Poinsettia Leaves Falling Off-10 Causes And Solutions

There are several reasons why the poinsettia's leaves fall off.

I always get several comments just before Christmas from gardeners who have poinsettia or poinsettia problems (Euphorbia pulcherrima) whose lower leaves turn yellow and fall, often within days of purchasing them.

However, the poinsettia, while not the easiest houseplant in the world, at least has a reputation for being able to "hold out" for at least a month or two with reasonable care. Then, Why will you lose your sheets so quickly after purchase?

The poinsettia's leaves fall off: a symptom of stress

Poinsettia or poinsettia leaf drop is a symptom of stress.

The plant is not happy and shows its discontent by dropping the leaves. Usually it is the lower leaves that fall off. They turn yellow and fall off. Then, if the cause of stress continues, the fall gradually progresses upward until the plant appears very bare, with only the colored bracts and a few green leaves on top.

So far the symptoms, but what causes this stress? Let's take a look at what could have happened to her.

Main problem: the plant ran out of water

The very faded poinsettia

Just one day without water can leave your plant very wilted. And even when you water it and the bracts and leaves come out again, expect a lot of leaf loss in the next few days.

When you find your withered poinsettia, with all the leaves and bracts hanging limply, and the soil in the pot is very dry to the touch, it has run out of water. Usually the foliage rises after a good watering and you think everything is fine, but no… the lower leaves start to yellow and fall off a few days later.

You cannot neglect watering a poinsettia, especially when it is in flower and consumes more water than normal. As soon as the potting soil is dry on the surface, water generously, moistening the entire root ball.

Sometimes this stockout is not your fault: the shortage may have occurred in the store before you bought the poinsettia and you bought a poinsettia that is already in distress. Supermarkets and department stores, in particular, are not known for the proper care of the plants they sell.

Solution: Thoroughly water any wilted plants whose soil is dry to the touch - then at least you can save it. But keep in mind that it will no longer look so pretty.

Pot of poinsettia soaked in a saucer with water, also watering can

If the plant has suffered from a lack of water in the past, its roots will not be very effective.

If the plant has suffered from a lack of water in the past, its roots will not be very effective. You have to let the pot soak for 15 or 20 minutes after watering to make sure the plant is well watered.

After, learn how to water your poinsettia correctly so it doesn't happen again.

As soon as the soil is dry to the touch, water thoroughly, enough so that the excess water drips into the saucer. Since the roots have also suffered from drought and probably many of them have died, you have to go the extra mile that you wouldn't normally do with a pot plant: leave the plant to soak in the saucer of water for 15 to 20 minutes after watering it. Only after this time should you empty the saucer. Only then can you be sure that the damaged plant has had enough to drink.

Note that you cannot put a poinsettia under a specific regimen, such as "I water once a week, every Wednesday." Then you will have problems of lack or excess of watering, depending on the conditions.

The same plant can accept a weekly watering if the weather is gloomy, but wilt terribly the following week because it has been sunny or too hot. And the following week, your floor could still be very wet if the weather was gray and the temperature in the house was colder. In other words, Irrigation needs vary according to conditions and these are constantly changing.

The ideal is that you check the earth every 3 or 4 days, putting the index finger in the ground to the second joint: if the ground is dry, water. If it's still damp, come back in 3-4 days and check again, watering only if necessary. This is the key to successful irrigation! Sometimes the same plant may need to be watered after 4 days and at other times only after 10 or 12 days. Yes, the same plant!

Mini-poinsettias: a special case

4 mini-poinsettias in small decorative pots.

Mini-poinsettias are pretty, but they need to be watered often.

Minipoinsettias, which are actually young cuttings grown in small pots and forced for early flowering, are very prone to drying out. It is convenient check the condition of the soil every 2 days. You can also transplant them into larger pots.

The other reasons why the poinsettia loses its leaves

So far the main cause ... but the poinsettia or poinsettia can lose its leaves for other reasons. Here are the most common ones.

Problem #2: Your poinsettia has been exposed to the cold

The poinsettia surrounded by plants in paper bags for transport.

Make sure your poinsettia is well protected from the cold before bringing it home.

It is often cold when you buy a poinsettia, and even a few minutes of exposure to temperatures below 10 ° C can cause leaves or bracts to fall off.

Solution: Always wrap a poinsettia tightly before taking it out of the store. And don't put a poinsettia on a cold seat, instead warm up your vehicle first.

