Bougainvillea Leaf Drop: Causes and Solutions

Bougainvillea plants are renowned for their vibrant flowers and glossy leaves, making them a popular choice for adding color to any garden. However, concerns about leaf drop often deter homeowners from incorporating bougainvillea into their yard. But fear not! In this article, we will explore the potential reasons behind bougainvillea leaf drop and provide valuable insights to help you make informed decisions for your lawn. So, let’s dive into the fascinating world of bougainvilleas without wasting any time!

Why Are My Bougainvillea Dropping Leaves?

There are a few factors that could cause your bougainvillea to shed its leaves prematurely.

Change in Climate

Climate changes can stress bougainvillea plants, leading to leaf drop. A sudden drop in temperature below 41 degrees Fahrenheit or diverse rainfall patterns can affect the plant’s ability to absorb water and nutrients, resulting in root rot and leaf drop. Additionally, swapping day and night lengths can disrupt the plant’s natural growth cycle, causing leaves to shed prematurely. These changes may challenge the bougainvillea’s heat-resistant nature.


Contrary to popular belief, overwatering your bougainvillea can cause it to lose its leaves prematurely. When roots are unable to absorb excessive water, they become stressed. To avoid overwatering, check the soil before watering. Make sure it is dry to the touch. Water your bougainvillea every five days, following a proper diagnosis, for optimal results.

Plant Shock

If your bougainvillea is dropping leaves, it could be experiencing plant shock. This can occur when the plant is moved, transplanted, or subjected to sudden changes in temperature or light. To help your bougainvillea adapt to its new environment, place it in an area where temperatures do not fall below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, ensure that the plant receives at least six hours of direct sunlight daily to promote healthy growth and recovery from shock.

Plant Diseases

Bougainvilleas are susceptible to certain diseases, including aphids, which can spread disease and result in leaf drop. To combat aphids, gently spray the plant with water to dislodge them. Treat the plant with insecticidal oils, such as neem oil, and remove any affected leaves or stems, disposing of them in the trash.

Why Are My Bougainvillea Leaves Curling?

Bougainvillea leaves may curl due to dry soil or a lack of nutrients. Insufficient nitrogen, phosphorus, or potassium can cause the leaves to curl. Additionally, humid and warm weather conditions can contribute to leaf curling.

What Is Eating My Bougainvillea?

Several pests, including caterpillars, scale insects, and aphids (also known as Bougainvillea loopers), may be feasting on your bougainvillea. While these pests won’t kill your plant, their presence can cause unsightly damage. If you notice any of these pests, take immediate action to control them.

Do Bougainvilleas Need To Be Fertilized?

Yes, bougainvilleas benefit from regular fertilization. To ensure optimal growth and abundant flowering, fertilize your plants every four to six weeks using hibiscus fertilizer. For the best results, apply the fertilizer between the summer and spring seasons.

When Does a Bougainvillea Bloom?

Bougainvilleas are tropical plants that thrive in warmth and sunlight. In their native habitat, they can bloom all year round. However, in areas with slightly colder temperatures, they typically bloom in late spring to early summer, from late April to mid-June.

How Do I Bring My Bougainvillea Back to Life?

If your bougainvillea’s leaves are drooping and turning brown, don’t despair! With a little effort, you can revive your plant.

  1. Proper watering is key. In the summer, soak your bougainvillea thoroughly and water it once or twice a week when the temperature is cooler. This will help the plant recover in spring when the temperature aligns with its natural surroundings.
  2. Bougainvilleas, like all plants, require nutrients to thrive. Fertilize your plant every three to four weeks during the growing season using a balanced fertilizer.
  3. Prune away dead and damaged branches to encourage new growth.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know how to prevent bougainvillea leaf drop, you can ensure a fuller and more lush landscape. Follow the outlined steps and monitor your plant’s progress. Remember, bougainvilleas are worth the extra care to keep them safe, healthy, and looking their best.

With a little time and attention, those lovely leaves will start returning in no time at all! If you have any questions or need assistance throughout this process, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

Thanks for reading!