Why Is My Sunshine Ligustrum Losing Leaves- How to Revive

Sunshine ligustrum is considered an ideal hedge plant for garden lovers because of its unique yellowish foliage having a height of 3-5 feet. But last year I face a problem with this lovely plant. I was surprised why is my sunshine ligustrum losing leaves. 

But due to overwatering, underwatering, shedding intensity,  temperature fluctuation, pests, diseases, frost problems, soil conditions, and natural issues, these ornamental leaves fall off with a disappointing look to your plant.

If you are searching for solutions for even one of these problems, then scroll below to get the perfect solution for you that was appropriate for me.

Here is a quick overview of all the causes and their solutions.

Soil condition Plant in slightly alkaline soil full of nutrients
OverwateringWater your plant when the soil is dry
Underwatering Water regularly checking the plant and environment 
Frost affect Keep your young plants out of frost
Temperature fluctuation Keep the ligustrum plant in warm or cold conditions according to the temperature 
Much sheddingAllow the plant to get at least 6 hours of full sunlight
PestsApply homemade recipes or industrial insecticides 
DiseasesUse industrial fungicide or bactericides or a homemade mixture
Natural process Remove the brown or older leaves

9 Causes of Sunshine Ligustrum Losing Leaves- Effective Control Measure

Sunshine Ligustrum Losing Leaves solutions

1. Soil Condition

Firstly, the topic of our discussion is their soil type, pH, and soil nutrient. If a proper amount of potassium is not provided to the plant, the leaves lose their strength to remain attached to the stem and start to fall.

Again, most houseplants love to nourish in acidic to neutral soil. But for sunshine ligustrum, alkaline soil is needed. If the soil gets acidic by environmental fermentation or other causes, the plant loses its leaves as a sign of stress.

Control Measure

  • Use lime or dolomite for your plant. Take a small piece of dolomite crystal and dilute it in almost 1 gallon of water. Then apply it to your plant.
  • Use dilute fertilizer for your plant in early spring and late summer. If the vegetative growth is enhanced, you may use fertilizer twice in summer. (our pick: Miracle-Gro Water Soluble All Purpose Plant Food)

2. Overwatering

In the list of problems of sunshine ligustrum, overwatering is one of the most deteriorating problems. Sunshine ligustrum needs frequent watering. But that watering should be optimum, not excessive and the drainage system should be well-developed.

This ornamental plant loves moist soils the most. But after watering the water should be washed out properly so that only the soil remains moist, but no water can clog in there.

Besides, watering should be done when the soil is dry. Unconscious watering hinders the normal pathway of plants and consequently, the leaves die.

Control Measure

  • Water your plant when it is dry. Check the soil by finger or a moisture meter (Our pick: XLUX Soil Moisture Meter)
  • Develop the drainage system if it is damaged.
  • If the soil gets too irritable for the plant, uproot the plant and transplant it to any other pot.

3. Underwatering

Neither overwatering nor underwatering can bring better conditions for your plant health. In case of too little watering, the plant feels stressed and cannot produce food due to the inhibition of the photosynthesis process.

Due to the lack of food and water, the cells of the leaves dry out. Consequently, the leaves become crispy and droop out.

Control Measure

Water your plant regularly so that the soil doesn’t remain dry. Check the environmental temperature and follow the frequent watering schedule properly. 

4. Frost Issues

The Frost effect is normally seen in tender leaves. The Sunshine ligustrum plant is tolerant to much cold even if the temperature goes near 0°F. But this is tolerable for developed plants.

The plants which have been propagated, planted, or raised just recently, cannot produce the adaption power in the much tolerant temperature. 

So, their metabolic activities get frozen and they cannot produce food for themselves due to the imbalanced condition. That’s why the leaves start to fall on new plants.

Control Measure

Try to maintain a warm place inside the house for new seedlings unless they get adapted to the outside environment.

To avoid this condition, complete your propagation just after the winter. Thus, they will grow up before the next frost comes.

