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I have a poinsettia that is about three years old. The first year it bloomed beautifully, then last year and now this year, just before the holidays, the leaves wither and fall off. I have not changed anything carewise. It is in an ideal place, gets plenty of dark hours, no drafts, filtered sun, and just enough water. Why is it doing this?

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A

 Poinsettias are very sensitive to temperature fluctuations. Even the trip from the store to your car can sometimes cause leaf drop if the outdoor temperature is very different from indoor temps. See this webpage for more information: http://www.uri.edu/ce/factsheets/sheets/poinsettias.html
   On that page, it also mentions that leaf drop might also happen if the root system gets dried out (or stays wet too long and root rot develops).   Other than that, there's no reason why your plant would drop leaves like that. You may need to repot into a larger container in case the plant has become rootbound. If so, it actually has less available water now than it used to.

Posted on 31 Oct 2007

Maggie Wolf
Horticulture Agent, Salt Lake County

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