A leaf that fails to unfurl properly or indeed is torn by the next subsequent leaf can be soul destroying even to the most pragmatic of us all. As with most issues with plants there can often be a surprising cause or indeed a combination of factors that combine leading to this upsetting occurrence.
Broadly speaking the most likely culprit in a majority of cases especially during winter is low humidity. The action of heating air in a domestic setting will inevitably drop the relative humidity significantly.
We would suggest by measuring the humidity regularly you can take actions should it drop under 50% for any length of time. We will make an additional post on how you can do that.
Another obvious issue might be underwatering. It is true that underwatering is better than overwatering but balance is of course needed. A simple analogy would be trying to blow up a 10L balloon with only 1L of air. Your new leaf will need a minimum amount t of water to unfurl fully. Your plant will move water from other areas of your plant to try and assist with this function. Keep an eye out for your older leaves withering. This can be a sign that your plant is redirecting water to the new growth at the expense of the older leaves.
In winter low light can also get your plants in trouble, a lot of aroids can grow in relatively low light, but in winter, inside, a few meters from the window, it’s actually almost no light.
In a sunny climate, even in the shade there is actually a lot of light. If you would compare a sunny spot next to the window in summer with the same spot in winter with a light meter you would be amazed by how low the light actually is. If you can’t move your plant to a better spot, consider buying a growlight.
Should you be like to mist your plants, make sure that no water ever gets caught in an unfurling leaf, as it will rot for sure. This can be mitigated by having good air flow or only misting first thing in the morning.
If your plant appears to decline in condition in winter, there is the possibililty you are overwatering it. Check the roots for root rot. A root system in free fall may not be functionally capable of providing what you plant needs to ensure new growth unfurls pristine.
Finally check for every plant lovers nemesis. Thrips suck the energy out of the leaves and the damage manifests as yellow-orange-brown stains. The damage is always more pronounced on the back of the leaves. New growth is softer and easier for the thrip to feed. Gnarly looking deformed new leaves can often be an indication you may have an infestation.
Should you have difficulties with your plants during winter, don’t hesitate to send us an email with some pictures and a description of the growing circumstances: firstname.lastname@example.org
We will happily give advice or even use our social media channels to tap into the collective hive mind and opinions that is the plantlover family.