Avocado Leaves Curling (And How To Fix It)


Avocados are very interesting plants, but what makes this tree even more valuable is the fruit. If you decide to grow it, be prepared for the challenges that await you. I’m going to tell you about one of those today.

Underwatering, lack of nutrients, and sudden temperature changes are the most common causes of avocado leaf curling. Also, root rot and scorching sun can cause the avocado leaves to curl since they are very serious factors affecting the health of the plant.

Moreover, disease, transplanting, or lack of lighting can cause avocado leaves to curl. You will learn about these and some other causes of leaf curl in this article. I hope that your avocado will thrive and bear a lot of fruit as a result.

Why are my Avocado leaves curling? Symptoms How to fix it
Dehydration Leaves curl inward, turn yellow, and fall off. Water the avocado when the soil is 2 inches dry. Use deep watering instead of frequent surface watering.
Deficiency of nutrients Deformation of the leaves, the appearance of tubercles. Or yellowing of leaves with green veins and curling outward. Put some garden lime in the soil. Or acidify the soil a little with compost.
Sudden temperature fluctuations The leaves will curl (fold inwards) and turn slightly red. Avoid exposing the avocado to the outdoors before it gets colder. Cover it for the duration of the cold spell.
Problems with roots Leaves curl inward, turn yellow, and fall off. Allow the soil to dry out a little. Water the avocado when the soil is 2 inches dry.
Excessive sunlight Yellow or white spots appear on the leaves and they curl up. Move the avocado to partial shade.
Avocado plant leaves curling after overfeeding Leaves curl and turn yellow, tips turn brown. Fertilize the avocado no more than 2-3 times per season with a slow-release fertilizer.
Not enough light The leaves will stretch and curl outward (downward). Gradually move the avocado to a place with 6 hours of direct sunlight per day.
Health issues Leaves become deformed, yellow, and have spots or white dust on them. Spray the avocado with fungicide, and do not overwater or underwater it.
Pests The leaves will curl outward and have tubercles on them. Spray the avocado with horticultural oil or acaricide.
Transplant shock The leaves will droop and curl, then turn yellow. When transplanting, do not damage the roots. Shade the avocado tree for a few weeks or more if needed.

Dehydration

Avocado leaves curling
Avocado leaves curling because of underwatering.

Thirst is a very common problem in growing plants. This is especially true for potted and newly planted avocado trees. Even experienced growers do not always manage to give the plant enough water in time.

Underwatering will result in outward (downward) curling of the leaves, and the leaf petioles can also sag downwards. Late symptoms are leaf tips drying out, yellowing, and falling off.

The solution to this problem is timely watering. The avocado tree is a water-loving plant, so you have to constantly monitor the moisture of the soil. If it is about two inches dry, you have to water.

Instead of frequent light watering, water deeply with a lot of water. The roots should be well hydrated, but that doesn’t mean you need to overwater the plant.

As for potting avocados, I recommend watering when the soil in the pot is 1 inch dry. In hot summers, pots dry out very quickly and you may have to water every day.

Deficiency of nutrients

Avocado leaves curling because of calcium deficiency
Avocado leaves curling because of calcium deficiency.

Deficiencies in some micronutrients in the soil can cause avocado leaves to curl. This is especially true for calcium deficiency, which causes young leaves to become deformed and tubercles to appear.

To correct this deficiency, you need to add a small amount of garden lime to the soil around the tree. You can also use a special fertilizer designed for this purpose.

Another problem is that the soil is too alkaline and therefore the fertilizer is not available to the plants. This leads to the development of chlorosis, the symptoms of which are the yellowing of the leaves with green veins and the curling out of the leaves.

To correct the high alkalinity of the soil you need to slightly acidify the soil with compost or special acidifiers that can be found in most garden stores.

I will tell you how to properly fertilize your avocado tree below.

Sudden temperature fluctuations

The ideal temperature for an avocado tree to thrive is 60 to 80 °F (15-26 °C). Temperatures slightly above or below this range will not cause serious harm. But if, for example, it was hot during the day and the temperature dropped below 50°F (10°C) at night, the avocado leaves may curl inward and even turn a reddish-green.

Curling and reddening of the leaves are defense mechanisms that plants use to keep leaves from getting damaged.

To prevent this from happening, avoid taking the avocado pot outside in spring or even early summer if there is a risk of a sudden cold snap. Also, do not place the avocado tree close to heaters or air conditioning.

If your avocado tree is growing in the garden, you can cover it with garden fabric for a while before the cold weather. If the leaves are already deformed, you can shade the tree from the scorching sun for 1-2 weeks.

Problems with roots

The most common root system problems are caused by overwatering. The avocado tree likes water, but if it stays too long in wet conditions, root rot will come very soon.

The symptoms of root rot are yellowing and curling of the leaves outward. Then they drop and fall off. There can also be a foul odor coming out of the pot and the base of the trunk can rot.

To correct the root rot, you need to stop watering. Do not transplant the avocado at this time because you will disturb the root system and make the problem worse. Allow the soil to dry slightly and only water when the soil is 1-2 inches dry.

