How to Fix Curling Leaves and Save Your Lemon Tree

How to Fix Curling Leaves and Save Your Lemon Tree

Your lemon tree is an example of a tree that will add beauty to your garden, but it’s disheartening when you notice that some of the plant’s leaves are starting to curl and make the plant look unhealthy. How do you fix curling leaves on a lemon tree?

You can fix curling leaves on a lemon tree by ensuring you don’t plant your lemon tree in an area of the garden that gets too much sun. Leaf curl disease can also cause this issue to happen. 

In this article, I’ll explore how to fix your lemon tree leaves from curling and how to prevent it in the future, whether you have outdoor or indoor lemon trees. 

What Causes Lemon Tree Leaf Curling?

What Causes Lemon Tree Leaf Curling?

Lemon tree leaf curling can occur from drought or hot conditions. Drought places stress on lemon trees, causing their leaves to curl up from dehydration. If you can see that the soil around your tree is drying up, this means you need to increase how much you water your tree.

But, ensure that the lemon tree has enough drainage; otherwise, this could cause problems, such as leaves that turn yellow and fall off the plant. Although lemon trees are among the most beautiful yellow trees to add to your garden, you don’t want their leaves to turn yellow!

The soil for your lemon tree needs to be moist but never soggy, as you don’t want the plant’s roots to become waterlogged. You want to water your tree once a week, with about one inch (2.54cm) of water each time. 

Other signs that your citrus tree soil doesn’t have enough drainage include: 

  • Soggy soil around the tree. 
  • Drooping leaves. 
  • Leaves that drop off the plant. 
  • Yellow leaves.

Other issues that can cause your lemon tree’s leaves to curl up include the following: 


Pests that attack lemon trees for their sap, such as aphids, can cause their leaves to wilt and curl up. This causes what’s known as leaf curl disease. You’ll also notice that the leaves lose their color.

Check the underside of the leaves for any small pests you can see. Spray them with neem oil. You should do this once a week until the tree starts to recover.

I’d recommend Plantonix Pure Neem Oil for Plants, which is available from Amazon. It doesn’t contain any additives and can be used in both indoor and outdoor gardens. 

Extreme Temperature Fluctuations

If your lemon tree is exposed to extreme changes in climate, such as if icy temperatures follow too much heat, this can damage its leaves.

You want to maintain a consistent temperature for your citrus trees, which you can do by ensuring that you provide them with shade during the hottest days of summer and placing a tarp over the trees during the winter when temperatures sink below freezing. 

Nutrient Deficiencies 

You want to ensure your lemon tree gets enough nutrients; otherwise, this can result in droopy or curled leaves. Lemon trees need fertilizer to give them enough nutrients so that they will grow flowers and fruit.

Feed your citrus plant a fertilizer that’s designed to keep it healthy. I’d recommend Miracle-Gro Shake ‘N Feed Citrus, Avocado, and Mango Plant Food, which is available from Amazon. It contains nutrients plants need to grow, such as magnesium, potassium, and iron, to keep your lemon tree healthy. It feeds trees for up to three months. 

What Can You Do to Fix Lemon Tree Leaf Curling?

What Can You Do to Fix Lemon Tree Leaf Curling?

You can fix lemon tree leaf curling by ensuring you protect the leaves from extreme wind and weather conditions. This will prevent damage to the tree. You should also water the lemon tree enough to prevent it from drying out, which can cause it to struggle to grow. 

You should water your lemon tree approximately once a week, but you can also enhance the soil’s moisture by applying a two-inch (5.08cm) layer of organic mulch to the soil of the plant. 

If your lemon tree is kept indoors, you should mist it daily during periods of very hot or dry conditions, such as in the wintertime. Use a spray bottle to ensure you give the tree enough hydration all over so that its leaves won’t curl up. 

Protect the lemon tree’s leaves against harsh weather conditions. This not only includes providing protection from the harsh winters but also from lots of wind.

