The Q&A Archives: bouganvilla leaves

Question: My bouganvilla is planted in the full sun on a south facing fence line. The leaves are curling and seem small with no glossy appearance. The plant is flowering and is putting on new growth. What is making the leaves curl?

Answer: Very likely the plant has spider mites. Tap an affected leaf sharply over a piece of white paper and see if any of the specks that fall off start crawling away. If mites are present, you can simply prune off the affected plant parts to get rid of the mites. Or, spray the plant with insecticidal soap. Be sure to coat the bottom of the leaves. If there are bracts present they may be damaged by spraying. To discourage spider mites from taking up residence in your bougainvillea, simply hose the plant down every few weeks. Spider mites like dry and dusty places so by rinsing your plant off, they'll get the message and move on.

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