixture of them. A few are as follows:
- High temperatures.
- Low humidity.
- Most of the time is spent in sunlight/lack of shade.
- Soil that drains too well.
- Season- some summers are dryer than most others.
Heat can scour your agapanthus leaves and leave them with physical defects. These faults can affect their growth for the rest of their lives, leaving an unappealing sight, to say the least!
How to Correct It?
Too much sun is more of a curse than a blessing! Shade is essential for equal growth and the rest of your plants. Therefore, making sure it is present in adequate amounts is vital.
To ensure that your agapanthus plants are not getting too much sun, you must ensure this:
- Place agapanthus in an area where it will receive enough sunlight and shade.
- Water your plants more frequently when they dry out faster in summer.
- Add a layer of mulch to your agapanthus plants to help keep moisture in.
Diseases are troublesome to deal with as they can possibly kill your plant before you even have the time to address them! When it comes to agapanthus diseases, ‘prevention is better than cure’.
Take a look at these common diseases that affect agapanthus (Lily of the Nile) plants and how to control or prevent them.
Root Rot/Bulb Rot
This is a common reason why your agapanthus leaves may begin to curl. In fact, because it is so common, root rot is the first thought that comes to mind when agapanthus leaves are curling.
It’s not just the roots that can be rotting, it could be the bulbs as well!
There is no one particular microorganism that is responsible for the initiation of root rot.
Several fungi are already present in the soil and become viable when conditions call for it. Excessively moist soil and enough warmth will prompt the root rot fungi to reproduce and infect plant material.
Another condition that is identifiable by the curling of leaves is Powdery Mildew. This as you may have already guessed is caused by fungi that produce a distinct powdery growth on the leaf’s surface.
Powdery mildew in agapanthus plants is most likely when the leaves are damp and temperatures are mild. These conditions are especially common when growing these plants in areas that are a tad bit more shady than sunny!
How to Correct It?
If you look for similarities in these diseases, you’ll notice one thing. They all mostly occur when there is standing water in the flowers or foliage.
- Water plants from the bottom of the plant.
- After rainfall gently shakes off the water from the foliage.
- Make sure your plants get enough sunlight to dry out the soil and excess water on leaves on flower buds.
- Maintain enough space between plants to make sure that there is enough airflow and soil does not stay wet.
You’ll know it’s sunburn when your agapanthus leaves turn yellow, you just have to identify the signs very early on.
How does a pest make a leaf curl? Well, actually they compromise the plant in such a way that it loses the ability to carry out crucial processes.
These small insects can do a lot of damage to your agapanthus plant which will then affect its ability to maintain its own health.
Aphids continuously feed on the sap of leaves. This feeding eventually affects translocation and the plant ends up dehydrating. An aphid infestation will eventually lead your agapanthus plant to death.
How to Correct It?
When it comes to pests, finding them before it’s too late is important! There is a time after which your agapanthus plant can’t be saved from aphids. Here’s how to prevent this future from becoming a reality.
- Regular checks of your plants for pests should be carried out to ensure complete health.
- Once a pest infestation is identified, carry out swift actions to control it.
- Wiping leaves with soapy water or Neem oil will help to reduce populations and possibly remove them completely.
- Invite natural predators to your garden.
Other Reasons Why Agapanthus Leaves Curl
A few other factors can contribute to the curling of agapanthus leaves.
- Soil pH- Agapanthus plants do best with a pH of 6.5 or 7 as opposed to higher than this.
- Herbicides- Glyphosate is a herbicide that has been known to induce curling leaves in agapanthus plants.
- Nutrient deficiency- a lack of Nitrogen or another nutrient/mineral can induce leaf curling until corrected.
As soon as your Agapanthus leaves curl, you should have a few suspicions about what is causing this effect.
- Excessive Heat
Any of these may be the reason, but finding it early on can help to restore your agapanthus leaves to their glory.
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If the curling is so severe and is accompanied by leaf discoloration, it is likely the leaves cannot be fixed. In this case, removing the leaves is a good idea. It is evident they are too far gone. So, removing them can actually help the plant reserve energy and resources.
Yellowing of agapanthus leaves is not normal and is an indication of stress. It could be improper watering, nutrient deficiency, pests, or even bad soil. To stop the entire leaf from becoming yellow you must identify and correct the problem.