Why Are My Bougainvillea Leaves Turning Brown?

Bougainvillea plants are known for their beautiful green leaves. But, what should you do if your bougainvillea’s leaves start turning brown? There are several reasons why this might happen to your plants.

Finding the reason is essential to reversing the color change and getting an attractive plant once again. This blog post will discuss the causes of leaf changes in bougainvilleas and how to address them!

Why Are My Bougainvillea Leaves Turning Brown?

Your bougainvillea is turning brown as a result of overwatering or leaf burn. While burnt leaves will be dry and crispy, brown leaves from overwatering tend to be moist.

This is why it is important to determine the cause of leaf burn before taking action. I will now go more in-depth into these two causes and what you can do to stop this from happening again.

Brown Bougainvillea Leaves from Too Much Water

If your bougainvillea is turning brown, it may be because you are overwatering the plant. Overwatering causes leaves to become mushy and discolored with brown coloration. The bougainvillea leaves may also start to wilt.

This is why it is so important to check your soil before watering. I recommend waiting until the top of the potting mix is dry to the touch before thoroughly watering your plant. You can learn more here: How Often To Water Bougainvillea?

You can check this by sticking your finger into the soil and feel if it is dry. If you cannot touch your finger to any part of the potting mix without getting wet, then it’s time to water!

You can also use a moisture meter, which will indicate if your plant needs water. Whatever method you choose, just be sure to do it consistently!

If left untreated for too long, overwatering can lead to root rot or even death in severe cases. Once this happens, it can be very hard to save your plant. However, it is possible if you act fast!

Start by removing your plant from its current pot and inspecting the roots for root rot. If they are black and mushy (or even smell), then prune them with a pair of sterilized scissors. The last step is to re-pot your bougainvillea into a fresh potting mix.

The new mixture should be much drier than what you were using before. By doing this, you will give your bougainvillea healthier conditions to thrive in while also giving yourself more time between watering sessions.

Brown Bougainvillea Leaves from Too Much Sunlight

Another cause of brown leaves in bougainvilleas is too much direct sunlight. When this happens, the plant will start to grow long and spindly stems with small burnt leaves.

The plant enjoys light, but should never be left to experience direct sun rays. This is simply too much light for the plant to handle, which will burn the leaves and even cause them to drop.

To fix this problem, you need to move your plant somewhere that it will receive less light exposure on a daily basis. This may mean moving it into an area that receives indirect sunlight or even partial shade while the plant recovers.

Everyone who reads my articles consistently will know that I love to use grow lights! However, you need to be careful while using them. Leaving the lights on for too long can result in the tips of your bougainvillea becoming scorched.

Brown Bougainvillea FAQs

The bougainvillea isn’t the easiest plant to care for. As such, I will now answer some common questions I get asked about the leaves of this beautiful plant.

Will brown bougainvillea plant leaves turn green again?

No, it is rare for brown bougainvillea leaves to turn green again. The same is true for yellow leaves. The good news is that new growth will emerge green if you care for these plants properly. This will allow you to enjoy your bougainvillea for many years.

Should I remove brown leaves from the bougainvillea plant?

Yes, prune all brown leaves from the bougainvillea plant. Pruning will help your bougainvillea recover and begin growing new green growth! Plus, it looks a LOT better from an aesthetic standpoint.

Will too much water cause the bougainvillea plant to turn brown?

Yes, overwatering will cause the bougainvillea plant to turn brown. Make sure you only water the soil when it is dry up until about an inch or two down! Failure to do this will result in root rot and even cause your plant to die.

Why are my bougainvillea leaves wet?

This is likely due to guttation, which is the process of excess water droplets forming on the bougainvillea’s leaves due to overwatering and humidity. The solution is to correct your watering routine so these droplets stop forming!

Will direct sun cause bougainvillea leaves to turn brown?

Yes, direct sunlight will cause bougainvillea leaves to turn brown. Make sure you only expose the plant to direct sun in the very early morning or late afternoon, as these are times when it’s less harsh on your plants!


In conclusion, there are a variety of reasons why your bougainvillea leaves may turn brown. Make sure to check this list to figure out what’s causing your plant problems. Then, work on fixing the problem so you can enjoy that beautiful green foliage again!

I hope you have enjoyed this blog post on why bougainvillea leaves turn brown. If you have any tips or questions, please leave them in the comments section below!

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