Why Are Lemon Tree Leaves Curling? 14 Causes and Treatment

If you are searching for “lemon tree leaves curling” then before that let me tell you These plants are easy-to-grow houseplant and is a member of Rutaceae family. lemon tree is also known as Citrus lemon tree or plant, is one of the low maintenance flowering plant , that is why they are easily grown in any space and belongs to India, China, Myanmar and Southern Asia. But with extra care, sometimes people end up with plants that start curling and the situation turns bad when they even turn brown. In this blog, I will explain about various reasons with solutions that can solve this problem.

The Most common reason for the lemon tree leaves curling due to disease, pest problem ,too much heat, Underwatering, low water, Less Moisture on Soil and Pests. The lemon trees leaves curling up and falling off also because of Humidity, temperature stress, transplanting shock, leaf bugs, age factor, root rot and much more. To treat them you should pesticide that causes it and temperature instability, leaf bugs and diseases . This will solve the problem of Curled leaves.

Below In this article I will explain lemon trees curling leaves problem causes and what to do to fix them. The problem of curling leaves inward, downward, up, down, falling off may look simple but it can have many reasons why it happened and how to solve it. 

Why Are Lemon Tree Leaves Curling? 14 Causes and Treatment
Tomwsulcer, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons


Here are the 14 reasons why are lemon tree leaves curling and turning yellow?


The lemon tree leaves are curling due to a pests and disease such as aphids, mealy bugs, mites infestation and more.  This is an issue that can be found in many types of trees , but it is most commonly seen in African violets. The disease causes the leaves to curl up and turn yellow and then brown, which makes the plant look like it is dying. If you see your plant has this disease, make sure you get rid of all the infected leaves using a insecticide and also prune off all the infected leaves.

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Too much Heat Stress

the lemon tree leaves curling due to too much heat stress is a common problem. The lemon tree is placed in direct sunlight which makes the leaf curl. The fact that the sun absorbs all the water from the soil makes the plant feel dry and to protect the leaves from burning it curls up. This way plants save the water from leaves but it cannot save the leaf from burning. That is why if the location is not changed it will eventually die. In order to avoid this, you can try changing the place or just put it in a partial shade spot. If you still see the leaves curling up, you can try spraying them with water or misting them with a spray bottle.

Low Light

When the lemon tree is not getting enough sunlight, the leaves will start curling upwards and turn yellow then brown. This can be fixed by simply putting the plant in a brighter location, or by giving it more light from the artificial growth lights if you live in an area with low light. When the leaves turn brown, they can be removed and thrown away to make room for new leaves to grow. The plants always like to get a few hours of sunlight or at least some partial light to prepare food and if it doesn’t get this, then it will start to wilt as a sign of low light.

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Low Watering

The lemon tree leaves are curling because the plant is not getting enough water. It is important to water your plants daily and not just when you remember while walking to check other things. If your plant is not getting enough water, it will start to droop, causing the leaves to curl. You will know it needs more water when it starts to droop and die. To help keep your plant healthy, be sure to water it every day and not just when you remember.

Lack of Nutrition

The lemon tree leaves curled up due to lack of nutrition which is another big issue that can happen to any plant. The leaves start to curl and wither away and they will eventually die. This can be caused by the low nutrition on the potting soil so the impact of this issue can be seen in leaves itself. If you notice your plant’s leaves curling, try adding more fertilizer or water more often to help the leaves recover.


Overfeeding lemon trees is one of the most common mistakes that people make. This is because we are very good at thinking that our plants will grow more if we give them more nutrients. Plants do not grow more when you overfeed them, they actually curl up and then die. The best way to prevent this from happening is to start feeding your plants less and less until they are only getting enough water and sunlight.

Root Rot

The leaves of the lemon tree were curling because of root rot. The water inside the soil were not being absorbed by the plant because of the rotting roots. The lemon tree was not able to take in water and nutrients from the soil. The leaves began to wilt and turn brown and to fix this you can first drag out the plant from the existing pot and cut off the rotted roots. Then move your plant to a new container with new soil. Now take care of your plant it will solve your root rot problem in this plant.

Water Quality

The plant leaves are not growing well and seem to curl up inwards or outwards, this is due to the quality of the water. The leaves were green, but were turning brown and wilting. The plant was becoming weak and deformed and it would die soon. The water in the bucket or tap or where you use water can be polluted and cause the plant to wilt. To fix this change the water of your plant and it will start to recover soon and also remove the curl and damaged leaves from this plant.

Temperature Stress

lemon tree leaves curling due to temperature stress and your plant is not able to grow properly in that uneven temperature. There are many things you can do to prevent this problem such as changing the temperature to 75 to 80 degree F and see if it works. Otherwise change it to 55-70 degree F and see if they start growing well.

