Why are my Poinsettia Leaves Curling? (And How to Fix It)


Indoor potted poinsettia leaves are curling.

Curling of the leaves is a gesture of Poinsettia telling you that they are not okay. To help them, you must identify the problem and take the appropriate counter steps. You will learn all these in this article.

Poinsettia leaves curl because of the incorrect amounts of water, light, and fertilizer. It is either too much or too little. Temperature stress and the wrong pot can also compromise the health of your plant.

I will explain each issue in the following lines. You will also learn a few ways to fix them.

Causes of Poinsettia Leaves Curling

There are a lot of possible reasons behind the curling of your Poinsettia leaves. Continue reading and find out which applies to your plant.

Underwatering

Poinsettia leaves curling inward signifies that they are in great thirst. Like humans, they fret from drying out too.

If Poinsettias sit in a drought-like environment for a long time, it will weaken the plant. It happens because they lack both moisture and nutrients.

Plants did not acquire enough of these essentials because there’s an insufficient amount of water. And water is the means of nutrients supplied from the soil up to the roots.

How to Fix

Fortunately, underwatering is easy to correct. Try these tips to give your Poinsettia the amount of water they need.

1. You need to know when you should water your Poinsettia. To know the watering schedule here is a simple trick: gently stick your finger deep down or use a moisture meter to check the soil dampness. Here are a few conditions of the soil to look out for before watering your plant.

Entirely dry- Soak the plant in the sink and allow the water to flow out of the drainage holes. Extremely dry soil with very compact particles is not ideal for Poinsettia.

Slightly dry- If you feel that the topmost part is dry, give the plant a light amount of water. This practice is to maintain the dampness of the soil.

Damp- If you find the soil is still wet, do not water your poinsettia. Come back the next day for another soil check.

2. Change your watering routine by considering these things.

Size of the plant – A larger Poinsettia needs more water than the smaller ones.

Location of the pot – A plant sitting in bright areas usually dry fast.

Time of the year – During the cold season, a plant requires less frequent watering than the warm period.

Overwatering

While it is good to keep the soil damp, you might overlook it as being soggy.  Poinsettia cannot survive an overly wet environment.

Overwatering can drown the roots and make it rot. Rotten and damaged roots will no longer effectively supply moisture and nutrients to the plant.

As a result, your Poinsettia will become vulnerable to diseases because of health deterioration. Also, symptoms like curling and drooping will occur.

How to Fix

The steps below will help to rescue your poor Poinsettia from overwatering.

1. If your Poinsettia is sitting in very soggy soil, do not water it again for a while. Leave it for a week or two until the soil dries out.

2. Initially, look out for these signs to verify that your plant has rotten roots:

Mold and other visible microorganisms form both in the soil and the plant.

  A foul smell comes out from the soil.

3. After confirming that your Poinsettia has rotten roots, follow these procedures:

Gently take out the Poinsettia from the pot. Cut the super damp and rotten parts. Rinse and replant it again.

Get a new pot or treat the previous one before using it again.

Use a fresh and new soil in replanting Poinsettia.

4. To avoid overwatering, you can try these three watering ways.

A daily light watering – Splashing a small amount of water every day is ideal to keep the soil damp.

A weekly sink soak – Pour water in the plant. Let the soil before sitting it again in its original spot.

Using ice cubes – This is an ideal method to release water to the soil slowly. You can start from one piece a day and observe how it affects your plant.

5. Ensure proper drainage in every single pot. You can drill the base of the container for additional holes. If an aesthetic foil covers the pot, punch a few holes beneath the bottom part of the pot. The drainage holes let the excess water escape.

Overfeeding Poinsettia with Fertilizer

Excess salt and mineral formation occur when you apply too much fertilizer in your Poinsettia. It happens because water cannot drain all the fertilizer.

This condition will harm the beneficial microorganisms that naturally occur in the soil. Furthermore, it will result in the soil pH alteration. This condition makes the nutrients less accessible to the plant.

Also, overfertilization can lead to the sudden growth of a plant with undeveloped roots. Such poor root structure might fail to supply adequate nutrients and moisture to the entire plant.

All these conditions stress the Poinsettia, leading to slow and stunted growth. Drooping, yellowing, and curling of the leaves will also occur.

How to Fix

Here are a few procedures you can follow to avoid over-fertilizing your Poinsettia.

◙ Feed your Poinsettia with a fertilizer once in a month. Do this when the soil is still damp, preferably after watering.

◙ Give them an appropriate fertilizer. The balanced types like 16-16-16, preferably the controlled-release formulations, are ideal for Poinsettia. You can also use natural materials like composted manure and organic vermicompost. (Source: University of Hawaiʻi at MānoaOpens in a new tab.)

