Why Is My Bougainvillea Losing Leaves?

Bougainvillea is a colorful flower that can be found in gardens all over the world. Bougainvillea plants are known for their large, brilliant leaves and even more brilliantly colored flowers.

However, sometimes bougainvillea plants will lose their leaves without any apparent reason. We’ll explore some of the reasons why your bougainvillea might be losing its leaves below!

Why Is My Bougainvillea Losing Leaves?

Bougainvilleas lose their leaves when they are stressed from not enough sunlight, cold temperatures, being transplanted, and when given too much water.

I will now go more in-depth into each of these causes and what you can do to save your beloved plant…

Not enough sunlight

Bougainvillea plants are tropical plants that relish hot, sunny days. If your bougainvillea plant is not getting enough sunlight, it might lose its leaves in an effort to conserve energy until it gets back into the sun.

With this lack of light, the plant will lose its leaves so that energy can go towards developing flowers instead. 

You can fix this issue by moving your bougainvillea plant’s location to a more sunny area that isn’t shielded from other plants or garden items.

Another way to give more light is by using grow lights! I use them in my office when the sun is too low to give me enough light. They are also great if you live somewhere that doesn’t get a lot of sunlight, like Seattle or London!

In fact, I use them on nearly all my houseplants during the winter months when the sun is too low to give them enough light.

Cold temperatures

Bougainvilleas are tropical plants and need warm weather to thrive. If they are exposed to cold weather for too long (even just one night), their leaves may begin falling off due to shock!

This is why it is important to protect your bougainvillea from the cold weather months. In fact, you may want to bring it in during the winter months to keep your plant safe!

Moving or being transplanted

Bougainvilleas are known for their tenacity, but this does not mean they do not get stressed when moved! If you move a bougainvilia plant to a new plant pot, when it may drop its leaves in an attempt to survive. 

If you have recently transplanted your bougainvillea and notice that there are no new leaves, don’t worry – once it gets used to its new location it should start growing again.


Bougainvilleas die when they are overwatered. This is because their roots can get waterlogged and begin to rot, which will eventually kill the plant!

To avoid this issue, you should be watering your bougainvillea once a week with lukewarm water that does not contain any fertilizers or chemicals.

If it rains frequently where you live, consider putting your plant in an area of your garden or house where rainwater won’t fall on it so much – too much moisture may cause root rot issues as well!

If root rot has already taken effect, then you should act quickly. Start by pruning any rotten roots and leaves from your bougainvillea.

Then, repot the plant into a new plant pot with fresh soil that drains well and leave it in indirect sunlight for several weeks to help it recover! 

Bougainvillea Leaf Drop FAQ

Bougainvilleas are not the easiest plants to take care of. As such, there are many questions about how to treat bougainvillea leaf drop. I will answer some of the most common ones below:

I bought a new plant and it is losing leaves – what should I do?

This could be because your new bougainvillea was not getting enough light at its previous location. Make sure you place it in an area where there is plenty of sunlight, like near a window or outside during the daytime hours.

If this does not fix your issue, make sure that you water your bougainvillea less frequently than normal since too much moisture can cause root rot issues as well!  Many new plant owners get way too excited and give their plants too much water, which actually does the opposite of what they wanted.

I went on vacation and my bougainvillea’s leaves are falling off – what should I do?

If you go away for a few days, it is not the end of the world. It’s likely that you can save your bougainvillea by giving it more sunlight, being careful with watering, and making sure no cold drafts reach your plant.


In conclusion, if you are noticing that your bougainvillea is losing leaves, check to see if it has enough sunlight but hasn’t been given too much water. If not, transplanting or moving might be the culprit! 

If none of these solve the issue, then I recommend bringing in a plant expert who can take a look at your bougainvillea and let you know what else could possibly cause leaf drop.

I hope this post helped you find the solution to your bougainvillea leaf drop issue! If you want more horticultural help, feel free to check out my blog for more articles like this one.