Covering your tree when there’s strong wind or rain is beneficial. Remember to water your citrus tree when it’s windy, as this will decrease how much damage is caused to the leaves, preventing them from getting dried out by the wind. 

Strive to prune your citrus trees regularly, as this will reduce how many leaves appear on the plant, preventing them from being exposed to strong winds. Prune your lemon tree early in the spring or late in the winter. Pruning it annually will prevent the tree from becoming leggy or growing too many branches. 

Does Lemon Tree Leaf Curling Happen With Indoor Lemon Trees?

Does Lemon Tree Leaf Curling Happen With Indoor Lemon Trees?

Leaf curls can attack both outdoor and indoor lemon trees. Trees that you grow indoors can be more susceptible to leaf curl because they rely on the nutrients they receive from the soil in their pots, and they don’t get enough – or they get too much – humidity.

Aim to give your indoor lemon tree a temperature of approximately 65°F (18.3°C) during the day and around 60°F (15.5°C) at night. You should give your lemon tree approximately 50% humidity.

To ensure your lemon tree gets enough humidity, you can use a pebble tray. This kind of tray contains pebbles and water, and you will place it underneath your lemon tree’s pot. When the water evaporates in the tray, it will give the lemon tree moisture. 

Indoor lemon trees need enough light, or they’ll struggle to grow. You need to ensure you give your lemon tree at least six hours of sunlight every day to encourage healthy leaf growth. 

Other tips for growing lemon trees indoors include the following:  

  • Be careful of hot and cold temperatures. Avoid exposing your lemon tree to cold drafts of air or lots of heat, as these can cause temperature fluctuations that damage its leaves. So, be sure to keep lemon trees away from things like air conditioners and fireplaces. 
  • Avoid overwatering your tree. It’s easy to water your lemon tree too much when it’s kept indoors. Prevent this by following the guideline of watering your lemon tree every few days. 
  • Keep pests like aphids at bay. Ensuring your lemon tree gets enough sunlight and water will prevent it from becoming susceptible to pests. 
  • Prevent transplant shock. If you’re transplanting your lemon tree into a new pot or moving it outdoors, do so in spring or early fall when temperatures aren’t severe. Water the tree well before transplanting it, as this will make it easier to dig up out of the pot and will reduce stress. 

How to Fix Indoor Lemon Tree Curling Indoors

How to Fix Indoor Lemon Tree Curling Indoors

If you can see your indoor lemon tree’s leaves are curling, there are some things you can do to help the tree grow healthier. 

  • Mist your lemon tree. If you live in a region where the indoor climate is dry, you should mist your lemon tree regularly. Do this in the morning so that its leaves have a chance to dry, preventing the growth of fungus. 
  • Buy a humidifier. By setting up a humidifier close to your lemon tree, you’ll be able to prevent your tree from drying out. 
  • Water it regularly. You should water your lemon tree when its soil is dry, about two inches (5.08cm) below the soil surface. Water it enough so that you can see water leaking through the pot’s drainage holes. This is important to ensure you give it enough water but never let the tree’s soil become soggy. 
  • Buy a potting mix for citrus trees. This will ensure you give your tree enough nutrients it needs to grow healthy. I’d recommend Citrus Tree Potting Soil Mix from Amazon. It contains ingredients such as peat moss, worm castings, and perlite to encourage aeration and drainage. We have written more about the difference between potting soil and potting mix, so check it out if you want to know more. 


If you’re growing a beautiful lemon tree, whether indoors or outdoors, you have to ensure you give it the correct care.

Looking after a lemon tree isn’t a challenging task, as long as you ensure you follow some important tips, such as those I’ve outlined in this article. 


About The Author

Gina Harper grew up dreaming about farms and growing her own food. She began an urban garden to feed herself and turned it into an incredible hobby. Gina is here to teach you everything from raised beds to container gardening, how to keep plants alive and well in a smoggy city, and the works. It’s time that we carve our own piece of green earth and reap what we sow—she’s here to help you with that.