5. Excessive shedding

“Sunshine ligustrum”- the plant whose name is sunshine, how can it survive in shedding? This plant loves to remain in full sunshine for a long day. This is not only important for their growth and development but also r enchanting yellow colors.

When it gets excessive shedding, the leaves may start to revert and gets wilted. After a certain time of continuous shedding, it cannot tolerate more and the leaves fall off the plant.

Control Measure

The Sunshine ligustrum plant needs at least 6 hours of bright sunlight. Place your plant in such a place where it can get that amount. But too scorching sunlight may burn their leaves. So keep it in concern and provide moderate shedding if needed on a hot summer day.

6. Temperature Fluctuations

Temperature fluctuation means a disproportionate rate of temperature which is not favorable for the ligustrum plant’s health. Either the temperature is too much or too low.

The Sunshine ligustrum plant is heat tolerant. But they cannot tolerate xerophytic conditions where the humidity level is too low and the temperature creates hot blowing.

As their root system is not too deep, in such a condition, they cannot take water from the deep subsurface of the soil and the leaves fall due to the unavailability of food.

The same food problem is also caused by low temperatures with different mechanisms. Being tolerant to low temperatures, minus degrees hinders the plant uptake and the plants fall off the leaves getting stressed.

Control Measure

Try to create a warm condition for your plant while snowfall. Again, sprinkle water on them and provide continuous watering and moderate shedding if hot weather comes. 

7. Pests

Because of its beautiful appearance, a sunshine ligustrum plant is much more susceptible to insects. Some common insects of this plant are- 

  • Aphids
  • Spider mites
  • Scales
  • Whiteflies

Control Measure

To check these insects from destroying your plant, you can follow some basic rules. Here are those-

  • Continuously monitor your plant. These insects hatch eggs on the leaves. If you can identify those eggs, remove them by hand. In case of early morning, the insects won’t be able to hamper your plant further.
  • Natural enemies like ladybird beetle, wasps etc. can destroy such insects.
  • In case of mild to moderate effects, use neem oil or baking soda. 
Neem oil recipe 

Take one tablespoon of concentrated neem oil, ¼ tablespoon of aloe vera powder, a few drops of oil, and 1 to 2 tablespoons of liquid soap and dilute them to the water. Apply that mixture by rubbing it on the plant.

Baking soda recipe 

Add 4 tablespoons of baking soda and 2 tablespoons of vinegar to 1 gallon of water. Apply this mixture to your plant.

8. Diseases

When insects bite the leaves, other pathogens like viruses, bacteria, nematodes, fungi etc. get their ways to enter the plant and create diseases. Such common diseases are-

  • Sooty mould
  • Root-knot
  • Wilting

Control Measure

  • Remove the affected leaves first.
  • Apply industrial bactericides or fungicides. ( Our pick: Monterey Concentrate Fungicide & Bactericide)
  • Apply your homemade recipe by mixing a few drops of essential oils, 1 tablespoon of vinegar, and 1 tablespoon of alcohol in 1 gallon of warm water.

9. Natural Causes

The matured leaves can naturally fall off the plants. These do not occur due to any environmental problem or other disease issues. Getting old, they are departed from the planet. It is beneficial for the plant because plants can use its nutrients for the developing leaves.

Sunshine Ligustrum Losing Leaves After Repotting

Sunshine ligustrum may face a stressful condition while repotting if it cannot adjust properly with the new pot after transplanting. Repotting issues can be of several types. 

Environmental issues

The best time for repotting or transplanting is the afternoon because at that time sunlight gets lower which reduces the transpiration rate.

As a result, the plant doesn’t need to make more food. Thus, osmosis pressure on the root remains decreased and the plant gets enough time to adjust to the new soil.

Root damage

This is one of the most severe issues that sunshine ligustrum may face if you are not well-experienced in repotting. Sometimes while uprooting from the previous plant, the root is torn or damaged in some places.