Too much Direct Sunlight

The lemon tree leaves were curling due to too much direct sunlight. The leaves were turning brown, wilting and dying off. The fix is to move the plant to a good spot where it has partial shade light. This plant will be happy after that so move it immediately if it has curling leaf signs.

Transplanting Stress

The lemon tree leaves start to curl due to transplanting stress. When they are transplanted the roots often get damaged, which causes the plant to get shock and they start giving signs like leaves curling. One way to prevent this is by carefully taking out the plant without hurting its roots. Also use fresh soil so the previous potting soil disease doesn’t get transferred.

Low Humidity

The lemon tree leaves curling due to Low Humidity. Low humidity is a common problem for many hardy plants. When the humidity in your home falls below a certain level, it can be hard for plants to keep their leaves from curling up. This is because the plant’s leaves use water vapor to stay healthy and alive. If the humidity in your home falls too low, you should increase the amount of water you are giving your plants to prevent the curling. You should also spray the water or just provide water on the soil to make it moist so you can avoid leaves wilting.

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Insect Infestation

The leaves may curl in lemon trees due to an insect infestation. The leaves that were in the middle of the plant are now curled around the edges, leaving a spiky appearance. The insect makes it turn brown and wilted. The insects are eating the leaves and doing damage to the plant’s overall health. This is a sign that the plant needs a pesticide or insecticide to get rid of all the pests seen on the plants.

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lemon tree leaves curling due to overwatering can happen to all types of plants, not just lemon trees. Plants that are over-watered & get wet most of the time will start to wilt and droop. The best thing to do is to make sure that your plant is getting enough water but not too much. To fix this problem, you have to wait for the plant to dry the soil completely first and then start giving it less water. Also cut down all the leaves that are curled. 

If your lemon tree leaves are curling, there are a few treatment that you can do to help them regain their original shape. 

  • First make sure that the plant is getting proper sunlight and is well-watered. 
  • Second, make sure it doesn’t have any pest infestation which leads to curling of leaves. 
  • Third, make sure that the plant is in a room that is not too cold or too warm and this may directly impact its health which may give signs like curling, yellowing or browning of leaves.

Finally, make sure that the plant has enough water and nutrients by feeding it a good slow release or general fertilizer for a couple times within 2 months in the growing season.

How do you stop leaf curl?

Use insecticide for insects that harms the lemon tree leaves that made it curl. The leaves that are curl up may not grow back green but at least you can take down all the insects which solves the overall problem of leaf curling. The newer leaves will be greener and healthier.

Why do citrus trees get curly leaves?

The most common reason is for citrus trees gets curly leaves that turns yellow or brown is due to aphids insect. They absorb the plant sap and make it weak, because all the nutrients have been taken out from the leaf making it curl up and drop. You can prevent aphids by using insecticide that works to get rid of these types of insects in lemon tress.

How To Prevent Leaves Folding of lemon trees?

To prevent folding of leaves, place it in a partial shade, then it is good watering to make its soil moist. In 1-2 days they might come back to life and grow green and if not wait more or this might be because they are damaged by the excessive sunlight or over watering. In this case , remove the leaves and let the other leaves grow. For overwatering , do not water your plant too much.

How to care for lemon trees?

Caring for lemon trees Includes Proper Watering, Good Sunlight, Providing Timely nutrients and If any pest infestation occurs, do not worry just use an insecticide or pesticide to get rid of pests or at least repel them with that.

  • Water your plant until the 2 inch topsoil is filled with water.
  • Partial shade area that gets a few hours of sunlight for lemon trees.
  • General purpose fertilizer used to feed nutrients into the plants soil so your plants can grow well.
  • Well draining pot that drains the water so we avoid any root rot situations.
  • Do check your plant daily to keep track of their health is also an important part of caring for lemon trees.

Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed my blog about the lemon tree leaves curling. I know that many people have concerns about their plant leaves and disease occur with it, since this can happen to plants. Luckily, there are various things you can do to help prevent your plant from curling. I hope that this article helps you out and you feel more confident in your ability to take care of your lemon tree.

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Amelia Clark

I'm Amelia Clark , a seasoned florist and gardening specialist with more than 15 years of practical expertise. Following the completion of my formal education, I dedicated myself to a flourishing career in floristry, acquiring extensive understanding of diverse flower species and their ideal cultivation requirements. Additionally, I possess exceptional skills as a writer and public speaker, having successfully published numerous works and delivered engaging presentations at various local garden clubs and conferences. Check our Social media Profiles: Facebook Page, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Youtube, Instagram Tumblr

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