Bougainvillea is a beautiful and popular flowering shrub that is grown in many gardens and homes. But, sometimes, bougainvillea can suffer from diseases and pests that can cause their leaves to turn yellow.
This can be very disheartening for bougainvillea owners, so it is important to understand why this happens and what can be done to correct it.
Bougainvillea Leaves Turning Yellow
Yellowing of bougainvillea leaves can be caused by several factors, including environmental conditions, pests, diseases, and nutrient imbalances. Identifying the cause of yellowing is important to effectively treat and prevent future damage to the plant. Here are some possible causes of yellowing bougainvillea leaves:
Overwatering: Bougainvillea plants need well-drained soil and do not tolerate standing water around their roots. Overwatering can lead to yellowing leaves and root rot, as it suffocates the roots and reduces their ability to absorb nutrients.
Underwatering: Bougainvillea plants also do not tolerate drought, and insufficient watering can cause yellowing and shedding of leaves. Inadequate water supply reduces the plant’s ability to transport nutrients to its leaves, leading to yellowing and ultimately leaf drop.
Nutrient Deficiencies: Bougainvillea plants require adequate nutrients to maintain healthy foliage, and yellowing can be a sign of nutrient deficiencies. Common deficiencies include lack of iron, nitrogen, and potassium, which can cause the plant to produce yellow or pale leaves.
Pest Infestations: Bougainvillea plants are susceptible to pests such as spider mites, thrips, and aphids, which can cause yellowing and browning of leaves. Pests suck out the sap from the leaves, leaving them weak and discolored.
Fungal or Bacterial Infections: Fungal and bacterial infections can cause yellowing and browning of leaves, as well as leaf spots and wilting. These infections can be caused by various factors, including high humidity, poor air circulation, and overwatering.
Transplant Shock: If bougainvillea plants are recently transplanted or moved, they may experience shock, which can cause yellowing and dropping of leaves.
Transplant shock occurs due to the plant’s inability to adjust to the new environment, leading to a temporary disruption in water and nutrient uptake. The plant may show symptoms of yellowing and wilting as it tries to adapt to the new conditions.
Aging Leaves: Bougainvillea plants naturally shed older leaves as they age, which can cause yellowing and dropping of leaves. The older leaves turn yellow and then brown before falling off, and this process is normal.
If the yellowing is only happening on older leaves at the bottom of the plant and new growth is still healthy, then this is most likely the cause.
Over Fertilizing: While bougainvillea plants require adequate nutrients to maintain healthy growth, over-fertilizing can cause yellowing of leaves, among other symptoms.
Excessive use of fertilizers can lead to a buildup of salts in the soil, which can cause root damage and reduce the plant’s ability to absorb nutrients. This can result in yellowing, browning, and burning of the leaves, especially at the tips and edges.
How Do I Fix Yellow Leaves On My Bougainvillea?
To fix yellow leaves on bougainvillea, it’s important to identify the underlying cause of the yellowing. If the cause is overwatering, underwatering, or nutrient deficiency, adjusting watering practices or providing appropriate fertilization can help restore the plant’s health.
If the cause is a pest infestation or a fungal/bacterial infection, using appropriate pesticides or fungicides can help control the problem.
If the yellowing is due to transplant shock, providing adequate care and patience while the plant adjusts to the new environment can help the plant recover.
In case of over-fertilization, flushing the soil with water can help remove excess salts and restore the plant’s health. Finally, if the yellowing is due to aging leaves or weather changes, no intervention may be required as it is normal.
Bougainvillea Leaves Turning Light Green
If your bougainvillea leaves are turning light green, it may be an indication of a nutrient deficiency, particularly nitrogen. Nitrogen is an essential nutrient that helps plants produce chlorophyll, which gives leaves their green color.
A lack of nitrogen can cause leaves to turn pale or light green, indicating that the plant is not producing enough chlorophyll. In addition to the light green color, the leaves may also appear stunted, and growth may slow down.
To fix light green leaves on bougainvillea, providing appropriate fertilization can help restore the plant’s health. Adding a nitrogen-rich fertilizer or incorporating organic matter into the soil can help provide the plant with the necessary nutrients to produce chlorophyll and restore the green color to the leaves.
It’s important to follow the recommended guidelines for fertilizing bougainvillea plants to avoid over-fertilization, which can cause other problems such as leaf burn or yellowing. Additionally, it’s important to avoid applying fertilizer when the plant is stressed due to environmental factors such as high temperatures or drought, as this can further damage the plant.
Bougainvillea Leaves Turning Brown
Bougainvillea leaves turning brown can indicate a variety of issues with the plant, ranging from environmental stress to pests and diseases. One possible cause of brown leaves is lack of water or overwatering. If the soil is too dry, the leaves can turn brown and become brittle.
On the other hand, if the soil is too wet, the roots can become waterlogged and begin to rot, causing the leaves to turn brown and fall off. Checking the soil moisture level and adjusting watering practices can help restore the plant’s health.
Another possible cause of brown leaves is fungal or bacterial infections. Fungi such as anthracnose or bacterial infections such as canker can cause brown spots on leaves, which can then spread and cause the leaves to turn brown and fall off.
If the brown leaves are accompanied by other symptoms such as spots, holes, or mold, it’s important to treat the plant with appropriate fungicides or bactericides to prevent the spread of the infection. It’s important to consult with a gardening expert to identify the specific disease and to use the appropriate treatment method.
Bougainvillea Leaves Drooping
If your bougainvillea leaves are drooping, it may be a sign of underwatering, overwatering, or root damage. Underwatering can cause the leaves to wilt and droop, indicating that the plant is not getting enough water to support its growth.
On the other hand, overwatering can cause root rot, which can damage the roots and prevent the plant from absorbing water properly. Root damage from pests or diseases can also cause the leaves to droop and may require prompt action to prevent further damage.
To fix drooping leaves on bougainvillea, it’s important to identify the underlying cause of the problem. If the issue is underwatering, watering the plant more frequently or increasing the amount of water per watering session can help restore the plant’s health.
On the other hand, if the issue is overwatering or root damage, reducing the frequency of watering and providing well-draining soil can help improve the plant’s condition.
In severe cases, it may be necessary to prune the damaged roots and repot the plant in fresh soil to prevent further damage.