Why Are My Bougainvillea Leaves Turning Yellow?

Bougainvillea is a beautiful flowering plant that can be grown in many different climates. It is often grown as an indoor houseplant, but it does require lots of light to grow well.

Bougainvillea leaves are typically green and healthy-looking, although under certain circumstances they may turn yellow. Read on for more information about the most common reasons why this happens!

Why Are My Bougainvillea Leaves Turning Yellow?

Your bougainvillea leaves are turning yellow because they have been overwatered, not given enough sun, or stressed by changes in their environment. However, the most common reason for yellowing bougainvillea leaves is overwatering.

Let’s explore the most common causes of yellowing leaves on bougainvillea and what you can do about them.

Yellow Bougainvillea from Overwatering

Bougainvillea is a tropical plant that grows best when kept moist year-round. Bougainvillea typically needs to be watered once or twice a week, depending on the temperature and humidity of your home. Learn more about watering them here: How Often To Water Bougainvillea?

Yellow leaves are just the start of problems when you overwater your plant. In fact, too much water can lead to root rot, fungal infection, and wilting. That’s why it’s so important to only water your bougainvillea when the top inch of soil is dry.

You can test the soil by sticking your finger about an inch deep. If the soil feels dry, it’s time to water! Using a moisture meter is another great way to tell when your bougainvillea needs water.

If your bougainvillea is so wet that the roots are rotting, then you need to take immediate action! Start by pruning the rotten roots, and then re-pot the plant into fresh soil that’s not too wet. It may take a bit of time for your bougainvillea to recover… or it may not ever be the same.

If the root rot has caused a fungal infection, then use neem oil on all affected areas. Neem oil is a natural fungicide that you can use to treat a wide variety of plant diseases.

Yellow Bougainvillea from Too Little Sunlight

If your bougainvillea leaves are turning yellow it could be because they aren’t getting enough sunlight. Bougainvilleas need lots of light in order to develop their signature bright red flowers, and if you don’t give them what they want, then the plant will start losing its green foliage.

It’s best to keep your bougainvillea where they get lots of bright filtered light all day long – but if you don’t have such a place, an east-facing window works well too.

Just make sure your plant doesn’t directly face any hot afternoon sun… this could scorch its delicate foliage and cause even more damage.

If things are really desperate, then you may want to use LED grow lights to add some supplemental lighting. These lights are great for plants that don’t get enough natural light, especially in winter.

Yellow Bougainvillea from Stress

Bougainvillea isn’t very tolerant of changes in their environment – especially when it comes to light exposure or temperature extremes. If you notice that your bougainvillea leaves are turning yellow or even dropping leaves, it could be because the plant is stressed.

Many people experience this when they re-pot their plant. Touching the roots and moving the plant into new soil often causes the plant some shock. This is why I recommend only repotting a bougainvillea when absolutely necessary, like if it has root rot or it needs a larger pot.

Bougainvillea Leaves FAQs

I’ve covered the key information when it comes to yellowing bougainvillea leaves, but maybe you still have concerns. If so, please read through the following frequently asked questions.

Should I cut yellow leaves off the bougainvillea?

Yes, you can cut off yellow leaves on your bougainvillea. However, you should never use this as a way to save or revive the plant – it’s usually too late for that! Instead, think of cutting away the damaged foliage as simply preventing more damage from being done.

Will too little light cause my bougainvillea to turn yellow?

Yes, too little light will cause your bougainvillea to turn yellow. If you notice that your plant is struggling, then try moving it to a brighter location and see if things improve.

Will too much water cause my bougainvillea leaves to turn yellow?

Yes, too much water can cause your bougainvillea leaves to turn yellow. If you notice that your plant is struggling, then adjust your watering schedule and make sure the roots are never sitting in stagnant water.

Will yellow bougainvillea leaves turn green again?

No, it is too late for these leaves to turn green again. Rarely, if ever, do yellow bougainvillea leaves turn green.


In conclusion, bougainvillea leaves turn yellow for a variety of reasons, but overwatering is the most common reason. If your plant is overwatered, it may lead to root rot and fungal infections that can cause the leaves to turn yellow or die completely.

Make sure you only water when the top inch of soil is dry, test with a moisture meter if needed, and re-pot into fresh soil if necessary – don’t forget about supplemental LED grow lights!

I hope you have enjoyed this post and learned something today. Please do read my other posts on these beautiful houseplants!

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