Ask a Question forum: Poinsettia stem question

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Name: Francis
Ohio (Zone 6a)
Feb 1, 2017 4:01 AM CST
My poinsettia that I've had for two or three years has like this whitish discoloration around old leaf nodes on the lower part of the stem. I've been looking for information about anything related to this on and off for five months, and to no avail. The only thing remotely close, visually, to what is going on with my poinsettias' stem that comes up as a result is scab. However, I do not think it is scab. Looking at photos of plants with scab, the lesions appear concave and crusted--not to mention it also appears to affect the leaves after some point. My poinsettias' leaves appear to be perfectly fine, and if anything, the area around the nodes is slightly raised, or swollen.

Here are some photos:
Thumb of 2017-02-01/bouncyshamrocks/d3ca1f
Thumb of 2017-02-01/bouncyshamrocks/2bb935
Thumb of 2017-02-01/bouncyshamrocks/bc6ed3

A better shot of the leaves to show they aren't showing any symptoms:
Thumb of 2017-02-01/bouncyshamrocks/45f6a7

Is this just some sort of sap buildup caused from pruning? Or is it the plant barking? Is there anything I can do to treat this, or is it normal? Like, I really don't know what this is, and while my poinsettia doesn't seem to be suffering any complications from this for as long as I've noticed it, it still concerns me.

Some other information about my poinsettia and its current care:

My plant is about two feet tall, and it's a little bare down low which probably is because I don't really do much to groom it aside from pruning, but the plant seems healthy overall. I had to cut off one of its stalks back in late November because a houseguest accidentally snapped off the top of the stalk, where all the leaves where. I was pretty upset about that, but aside from that, the plant does not appear to be showing any signs of trauma.

Regrettably, I have not found the time to repot it since I've gotten it two or three years ago. It's still in its original pot, which is 6.5" in diameter. I am looking to repot it this spring. With a plant at its height I feel like the pot could potentially put strain on it. My poinsettia came with florist foam at its base and I'm not actually sure if I should remove it when I transplant it? I kind of want to. It's probably only 3" x 3" but I'm not sure how deep it goes. I worry that it may be inhibiting healthy root growth. But I don't know how to go about removing it without hurting its roots either. ***Any input about this would be helpful.

I don't water it too often. I let its soil dry out quite a bit before watering it again. On average, it probably gets watered every 10 to 14 days. Though I have a feeling that the foam is retaining water, and I'm wondering if that could be a factor in the symptoms my poinsettias are exhibiting.

I have no idea who distributed this plant. My parish gives away the poinsettias that sit on the altar after Christmas, and my dad brought one home for me one year.

Thanks in advance
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
Feb 1, 2017 8:33 AM CST
Wow 😁 you done good !
In that little pot 3 yrs. She diffanately needs bigger pot.
I dont understand what you mean about foam. Are roots grown into it ? They will probably have to be sacrificed. All i have is a phone. But pictures look normal, like barking. But if you suspect bugs or fungus. Take a Q-tip with alcohol and apply to kill it/them. Ok 😁
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Francis
Ohio (Zone 6a)
Feb 1, 2017 8:59 AM CST
Hi, Philip! Thank you for your response!

Yeah, I feel terrible about the pot thing. I think I have a good sized pot for it to upgrade to, but I'll have to double check to make sure it drains. If not, I may just drill holes into it.

As far as the foam thing goes, I'm not actually sure myself. It's not like styrofoam or anything, it seems like the foam used for flower arrangements. That's kind of why I wish I knew who the distributor or grower was. I wasn't even aware of the foam until watering it kind of made the soil recede and exposed it a year or so ago. I eventually gave my poinsettia a fresh layer of soil to keep it (and its roots) covered. I went ahead and pulled that soil back to take a picture for you, and I think the foam may be degrading on its own, so that's good, I think. Though that may be something I'll have to assess further when I actually remove the plant from the pot.

It's the slightly greenish stuff right around the base of the plant. Also, there's a root there, and as far as I know, it looks healthy. I just watered my poinsettia this morning, but the roots closer to the stalk/trunk are supposed to be wooded as well, right?

Thumb of 2017-02-01/bouncyshamrocks/f5942a

If the stem discoloration (the lighter spots?) is just the natural process of the plant barking, that would be a relief to me. I took in another poinsettia a few years earlier that was given to me by a secretary at my high school to indefinitely babysit, and I'm not sure if something was wrong with it or what, but it didn't last very long after I brought it home. So I want to do everything I can to make sure this one stays happy.
[Last edited by bouncyshamrocks - Feb 1, 2017 9:01 AM (+)]
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Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
Feb 1, 2017 10:49 AM CST
Amanda : howdy ! 😎
I know what florest foam is, but i never heard of growing things in it.
But ? I guess you could, if Thats what it is. I thought it was at bottom of pot, like to hold moiture. It will be interesting when you go to up-pot it ! Huh ! Pull it out of pot. Scruff up root ball and put it in new pot. Roots underground aint gonna bark ! Arf ! Arf ! πŸ• Rolling on the floor laughing
Dont feel bad about not getting her re-potted sooner. She's doing great.
Get her repotted and keep on doing her the same way you have been.
My buddy brought me a shark to smoke. I said i was gonna try some different spices in the brine. He said "DONT F WITH THE RECIPE #!!!"
Glare he has had my smoked fish before. I said OK ! OK ! πŸ‘ΊπŸ‘ΊπŸ‘Ί
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.

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