Why Is My Calathea Orbifolia Not Closing At Night?


Calathea orbifolia is one of those plants which always leave a mark on someone seeing it for the first time. Its large shiny leaves foliage is nothing less than the miraculous beauty of nature. Because of its beauty, it is mainly kept inside the house, but it also requires a lot of care for growth and propagation.

Calathea orbifolia is also known as prayer plant because of its day and night movement. Its diurnal cycle can also be traced with phototropism. But if the light change is not usual and indoor light messes the plant day and night cycle, it can create problems.

In most cases, Calathea orbifolia leaves stop their nyctinasty or dance movement; the reason behind this is changing light intensity. But water quality and quantity issues, improper humidity, improper temperature and pests can also result in this problem. If you are wondering why my Calathea orbifolia is not closing at night? Or Why is it not showing any nyctinasty or day and night dance movement? Then one or more of these can be the reason behind it.

Now we will discuss all these problems one by one, figuring out the best possible solution for each of them.

Improper Light Intensity And Change

Calathea orbifolia nyctinasty movement depends on the parameter of the light environment that changes with the daily duration of light and darkness, depending on the season.

The photoperiodic movement decides the behavior of life. Like when will birds will migrate, when the trees will grow leaves and when the flowering season will happen all depend on day and night time change. An environment where light intensity is constantly changing can affect the dance like movements of your Calathea orbifolia.

In this image it is shown that Lights inside the house can disturb the dirunal cycle of the plant
Light Intensity and Calathea Orbifolia

Phototropism in Calathea orbifolia is common; you can consider nyctinasty or day and night dance like movements are the result of it. But when you place your Calathea orbifolia in such an environment where light is constantly changing, it can disturb nyctinasty. It is one of the main reasons that despite you are providing your plant with all it needs; its leaves are still not closing at night; it is mainly because of variability in light intensity.

Solution: If Calathea orbifolia is not closing at night and you have identified it is because of variability in light intensity, you can take the following actions to correct it.

  • You can place your Calathea orbifolia in a greenhouse with the same set of plants that have the same growth requirements.
  • You can select a place near a closed window where the light falls indirectly, and there is no other source of light nearby which can affect this plant directly.

Phototropism mainly happened because of phytochrome. Phytochrome is a type of photoreceptor in plants and microbes that can detect light.

The phenomenon of phototropism, or movement of the plant toward the light, was discovered before the discovery of phytochrome. Charles Darwin was the one who wrote about it in his book The Power of Plant Movement,” published in 1880. Phototropism happens because of a gene product known as phototropin.

Damaged And Old Leaves Don’t Move

It is common for older leaves to stop showing day and night movement. If you are wondering why my Calathea orbifolia is not closing at night? Then this can be the reason. Older leaves don’t tend to move with day and night changes. In common words, there is no nyctinasty for leaves that are old or dried up.

Other than old leaves, leaves that have stress damage or any physical damage also do not show any movement. In some cases, while watering your plant or moving it from one place to other, you can damage your plant leaves. It is possible that there is no sign of physical damage, but it will stop moving its leaves

Compromise On Water Quality And Water Quantity

It is usual for the Calathea orbifolia leaves to stop showing their aesthetic dance like movements when this plant is not properly watered. You must take no compromise on it. Calathea orbifolia is sensitive in the case of water ionic balance and pH.

Calathea orbifolia  water requirement
Calathea Orbifolia Water Requirement

Improper Water Quality

Water is essential for plants growth and propagation. Improper water quality can damage the leaves or indirectly can disturb the plant’s internal processes. Almost all transport in plant happened with help of xylem and phloem tissues which are directly or indirectly use water.

Hard water, salinity and polluted water can damage the Calathea orbifolia leaves affecting their daily movements. Most plants cannot tolerate NaCl concentrations of more than 200 mM because high salinity damages them, affecting vegetative growth, seed germination, seedling establishment, and flower fertility.

So, if you are curious why your Calathea orbifolia is not closing at night despite providing the right amount of water, then compromised water quality can be the reason.

Solution: The best way to avoid this problem is to use rainwater or pure boiled water for your Calathea orbifolia. But if you have a large set of these plants, you can check the water supply quality with help from water testing equipment.  

