Why Is My Calathea Not Closing at Night? (Problems and Solutions)

Calathea / Gardening basics / Indoor plants

Calathea is one of the most loved house plants, for the indoor plant enthusiast. It has beautiful dark green foliage with contrasting variegation. Also, the air-purifying character is just like the cherry on the cake.

The Calatheas are also known as the Prayer plant, because they fold their leaves at night, just like they are praying to Almighty God, as humans do by folding their hand.

Sometimes people often complain that their Calatheas are not closing at night. In this article, we are going to discuss this confusion, Why your Calathea is not closing at night?


Why Is My Calathea Not Closing at Night?

If your Calathea is not closing at night, it is due to not getting a complete dark condition at night. An artificial source of light is continuously penetrating the leaves of your plant and hampering its diurnal cycle. Apart from the lighting issues, watering problems and pest infestation might also cause the Calathea leaves not to move at night.

Calathea is a plant, originated from the tropical forests of South America(Brazil, Columbia, Ecuador). It is found beneath the big tall trees of the rainforests. Therefore gets enough bright indirect light in the daytime and pitch dark condition at the night.

This type of lighting triggers the closing and opening movement of Calathea leaves.

During the day time, there is an ample amount of bright indirect sunlight. Therefore, the Calathea plant keeps its leaves open, so that it can carry out photosynthesis. But at night, when there is no light, the plant folds its leaves up.

If the plant will not get a complete dark condition at night, the mechanism that causes the Calathea plant to fold its leaves, will not be triggered and the leaves will not close.

Do all Calatheas close at night?

Yes, almost all known Calathea species close their leaves at night. Not only Calathea but all plants belonging to the Marantaceae family (also known as the arrowroot family) folds their leaves at night. Therefore, the family itself is called the prayer plant family.

There might be some variation in the movement of the leaves of different species, but there is always a movement is there in response to light.

You will love to read our care guide on different species of Calathea like Calathea Musaica (Network), Calathea ornata, Calathea orbifolia.

All the species of Calathea needs almost similar type of care.


A Few Reasons For which Calathea is not closing at night

Here is the list of problems that may prevent your Calathea plant to fold its leaves at night.

  1. Lighting issue
  2. Watering problems(Both overwatering and underwatering)

A detailed discussion will further clarify the above said points

1.Lighting issue

Every living organism has a diurnal cycle that repeats itself every 24 hours. Just like for human beings, when the sun goes down and the dark period approaches, humans, feel sleepy automatically, and in the morning when the sun rises, we humans become active. You can say it a human tendency or a habitual action, but our body is adapted to such type of diurnal changes.

Similarly, the Calathea plant has also adapted its internals in such a way that at night time its leaves folds, and at day time it open again. This diurnal cycle continues day by day as normal sunrise and sunset happen.

But if you manipulate the natural phenomenon then the plant will also show different types of variation in its regular behavior.

When the plant will not get a completely dark period at night, it will not trigger its internals to close the leaves. As a result, the plant will not fold its leaves.

So the main issue here is not getting a complete dark condition at night.

If your Calathea is not closing at night, the very first thing you have to look at is the lighting condition.


  • Ensure that the plant is getting a good amount of bright indirect light in the day time and a proper dark condition at night.
  • If your plant is not getting such types of conditions then, move it to a different place where it can get its desirable growing condition.
  • An east-facing window is an ideal place for this plant.
  • Never expose the plant to direct sunlight for a long time. It will burn the leaves.

2.Watering stress

After lighting issues, water stress is the 2nd most critical issue that may prevent your Calathea plant from closing its leaves at night. Both over and underwatering are harmful.

The leaves folding and unfolding movement includes a complex mechanism. Water stress will hamper the functioning of this mechanism.

Overwatering can easily cause root rot in Calathea and it will directly hamper the water uptake by the roots. It will create a water stress condition and all the plant functions including leaves closing and opening movement will be hampered.

Similarly underwatering also keep the plant dehydrated and affects the normal functionaries of the plant.


You have to avoid both overwatering and underwatering in order to prevent the Prayer Plant from dehydrating.

How to prevent overwatering

  • Choose a well-draining potting soil for your plant.
  • The pot should have enough drainage holes to remove all the extra water.
  • Apply water only when the top two-inch layer of soil is dry.
  • Keep the plant in a well-ventilated place getting bright indirect sunlight. It will increase the rate of evaporation as a result of which the water can escape quickly.
  • Carefully mark if the plant is showing any overwatering symptoms like yellowing of leaves, drooping of leaves, etc.
  • If getting those symptoms, check the roots at the time of

How to prevent underwatering

  • Check your potting soil regularly, apply water only when the top two-inch layer of soil is dry.
  • Keep the environment humid. You can use a humidifier, that automatically maintains the required humidity level in the atmosphere.
  • You can also use some automatic houseplant watering systems.

Final thoughts

It is not a serious issue if your Calathea is not closing at night. It is just a signal that something is going wrong. It is not going to kill your plant. But the corrective measures will provide a better environment for your plant.

Take care of the lighting condition and your plant will again resume its leaf movement.

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