Problem # 3: It has been wrapped too long

Poinsettia sealed inside a plastic sleeve.

Don't keep your poinsettia in its wrapper for too long.

Poinsettia gives off a toxic gas called ethylene. As long as it grows outdoors, this gas spreads quickly and is of no consequence. But if you keep your plant enclosed in its packaging for a few days, the concentration increases and the leaves and bracts begin to fall.

Solution: Take the poinsettia out of its packaging as soon as you get home.

Problem # 4: You have been exposed to carbon monoxide

CO2 exposure

Poinsettia is the canary in the houseplants mine when it comes to the toxic gas called carbon monoxide (CO), reacting long before humans feel any symptoms.

If your plant begins to lose its leaves very quickly when it arrives at your house, the level of carbon monoxide in your house may be too high.

Solution: Check the carbon monoxide level in your home with a carbon monoxide alarm. If it rings, get out of the house and call the emergency number in your area.

Problem #5: The air is too dry

The poinsettia tolerates dry air relatively well, especially compared to other indoor plants, but there is a limit.

When the air is exceptionally dry, less than 30% in most cases, the leaves will start to fall off, often turning brown at the margin or tip earlier. If the soil dries out very quickly after a good watering, in 2 or 3 days, another sign that the air is very dry, it is almost certainly the problem.

Solution: Increase the humidity with a humidifier or place the plant in a humidifier tray.

Problem # 6: The plant has received too much water

A withered poinsettia that is rotting away.

Too much water leads to rot; rot leads to wilted leaves and leaf loss.

It seems illogical, but the Poinsettia reacts the same when it receives too much water as when it is lacking: its foliage wilts and then falls off. Why is this happening?

If the soil remains soaked for a long time, the roots begin to rot from lack of oxygen and then the foliage wilts, despite the abundance of water, since the roots are no longer there to absorb it.

Solution: It is not easy to recover a poinsettia whose roots have begun to rot. It is probably better to replace it.

Problem # 7: It's too hot or too cold

The ideal temperature for a Poinsettia is between 15 and 24 ° C. If it is too hot or too cold in the room where you have your poinsettia, it may start to lose leaves.

Solution: If it is hot or cold in the room where you have your poinsettia, especially for a long period of time, it is better to place it in another place where you can maintain a more adequate temperature.

Problem # 8: The plant lacks light

Poinsettia near a window

After the Christmas season, give the plant more light.

This problem only becomes apparent over time, as a poinsettia can tolerate several weeks in the shade or to partial shade before reacting negatively and beginning to lose its lower leaves.

So you can place a Poinsettia almost anywhere in the house during the holidays, even in a dark corner. But this should be temporary and last no more than 3-4 weeks.

Solution: After the holidays, place your poinsettia in front of a sunny window or, at least, in a very bright place with at least a few hours of sunlight a day.

Problem # 9: The plant is infested with insects

Whitefly infested leaf

Whiteflies thrive on poinsettias and can cause leaf drop.

Whiteflies love poinsettias and cause the foliage to turn yellow and fall off. Spider mites, cottony mealybugs, and shell mealybugs are also sometimes present and also cause the foliage to yellow and fall off.

Solution: Normally, in this case, the plant was already infested before purchase. The first solution, therefore, is obviously to inspect the plant thoroughly before purchasing. Look especially under the foliage and in the axils of the leaves. This is where these pests usually hide.

Here are some tips to control whiteflies. And these to combat mealybugs.

Other insects can be controlled with an insecticidal soap treatment.

Caution- Do not apply black soap to a poinsettia - it is toxic to this plant!

Problem # 10: The leaves are old

It is perfectly normal for a poinsettia to lose a leaf or two from time to time. This is your way of getting rid of older, less functional sheets.

Solution: Remove the fallen leaves, that's it!

It is not so difficult

I hope the above list of problems and solutions didn't scare you, because in fact, most people who water their poinsettia properly have no trouble keeping it in great condition for at least a month or two.

Learn more about poinsettia care Poinsettia - Poinsettia - Euphorbia pulcherrima

And those who know how to light it correctly can even expect it to retain its beautiful bracts until May or even June, lengthening its beauty for 6 months! As for how to make poisettia bloom again, here are some tips.


No, the poinsettia is not difficult to maintain, but like any plant, it needs minimal care to be happy. Provide it and your plant will be happy!

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