Aglaonema, often called the Chinese Evergreen, is a super easy-to-care-for houseplant.
These plants are not prone to many issues, but one that I have experienced before is drooping leaves. This can be caused by a variety of factors but is usually linked to over or underwatering or a lack of humidity.
If your Aglaonema leaves are drooping, then this is the guide for you. I’ll explain 11 of the most common reasons for this happening and what you can do.
- Should You Be Worried?
- 11 Common Reasons For Aglaonema Leaves Drooping
- In Summary
Should You Be Worried?
Before I get into the 11 most common reasons for Aglaonema leaves drooping, you should know that it is quite common for some of the leaves to droop from time to time.
In the majority of cases, you’ll just need to adjust one or two conditions, and your Aglaonema will be back to full health.
I can’t even remember how many times my Aglaonema has had drooping leaves, so don’t worry about it – it’s more than likely that your plant is not dying!
11 Common Reasons For Aglaonema Leaves Drooping
Let’s get into the 11 most common reasons for Aglaonema leaves drooping.
Overwatering is a common reason for Aglaonema leaves drooping.
It can be easy to overwater houseplants, especially when you want them to grow quickly, but it’s better to err on the side of caution. Overwatering an Aglaonema will suffocate the roots, causing fewer nutrients and moisture to be absorbed and causing the leaves to droop.
If left unattended, overwatered soil will quickly develop root rot which can kill the entire plant over time.
I like to water my Aglaonema when the top few inches of soil become dry. This is an easy rule to follow and allows me to keep root rot away.
This does, of course, require well-draining soil and drainage holes, but I’ll get into more detail about this later.
If root rot has developed, you’ll need to trim any affected roots and treat the remaining healthy roots with a fungicide. You’ll also need to repot in fresh soil.
Underwatering can also cause Aglaonema leaves to go droopy.
This is easy to tell apart from overwatering as, in this case, the leaves will go dry and crispy and may go brown at the tips as well.
Don’t let the soil dry out more than the top one to two inches between watering, or you’ll risk underwatering.
Underwatering is, in my opinion, better than overwatering (though still not ideal, obviously) as it doesn’t lead to root rot.
If your Aglaonema has been underwatered, it will bounce right back after you water it, whereas an overwatered Aglaonema may need to be repotted.
3. Sunlight Problems
Aglaonemas obviously need sunlight, but you need to find the right balance, or it can affect the leaves as well as the rest of the plant.
- A lack of sunlight will cause the leaves to droop and slow down the overall growth of the plant, as sunlight is needed for photosynthesis.
- Too much sunlight, specifically direct sunlight, will scorch the leaves. Scorched leaves develop irregular brown spots in the center and yellow around the edges – these leaves will also droop.
Aglaonemas with more variegation do better with more sunlight, however, so it depends on the variety that you have.
The key to finding the right balance of sunlight for your Aglaonema is to find an area with bright, indirect sunlight.
Choose a bright room that gets plenty of sunlight but position your Aglaonema out of the way of direct sunlight, as this can scorch the leaves.
If your Aglaonema is highly variegated, such as ‘white rajah,’ example, then you can introduce more direct sunlight and see how the leaves react.
If the leaves start to lose variegation in a more shaded location, then you need to introduce more sunlight.
4. Fertilizer Issues (Over-Fertilizing)
Over-fertilizing can burn the roots and lead to wilting and even death.
Curling leaves are obviously one of many symptoms that could arise due to this, with others including yellowing and browning leaves.
Aglaonemas will grow well without any fertilizer – assuming your soil mix is suitable – but it does help promote growth if you use one.
I typically fertilize mine once every two to three weeks in the summer with a complete fertilizer and not at all during the winter. If your Aglaonema grows quickly year-round, you can obviously fertilize more often than this (and vice versa).
Humidity is a very important factor for Aglaonemas as they thrive in humidity around 70%.
A lack of humidity can cause the leaves to dry up and droop, usually with brown tips.
In order to get the humidity right, I would start off by using a hygrometer first to assess what the humidity level is currently.
From there, you’ll likely have to increase the humidity.
I like to use a pebble tray for this, but if you have several plants that need high humidity, a humidifier can be a great option, although obviously more expensive.