◙ Carefully follow the instructions given by the manufacturer in every product that you will use.

◙ When the Poinsettia starts to bloom, it will no longer require fertilizer.

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Temperature Stress

Temperature is another crucial factor to consider for the optimal growth of your Poinsettia. Poinsettia thrives in an environment with temperature ranging from 65°F to 70°F (18°C to 21°C) (Source: University of Minnesota ExtensionOpens in a new tab.)

An extremely hot temperature leads to the malfunction of certain plant processes. One of these is transpiration where the water from the leaves escapes rapidly.

Likewise, too cold temperature is injurious. It can destroy the leaves cells by freezing and expanding them. The formation of ice crystals from frost injury can also inhibit photosynthesis.

Avoid these extremes of temperature that lead to wilting and curling inward of the leaves. 

How to Fix

Follow these methods to maintain the appropriate temperature range for your Poinsettia.

1. Consider the acceptable temperature that varies depending on these conditions.

◙ In the cold season, never place your Poinsettia outdoors because they are susceptible to chill damage. But on avoidable instances like transporting them, protect them from chilling temperature below 50°F (10°C). Place your plant in a paper bag to cover them.

◙ In mild climates, keep them in locations that do not drop below 55°F (13°C).

◙ In summer and spring, you can bring back your Poinsettia outdoors with a night temperature of 55°F (13°C) and up.

2. Do not place your plants somewhere that gets drafty like spots beside the doors and windows.

3. Place your Poinsettia away from locations with excessive heat. Fireplaces and ventilating ducts are a few examples.

Too Little Or Too Much Light Exposure

Another possible reason behind the curling of the Poinsettia leaves is the inappropriate amount of light. Too much light or nothing at all can compromise their health.

Do not place your Poinsettia outside under the full sun for too long. Poinsettia leaves curling up and drooping can happen because of too much light. Also, prolonged sun exposure can lead to sunburn.

Meanwhile, avoid giving your plant too much shade or keep them in dark rooms. Lack of light will interrupt their food process known as photosynthesis. This incident further leads to slow growth and sparse blooming.

How to Fix

Follow the steps below to give your Poinsettia a sufficient amount of light:

1. Put your plant in spots where it receives six to eight hours of indirect and natural light. South, east, and west windows are a few examples.

2. On instances where they cannot avoid direct sunlight, give them shade. You can put a sheer curtain or taller plant to shield them from the sun.

3. If there is no sun, plants can use artificial light as an alternative source. Seventy-five candles, comparable to the minimum brightness needed for an office desk, are usually the ideal light intensity. Also, the use of incandescent instead of the fluorescent light gives a more vibrant bract color. (Source: Oklahoma Cooperative Extension ServiceOpens in a new tab.)

Pot Requirements

Choosing the right pot is also crucial in planting a Poinsettia. Either a too small or too large container can harm the plants.

A smaller pot will restrict the roots of Poinsettia from growing. Damaged roots will no longer support an effective supply of necessary nutrients and moisture up.

Larger storage, on the other hand, may lead to root rot. It is because the soil retains excessive water that the Poinsettia cannot all consume.

How to fix

Follow these enumerated tips in picking the right pot for your Poinsettia.

1. Transfer your Poinsettia in another container if the previous pot can no longer hold its roots. Plant them in a pot that is both two inches larger in diameter and height.

2. On transplanting a Poinsettia, use a well-balanced soil mix in a pot. You can add several amendments to the field soil to improve its composition. The ideal growing media holds adequate nutrients and moisture while draining well.

3. After the successful transplantation, care for your Poinsettia as usual. Continue watering and fertilizing them moderately.

FAQs

Why are my Poinsettia leaves falling off?

The primary culprit behind the falling of Poinsettia leaves is overwatering. An excessive amount of water leads to root rot. If this happens, damaged roots will no longer effectively supply nutrients and moisture to the plant.  Thus, the leaves will wilt and fall off.

Why are my Poinsettia leaves turning yellow?

There are a lot of possible reasons why your Poinsettia leaves turn yellow. But it is usually because of nutrient deficiency. Make sure that they are receiving sufficient amounts of light, water, and fertilizer to combat this shortage. Also, avoid keeping them in stressful conditions.

Can a Poinsettia survive without leaves?

Yes, a Poinsettia can still survive without leaves with proper care. Giving their needs like sufficient water, light, fertilizer, and appropriate growing media will help them thrive again.

Arifur Rahman

I'm the owner of gardenforindoor.com. After completing my bachelor of science in agriculture, I'm serving as a civil service officer at the Department of Agricultural Extension, Bangladesh. I started Garden For Indoor to make your indoor gardening journey easy and enjoyable.

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