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4 minute read

Plant leaves not opening or unfurling: the cause and solution!

If you are a happy and proud plant parent, your plants are probably thriving. Growing taller and producing new leaves. All fun and games, until your beloved green baby can’t manage to open or unfurl her leaves! There are many reasons that your plant’s leaves may not unfurl. In this blog, we will share all you need to know about why some leaves do not open and how you can fix the problem and let your green friend grow further!

What it means when leaves are not opening or unfurling

When leaves do not open or unfurl, it means that the new leaves remain closed for longer than they should. The problem is often the environmental condition the plant stands in. When leaves do not bloom, your plant is probably in survival mode because of these conditions. Time to solve this problem!

Unfurling leaves blog

Causes of stuck leaves and the solution

If your plant’s leaves fail to unfurl or open, try to check out if one of the factors mentioned below apply to your indoor jungle situation!

Low humidity

The main reason behind leaves getting stuck and not unfurling properly is the lack of humidity around the plant. Every plant has their own personal humidity level in which they thrive. If the air in your home is too dry, it can cause the leaves to get stuck and growth will be stunned.

Luckily, the solution is very easy! First, check your plant’s required humidity level on our PLNTSdoctor page. Then it’s time to increase the humidity level in your home. You can try placing a Geurwolkje Humidifier near your plant or spray your plant with water a few times a day.

Poor light exposure

Another common cause of leaves getting stuck is poor light exposure. If your plant isn't getting enough light, the leaves will become weak, runny or fail to unfurl. Make sure your plant is placed in a bright spot where she receives plenty of light. When winter arrives, it makes sense that plants grow slower due to darker days. In this case, you can consider a growlight. Make sure to do some research on grow lights before setting up. In this video our PLNTSdoctor tells you all about growlights!

Another tip from us: always check your plants needs before adjusting her light. We’ve listed all plantfamilies and their care requirements on our PLNTSdoctor page.

Over- or underwatering

Over- or underwatering is also a cause of stunted growth. Your plant's leaves can become soft, sticky or stuck! To make sure your plant is getting enough water without overwatering her, you must check the soil regularly. Use your finger to feel the soil about 2 centimeters deep or use a Tessa Watermeter or Naomi Plantsensor to check out your plants water needs.

Soil quality

Another very important factor that can cause your plant’s leaves to get stuck is the quality of the soil. If your plant is growing in the same potting soil for a while, it’s possible that it used all nutritions that were in the soil. Time to repot and change the soil! We advise to use one of our soil mixes, especially for epiphytes, succulents or aroids. These mixes contain everything your plant needs to grow happy. In Spring and Summer, you can add some plant nutrition to support your plants’ growth!


If your plant is infested with insects, it can also cause the leaves to become stuck. To get rid of any insects that might be plaguing your plant, we advise to use neem oil, eco-friendly insect spray or biological pest control! Want to know which plague is attacking your plant? Check out this insect guide!

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Tips to help your plant unfurl her leaves!

Some plants, like most Philodendrons, Alocasias and other aroids, have a protective layer around their leaves where they grow out of. These are called cataphylls. As soon as your plant’s leaf pops out, the cataphylls die off. Sometimes a leaf gets stuck in one of those cataphylls. If that’s the case, you can choose to let nature be and wait till she manages to grow out of it, or you can lend a helping hand! Use a cotton bud and gently pull through the cataphyll to free your plant’s leaf. Now your plant can grow her leaf further!

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As you can see, there are several things that can help plants' leaves unfurl, including increasing the humidity level, providing your plant with plenty of light and changing the soil. If you’re still having trouble getting your leaves to unfurl, you might have to treat your plant for insects. We hope with these guidelines, you can help your plants' leaves grow further. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact us!


PLNTS instantly make Renée happy as she's always on the hunt for cool plant trends. Inspiring our community with interior tips, surprising DIY's and fun lists is what she does best!

December 02, 2022
Hi, I'm Emma, your guide!

Hi, I’m Emma, your guide!