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Poinsettia leaves curl up: What care measures can save the plant?

With its red leaves, poinsettia has become an indispensable part of Advent decorations. All the more annoying, however, when the poinsettia leaves curl up. Then quick action is necessary so that the plant does not die. Fortunately, there are some “rescue measures” you can take.

Poinsettia leaves curl up: What’s the cause?

Poinsettia leaves curl up

This popular potted plant actually originates from Mexico. In this country, it can only thrive indoors or in a heated conservatory; outdoors, poinsettia doesn’t stand a chance.

But even indoors or in a heated conservatory, it can happen that the evergreen plant dies. This is mainly due to certain care mistakes. If the plant’s leaves curl up, this is a sign that it is stressed and storing energy. Nutrients are supplied only to the main shoot and the leaves curl, turn yellow and fall off. Then, gradually, all the above-ground parts of the plant die and the plant dies.

However, if you react to the first signs such as curled, yellowed or falling leaves, then you can still save the plant. The reason for the curled leaves could be quite simple. Most often, this is due to improper watering, poor drainage or waterlogging, improper location and lack of sunlight, humidity and too much fertilizer.

Watering the poinsettia incorrectly

One of the most common reasons for curled leaves is improper watering. If the leaves are pointing down and curled up, then it is a sign that you have overwatered the poinsettia. Too much water leads to waterlogging, which reduces oxygen levels in the soil and that’s why the roots can’t absorb the water in the soil. To store water, the plant curls its leaves. This keeps evaporation to the minimum.

What you can do depends mainly on how moist the soil actually is. Do the finger test. If the soil is only moderately moist, then it is enough to stop watering for a week. Wait for the soil to dry out before watering the plant. Of course, then you need to regulate the amounts of water. Water the plant less so that you can avoid further problems. Such a care mistake can happen often. Most often it happens right after the purchase, when you can not yet orient how much and when the poinsettia was watered for the last time.

However, if you’ve had the plant for a while and have watered it extensively, then waterlogging could develop. The roots will rot and the poinsettia will die. Check the soil. If it is wet, then you need to repot the plant as soon as possible. When doing this, loosen the soil from the roots and check for rot. Cut off any rotting parts of the roots.

Poinsettia leaves turn yellow: poor drainage and waterlogging.

Poinsettia care error leaves curl up

Waterlogging can also have a very negative effect on the plant. It occurs especially when there is poor drainage. If the holes at the bottom of the pot are clogged, then the water cannot drain away. The poinsettia is very sensitive to this. In addition, it is weakened and can be attacked by pests. To prevent this, repot the plant as soon as possible.

Cold and drafts

Poinsettia is very sensitive to wind, drafts and low room temperatures. Sometimes it is enough if he is near an open window. Air conditioning can also have a similar effect. So, if the plant leaves curl up and go limp, then maybe you should change the place of the exotic. Is it now next to a door that you open often? Or maybe it is on a windowsill and you air the room several times a day?

As for the cold: optimal for the houseplant proves to be a room temperature between 18 and 22 degrees Celsius. So, if you leave the poinsettia in an unheated room or greenhouse, and the evening temperatures fall below 14 degrees Celsius, then the leaves will curl.

Too dry and polluted air

Poinsettia possible care mistakes and tips when leaves curl up

The exotic plant feels perfect at a humidity of 60%. However, this is not optimal for humans. If the air in the room is too dry, then you can regularly spray the plant with water. Another variant is to put the pot in a large saucer and fill the saucer with river stones. The river stones will absorb the runoff water from the pot and then gradually release it.

Smoke (cigarette smoke or smoke from the chimney) even in minimal amounts can have a negative effect on the plant. But poinsettias can also curl their leaves in poorly ventilated areas due to lack of oxygen.

Poinsettia leaves


Another tip: If you buy the poinsettia packaged, remove the packaging when you get home. Because this packaging prevents the oxygen supply. You want to give the poinsettia as a gift? Then either buy a poinsettia right before the occasion or unwrap it at home and then repackage it on the day.

Poinsettia leaves curl up: Too little direct sunlight

The plant needs direct sunlight. In nature, it prefers full sun locations. So place it on a windowsill with a westerly or southerly exposure and it will do wonderfully. However, it is important that the window is rarely opened. Otherwise, a coffee or dining table near the window is a good choice.