Bougainvillea Leaves Turning Brown

Bougainvillea Leaves Turning Brown

Bougainvillea is a 30 feet ornamental plant. This plant is often used to add color and beauty to lawns. Because of its tolerance to drought and heat, it is a perfect choice for landscaping in areas with hot climates.

Native to South America, this vibrant thorny plant is known for its beautiful flowers in various colors. Bougainvillea is a fantastic choice for yard owners who want to beautify their lawns with appealing environment. But unfortunately, sometimes it turns brown, which can be frustrating for gardeners.

However, lately many homeowners found themselves in distress, trying to find the reasons behind bougainvillea’s unexpected brown spots and looking for a permanent solution to this long-term problem.

Are you also from the list of worried yard owners concerned about the bougainvillea color change?

Don’t panic!

We have a solution to this problem,

Just read this article, unearth numerous reasons and learn solutions that can decode your long-standing problem easily yet promptly.

Why Are the Leaves on My Bougainvillea Turning Brown?

Treating brown leaves on Bougainvillea

Overwatering, less drainage soil, and deficiency of nutrients are the most common causes behind your’s bougainvillea plant turning brown. Bougainvillea is a pest-resistant plant. Unfortunately, due to several mistakes of its caretakers, these sweet-scented plants become susceptible to several pests that cause the bougainvillea to turn brown if they feed on the plant.

So, If you think these are one of the reasons behind your plant’s brown leaves and leaf drops. Immediately use copper fungicides and organic products like neem oil on your bougainvillea to cure these alarming situations without fuss.

Fungal & Bacterial Attack on Bougainvillea

Causes of brown leaves in Bougainvillea


The most common conditions that make bougainvillea prone to fungal, bacterial infections, and root rot are too much shade, improper watering, compacted or less drainage soil, and lack of nitrogen.


You don’t have to be a keen observer if you are trying to identify whether your bougainvillea plant is suffering from fungal and bacterial diseases or not,

Just take a look at specific symptoms that will help you to identify their attacks like,

  • The fungal disease infects plants, develop bacterial leaf spots and makes foliage dry. 
  • The bacterial infection typically results in the plant leaves turning yellow and wilting.

If you suspect your bougainvillea plant is suffering from a fungal or bacterial disease, it’s time to take safety measures soon.

Controlling Measures & Prevention

The task of curing bacterial and fungal attacks was found difficult for yard owners. Still, there are safety measures that gardeners must be looked upon to handle this dire situation most efficiently.

  • Watering the plant profoundly but infrequently
  • Ensure proper light and air circulation
  • Keep plant free of debris

Also, try fungicides, neem oil, horticulturalists oil, or insecticidal soaps to cure infected leaves and recover the effects of fungal and bacterial diseases.

Brown Leaf Edges on Bougainvillea


Aphids are small, brown sap-sucking insects often found on the underside of the leaves. Aphids feed bougainvillea plant tissue, weakening the plant , give brown edges and making it more susceptible to disease.

Several ways to control aphids include using horticulturalists oil, spraying neem extract oil, or attracting natural predators towards them, such as ladybugs.

Chewing Bugs – Caterpillars, Slugs, and Snails

Chewing bugs might target bougainvillea specifically. They love damaging bougainvillea leaves by chewing them and let turning leaves edges brown. Usually, caterpillars, slugs, and snails are present on bougainvillea in the early morning and late night.

For homeowners, this period is a more crucial time to attack slugs and save their bougainvillea quickly. Remember, spring is the season where bougainvilleas are more prone to chewing bugs.

Scale insects

Bougainvillea is a prevalent plant for scale insects to attack.Usually these scale insects insert their long, thin mouthparts into the plant and suck out the sap, chew its leaves, causing the leaves to turn brown and eventually drop off.

To prevent bougainvillea from these secreters, sprinkle 2 to 3 drops of neem oil on the plant habitually.

Leafminers (moths, flies)

Leafminers are tiny moths or flies that lay eggs on the leaves of the bougainvillea plants. When the larvae hatch, they burrow in the leaf tissue, causing severe damage. The affected leaves will eventually turn brown and die. There are several ways to control leafminers, including insecticidal soap or neem oil. These products will kill the larvae when they come in contact with them.

Whole Brown Leaves on Bougainvillea


Bougainvillea care and maintenance

Underwatering can turn whole leaves brown on bougainvillea specially in the cold weather and gives lack of moisture to the soil. When the soil is too dry, it causes the leaves to become dehydrated and turns a brownish color. However, over and under watering is a common problem that usually occurs in bougainvillea. Yet it is essential to ensure the soil is moist but not too wet. If the soil is too wet, it can cause the plant’s roots to rot.

Damaged Roots

The reasons behind the damaged roots of bougainvillea are over-watering and lousy fertilization selection. When this sweet scented plant is overwatered, its roots become waterlogged and begin to rot, which causes the whole plant to turn brown.

On the other hand, when the bougainvillea plant consumes compact or heavy fertilizer, this will also turn this whole pink flowery plant brown.

So, if you believe that your bougainvillea plant has damaged roots, it is essential to take action and save the plant. One option is to transplanting bougainvillea in fresh, well-draining soil. This will help to ensure that the plant’s roots are not waterlogged and they have the chance to recover in a period of 2 to 3 months.

Not Enough Nitrogen

When bougainvillea turns brown and begins to fall off, it is usually due to the lack of nitrogen in the soil. Without adequate nitrogen, the plant cannot reproduce the green chlorophyll needed for photosynthesis.

If you suspect less nitrogen in the soil, try to fill it with nitrogen-rich soil. You can add some organic matter to the soil like chicken, cow compost, or manure, which will help your bougainvillea to take nutrients (more nitrogen) and let them turn to their standard color soon.

How Do I Bring My Bougainvillea Back to Life?

Your bougainvillea may be looking a little sad for a variety of reasons. Fortunately, there are a tips you can follow to bring your dull brown bougainvillea back to life.

Bougainvillea watering practices
  • Make sure that your bougainvillea receives enough sunlight. Bougainvillea needs at least six hours of direct sunlight each day to bloom beautifully. If it is not getting adequate sunlight, you may need to move it to a sunnier spot.
  • Try to water bougainvillea less frequently but bountifully with a time interval of 3 to 4 weeks. Further, ensure to use a balanced fertilizer designed for blooming plants.

Final Thoughts

So, now, if your Bougainvillea is turning brown unexpectedly, there is no need to worry about it. You can use these tips to help prevent it and reverse the process if it’s already started.

Remember, according to the USDA, hardiness growing zone bougainvillea plantation should be done at a place that holds temperatures between 65F and 95F or above as it suits its drought-resistant nature.

Further, we hope this article helps you learn how to keep your thorny plant safe and vibrant for years to come!

Have you had any success using these methods? Let us know in the comments below.

Related Guides:
Johan Perez
Johan Perez is an experienced agriculturalist with over twenty years in the field. He holds a Ph.D. in Agricultural Sciences and has contributed extensively to research on sustainable farming practices. Johan has also written for numerous agricultural periodicals, offering expert advice on farming technologies and methods. In his free time, he enjoys outdoor adventures, which often inform his professional insights into ecological agriculture.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign Up For Newsletter!