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If the poinsettia - botanically called Euphorbia pulcherrima - loses individual leaves after flowering, this is a natural process. But in many cases the leaves drop or hang just a few days after purchase. As a rule, care mistakes and/or a suboptimal location are behind it. To ensure that the poinsettia does not die, quick action is essential. In the plant magazine you will find out what you should do if poinsettias let their leaves droop or leaves fall off.


Poinsettias respond to inappropriate locations

The Euphorbia pulcherrima is one of the more demanding plant species. He makes clear demands on his location. Even the smallest deviations promote the falling and hanging of leaves, which can develop to a complete "nakedness".
If you notice leaf fall or yellow plant parts outside of the period after flowering, you should immediately check whether the location meets the following requirements:


If the poinsettia is too dark, it will quickly lose its leaves. As a rule, the drop begins at the base of the shoot. In addition, poinsettias are one of the so-called short day plants. This means: they need an average of eight hours of bright daylight for optimal photosynthesis and flowering, and accordingly the time in the dark or shade should not exceed 16 hours.

It is all the more important to change the location when the leaves are falling or hanging when there is not enough light on the poinsettia. Especially in winter with many gray days, this is often the reason for yellow and falling leaves.

The poinsettia is an extremely sensitive plant that requires care.

Light intensity

Daylight is not the same as daylight, but for plants it depends on the light intensity. If it is too low, this can be the reason for drooping leaves and leaf fall, especially if the poinsettia is in the room.
That's why you should treat a poinsettia to a bright, south-facing window seat during the winter months. In summer, depending on the intensity of the light, it should either be placed on a table, for example, a meter from a south-facing window, or on the window sill by a window facing west or east, so that the hot sunlight does not cause burns, which can also lead to dehydration leaf drop can result. In winter, however, direct sunlight provides cozy warmth, which is good for the Advent star.


Cold makes leaves fall off

The Euphorbia pulcherrima generally likes it warm. It reacts sensitively to cold and quickly lets its foliage droop and/or the leaves fall off. It only tolerates temperatures below ten degrees Celsius for a short time and only when the flowering period is over. Check that the ambient temperature is between 15°C and 21°C and move the plant if necessary so that it can live within this temperature range. The leaf drop usually stops after a few days.

tip: If you buy a poinsettia on a frosty winter day, it may be that just walking from the shop/greenhouse to the car will freeze the poinsettia and cause it to lose its foliage over the next few days. For this reason, it is advisable to buy poinsettias either only on frost-free winter days or packed tightly in foil and do not leave them in the cold vehicle for too long.

Leaf drop due to draft

Since the poinsettia can react to cold by dropping its leaves, cool drafts are not for it. Place it in a wind-protected location and pull it out of a possible draft when airing it. Then he recovers.


Humidity too low

If your Euphorbia pulcherrima is in an environment with dry ambient air, the leaves will quickly droop. It recovers just as quickly after watering, but as a result it gets yellow leaves, which it then loses. He feels really comfortable with a humidity of at least 70 percent.

It can be difficult if the location is in close to heating located, as the heating air automatically ensures dry air conditions. In winter, be sure to place a humidifier in close proximity to the plant. These are available as electrical devices to buy cheap in the trade. Alternatively, a bowl of water next to the Euphorbia pulcherrima also serves the same purpose, as long as you always make sure there is enough water.

Daily spraying of the leaves also favors the high moisture requirements of poinsettias. Without heating air, vigorous watering is usually sufficient and then letting the soil dry well before each new watering.

Humidity too high

If the air humidity is too high, a poinsettia will let its foliage droop and yellow discoloration will follow if the soil does not get a chance to dry out. For this reason, locations such as a bathroom where showers are taken daily or next to a washing machine and/or dryer are not good choices. If your Euphorbia pulcherrima is too damp and it loses its first leaves, it should be moved to a location with less humidity and it is better to water it too little than too often.


Do you use a saucer under the plant pot and do not dry it? Or is the substrate compacted and preventing excess irrigation water from draining? Then can hanging leaves be the result. In the initial stage, it is sufficient if you provide a drainage facility for the backwater and plant the plant in new substrate when the soil is "used up". You must always remove the drained water from saucers. Then wait about two to four days before you start watering again, so that the plant can dry off and recover.
Is it already in an advanced stage and a root rot might be the case, do the following:

  • Expose the root
  • Remove any dirt from them as much as possible
  • Shorten the root by a third
  • Completely cut off moldy and/or soggy root parts
  • Let the root air dry for 12 hours (definitely do not put it on a heater or dry it with a hair dryer)
  • Plant the poinsettia in dry, fresh substrate
  • Water only briefly so that the soil sinks and the roots can find a footing
  • Wait at least two to three days before starting normal watering again

Yellow leaves due to pest infestation

If the humidity is dry, a leaf drop or hanging foliage on the poinsettia does not necessarily have to be due to this. A pest infestation can also hide behind it. Above all spider mites and fungus gnats then it is attracted to advent stars.


  • Cut off heavily infested parts of the plant
  • Give the poinsettia a good shower
  • Immediately after the shower, place in a translucent plastic bag and seal airtight
  • Open the bag after about three days
  • If the infestation is severe, allow the plant to “breathe” for 24 hours and repeat the process
  • Place future poinsettia in an environment with higher humidity
Spider mite infestation

Be careful when buying in supermarkets & Co.

In order to have as little effort with Christmas stars in the sales rooms of supermarkets, they are usually delivered there already very generously soaked. Due to the usually cooler room temperature, the irrigation water evaporates only poorly, so that the soil moisture remains high for a long time. This creates too much moisture, as described above, and inferior quality often plays a major role in falling and yellow foliage, especially in cheap plants.

That's why you shouldn't wait for the leaves to hang and fall off, but act immediately. Plant your specimen in high-quality, fresh substrate and water it vigorously once. With a repot in fresh substrate you increase the chances of a long lifespan and healthy growth.

tip: In order to avoid problems with your new poinsettia, it is advisable to pay a few euros more and buy it from a nursery.

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