Ask a Question forum: Mystery African plant dying

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Name: Michelle
Pennsylvania
mgreer2247
Jan 17, 2016 5:29 PM CST
Hello I have a plant my neighbor left me when he moved, I'm not sure what it is he said it was African. I don't have any plants and know very little about taking care of them but I was trying... I put it in my sunroom and I think it may have been too cold out there and I was over watering it, it looks pretty dead but I thought I'd ask some pros if there was anything I could do or if there a way to find out if it's totally dead. Thanks for any help, I'm posting some pics.
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Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Jan 18, 2016 7:56 AM CST
It looks like it may be a Codiaeum (Croton, for common.) Not sure which one though. Another possibility would be Aucuba japonica.
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Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
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drdawg
Jan 18, 2016 2:28 PM CST
Welcome! @mgreer2247. Did the plant get frozen, Michelle? It looks like either that or it hasn't had water in a long time.
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Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
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Dutchlady1
Jan 18, 2016 2:41 PM CST
Welcome! mgreer2247
I would cut one of the branches to verify if it still has green wood. It looks indeed like it might have gotten too cold.
I agree it is most likely a Codiaeum variegatum, most commonly referred to as Crotons.
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Jan 18, 2016 2:51 PM CST
Some people are sensitive to the latex/sap/whatever so please wear gloves when cutting the plant. If it was frozen it may come back from the base. Prune off the dead/damaged bits and hope for the best. Crotons do not care for temperatures below 50 F so you may need to keep it inside the house until the weather warms. Thumbs up
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Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
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plantladylin
Jan 18, 2016 3:09 PM CST
Hi Michelle, Welcome from me too! My eyes aren't the best but your plant looks like to me too and I agree, it appears to have suffered from being subjected to temperatures that are too cold. Codiaeum/Croton are tropical plants that thrive with bright light, warmth and humidity. You may very well be able to save your plant by moving it to a bright, warm location indoors.
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Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
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drdawg
Jan 18, 2016 4:06 PM CST
I agree that trimming all the branches back (perhaps even 50%) would lessen the stress on the plant recovering.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Michelle
Pennsylvania
mgreer2247
Jan 18, 2016 5:42 PM CST
Thanks for all the info and advice, I cut it back halfway repoted it with new soil and put some lights on it, will see how it goes.
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Name: Karen
NM , AZ (Zone 7b)
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plantmanager
Jan 18, 2016 6:27 PM CST
Good luck with it. Crotons are beautiful and make wonderful houseplants.
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Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Plumerias Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator Region: Florida Cat Lover Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
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Dutchlady1
Jan 18, 2016 7:17 PM CST
Be careful not to overwater; especially do not allow water to stand in that saucer. I understand that you need to protect your floor but very few plants like wet feet (unless they are aquatic plants of course).
Name: Michelle
Pennsylvania
mgreer2247
Jan 18, 2016 8:18 PM CST
Ok thanks I did have water pooled in the bottom dish, no wet feet got it lol
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Jan 18, 2016 8:21 PM CST
Michelle, because the plant has been so stressed and now with the extensive trimming, it will be able to use very little water for the next several weeks. Just watch for new growth. That will be an indication that it can utilize water more efficiently. Wetness now is a deterrent rather than an asset.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.

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