This article illustrates how to cure both early and advanced stage humidity curl/droop in mitragyna speciosa seedlings. Similar techniques for mature specimens are illustrated in this article.
Kratom loves to be moist 🌿
Kratom trees are native to tropical rainforests and enjoy plenty of moisture in both their soil and air. Even the strongest kratom seedlings are sensitive to low humidity, sun and wind. Take careful steps to transplant and acclimate your seedling according to these important instructions to get your new specimen starting off on the right foot.
Hot dry air can cause overheating and shock in young plants of all species. This can generally be avoided by keeping your kratom specimen in an ideal environment, but if it does happen to your specimen, here's what to do.
How to cure early stage humidity curl/droop 🌿
Take a look at the photo above. This is early stage humidity curl. The leaves have begun to thin and are curling upward. The texture is becoming clingy like wet tissue. This is a normal state after being unwrapped from inside their package and put into a low(er) humidity environment. It can happen suddenly in a matter of minutes due to sudden dry air.
Photo 2: the solution!!! You put a wet plastic bag over the top of the plant. You leave it on there overnight and when you remove it your plant will be perfectly happy, provided the soil conditions and moisture levels within the pot are on point. If she starts to exhibit the humidity curl again you simply repeat the process until it stops. This is pretty much foolproof.
Photo 3: this is the same plant after the bag is removed. Be sure to mist your plants thoroughly and don't over tend to them. Just set the bag on and leave them alone and they will be fine. Be sure to mist the inside of the bag. The moisture should allow the plastic to grip against the side of the pot. Be sure the bag does not make contact with the leaves.
How to cure extreme droop and (advanced) humidity curl/droop 🌿
Sometimes you may forget to check on your seedling when the dry summer heat hits record levels, evaporating moisture from the air inside your home. If you discover your seedling with advanced humidity curl/droop, it is important to act swiftly but calmly. This species is very forgiving if you take the right actions as outlined below.
1. If your seedling is in direct sun, remove it to a location out of direct sun. Indirect sun indoors is fine and so are bright window spaces. Just avoid the direct beam of the sun or any overwhelming heat source. Remember never to leave a young specimen outside.
2. Mist your seedling's leaves, root ball and soil. Be sure the soil is not dry. (Hot wet soil with dry air can cause the same issue. If your soil is hot and wet, cool it off with cold water but ensure it is draining. Poorly draining soil and overwatering can smother the roots and cause the same kind of symptoms.) The leaves may curl further when you mist them and if that happens do not be alarmed.
3. Mist the inside of a thin, lightweight plastic bag like the ones from the produce department at the grocery store. Place it over the plant for 24 hours. Make sure the plastic is not smashing or making contact with the leaves, but that it is lightly gripped against the edges of the pot so air is not circulating. The bag will not grip properly if you have not misted the inside. The bag should be domed over the plant with enough room above and around the seedling for there to be no contact with the bag. After 24 hours, check on the plant.
4. If some leaves are still not perfect, you can use your wet fingers to help smooth them and replace the bag for another 24 hours. If a leaf still sustains damage at the tip but the rest of the leaf plumps up, do not remove the leaf. You can snip off the damaged tip, but allow the rest of the leaf to continue producing energy for the seedling. Remember all leaves are temporary energy cells for the plant. Even damaged leaves continue to produce energy while the plant grows newer, bigger, better ones.
5. Be patient with yourself and your seedling. Remember these are babies. Treat them with tenderness and kindness. They need a gentle touch and plenty of patience. They will reward good parenting with boundless blessings.
Important care instructions to avoid humidity curl/droop
Follow the transplant and acclimation protocol when you receive your seedlings. Don't think you can skip this step. You will likely have problems.
Do not leave your kratom plants outside at this stage unless your grow consultants tell you directly that this is ok. They are not ready for that. Acclimation to the sun and outdoors must be done with low angle side-lighting in increments of 15 minutes a day near sunrise or sunset only after your specimen has made it past the acclimation phase and has remained uncovered indoors for 5-7 straight days with no issues.
ALSO!! Leaves are temporary solar panels used by the plant to produce energy. If some become damaged, don't worry. New ones will grow. 80% of the life force of this species is in the root.
When you purchase a seedling from us, you are really purchasing the genetics for a big excellent tree. If her leaves get damaged or you make a mistake early on, it's okay. She will outgrow the mistakes and any awkwardness as long as you take measures to correctly adjust her environment. She does not have to look perfect right now. Sometimes it takes several weeks to get things under control. Be easy on her and easy on yourself.