Poinsettia Getting Yellow Leaves – Reasons For Poinsettia Leaves Turning Yellow

Macro shot of a poinsettia leaf.
Image by SharonDay

By Liz Baessler

Poinsettias are famous for their flower-like bracts that turn bright red in the winter time and earn them a place as an extremely popular Christmas plant. They can be stunning when they’re healthy, but a poinsettia with yellow leaves is both unhealthy and decidedly unfestive. Keep reading to learn what might lead to a poinsettia getting yellow leaves and how to treat yellow leaves on poinsettia plants.

Why is Poinsettia Getting Yellow Leaves?

Poinsettia leaves turning yellow can be caused by quite a few things, but the most likely source of the problem is water. So are yellow leaves on poinsettia caused by too much or too little water? Unfortunately, it’s both.

Whether your poinsettia is parched or its roots are waterlogged, it’s going to respond with yellow, dropping leaves. You should always keep the soil in your poinsettia’s pot moist. Don’t let it dry out, but don’t water until the soil is sopping wet either. Try to keep your soil so that it is always slightly damp to the touch, and the pot has just a little extra weight to it when you pick it up.


When you’re dealing with a poinsettia with yellow leaves, over or under watering are the most likely culprits simply because they’re so easy to get wrong. If you think your plant has the right amount of water, though, there are some other possible causes.

Your poinsettia with yellow leaves could be caused by a mineral deficiency – a lack of magnesium or molybdenum could turn leaves yellow. By the same token, over fertilization can burn the leaves, yellowing them as well.

Root rot could also be the cause. If you think you have root rot, apply fungicide. Repotting your poinsettia plant may also help. You can prevent the likelihood of root rot by always using new, sterile potting soil.

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