Avoid misting where possible – it only increases humidity for a short period of time, and the moisture on the leaves can be a breeding ground for fungus and attract pests.
Temperature is pretty important for Aglaonemas, and they definitely don’t like cold drafts or cold environments.
Low temperatures will cause the leaves to droop, and several other symptoms may show, such as slow overall growth and yellowing leaves.
Keep the temperature above 70 degrees Fahrenheit and avoid areas with cold drafts.
Warm locations in the house are much more suited for this plant than others, so consider places like the lounge or kitchen that are regularly used.
If you have an Aglaonema that prefers shady locations, then I would recommend using a thermometer to double-check the temperature to make sure it’s suitable, as these spots can get colder than you would think.
Root rot is the most common disease that affects Aglaonemas, but they can also get various types of leaf spot as well.
Both of these cause damage to the leaves and can cause them to droop and die.
For root rot you’ll need to trim affected roots and treat the rest with a fungicide. After this you’ll need to repot in fresh soil.
For leaf spot you should prune any affected leaves and treat the rest of the plant with a fungicide or neem oil.
Aglaonemas can sometimes attract pests like mealybugs, spider mites, and aphids.
These pests feed on the sap found in the leaves, causing irreversible damage and leaving behind a sticky residue. Curling leaves is just one of many symptoms of pest infestations on Aglaonemas, and others include irregular brown/yellow spots as well as visible pests on the leaves.
Small infestations can be dealt with by rinsing the plant down with water. This may need to be repeated several times, but as long as your Aglaonema is kept in a place where it is hard for pests to get to, then the infestation should stay away.
For larger pests infestations, you will need to treat your Aglaonema with an insecticide.
It’s important to check your other plants as well if you notice pests on your Aglaonema, as they will quickly spread to them. This is why you should always isolate any new plants for a few weeks before adding them to the rest of your collection.
Soil plays a big role in Aglaonema leaf health in two main ways:
- The first is nutrient content. Nitrogen is mainly responsible for leaf growth (link) and is found in soil in varying amounts depending on the addition of things like compost or fertilizer.
- –> The second is drainage. Aglaonemas like moist soil, but not for the roots to be submerged in water. This can suffocate the roots, leading to root rot. The leaves will quickly droop and eventually die under these conditions as they won’t receive nutrients or moisture from the soil.
Your Aglaonema soil mix needs to be well-draining and quite nutrient-dense. This sounds a lot more complicated than it actually is.
Most houseplant soil mixes are great for nutrients, and you can add small amounts of compost to the mix as well to boost the nutrient content. If you are fertilizing regularly as well, there’s a good chance that you have got the nutrient side of things covered.
I like to add perlite to improve drainability, but you can also use sand as well as both work well.
10. Lack Of Drainage
Soil drainability is one part of drainage, the other being drainage holes in the bottom of the pot.
Drainage holes are vital as these let the excess water drain through the bottom. Even if your soil mix is well-draining, water will still build up in the bottom if you don’t have drainage holes, leading to overwatered soil and eventually root rot.
Aside from adding perlite or sand to your soil mix, you need to make sure that there are drainage holes in the bottom of the pot and that they actually work.
The next time you water your Aglaonema, water it thoroughly and check that the excess water is flowing out the holes at the bottom. If it isn’t, you may need to repot with a new soil mix and/or add new drainage holes.
11. Old Age
Sometimes Aglaonema leaves will curl up and die on their own due to old age.
This happens quite often and isn’t something to be worried about. In this case, the rest of the leaves should look healthy – if multiple leaves are drooping or changing color, then something else is to blame.
Obviously, there isn’t a solution to leaves curling and eventually dropping off due to age, as it is part of the natural process.
You can choose to either let the leaves drop off on their own or prune them away; the choice is yours. There are some arguments for letting them drop off naturally as the rest of the plant reabsorbs the nutrients, but I’ve never really noticed much difference either way.
Aglaonema leaves can droop for a variety of reasons, but it’s important to check the other leaves to see if there is a pattern or not.
If multiple leaves are drooping, then one of the reasons listed above is likely to blame, but if only one or two leaves are drooping it could just be due to age.
My advice is to not worry too much – these are very hardy plants and a few drooping leaves won’t lead to death.