7 Reasons of Burning Bush Leaves Curling [Fixing Guide]

Burning bush or winged spindle is a popular flowering plant famous for its eye-catching red blooms. For this reason, their ornamental value is increasing day by day.

However, growing this beauty in the gardens is not that easy all the time. Due to some adverse conditions, burning bushes can suffer a lot. Leaf curling is one of such issue that hampers the overall growth and blooming of this plant. 

Well, you don’t need to worry as I have come up with some fixes with proper management practices to help you out in dealing with leaves curling in a burning bush.

Mainly I am going to highlight the facts regarding watering, fertilizer use, insect and pathogen damage, some adverse climatic conditions, and chemical injury. 

So, let’s jump into the details without delay.

Why Are Burning Bush Leaves Curling -Common Fixes

Burning Bush Leaves

1. Improper Irrigation

Watering plays an important role in plants’ overall health. Both overwatering and underwatering can severely damage your plant in the long run. So, you need to be careful about burning bush plant watering.

Droopy leaves with downward curling from the base of the stem to the tip is a common signs of overwatering. In the case of water lacking, plants may also show subsidiary wilting symptoms.

Nevertheless, watering issues are not that hard to deal with. I have some suggestions for you which may help. So here we go.


Normally, burning bush plants are pretty tolerant to drought. After planting, you have to water twice a week for the first few months. Once your plant is established, you can reduce the dose to once in a week with a depth of 5 centimeters of watering.

If your soil is soggy more than a depth of 5 centimeters, you have to stop watering for at least 7 to 10 days. By this time, extra water will be discarded. If your burning bush is pot planted, it can take even less time to heal. Just place it to full sun condition, but avoid scorching hot weather.

In the case of under-watering, put the advised amount of water and let your plant adjust the issue on its own.

2. Inappropriate Use of Fertilizers

Just like watering, both an excessive and inadequate dose of fertilizers can damage your plant. So, you need to handle these issues with proper observations.

Nutrient deficiencies are mostly seen in the oldest or the lowest leaves. In case of such a problem, your burning bush lower leaves can exhibit yellowing symptoms which will proceed to inward curling. Sometimes veins may remain green with burnt edges and tips. At later stages, the foliage may turn brown and defoliate.

So, if you are thinking about why my burning bush is dropping leaves, the lack of some necessary plant elements is the reason.

On the other hand, a high dose of fertilizers can cause fertilizer burn when plant leaves come in direct contact with them. Even an excessive amount of fertilizers can create artificial drought. In both of these cases, your burning bush leaves can face curling problems.


A proper and balanced dose of fertilizers is very much important. So, pick the best fertilizer for burning bush or ornamental plants. (Our Pick: Shake ‘N Feed Flowering Trees and Shrubs Plant Food)

Also, be careful with the application process of fertilizers. Follow the instructions written on the packets. Try to avoid direct contact with fertilizers with your plant leaves.

If you notice the salt build-up in the base soil, stop the regular use of fertilizers immediately. Flood the soils with adequate amounts of water to leach out excess salts and give your burning bush a break from fertilizer use for at least one month.

Home Remedy

For a quick fix to the nutrient deficiency, you can make fertilizer for burning bush with some household wastes. As it is an organic option, the risk of overdose is minimized in such a case.


  • One part of the eggshell
  • One part of the banana peel
  • One part of the coffee ground
  • Two parts of water

Steps –

  • Grind the eggshells and soak them overnight.
  • In the morning add banana peel and coffee grounds in them.
  • Put this mixture on your plant base once every month.

3. Pathogen Attack

Leaf curling is often caused by different pathogens. Fungus and viruses are the most prominent genus to attack on shrubs.

If you notice pustules on the leaf edge that causes upward curling, the fungal disease may have taken over your plant. White to grey powdery substances will appear on your burning bush leaves in situations like these.

In case of viral attack, the curls are quite irregular and leave become deformed severely. Sometimes you may notice greenish-yellow mottled patterns as a symptom of viral attack.

It’s important to control viruses and fungus in burning bush to reduce further damage. Here are some of my suggestions that can help.

Control Measure

To control fungal attacks, maintain proper aeration by pruning your burning bush regularly. Avoid prolonged wetting of leaves and overhead watering during the heavy infestation.

You need to be careful about fertilizer use too. Do not put too much nitrogen fertilizers during such conditions. Maintain a proper dose of fertilizers.

In severe cases, you may need to use chemical fungicides to control diseases. Here is an option for you that is safe and effective for gardens. (Our Pick: Bonide 811 Copper 4E Fungicide)

Viral diseases are a bit tricky to control. Leaf curling diseases are mostly transmitted by insects like whiteflies. So, by proper pest control measures, you can reduce the damage. I will have a discussion on that in the next section. So, keep reading.

Home Remedies

#Recipe 1: Apple cider vinegar solution


  • 5 to 6 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar having a concentration of 5% acetic acid.
  • 2 liters of water.

Steps –

  • Mix both water and apple cider vinegar together.
  • Pour this solution into an empty spray bottle and apply it to affected plant parts to control fungal diseases.

#Recipe 2: Milk solution


  • One liter of milk.
  • 350 milliliters of water.

Steps –

  • Add water to the milk and make a solution.
  • Spray this to the affected leaves to eliminate powdery mildew on the burning bush.

4. Insect Damage

Whiteflies, aphids, thrips, and mites are the most common enemies in burning bush. They will suck up the leaf cell sap causing twisted or curled leaves on Burning Bushes.

