Acidovorax citrulli causes seedling blight and bacterial fruit blotch (BFB) of cucurbits, a serious disease threat to cucurbit seed and fruit production worldwide. Despite its economic importance, current knowledge on the biology and pathology of A. citrulli is limited. This work studies a mini-Tn5 mutant, MJ22-3, that showed reduced virulence on melon seedlings. The gene disrupted by Tn5 was identified as leuB, which encodes a putative 3-isopropylmalate dehydrogenase, an enzyme that appears to be essential for leucine biosynthesis. The leuB gene in-frame deletion mutant MΔleuB, as well as the Tn5-inserted mutant MJ22-3, failed to grow in minimal medium without leucine and exhibited reduced swimming motility; however, the mutations had no effect on biofilm formation or induction of the hypersensitive response on tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum). When inoculated at a low cell density (104 CFU mL−1), the leuB gene mutants showed a significantly slower growth rate and attenuated virulence on melon cotyledons compared to the wildtype MH21. However, inoculations with the mutants at high concentration (108 CFU mL−1), or low concentration (104 CFU mL−1) inoculations supplemented with 0·01% leucine resulted in growth rates and disease severities similar to that of the wildtype MH21. The results suggest that leucine biosynthesis is essential for both in vivo growth and full virulence of A. citrulli MH21 on melon seedlings.