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8 Reasons Why Avocado Leaves Are Curling (And How To Fix It)

Avocados are fascinating plants, not just for their uniqueness, but especially for their delicious fruit. Growing them, however, comes with its own set of challenges. Today, I’ll share one such challenge with you.

When you see curled leaves and frail stems, it’s often a sign of calcium deficiency. This lack of calcium can stunt new growth, cause dead spots on leaves, and weaken the plant’s overall health.

In this article, I’ll dive into this issue and a few other reasons your avocado leaves might be curling. I’m rooting for your avocado tree to flourish and reward you with plenty of fruit!

1. Calcium Deficiency

Avocado leaves curling because of calcium deficiency

Avocado leaves curling because of calcium deficiency.

If avocado leaves start curling, it might be due to a lack of certain micronutrients in the soil, particularly calcium. This deficiency can lead to young leaves getting misshapen and bumpy.

Here’s how to fix it:

  1. Sprinkle a bit of garden lime around the base of the tree.
  2. Alternatively, opt for a fertilizer that’s rich in calcium.

2. Dehydration

Avocado leaves curling

Avocado leaves curling because of underwatering.

If your avocado plant is underwatered, its leaves will curl downwards and the leaf stems might droop. If left unchecked, the leaf tips will dry out, turn yellow, and eventually fall off.

Here’s how to fix it:

  1. Regularly check the soil’s moisture. If the top two inches are dry, it’s time to water.
  2. Make sure to water thoroughly, using 1-3 gallons each time.

3. Temperature Fluctuations

Avocado trees do best in temperatures ranging from 60 to 80 °F (15-26 °C). They can handle a bit of variation from this range, but big changes can be problematic. For instance, if it’s hot in the day and then drops below 50°F (10°C) at night, the leaves might curl inwards and change to a reddish-green color.

Here’s how to fix it:

  1. Be cautious about moving your potted avocado outside in the spring or early summer, especially if there’s a chance of sudden cold weather.
  2. Keep your avocado tree away from direct heat sources like heaters and air conditioners.
  3. If your tree is planted in the garden, consider covering it with garden fabric temporarily when cold weather is expected.

4. Problems With Roots

Overwatering is often the main issue with avocado tree root systems. While these trees enjoy water, too much of it can quickly lead to root rot.

The telltale signs of root rot include leaves that turn yellow, curl outward, and eventually fall off.

Here’s how to fix it:

  1. Cut back on watering.
  2. Wait to water until the top 1-2 inches of the soil are dry.
  3. Make sure to use pots that have drainage holes.
  4. Choose soil that drains well.

5. Excessive Sunlight

Avocado leaves curl because of the scorching sun.

Avocado leaves curl at the edges because of the scorching sun.

Too much sunlight can lead to curled leaves on an avocado tree. This often occurs when the tree is placed near a south-facing window or moved outside during summer. Excessive direct sunlight can cause leaf burn and curling.

Here’s how to fix it:

  1. Shift the avocado tree to a spot with less sunlight. Ideally, choose a location that gets morning sun and afternoon shade.
  2. Slowly acclimate the avocado to brighter locations to find the best balance of sunlight.
  3. When taking the avocado outside for the summer, transition it gradually to avoid shock.

6. Health Issues

Avocado leaves are curled because of a fungal disease.

Avocado leaves are curled because of a fungal disease.

Leaf curling in avocado trees can also be triggered by diseases, like different fungal infections which show up as spots on the leaves. Conditions such as leaf blight and mold might also deform the leaves.

Here’s how to fix it:

  1. Reduce the frequency of watering your avocado.
  2. Apply a fungicide to the tree.
  3. Ensure good air circulation around your avocado.
  4. Regularly inspect the leaves for any signs of disease.

7. Pests

Avocado leaves curl due to sucking insects.

Avocado leaves curl due to sucking insects.

Many insects can harm avocado leaves, often causing them to curl. This is particularly common with sucking pests like aphids and scales, among others.

Here’s how to fix it:

  1. Spray the leaves with horticultural oil.
  2. If needed, repeat the spraying.
  3. Keep an eye on the tree regularly for any pest infestations.

8. Transplant shock

Avocado leaves curling because of transplant shock

Avocado leaves curling because of transplant shock.

Transplant shock can be quite harmful to plants, sometimes even fatal. Damaging the roots during transplanting can lead to drooping or twisted leaves.

Here’s how to fix it:

  1. Carefully remove the avocado from its pot with as little disturbance as possible.
  2. Provide shade to the avocado for several weeks to a few months after planting.
  3. Ensure the soil doesn’t dry out more than an inch.
  4. Once new growth appears, gradually introduce the tree to more light.