Why Are Bougainvillea Leaves Turning Yellow?

Bougainvilleas are wonderful that produce beautiful flowers. But it’s quite frustrating when you see that there are many yellow leaves on bougainvilleas. When there are many yellow leaves, bougainvilleas cannot produce enough food because the leaves are not functioning well which makes it hard for them to convert sunlight into food. But what are the causes why the leaves of bougainvilleas are yellowing?

Bougainvillea Leaves Turning Yellow

Watering Problems


Overwatering can cause yellow leaves on the bougainvillea. The bougainvillea cannot handle too much water and it causes stress. Overwatering can happen when too much water is given to the bougainvillea or it can happen when heavy rains come.

A watering can or a garden hose can be used to water your bougainvillea but just give the right amount of water. Check the soil moisture before watering the bougainvillea if the soil is dry you can water it but if the soil is moist you don’t need to.

There are ways to check the soil moisture like pressing your finger a few centimeters in the soil, pressing a screwdriver, or using a soil moisture meter. Any of those ways can be used to know the soil moisture and gives you an idea of when to water the bougainvillea.

A well-draining soil is also helpful to avoid waterlogging. Sometimes heavy rainfall comes to your location and you must make good waterways to prevent your bougainvillea from getting flooded. Too much water can cause root rot which makes leaves yellow but when it’s prevented the leaves are safe.

If your bougainvilleas are planted in pots you can move them indoor to protect against heavy rainfall.

Lacking Water

Lacking water can also cause yellow leaves on the bougainvillea. Water is essential for the bougainvillea to grow well which helps it to grow healthy and able to produce more fruits. Water the bougainvillea regularly and make a watering schedule so that you know when to water your plant.

The bougainvillea needs more water when the weather becomes hot. With the right amount of water, it can make the plant cool and hydrated. The bougainvillea needs at least 1 inch of water per week.

Transplant Shock

Moving your bougainvillea to a new location can cause transplant shock. Transplant shock causes stress which can lead the leaves to turn yellow. Shock commonly affects mature bougainvilleas and not those young bougainvilleas.

You need to be careful in transferring mature bougainvilleas because transplant shock may happen. Water the bougainvillea immediately just after transplanting. You will need to wait for a few days or weeks and monitor how the bougainvillea goes especially when they suffer transplant shock.

Usually, those young bougainvilleas don’t get transplant shock. They just need to be watered after transplanting and they will grow just fine.  

Aging Bougainvillea Leaves

It is normal to see yellow leaves on any plant or tree. Commonly these yellow leaves are aging leaves. It is normal to see these kinds of leaves even on bougainvilleas because it is part of their growth.

It is a cycle for the bougainvillea leaves to grow and then get old. The young leaves will grow and after a few weeks or months, they turn yellow, and eventually, bougainvillea leaves turn brown.

If there are only a few yellow leaves on the bougainvillea then probably they are just aging leaves but if there are too many yellow leaves you need to analyze and observe if there are other reasons causing the problem.

Nutrient Deficiencies

Nitrogen is an important nutrient needed by the bougainvillea to keep its leaves growing and staying green. Nitrogen deficiency causes yellow leaves on the bougainvillea and to prevent it from happening you need to make the soil rich in nitrogen. You can use a soil tester to check the soil and then apply the right amount of nitrogen.

The bougainvillea needs nitrogen because this nutrient helps the production of chlorophyll in the leaves. Chlorophyll helps the bougainvillea to convert sunlight into food which makes helps it grow better. Aside from nitrogen, Iron deficiency can also cause leaves to turn yellow on bougainvillea.

There are many kinds of fertilizer and some of them have nitrogen and iron along with other nutrients which are helpful for the bougainvillea to grow well if applied.

You Overfertilized Bougainvillea

You also need to be careful not to overfertilize bougainvilleas. Too much fertilizer can burn roots and when roots get damaged it can cause yellow leaves. When roots are damaged the bougainvillea cannot get enough water and nutrients because the roots are not functioning well.

Avoid overfertilizing bougainvilleas especially if you are using chemical fertilizers because they can burn bougainvillea roots.

If you are practicing organic gardening then you can use compost and other organic fertilizers. You can also add mulch to keep soil moisture.

Bougainvillea Is Lacking Sunlight

The bougainvillea needs sunlight to grow healthy and be able to produce more food. Grow the bougainvillea in a place where it can get a lot of sunlight so that the yellowing of leaves can be prevented. The bougainvillea needs at least 6 hours of sunlight per day.

Avoid growing the bougainvillea near tall trees because it may not get enough sunlight because those tall trees may block sunlight. When the bougainvillea is getting consistent sunlight per day it will grow healthy and can give you a lot of fruits.

Pests And Diseases

There are pests and diseases that may also cause yellow leaves on your bougainvillea. You need to monitor your bougainvillea and see if there are pests and diseases that attack your bougainvillea. In that way, you can protect them and you can use pesticides or fungicides to get rid of them.

Weather Changes

Weather changes can also affect the bougainvillea which may lead to its leaves turning yellow. Even if the bougainvillea needs more sunlight, extreme heat is not good. Too much sunlight can affect the leaves which can make them yellow. Keep the plants hydrated when the weather becomes hot.