Sunflower Leaves Curling: Identifying Causes and Taking Action

There are many kinds of flowers that you can grow in your garden. Flowers are amazing to see especially when they produce colorful and beautiful flowers.

One example of a flower is a sunflower. There are many people growing sunflowers in their garden. But growing this one is sometimes challenging because there are some problems that you may or may not encounter.

One problem that might happen is the sunflower leaf curl. What are some reasons why the leaves are curling on your sunflower plant?

Why Are My Sunflower Leaves Curling?

Lack of Water

Lacking water can cause leaf curl on sunflowers. The reason is the plant is not getting the right amount of water and it makes the leaf curl.

There are times that gardeners are too busy and they forget to water their sunflower plant and the leaves start to change in form.

You need to give sunflowers the right amount of water so that they will thrive and grow best. At least 1 inch of water per week is needed by the plant.

By checking the soil moisture you will know if your plant needs water or not. You can push your finger into the soil about 2 to 3 inches deep.

If you feel that the soil is dry you need to water it but if not you need to wait for a day or two and check again the soil moisture.

Overwatered Sunflower Plant

Aside from lacking water, overwatering can also cause leaves to curl on sunflowers. Too much water is not good for this plant or any other plant and you need to be careful in watering your plant.

Just give the right amount of water to your sunflower so that they will grow just fine. If the plant is planted in well-draining soil, water logging can be prevented.

But still, avoid pouring too much water because it can cause leaves to curl on the plant. If rain is available you don’t need to water your plant.

The rainfall is just fine and enough for the plant to thrive. If there is too little rain and the soil is still dry you can water the plant.

Root rot

Root rot can happen when you overwater your sunflower plant. Too much water makes the roots rot and when it happens the plant cannot get enough water and nutrients.

The functions of the roots are not working and because of that, the leaves may start curling.

You need to avoid the sunflower from getting a lot of water so that they will just grow fine.

Mineral Deficiency

Lacking nutrients can also cause leaf curl on sunflowers. That is why the soil must be rich in nutrients so that sunflower plants will grow best.

You can improve the soil quality by applying fertilizer. You can use either chemical or organic fertilizer depending on your practice.

If you are practicing organic gardening then you must use organic fertilizer. By improving the soil nutrients, the sunflower will also thrive better.

Nitrogen is important for the plant to make their leaves grow well and they stay green. There are also many other elements that will keep the sunflower leaves healthy.

If your soil is already rich in nutrients, you can still fertilize your plant but just a little fertilizer.

Transplant Shock

There are times that plants are being transplanted to new locations. Let’s say the sunflower seedling is transferred from the seedling tray to the ground.

Sometimes transplanting can cause transplant shock on sunflowers. You need to be careful in transplanting your plant so that shock on the plant will be prevented.

You need to water the plant immediately after transferring. The water will help the plant to grow and will not dry.

But one good thing about smaller plants is they are not too prone to transplant shock. Commonly big plants and trees are prone to transplant shock.

If your sunflower gets transplant shock you just need to wait for a few days and it can somewhat recover. It is good to germinate many sunflower seeds so that you have a replacement for other seedlings that will not grow well.

Temperature Changes

Temperature changes can also cause the sunflower leaves to curl. For example, there is a day when the sunlight is shining so bright and the temperature increases.

Too much heat can make the leaves curl. Usually, during the summer the weather becomes too hot and your plant leaves might get affected.

If you are growing sunflowers in a pot, you can move them to a shaded area to protect them against the extreme heat.

But if your plants are planted in the ground it is a little bit hard for them to protect. Just make sure they are getting enough water during those hot days so that they will stay hydrated. 


Aphids, thrips, and whiteflies are some of the pests that can affect your sunflower plant. These pests can cause leaf curl and you must keep them away from your sunflower.

You need to control those pests so that your sunflower will be fine and will stay healthy. When the sunflower plant is thriving, you will see healthy leaves, and a beautiful flower will grow on the plant.

Or you will see many flowers on the sunflower plant if it is growing multiple flowers.

Sunflower Leaves Curling Down

Sunflowers are beautiful and hardy plants that are known for their bright yellow blooms. However, sometimes the leaves of sunflowers can curl down, which can be a sign of various issues.

One of the most common reasons for sunflower leaves curling down is lack of water or over-watering. Inadequate or excessive moisture can cause the leaves to wilt and curl down. Another reason could be a lack of nutrients, especially nitrogen.

In such cases, providing the plant with a balanced fertilizer can help. Pests and diseases such as aphids, spider mites, and rust can also cause leaves to curl down, so it’s important to keep an eye out for any signs of infestation or infection. If the problem persists, consulting a gardening expert may be necessary to diagnose and treat the issue.

Sunflower Leaves Curling Upwards

While sunflower leaves curling downwards can be a sign of various issues, such as overwatering or pests, sunflower leaves curling upwards can also indicate a problem. One of the main causes of sunflower leaves curling upwards is heat stress.

When the sun is too intense, sunflower leaves can curl upwards to reduce the amount of direct sunlight they receive, in order to prevent dehydration and overheating. In such cases, providing some shade or moving the sunflowers to a cooler location can help alleviate the issue.

Another possible cause of sunflower leaves curling upwards is herbicide damage. If sunflowers are exposed to herbicides, their leaves may curl upwards and develop yellow or brown spots. It’s important to avoid using herbicides near sunflowers and to follow the instructions carefully if herbicides are necessary.

Sunflower Seedling Leaves Curling

Sunflower seedling leaves curling is a common issue that can be caused by several factors. One possible reason for the curling is overwatering or underwatering. Inconsistent soil moisture levels can cause the leaves to curl and wilt.

Sunflowers require well-draining soil that is moist but not waterlogged. Another possible cause is low humidity or dry air. Sunflowers need a moderately humid environment to thrive. If the air is too dry, the leaves may curl and dry out.

Insect pests such as aphids, thrips, or spider mites can also cause sunflower seedling leaves to curl. These pests feed on the leaves, causing damage that leads to curling and distortion.

Finally, nutrient deficiencies such as nitrogen or magnesium can cause sunflower leaves to curl. It’s important to ensure that seedlings are planted in nutrient-rich soil and fertilized adequately.

How Do You Fix Curling Leaves On Sunflower?

If you notice that the leaves on your sunflower are curling, there are several steps you can take to try to fix the issue. Firstly, ensure that the sunflower is not overwatered or underwatered, as inconsistent soil moisture can cause curling.

Additionally, make sure that the sunflower is not exposed to excessive heat or direct sunlight, which can also cause curling. You can provide shade or move the sunflower to a cooler location to alleviate the problem. Insect infestations can also cause curling, so check for pests and treat the plant accordingly with insecticides or natural remedies.

Nutrient deficiencies such as nitrogen or magnesium can cause curling, so consider fertilizing the plant with a balanced fertilizer. If the problem persists, consult a gardening expert to diagnose and treat the issue.


Why Do Sunflower Petals Curling?

One reason why sunflower petals are curling is because of extreme heat. Too much heat will affect the flowers and it can make their petals curl. If your sunflower is planted in the pot, you need to protect it by bringing it in the shade so that the flower will be fine and beautiful.