Ask a Question forum→Croton have a new unknown sprout and other issues

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Eskilstuna, Sweden
May 18, 2020 4:09 AM CST

This is my croton it's got two branches coming out of the soil, one tall with large leaves and one smaller younger branch with smaller leaves. I'm trying my best to describe how we take care of it and the conditions it's living in so we hopefully can solve some problems. 😊We've had it for a few months now as a house plant indoors (cause Sweden is cold, hehe). It sits at our sunniest window sill and gets direct sunlight for around 8-10 hours a day.

We've had some issues with leaves on only one side from the tall branch turning brown, drying out and falling off even though I water it once a week giving it a thorough shower and let the water run off completely through the drainage holes before putting it back on the window sill.

It also has some black flying bugs around it, close to the soil (I think they are fungus gnats but I'm still not sure). It's worth mentioning that the bugs are only on that plant and it's the only plant I have with soil that is more acidic so I don't know if that attracts them.

We are a bit worried about it but it seems to be doing okay in spite of the pests and have sprouts coming out where the previous leaves fell off. If anyone knows how to rid of the pests or why the leaves turn brown/dry out, I'd love the advice.

Now to the most confusing part, I also noticed a new sprout coming out directly off the soil and I thought it was the Croton branching but it seems the leaves are different. Does anyone know what plant this is or if it is some sort of weed? Tried googling what a croton looks like as a baby but couldn't find much, but it's strange to me that the leaves are a bit fuzzy so my guess is that it's a different plant entirely that had a seed in the soil and it sprouted.

Thanks in advance for any answers that might help me in this endeavour 😊

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[Last edited by Ripress - May 18, 2020 4:12 AM (+)]
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Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
American Orchid Society Judge
Region: United States of America Critters Allowed Growing under artificial light Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan
Butterflies Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Cat Lover Birds Bee Lover
May 18, 2020 5:44 AM CST
The small one in the top image is not a croton. The second pair of leaves are very hairy. It reminds me of a newly sprouted thistle plant. I have dozens of them in my flowers beds.
Rodney Wilcox Jones, my idol!
Businessman, Orchid grower, hybridizer, lived to 107!
Name: Will Creed
Prof. plant consultant & educator
May 18, 2020 10:19 AM CST
Yes, that is a weed and can be plucked out, roots and all.

The fungus gnats are coming from the larvae that live in the soil. (For future reference, use soilless, peat-based potting mixes that are pest and weed-free). The larvae need damp soil, regardless of the acidity. Letting the soil dry out deep into the pot is a good treatment. However, that is problematic with yours because Crotons don't do well when the soil gets too dry.

A product with BTI, short for Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis, in it may be helpful in treating the gnat larvae.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

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