Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

How to Care for a Lime Tree With Curled Leaves

When lime trees are stressed by especially hot or cold weather or are attacked by insects and fungus, the symptoms often include curled leaves. Leaves that are attacked by leaf miners will curl or cup inward, and have squiggly lines on the surface. Aphid damage may appear long after aphids have left the plant. Leaf curl, known more famously as peach leaf curl, is caused by a fungus known as Taphrina deformans. If your lime tree's leaves are curling, you need to take steps to address the problem.

Move potted lime trees to a new location if they exhibit signs of leaf curl caused by extreme weather conditions. Leaves that curl from cold weather will have rust-colored spots on the back side. Warm weather stress can cause leaves to cup, but will not mark the leaves.

Examine leaves for aphids, which appear as little, mite-like brown, white or yellow insects. Most of the time, aphids will have departed before leaves begin to curl. However, if you find any aphids on your leaves, gently wash the leaves and branches of your tree with an insecticidal soap.

Spray leaves with an insecticidal oil to remove leaf miners. Prune away any curling leaves to remove any miners that you may have missed.

Spray leaves with a copper-based fungicide if leaves appear puckered and reddish. This is a sign of the leaf curl fungus.

Care For A Lime Tree With Curled Leaves

Wait until the growth season to act. If the leaves drop rapidly, your lime tree will also recover. It's when leaves linger that you must be patient and assess in spring. Stop watering your lime tree. If the leaves are curled, they are damaged. Watering a damaged tree won't help, and keeping the soil constantly moist may compound the harm to your lime tree. Frost-damaged leaves will display dark spots. Look for adult leaf miners, which lay eggs under the leaves near the central vein. Warmer weather and natural predators typically take care of any infestation naturally. Use insecticides and traps if you feel you must act. However, insecticides for home use are not only relatively ineffective, but also kill off the predators that naturally feed on citrus leaf miners, so may compound the problem.


Citrus tree leaves can also curl inward to stress caused by too much watering, cold or heat. Leaves that curl inward will appear different from leaves that curl due to pest infestation.

Always wear protective clothing, gloves and breathing protection when working with insecticides.

Garden Guides