You can trace the presence of whiteflies by moldy areas on the underside of leaves. Similarly, aphids can be found in clusters. But spider mites are too small to be detected by the naked eye. So, check your curled leaves carefully. If you find any sort of webbing intermingled in the curls, mites can be the culprit.

You can follow my instructions to control insect pests effectively. So, here’s the deal.

Control Measure

In the initial stage, water splashes are quite easy and effective in controlling insect populations. You may need to use some good power sprayers to apply water in such a case.

Sticky paper traps have also efficient uses in capturing little flying insects. Place some bright-colored sticky papers close to your burning bush. These will attract and catch pests.

However, in severe conditions, these methods may not work. So, you may need to look for an organic or chemical fix.

Commercial neem oils and horticultural soaps are an excellent pick in controlling insect pests naturally. These are less harmful but quite effective in eliminating garden pests. If your plant fails to respond to the use of this, you may need a good insecticide. (Our Pick: Natria 706250A Neem Oil Spray for Plants)

Home Remedy

#Recipe: Soapy water spray


  • 30 milliliters of vegetable oil.
  • 30 milliliters of liquid soap.
  • 4 liters of water.


  • Mix all the ingredients together.
  • Apply this mixture to your plant leaves by spraying.

Caution – Do not use any soap that has high bleach content.

5. Wind Burn

Strong and prolonged wind flow can draw out water from leaves and stems. In leaves, the damage is more prominent. If leaves are too much desiccated, curling can be observed.

So, on consecutive breezy days, you need to take extra care of your burning bush. Let me share some easy tips.


You can’t manipulate the weather but with some practice, such conditions can be managed. To prevent excessive water loss, add mulches to your plant base. This will compensate for the lost water due to wind.

On extreme days, artificial wind barriers can be used. You can protect your plants with plywood barriers by placing them against wind directions.

6. Excessive Sun Exposure

Too much exposure to sunlight can put your plant in heat stress. Plants suffer a lot in such conditions.

If your burning bush is showing inward curling in summer days, such exposure can be the main reason behind that. The upper leaves of the branch are curled due to heat damage.

To manage heat stress and extreme exposure you can adopt some practices. Here I have mentioned some that can help.


Burning bushes need an annual day temperature of 15℃ to 20℃ and 10℃ to 12℃ at night temperature. Though these can tolerate up to 27℃ if there is scorching sunlight you may need some extra protection. 

Provide your burning bush with partial shading during summer days. You can use artificial shading sheets available in the market. You can cover your plants up with these sheets to avoid direct sunlight.

In the case of pot-planted burning bushes, move them indoors and put them in a shady place. Relocate it to some wind source like fans and coolers. These will relieve your burning bush.

7. Damage from Herbicides

herbicide damages

Most herbicides are indiscriminate in killing plants. Though shrubs like burning bush can withstand severe herbicide damage, direct contact with such high concentrations can cause leaf damage like curling.

Localized curling with burnt appearance is a sign of injury from chemicals. So, after observing such, you have to take steps to deal with this as soon as possible.


To prevent herbicide damage, be careful at the time of application. Use proper spray nozzles to target only the weeds. If accidentally plant leaves come in direct contact with herbicides, wash them off with clean water.

Use specific herbicides for specific weed species. Read the labels and cautions on packets before putting them on garden weeds.

In case of injured leaves, give your burning bush relief from any other chemicals or fertilizers. Stop using herbicides for some period. These will help in healing from injuries caused by chemicals.

Read More- Coreopsis Not Blooming- Solution For Beautiful Blooming


Why are the leaves on my burning bush curling up?

There may be different reasons behind leaf curling in a burning bush. Most of the time pathogens and insects are the main reason behind this.

The other possible causes can be a chemical injury, different stress conditions, and some lacking management. However, I have already discussed all these previously. So, dealing with these won’t be that hard.

How do you treat spider mites on a burning bush?

To control spider mites in burning bushes, soapy water works quite well in the initial stages. At a later stage of infestation, you can treat your burning bush with some horticultural oils and soaps.

Before starting these treatments, remove the webbing caused by mites. You can do this by normal wiping or some good sprays of water.

How do I stop my burning bush leaves from curling?

Proper water management and limiting the use of fertilizers and other chemicals can reduce the incidence of leaf curling to a great extent. Besides these, appropriate management is an important factor too.

Regular monitoring and prompt measures against different stress conditions and pathogen attacks also have great effectiveness in long-term protection from leaf curling in the burning bush. So, to stop your burning bush leaves from curling, follow my suggestions according to your need.


In this article, I have tried to highlight the common problems and the most possible and effective fixes for leaves curling in a burning bush. Though this issue is often observed, it’s not that tricky to deal with.

Let’s take another look at the whole thing. All you need to do is follow proper watering and chemical using schedule, continue with regular monitoring for pathogen and pest attacks, and take necessary measures against stress conditions. Finally, you’re all set to treat your plants on your own.

I’m always here to listen, observe and help you out. So, come back to my articles whenever needed. Don’t think twice about asking any queries in the comment section. Best of luck grower! 

James Rivenburg
James Rivenburg
James Rivenburg

James Rivenburg is the founder of plantandpest.com, a passionate gardener with valuable experience and knowledge gained through trial and error. The website has a large community of followers who trust his tips and techniques and have succeeded with his advice. He is always Committed to helping others create a beautiful and healthy garden.

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