Plant ID forum: Houseplant ID and recommendations, please

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Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Nov 17, 2015 5:28 PM CST
I received this houseplant from DD last week. She's had it for more than 10 years and between the cats and not knowing what this plant wants, she's given up on it. The leaves are narrow and non-serrated with a few random yellow/gold spots. The stem appears woody and there are a couple of new shoots towards the bottom of one of the stems. I'd sure like to know what it is and how to "renew" it. I'm thankful for any thoughts.
Thumb of 2015-11-17/Shadegardener/d9b1d9


Thumb of 2015-11-17/Shadegardener/02b769


Thumb of 2015-11-17/Shadegardener/be8e49

Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Procrastinator Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Hummingbirder Container Gardener
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plantladylin
Nov 17, 2015 5:40 PM CST
Hi Cindy, it looks like a Croton (Codiaeum) to me but there are so many different cultivars on the market, I'd have no idea which one it might be.

~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Procrastinator Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Hummingbirder Container Gardener
Image
plantladylin
Nov 17, 2015 5:46 PM CST
Also ... tell your DD to be careful with the plant around her cats. Codiaeum (Croton) contains toxins that are poisonous. Stems emit a latex/sap that can cause skin irritations to humans and animals and the leaves, bark, roots and sap/oil and seeds are all toxic to humans as well as cats and dogs.
~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Nov 18, 2015 9:05 AM CST
Thanks, Lin, for the ID. The leaves do look very similar to the croton pics. Obviously, the poor plant has suffered over the years as evidenced by the loss of leaves. Can the stems be cut back to encourage new growth?
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Procrastinator Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Hummingbirder Container Gardener
Image
plantladylin
Nov 18, 2015 9:21 AM CST
Yes, it can be pruned back but I wouldn't advise pruning at this time of year; I'd wait until spring to do any major pruning of branches. Crotons are grown in the ground as landscape plants here in Florida where I live so I can't offer much advice on keeping one indoors as a houseplant. I'd be sure the pot it's in is large enough for the root system and use a well draining potting soil; keep the soil barely moist but do not let it get saturated or you will end up with root rot and the demise of the plant. Watering should be decreased during the winter months but you can keep the humidity high by sitting the pot on a tray of moist pebbles or by misting the plant. It needs a bright, warm location; preferably above 60ºF.
~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Nov 18, 2015 10:54 AM CST
I think I will repot it since it is in a pot without drainage but I don't think there's any rot. Will see if I get any new sprouts before pruning. Thanks!

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