To avoid root rot, always use pots with drainage holes. Also, the soil should contain plenty of organic matter (compost or peat) and be well-drained.

Excessive sunlight

Abundant sunlight can cause the leaves of an avocado tree to curl. This sometimes happens when you grow an avocado tree in front of a south-facing window or when you take it outside in the summer. Too much direct sun can cause burns and curling of the leaves.

Young plants and potted plants that are placed outside in the full sun are most susceptible to sunburn. Also, avocados that are planted in undersized containers often get leaf scorch.

You will need to move the avocado to a less sunny location to remedy the situation. A good location would be where there is early sun and afternoon shade. After a while, gradually move the avocado to a location with more light until you find the optimum sun exposure.

When moving the avocado outside for the summer, do it gradually. Otherwise, the leaves are sure to get burnt.

Avocado plant leaves curling after overfeeding

An overabundance of nitrogen in the soil can cause intense avocado growth. As a result, the leaves will become elongated and curl down from the tips. Also, the color may change to a dark green and the tree will not bear fruit.

In this case, you need to avoid the over-application of nitrogen fertilizer. Also, if the avocado is growing in a pot, you can water it once with a lot of water. This will flush out the nitrogen from the soil.

An abundance of potassium and phosphorus can also cause problems. Large amounts of these elements can burn some of the roots. As a result, the leaves may turn yellow and curl off the tips.

To avoid problems in the future, fertilize your avocado 2-3 times a season starting in the spring. It is best if you use a slow-release multi-purpose fertilizer in pellet form. Do not fertilize the avocado in autumn and even less so in winter, as the tree should be dormant at this time.

Not enough light

Avocado leaves curling because of lack of light
Avocado leaves curling because of lack of light.

Since the avocado is a fruit tree, it needs plenty of sunlight. When growing in the ground, it can tolerate direct sunlight all day if it is well established. But in a potted planting, full sun is contraindicated.

Most avocado owners grow this plant in pots in the house. But there may not be enough sunlight. As a result, the leaves stretch and curve outward. This usually happens to larger plants, since young avocados can tolerate a lot of shade.

If you don’t want the leaves of your tree to get deformed and bear fruit you have to put it in a place where it will get at least six hours of direct sun. If there is not enough light indoors, install artificial lighting.

It is a good idea to put the avocado tree outside during the warmer months. But do it gradually so as not to burn the leaves, as I mentioned above.

Health issues

Diseases can also initiate leaf curling. These include various fungal diseases that appear as spots on the leaves. Leaf blight and mold can also be the cause of deformation.

All of these are caused by high soil and air humidity. To remedy the situation, you need to water the avocado a little less often and spray it with a universal fungicide.

Another disease is powdery mildew. This disease occurs as a result of underwatering. Outwardly, it appears as a white coating on the leaves, and the leaves curl up.

To get rid of it, keep watering properly and spray the tree with a fungicide designed to control the disease.

Also, make sure your avocado is well ventilated. Clean the entire surface of the ground from plant debris. Check the leaves for diseases as often as possible.

Pests

A wide variety of insects can damage avocado leaves. One of the symptoms will be the curling of the leaves. This is especially true of sucking pests such as aphids, scales, and some others. You may not even notice them if they are spreading slightly, but if there are a lot of them, the leaves will become noticeably deformed and yellow.

To cope with the insects you need to spray the leaves with horticultural oil. Dilute a teaspoon of soap in half a gallon of water, then add two tablespoons of garden oil (neem oil, etc.). Shake the mixture well and spray the leaves.

Special mention must be made of the spider mite. This is a faintly visible white (reddish-white) pest that sucks the juices from the leaves. To get rid of it you need to mist the leaves and petioles from time to time. If that doesn’t work, spray the avocado with a special product called acaricide.

Transplant shock

Avocado leaves curling because of transplant shock
Avocado leaves curling because of transplant shock.

Transplant shock very often causes the plant to die. When transplanting, it is very easy to damage the root system and you will end up with drooping or twisted leaves.

The plant can become stressed even if you do not damage the roots but simply transplant it into a larger container. Stress can also be caused by moving the plant to another location.

To avoid problems when replanting, take the avocado out of the pot as gently as possible. The same level of care should be taken when planting in a new pot or new location.

After planting, shade the avocado for several weeks to several months. Once you see new growth, you can gradually accustom the tree to more light.

Key Takeaways:

  • Both lack of water and too much water can cause the avocado leaves to curl. Water when the soil is 1 to 2 inches dry.
  • A sudden drop in temperature and the subsequent scorching sun will cause avocado leaves to curl. Do not take the plant outside in cold weather.
  • Various pests and diseases will cause the leaves to curl. Spray the avocado with fungicide or horticultural oil as appropriate.
  • Avocado leaves will elongate and curl if there is not enough light. Provide plenty of light.
  • If transplanted, the root system may be disturbed and this will result in curling of the leaves. Gently transplant the avocado, shade it for a while.

Igor Viznyy

Hi friends, I have been growing plants for many years and love doing it. You can find more information on the page About Author.

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