In that case, roots don’t get enough energy to cope with the new plant and leaves are falling due to stress and the absence of food.

Technical problems

Well, this includes manmade problems. You have to take some precautions while repotting such as you need to wear gloves on your hands and all the elements needed for transplantation should be sterilized properly.

Such precautions will help your plant to remain free from diseases. Otherwise, viruses, bacteria, or nematodes can spread in your plant. As a result, the plant will lose its turgidity and the leaves will fall.

Does Sunshine Ligustrum Lose Their Leaves In Winter?

As sunshine ligustrum is a semi-deciduous plant, it loses some of its leaves in winter due to its type. Due to the excessive cool temperature, there may appear orange tint. In that time such falls can happen though it can tolerate temperatures near 0°c. 

But the amount of dead leaves is not too much. So you don’t need to be worried. You can just prune those portions and new vegetative growth will be facilitated. Even if the orange tint is also there, it will increase the beauty of your plant.

Sunshine Ligustrum Middle Leaf Dying

Sometimes, you may notice that your ligustrum plant is losing its leaves from the middle portions but the leaves of the top part and the surroundings are quite vibrant. Such a problem can be caused due to lack of sunlight.

If the sunshine ligustrum plant gets too bushy, the leaves of the outer sides get an appropriate amount of sunlight. As a result, they can make proper food.

But the inside leaves are covered by the outside leaves which hinders the sunlight from reaching those leaves. As a result, they can’t prepare food and the leaves tend to die.

Sunshine Ligustrum Upper Leaf Dying

The upper leaves of sunshine ligustrum may die due to pest attack. The knowledge of plant agriculture says that an insect always chews a plant from the top portion. 


The top leaves are always soft which is easy for sap-sucking. That’s why they prefer such leaves as their food and always affect from the apex. That’s why those leaves lose nutrients and droop out.

Can I Get Back Sunshine Ligustrum Dead Leaves

In most cases, dead leaves cannot be back. The leaves normally get brownish or blackish before dying. If you can take effective measures to save during that period, then maybe you can get those leaves back. But it is rare

The dead leaves normally droop out fast. Even if they are attached to the stem part, they can’t take any nutrients from the plant tissues and can’t make food for themselves. As a result, they cannot be got back. 

In this perspective, it is better not to try to save affected or drooping leaves. If they are not dropped, removing or pruning them fast is the best solution to keep your plant healthy.

Sunshine Ligustrum Plant Care

Sunshine Ligustrum Pruning

Soil typeWell-drained loamy soil
Soil pHAlkaline soil has a pH of 6.0 to 8.0 
WateringWater regularly when the soil is dry
SunlightFull sunlight of at least 6 hours
Temperature It can tolerate almost -5°F too after the establishment
HumidityIt can withstand a wide range of humidity 
FertilizersProvide fertilizer once in early spring and once in late summer


Do sunshine ligustrum bloom?

No. The Sunshine ligustrum plant has no blooming stage. They are sterile and that’s why they cannot produce flowers. 

Is there any variegated form of sunshine ligustrum?

Not really. Sunshine ligustrum plant mainly consists of yellow foliage which may have an orange tint in frost in matured plants. But the foliage color remains yellow all year.

Can sunshine ligustrum create any allergic conditions?

No. As a sunshine ligustrum plant doesn’t produce flowers, you need not be worried about their allergic effect.

Read More-

  1. 6 Simple Ways to Fix Sunshine Ligustrum Thinning

Final Thoughts

So, let me finish here after a broad discussion about why is sunshine ligustrum losing leaves. If you have gone through every problem consciously, you will understand that all the causes can be prevented earlier.

A proverb goes, “It is better to prevent than cure”. So I suggest you study the problems first so that you can get your desired solution as well as you might not do any other wrong to your plant.

Thus, you can be able to get back your unhealthy plant and provide a great life for that by fulfilling all their demands with great concern.

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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