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Why is My Poinsettia Drooping? (And Heres’ How to Fix)

If you’ve noticed that your poinsettia is drooping, you’ll want to find a solution quickly. The first step in reviving a drooping poinsettia is diagnosing the root of the problem so you can treat it appropriately.

Poinsettia drooping, curling, and crunchy leaves are typically caused by underwatering. Overwatering causes soft, floppy, and yellowing foliage. You can fix the problem by adjusting how much you water. Drooping can be caused by improper temperature, lighting, humidity, diseases, overfertilizing, and pests.

[1] Underwatering

Drought stress is a common cause of drooping poinsettias. When a plant is severely dehydrated, its leaves and bracts will become wilted and dry, even crunchy.

The effects of underwatering on your poinsettia will be exacerbated by a lack of humidity, heat stress, and direct sunlight.

The plant loses water faster through transpiration than it can replace it through root absorption.

You might also find that the ends of the leaves are turning brown and crispy.

If you check the soil, you’ll likely find it completely dry. Your poinsettia may lose its leaves and bracts if conditions don’t improve soon.

How to Fix

The best course of action is to water your underwatered poinsettia thoroughly.

Water from the top until water comes out of the drainage holes at the bottom.

Then, let the extra water drain, and empty the cachepot, saucer, or drip tray. After giving your poinsettia a drink, it will perk up almost immediately.

To prevent this, keep the soil evenly moist. It would help if you held off watering until the top few inches of soil were completely dry. I don’t recommend waiting until the leaves are wilting.

[2] Overwatering

Poinsettias are easily destroyed by root rot caused by overwatering.

Overwatering is likely the problem if the leaves on your drooping plant turn yellow and mushy before falling off.

You should first stick a finger into a few different spots to evaluate how wet the soil is. If the soil around your plant is soggy, but the plant itself is wilting, you may have overwatered it.

Root rot is the result of waterlogging, which suffocates plant roots. Soil that emits a distinctively foul odor is a sure sign of this problem. Looking at the root system, you will see dark brown or black soft and mushy roots.

Other signs that your poinsettia has been overwatered include

  • Discoloration, paling, or browning of leaves.
  • Small, white water-soaked blisters due to edema.
  • Leaf drop and stunted growth.
  • Gray mold growth on plant and soil surface.

Solution

Stop watering your poinsettia and move it to a warm, sunny spot to help the soil dry out if you accidentally overwatered it.

The only way to save the plant from dying due to overwatering is to remove the rotten roots, discard the pot, and start over with a new, sterilized pot and potting mix.

For my poinsettias, I prefer coconut coir, well-draining potting soil (check the latest price on Amazon here).

To avoid this problem, you should wait until the top two inches of soil have dried before watering again.

[3] Low Humidity

By coincidence, the winter holidays are when our central heating runs at full blast, drying out the air inside to discomfort.

Unfortunately, poinsettias can’t survive in dry environments. If there isn’t enough moisture in the air, the leaves will lose more water than the roots can take in.

That will dry your plant, making it look limp, wilted, and dry.

The dry air can also be detected by the leaves becoming crispy and browning at the edges and tips. It usually goes hand in hand with the underwatering issue.

How to Fix

You should take measures to humidify your plant’s environment. Here are some tried-and-true ways I use:

  • Place your poinsettia close to other houseplants to create a humid environment.
  • Try to mist your poinsettia.
  • Place your plant on a wide-based water tray with pebbles
  • Consider investing in your plant’s small space humidifier (Amazon link).
  • Relocate your poinsettia to a naturally humid place like the bathroom, kitchen, etc.

[4] Over-Temperature and Extreme Cold  

Poinsettias thrive in a range of 65–70°F (18–21°C) but cannot survive in temperatures lower than 50°F (10°C).

Even short periods of temperatures below this will hurt your poinsettia, causing it to droop and maybe even die.

Cold drafts can also turn the leaves brown. Frost and freezing weather will eventually kill your plant.

However, if the temperature is too high, your plant will suffer from heat stress. These things will speed up or add to the harmful effects of being underwater, getting too much sun, and having low humidity.

Solution

If possible, keep your plant away from areas where the temperature rises or drops dramatically. Some places are near space heaters, air vents, cold drafts, fireplaces, heat ducts, fans, and radiators.

You should buy a good digital thermometer (Check the current price on Amazon here) to help you keep track of the temperature in the area where your plant is located.

It is critical to maintaining the proper temperature requirements of 65-70°F (18-21°C).

[5] Poinsettia Drooping After Repotting

The shock of being transplanted or repotted is a common cause of poinsettia drooping. If your poinsettia is under a lot of stress or is sick, or if it is prone to diseases like root rot, the problem will be much worse.

Your poinsettia’s root system will get hurt if you repot it by changing the growing medium. That will cause your poinsettia to wilt and droop badly.

Solution

Keep in mind that poinsettias aren’t particularly hardy, so you should be ready for them to show signs of repotting shock and drooping for a while.

Great care can dramatically increase your plant’s chances of surviving transplant shock. It would be beneficial if you did not make any additional changes.

Make sure your plant’s growing conditions are ideal. Do not apply fertilizer after repotting and monitor soil moisture until you notice the first signs of new growth.

[6] How Much Light Is It Getting?

Providing your poinsettia with at least six hours of bright, indirect light each day will result in gorgeous, showy bracts and leaves.

