Bougainvillea Dropping Leaves? [360 Degree Solution]

You know; Bougainvillea is the blooming beauty who needs little care. But suddenly you noticed that your plant leaves are turning yellow and falling off.

And you don’t know what happened and what you should do to revive the plant. Now you are finding the answer, why is the bougainvillea dropping leaves?

The main culprits of the Bougainvillea leave dropping are weather change, watering problems, sunlight, drainage, stress, insects, and diseases.

In this article, I will help you to diagnose the problem step by step and provide the complete solution to the Bougainvillea leaves dropping problem.

So, without losing your valuable time, let’s get started-

What Causes are Bougainvillea Leaves Dropping off?

Beautiful bougainvillea blooms with green leaves

1. Cold Temperature

Bougainvilleas love warm temperatures and they retain leaves and beautiful blooms in hot climates. They will drop their leaves in cold temperatures. So, yellowing and dropping the leaves during the winter is normal.

You don’t need to worry about it. The leaves will come again when the temperature increases.

You just have to protect your Bougainvillea from the cold.

How to Protect Bougainvillea from Cold?

If your Bougainvillea is in pots or containers, move them indoors where the temperature remains minimum 10 degrees celsius.

Also, apply water every month because they are not dying. They are in a dormant period.

What should I do if the plant is outside?

Mulching is the best idea to protect the outside plant in winter. Provide 3-5 inches of mulch to provide insulation.

Also, you can cover your whole plant with old newspapers to protect the plant.

Uncover your plant when the temperature will rise. Your plant will recover in spring with new leaves.

2. Over Watering

You are in the warm season but are your Bougainvillea leaves dropping? This may happen because of overwatering.

Bougainvillea doesn’t love too much water. Too much water and water stagnant conditions for a long period can turn the leaves yellow and fall off.

Stagnant water rot your Bougainvillea roots.As a result, the plant can’t absorb sufficient water and wilt takes place.

And the plant leaves turn yellow and defoliate the plant suddenly.

How to protect the plant from Overwatering?

Water your plant when the plant actually needs it. Never apply large amounts of water at a time. Just wet the soil.

You should apply 1 to 2 inches of water every two weeks. But there are no hard and fast rules. The best idea is; poke a finger to feel the moisture and dryness of the soil or use a moisture meter(Our pick: Atree Soil Soil Tester Kits with Moisture, Light, and PH Test for Garden) to know if the plant needs water or not.

You must have good drainage facilities for potted Bougainvillea. Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole and the Bougainvillea plant in soil that has good drainage facilities.

Do you place the tray or saucers under the Bougainvillea? Remove the excess water regularly.

In the rainy season, you must protect the plant from excess water. You can add some soil to raise the base of the plant for inground plants and add some perlite, sand, or grit to increase the drainage.

3. Under Watering

You know; Bougainvillea needs a little amount of water. That doesn’t mean the plant doesn’t water. If you never water your Bougainvillea, also the plant drops the leaves.

So, you must apply water to the plant when the soil becomes dry or hard. Test the soil with a moisture meter or poke the stick or finger into the soil.

If the soil is too dry then underwater is the reason behind the yellow leaves. To revive the plant moist the soil.

4. Lack of Sunlight

Bougainvillea needs at least 5 hours of sunlight to thrive and bloom. If your plant grows in shade and the leaves are turning yellow, then the sunlight can be the reason behind it.

For potted plants, place them in a place where they can get 6 hours of full sun. For an indoor plant, place the plant beside the window.

 5. Environmental Stress

Stress conditions can be the cause of leaf drop. Diseases, insects, heavy wind, and some other conditions make the plant uncomfortable. As a result, the plant leaves turn yellow and drop.

Protect your plant from heavy rainfall and wind. Also, check the root of your plant, if root rot occurs, prune the roots and plant them in bigger pots.

The newly planted Bougainvillea faces stress problems too much.  Never apply fertilizer and insecticide after planting the plant.

6. Insects Attack on Bougainvillea

Insects(Aphids) also can suck the plant sap and penetrate the toxic element to the leaves of the Bougainvillea. As a result, the plant leaves become yellow and fall off.

Check the underneath of the plant leaves. If you notice any insect, then you should take action immediately.

Buy an organic or inorganic insecticide and spray the insecticide by following the label dosages.

You can use an insecticidal soap(Our pick: Natria 706230A Insecticidal Soap)to protect the plant from insects.

Also, you can make homemade insecticides for your Bougainvillea plant. Here is the recipe-

  1. Take 1 tablespoon of liquid soap and a gallon of water.
  2. Mix them properly.
  3. Add ½ teaspoon of neem oil/vegetable oil.
  4. Now spray the solution to your plant.


Bougainvillea is a beautiful ornamental plant that can grow easily and the plant can cope with most of the problems easily. But sometimes the plant needs help to solve some problems.

Dropping yellow leaves of Bougainvillea almost overnight is the problem and your plants need some help. To help the plant properly you need to know, why are Bougainvillea leaves turning brown, yellow, and dropping off.

And here I have discussed every possible reason behind the yellow leaves of Bougainvillea with complete solutions.

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