If you are wondering why your Sunshine Ligustrum is losing its leaves you have come to the right place. Any plant can lose its leaves for a myriad of reasons…and it probably isn’t dying! But leaf loss can be a warning sign that your plant isn’t happy.
Reasons Why a Sunshine Ligustrum is Losing Leaves
- Transplant shock. Newly planted bushes can sometimes go through an “Uh oh, what did you do to me?” phase. Be sure to keep your plant watered well. It is not dying; it is just a bit stressed out. New leaves will emerge in as little as a few weeks. Also if your plant was shipped to you in a dark box consider waiting a few days to a week to plant when planting in full sun. Slowly move it from the shade to full sun to reduce stress on your tree. This is most important when planting in summer.
- Too much water. The usual indicator of over-watering is yellow leaves which makes it difficult to determine if this is the cause of leaf loss in these plants. Check for sitting water or overly wet soil. The leaves may be softer, almost floppy feeling versus crunchy when under-watered.
- Too little water. If the leaves look crispy a lack of water is likely the culprit. This isn’t very common on established Sunshine Ligustrums as they are quite drought tolerant, but it can occur on younger plants. Be sure to water deeply once or twice weekly until your plant is completely established.
- Pests or disease can cause leaf drop, although I am yet to see this on Sunshine Ligustrum. They tend to be extremely pest and disease resistant. Look for any unusual issues with the leaves. Check the top and bottom sides. You can treat pests or disease if you can determine the issue. Your local extension agent may be able to help with identification.
- Normal leaf death. If your plant is losing some leaves in winter or early spring it is probably just shedding older leaves. This process is completely normal.
- Extreme cold. I have never seen this (disclaimer: I am in the south.), but I am sure if there was a sudden drop in temperatures especially in zone 6 (the coldest zone of this plants growing zone recommendations) this plant may lose its leaves. I’ve certainly seen this occur in other plants. It can mean that your plant has died, but oftentimes this is not the case. Hopefully spring time will offer new growth. I would recommend a heavy layer of mulch prior to winter for this growing zone to protect this plant’s roots.
How to Care for a Sunshine Ligustrum
Plant your Sunshine Ligustrum in full sun for the best color.
This evergreen bush adapts to any well-draining soil.
Fertilize in spring with a balanced slow release fertilizer.
Water newly planted ligustrums deeply about twice per week to help the roots establish properly. After 2 or 3 months in the ground your plant is likely to be established and will only need watered during periods of extreme drought.
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