However, it won’t thrive if it’s kept in dim conditions for too long, and it’ll eventually wither and look sad and droopy before it finally expires.

In reality, the most likely cause of drooping poinsettia leaves is too much direct or intense light. However, bright, direct sun can also make the stems look droopy.

How to Fix

The solution to a drooping poinsettia struggling to grow is as easy as relocating it to a brighter location. A poinsettia will thrive in an east-facing window.

Another option is to put your plant a few feet away from the south or west-facing window, where it will receive bright, diffuse light.

If you are unsure about the light requirements for your poinsettia, read my other article here.

[7] Poor Water Quality 

Our city or tap water is usually treated with chlorine, fluorides, and other softening chemicals to kill germs and prevent tooth problems. However, tap water may also be salty and mineral-rich in some areas.

Mineral and chemical salts are harmful to your poinsettia. Too much will damage the roots and leaves and affect soil nutrients.

If your drooping poinsettia has yellowing leaves with brown tips, the cause is likely poor water quality. You might also find chalky substances near the soil’s surface.

Solution

Avoid tap, filtered, or softened water to water your poinsettia. Instead, try using rainwater, distilled water, or water that has been filtered.

[8] Overfertilizing

Poinsettias are more vulnerable to problems from receiving too much fertilizer than from too little.

As with most things, fertilizer can benefit a plant’s health and growth in small amounts but is toxic in large doses.

Browning the leaf tips, edges, or patches are an early warning sign of over-fertilization.

Also, you might see white spots on the soil’s surface that look like salt deposits from the fertilizer.

Over-fertilization causes root damage and eventually affects plant health. As a result, your poinsettia will likely droop because it won’t be able to absorb enough water and nutrients to stay alive.

Solution

There are two potential fixes for this problem:

  • Fix option 1: Consider flushing the growing medium with a large amount of water to wash excess fertilizer salts out of the soil.
  • Fix option 2: Repot your poinsettia in a fresh potting mix if it’s struggling. Remember, this can be risky since it can result in repotting shock.

[9] Pest Infestation

Poinsettia plants, like most houseplants, are susceptible to various pests. A severe insect infestation can also cause your poinsettia to droop.

The most common problems are spider mites, thrips, mealybugs, aphids, and scale insects.

These pests will feast on your beauty, especially the vital juices within the foliage and bracts. The stress and feeding action will cause significant stress and water loss, resulting in a wilting and drooping plant.

Solution

Inspecting your poinsettias for signs of insects regularly and acting quickly if an infestation is discovered is critical.

Isolate-infested plants to keep pests at bay.

Manually remove as many bugs as possible. Then, you use a powerful water jet to get them off your poinsettia.

Spray horticultural oil, insecticidal soap, or neem oil on your poinsettias. Then, respray your plant once a week until the pests are gone.

[10] Diseases 

Poinsettias are susceptible to various diseases, particularly fungal infections, which cause them to appear sickly and floppy. These could include

  • Pythium root rot: Often caused by overwatering, this rotting disease results in wilting, yellowing, browning, and premature drop of leaves.
  • Bacteria cankers: Brown cankers will appear on foliage, bracts, and stem, causing the plant to become streaked, weak, and droopy.
  • Poinsettia scab: This disease cause foliage to wilt, curve inwards, and drop off
  • Rhizoctonia crown and root rot: Severe form of this disease will collapse your plant.

Solution

  • Remove affected parts of your plant immediately.
  • Treat with an appropriate fungicide or bactericide.

[11] Has It Outgrown Its Container?

If the container is no longer large enough for the root system of your poinsettia, it will begin to droop and wilt.

This is because your plant’s roots have become clogged and can no longer absorb water and nutrients properly.

Solution

Repotting your poinsettia into a pot larger than the previous one is the most effective solution.

[12] End of Poinsettia Life Cycle

Poinsettias bloom and thrive until the end of January or even later. When your plant reaches the end of its life cycle, it will begin to wilt and become droopy.

Other signs of the end of its life cycle include the loss of leaves and bracts.

Solution

There are a few things you can do to prolong your poinsettia’s lifespan:

  • Avoid overwatering.
  • Give it optimal temperatures of between 65-70°F (18-21°C).
  • Feed it regular houseplant fertilizer diluted to half strength every 3-4 weeks during the growing season.
  • Place your plant in bright, indirect light.
Causes of Poinsettia DroopingHow to Revive
UnderwateringWater deeply when 2 inches of topsoil feel dry
OverwateringStop watering to allow your plant to dry. Treat severe cases of root rot by repotting.
Low humidityHumidify your plant environment by misting, using a pebble humidity tray, or a humidifier
Pest InfestationManual removal of bugs; blasting them off with water; spraying with neem oil or insecticidal soap.
DiseasesIsolate immediately, then treat using pathogen-specific treatment (fungicides or bactericides)
Repotting ShockLimit further disturbance to your poinsettia. Provide ample growing conditions.
Temperature StressAvoid sudden temp fluctuations by maintaining temperatures at 65-70°F (18-21°C)
Poor Water QualityUse filtered, distilled, or rainwater for irrigation. Avoid tap or treated water.
Lighting problemsPlace your poinsettia in bright, indirect light
OverfertilizingFlush out excess fertilizer salts or repot your plant afresh