Bougainvillea losing leaves can be a bothersome issue that makes you think about what wrong practices you might be doing that are affecting your plant. Luckily, we are here to tackle all the possible reasons that you should look into.
Even better, we include the corresponding solutions to fix these issues and prevent them from happening again.
- Why Is Your Bougainvilla Losing Leaves? 7 Reasons
- How to Solve Bougainvilla Losing Leaves? 7 Solutions
Why Is Your Bougainvilla Losing Leaves? 7 Reasons
Your bougainvillea may be losing leaves due to seven reasons. The first is watering issues – overwatering or underwater, then there is a lack of sunlight. There also may be issues relating to wind, cold temperatures, transplant shock, and plant disease. It’s important to diagnose the problem and then seek solutions.
Most growers may think that bougainvillea leaves drooping, dropping, yellowing, and curling are an indication of lacking water, and often, the solution that first comes to mind is to give your plant some extra water, which in bougainvillea’s case, is absolutely incorrect. Bougainvillea plants are very drought tolerant and do not need too much water frequently.
Consistent overwatering may also lead to root rot and other possible diseases that, when not caught early, can be fatal to your bougainvillea. Another sign that you are overwatering is when your plant is producing more foliage and fewer blooms.
Underwatering may also lead to the dropping of the leaves, which is why it is important for you to give an adequate amount of water to your plant, taking care to avoid both overwatering and underwatering. Underwatering bougainvillea can also cause its leaves to turn yellow and then brown, after which they will soon fall off from the branches.
– Lack of Sunlight
Do not expect your bougainvillea to grow as fast as it should be growing if it is lacking sunlight exposure. Adequate sunlight is the most important factor for your plant’s growth. If this requirement is not met, your plant may grow slowly or not grow at all, causing its flowers not to bloom and its leaves to drop.
Bougainvillea leaf may drop due to extreme weather conditions, such as strong winds. They are not keen on it. Strong winds may cause stress and result in the dropping of leaves.
– Cold Temperature
The bougainvillea is a tropical plant that thrives in warm climates and hot weather. A change in temperature for a long period or even for a short period of time can cause a drastic change in your plant’s growth. Its leaves may begin to drop off in response to plant shock from temperature change. This is why it is important that your plant is protected from cold weather and any danger of frost.
– Transplant Shock
Transplant shock is an indication that your plant is under stress from moving or relocation due to changes in its growing conditions. Changes in temperature, sun exposure, watering frequency, and airflow, plus the damaged roots from moving or repotting, may cause your plant to lose its leaves and flowers.
Allow your plant to adapt to its new environment while providing all the necessary care requirements during this time to reduce the risk of dropping leaves.
– Plant Disease
The most common disease you may encounter while growing bougainvillea is aphid infestation. It is caused by tiny soft-bodied white bugs that are nearly invisible but are very harmful to your plant. They eat out of your bougainvillea leaves by sucking out the sap of your plant, which results in the leaves yellowing, wilting, and eventually falling off.
How to Solve Bougainvilla Losing Leaves? 7 Solutions
Seven solutions to bougainvillea losing leaves are watering them adequately and managing watering. Making sure they have adequate sunlight where you plant them and that they are protected from strong winds. Protect them from cold climates, help them recover from transplant shock and manage pests.
– Adequate Watering
Keep in mind that your plant is drought resistant and prefers hot and dry conditions, just like its natural habitat. Your plant does not need water frequently, so make sure to water it again only when the top two to three inches of the soil feels dry to the touch, or do it every fortnight.
You may also want to try the touch test so you can be sure that the soil is dry between waterings. Touch the soil after five days from your last watering. When the soil is still wet or moist, postpone your watering schedule for the day, and adjust it when the soil is dry. Make sure that you also use a pot with drainage holes in its base to avoid waterlogging.
Now, if you are sure that you have been overwatering, here is how to save overwatered bougainvillea. First, you need to stop watering your plant. Next, cut off all the leaves and stems. This may seem drastic, but trust the process. Then, place your plant in a well-ventilated spot, and allow it to dry out completely. After waiting for a few days, you can water it again, but be careful this time as overwatering can seriously affect the chances of your plant’s survival.
– Manage Underwatering
Underwatered bougainvillea can be easily fixed when caught early. Being drought tolerant does not mean your plant can tolerate consistent drought for a long period of time. If you think your plant is underwatered, give it a good soak or what we call deep watering during every watering period. Soak the root zone completely until the water seeps out of the drainage holes. Your plant should recover and start producing new leaf growth again.
– Adequate Sunlight
Bougainvillea needs at least six hours of direct full sun on a daily basis, just like how they thrive in their natural habitat. If your plant is potted, move it to a big sunny window. That is enough to expose it to sunlight for six hours. You can also opt to move your plant around outdoors if sunlight in the window is not achievable from within your house.
– Protect from Strong Winds
To protect your plant from strong winds, leave the outer leaves and stems to protect the inner ones to prevent your plant from losing all its leaves. It is also ideal to put up a garden screen around your plant in the place where you plant it so it can thrive while growing.
– Protect from Cold Climates
If your bougainvillea is planted outdoors, you may want to grow it in a container or pot so you can easily move it indoors before the temperature goes below its preferred temperature.
Frost could seriously harm your plant and make the leaves fall off, but that does not mean that your plant is dying. Keeping it indoors or covering it with fleece would be a great help for it to survive the danger of freezing temperatures. When spring season comes, expect new leaf growth to emerge.
– Recover from Transplant Shock
Give your bougainvillea some time to recover from transplant shock and adapt to its new environment while providing the best care practices. Expose it to full sun for flowering and keeping its leaves, water it infrequently, and protect it from freezing temperatures, and your plant should start growing new leaves again.
– Get Rid of Pests
Inspect your plant’s leaves and stems, and look for white little bugs that may be hovering around. Get rid of them as soon as possible while the infestation is not yet severe. You can remove them using your hands or by carefully spraying your plant with some water. If the infestation is severe, you can use insecticidal soap, neem oil, or horticultural oil, which are all effective in getting rid of these pests.
You can also make a mild solution using water and a few drops of dishwashing soap. Transfer the solution to a sprayer for easy application. Re-apply it on your plant every two to three days for two weeks until the infestation is gone.
Bougainvillea losing leaves is one of the common issues for most growers. There are a lot of reasons behind this issue, but there are also plenty of ways to resolve it and bring your plant back to its vigorous state of health. Take note of the following key points:
- Bougainvillea is a sun-loving plant and thrives in warm climates.
- Infrequent watering is best for your plant’s growth.
- Changes in growing conditions from transplanting affect your plant’s overall health.
- Protect your plant from strong winds and freezing temperatures.
- Get rid of pests before the infestation gets severe.
Fixing this issue basically just entails the essential care requirements and mimicking your plant’s native environment. Upon reading this article, we hope you learned what might have gone wrong while growing your plant so that you can address the issue and let your plant flourish like it never did before. Happy planting.
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