Leaves dropped off one of the poinsettia’s Crystal Lake Kiwanis sold earlier this month, so one of the members asked Hebron’s Tom Leider’s Greenhouse folks what the problem was.
Here’s the answer from Kathy:
“That’s an easy one.. TOOO TOO TOO much water.
“The first sign of over watering is poinsettia leaves will turn yellow, and then drop, only leaving the colored bracts on the stems.
“To also verify this, the roots at this point in the picture will be brown instead of a fat healthy white.
“Poinsettias are originally from mountainous areas in Mexico…so the roots on a poinsettia are use to drinking…then staying dry (because mountains do not hold water…it runs off).
“With the hybrids (poinsettias other than red…such as the Ruby Frost), they are even more sensitive to over watering.
“A poinsettia should be allowed to dry down, then have a nice drink and then have any access water taken away after five minutes…do no leave water in the dish or foil.
“If a poinsettia becomes so dry it wilts, one should still not over indulge with the watering…water the poinsettia…and remove any access water after five minutes…the poinsettia should rebound in just a few hours.
“While poinsettia enjoy direct southern lighting…they will last many weeks in partial lighting, so lighting is not as sensitive an issue as the watering…except with lower light levels the poinsettia will drink even less so in a church setting, watering may be necessary only once every week to 10 days.
“Temperature is also not as sensitive an issue, while poinsettias prefer to be between 60-70 degrees, lower temperature are acceptable (as low as 50) but again…the poinsettia will not drink as much.
“Any temperature lower than 50 for even an hour can make all leaves drop off within a few days.
“The difference is the roots would still be white (so if they believe it is a temperature issue…look at the roots…brown is over watering…white roots but droppage of leaves would be a sign of extreme cold).
“Okay…That is about all there is to poinsettias…they are very friendly plants (not poisonous …that is the berries of a Holly branch). Hope this helps.”