For many years of growing succulents, I learned that seeing curling leaves may indicate a variety of problems. Before doing anything, you should identify the issue. What’s wrong, what you have neglected, and what your panda plant is actually telling you with its curled leaves.
In my experience, the three main reasons for this are over-watering, lack of sunlight exposure, and inappropriate pot. We’ll have a look at each of these in a second. Before that, let me stress that like any succulent, panda plant has certain needs, and if you do not give them to it, some issues will occur sooner or later. So, let’s move to each of the three reasons of curled leaves.
Over-watering is the no. 1 issue
One of the reasons why panda plants’ leaves curl is certainly over-watering. Similarly to other succulent varieties, giving your panda plant too much water can result into your plant curling and eventually dying.
It is easy to fall into this trap, making this mistake, especially when you are a beginner. I can tell you how many succulents I lost when I first started my journey as a succulent grower, just because over watering them. You know how it goes: you like your plants, want to do something for them, and eventually harm them while trying to please them.
Remedy for over-watering is simple though, unless the plant is heavily over-watered over a long period of time–in such a case you may have to replant it. Anyway, try to refrain from watering your plant when the soil is still moist. Before watering, it is very important that you check the soil first.
Nature does not follow human schedule
Many people tend to think of watering panda plants as something that follows a perfect schedule. But it is not entirely true. The watering frequency for succulent plants, in general, does not follow any schedule.
I like to personally feel the soil and see if there is moisture in there. You can do the same by sticking your finger into the soil and see if it comes come clean. If so, then the soil I already dry. The plant is thirsty and definitely needs water. If some dirt sticks to your finger, then the soil is still moist. Do not water until the soil is dry.
Let me explain more why you should not follow a fixed schedule with your plants. In summer, for instance, panda plants may need more water because of the warm environment which causes the moisture in the soil to evaporate quickly. On the flip side, in winter, when most succulent plants are dormant, they do not need much water. What’s more, when they are not actively growing, the moisture in the soil takes time to dry. So the watering frequency should be low.
Another thing that contributes to overwatering is soil quality. It is crucial that you choose the right type of soil for your panda plant. The best soil for succulents is the one that provides good drainage and aeration. Fast-draining soil does not retain too much water. It helps prevent root rot and other issues you certainly do not want to experience with your plants. If you want, you can check my favorite soil for succulents on Amazon.
Lack of sunlight exposure can also result into curled leaves
The second reason I can think of is the lack of sunlight exposure. Like other succulents, panda plants love some direct and indirect sunlight throughout the day. I recommend that you place your panda plant under direct sunlight in the morning for a few hours at least. In the afternoon, when the sun is very strong in many places, it is better to move them under a shade.
This is to protect them from getting sunburned. Yes, you read right--plants, just like humans, can get sunburned. Even succulents, plants native to arid semi-desert areas. You for sure know that getting sunburned is no pleasant experience. So save your plants from it if you can.
Anyway, plants need some light, and indoors they may not have access to direct sunlight. Your option though is to place them near the window that have access to sunlight for at least a couple of hours a day. During winter, your best option is to use a grow light (click here to check my recommended grow light on Amazon).
Grow lights are designed to supplement the sunlight needs of indoor plants, especially in winter. Aside from curling leaves, panda plants may also stretch towards the light. This is known as the etiolation. If they do so, it is a clear indication that they are not getting the amount of sunlight they’d love to get.
Wrong pot can easily cause you a lot of problems
Like any succulent plant, panda plant needs an appropriate pot. When planted in an inappropriate container, may start to show its disapproval with your growing practices, and the leaves will start to curl. The best thing you can do in this case is to repot the plant in a pot with a drainage hole. I have mentioned this earlier.
Good succulent soil mix and pot with drainage hole are two of the most important factors you need to consider as a basic protection from over-watering the plants. The drainage hole drains the excess water during watering. The size of the pot also matters. This depends on the size of your panda plant. The bigger plant needs a bigger pot. Just choose the pot that provides enough space for the plant to grow.
Several factors may cause the panda plant leaves to curl. But the most common ones are over-watering, lack of sunlight exposure, and inappropriate pot. If you see this issue with your panda plant, these are the first things you should investigate. It is highly likely that one of them caused the problem.
And if it is not the case, make sure your plant does not suffer from pests, and make sure to check my complete guide on growing succulents, to ensure you won’t make any mistakes.