Improper Water Quantity

It is not a good thing if you are plant owner and you are overwatering your plant. A plant owner must know what the needs of his plant are. For Calathea orbifolia you can check our plant care guide. Calathea orbifolia is a tropical area plant, and it requires a good amount of water for growth. You need to check the upper 2 inches of the soil. If it is dry, then your Calathea orbifolia need water.

Solution: There are different ways to avoid this situation. You can use the following precautions and methods to avoid such situations.

  • Use the self-watering pot with an adjusted water level to maintain the water level.
  • You can use the terracotta pots to maintain a good water flow.
  • In precaution, you need to check whether the pot size is enough for the plant. Pots larger or smaller than the required size can create problems for you.

Root Damage

Calathea orbifolia show a lot of problems when their roots are damaged. It is common for Calathea orbifolia to have damaged leaves when the roots are clogged or damaged. In case of damaged or clogged roots, the plant cannot absorb the water because which owner think that if the soil is wet, the plant don’t need much water. In some scenarios, people keep overwatering it, leading to clogged roots.

If your Calathea orbifolia leaves are not closing at night, then it is possible whether its roots are clogged or damaged.

In this image Calathea orbifolia roots are shown.
Calathea Orbifolia Roots

In plants, phytochrome supports the process of photosynthesis at the expense of water. If the water supply because of the damaged root is not up to the mark, it can disturb the operations supported by phytochrome.

Phytochrome is a light receptor that work with a product called phototropin to show leave movements. But when the water supply is disturbed, and phytochrome is not working correctly, it will eventually disturb the Calathea orbifolia leaves movement. This is how damaged roots affects the Calathea orbifolia nyctinasty.

Solution: There is no exact solution because the roots are not always in front of us. But you can check the Calathea orbifolia soil from time to time to make sure that there is no problem with roots. You need to keep a good eye on your plant. If it shows any unusual activity and there is no sign of damage on leaves and stem, then you need to check the roots otherwise, some other required parameter is not optimized.

Improper Humidity And Temperature Level

Humidity and temperature are crucial for Calathea orbifolia. Because of being a tropical plant, it requires a high humidity level. Calathea orbifolia 60% or higher humidity level with 18°C to 24°C temperature. If you have a dry environment in your house, you can still use misting or water spray on your Calathea orbifolia. Low humidity levels can disturb leaves’ moisture level, eventually wrecking the Calathea orbifolia beautiful day and night movement.

Plant optimize the temperature and humidity around their selves with the help of transpiration. Calathea orbifolia also do it whenever the moisture and temperature are not optimized.

Solution: You can use different devices and methods to optimize the temperature and humidity. To optimize humidity, you can use the following methods and devices.

  • You can use the Plant humidifier to maintain the humidity around your plant. There are different types of plant humidifiers to maintain the humidity; you need to check the best plant humidifiers and figure out the best option for you.
  • You can also use the pebble tray to maintain the humidity around your plant.
  • If things are not affordable for, you can use water spray or misting on your plant to maintain the moisture and humidity level.
In this image it shown in form of image the three way to maintain the humidity for Calathea orbifolia. First is with help of Plant Humidifier, second is misting and third one is pebble tray. With these three methods you can maintain the humidity requirement for Calathea orbifolia.
Calathea Orbifolia Humidity Requirement

Whereas far temperature is concerned, you can use HVAC systems for your plant. HVAC (Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system is a good option when you have a large set of plants with similar requirements. If you are the owner of a greenhouse or a small garden, then you can use this system. Otherwise, you can place your Calathea orbifolia near the bathroom window where it can get enough light, temperature and humid environment.

Pests Infestation

Pests are one common issue that all plants can face despite a lot of care. Aphids, spider mites and Leaf suckers like thrips are common pests that invade and damage the Calathea orbifolia. If your leaves are not closing at night, it can be because of damage done by pests.

Spider mites can cause webbing among Calathea orbifolia leaves. You can detect them by observing the leaves closely. Aphids are more dangerous than spider mites. Aphids can absorb the sap out of leaves which can wreck the shape of leaves. In both cases, leaves damage is so severe that your Calathea orbifolia will stop moving.


Calathea orbifolia leaves day and night movement are a great sight to the eye. Any form of damage to Calathea orbifolia can disturb the nyctinasty. Almost all problems are related to taking good care of your plant. If your Calathea orbifolia is not closing its leaves at night, then it is because of your negligence. But if you are taking good care of your plant then you don’t need to worry.

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