Houseplants forum: Received Croton Tamara today

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Name: seaecho
Phelan, Ca. (Zone 8b)
There is ALWAYS room for one more p
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seaecho
Mar 12, 2016 3:40 PM CST
Had to message seller TWICE and they finally sent it--a week later than promised. It's 7 inches tall, and looks healthy enough, with no leaf drop during shipping. It has less variegation than most of the pics I've seen including the one on the listing (probably just a sample representation though). I wonder if it'll get more variegation as it matures. Here are pics with and without flash.




Thumb of 2016-03-12/seaecho/3b8c8f


Thumb of 2016-03-12/seaecho/6a1472

Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional interior landscaper
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WillC
Mar 13, 2016 9:35 AM CST
Your new Croton 'Tamara' is unlikely to become more variegated, but keeping it on a sunny windowsill will enhance that possibility. That is true for all Croton species. With hybrids such as 'Tamara,' there is a tendency for them to revert to the original species form and variegation as they age. Other than light, you have little control over the variegation. Enjoy what you have because it looks like a healthy plant.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
[url=www.HorticulturalHelp.com]www.HorticulturalHelp.com[/url]
Name: seaecho
Phelan, Ca. (Zone 8b)
There is ALWAYS room for one more p
Image
seaecho
Mar 13, 2016 4:39 PM CST
Thank you, Will. I have a Petra (I'm just guessing) that I've had for 15 years in a north window, and it's done fine. I have been cutting it back every spring, and getting new growth within weeks! But the last two years it's stopped getting new growth, and is now only a fraction as full as it was, so this 'Tamara' I got as an eventual replacement for it. Right now, the 'Tamara' is in a west window, but I'm making sure it will only get dappled sunlight, as it would be far too much for it in the desert of S. California! I've had other Crotons die on me, and I sure hope this one makes it so it can take my cherished other one's place.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional interior landscaper
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WillC
Mar 13, 2016 7:33 PM CST
It is odd that your Petra has stopped putting out new growth in the past two years. Has something changed? Did you repot it or change its location two years ago?

I assume you know that Crotons do not like very warm temps.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
[url=www.HorticulturalHelp.com]www.HorticulturalHelp.com[/url]
Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
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jvdubb
Mar 13, 2016 7:50 PM CST
What do you mean by very warm temperatures? I read 80 is ideal for them during the day. Here in Michigan we call that pretty warm
Name: Deborah Pryor
Orangeburg, SC Zone 8a (Zone 8a)
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Deebie
Mar 14, 2016 12:15 PM CST
I'm all ears!
Name: seaecho
Phelan, Ca. (Zone 8b)
There is ALWAYS room for one more p
Image
seaecho
Mar 15, 2016 10:40 PM CST
Will, nothing has changed for the petra. It's kept an average of 65 degrees in winter and 78-85 in summer, so no extremes. Have not repotted for the last two years. I repot most of them every 2-3 years. I figured it was "old" and on its way out. I didn't know crotons were expected to live beyond what it has already lived.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional interior landscaper
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WillC
Mar 19, 2016 8:54 AM CST
Diagnosing plant problems, especially from afar, can be tricky. I once consulted by phone with someone about her ailing plant that seemed to exhibit symptoms of inadequate light. When asked, she said that it was on a north facing windowsill, which should have been ideal light for her plant. It was only after exploring many other options, that she mentioned that she kept the blinds closed during the day so her carpet wouldn't fade! Bingo!

Another problem is that if light or water, for example, are a bit off, it may take several years before significant symptoms start to show.

There is no life span limit for your Croton, so old age is not the problem. I am surprised that it has really needed repotting every couple of years. Reduction in plant growth is quite common following unnecessary repotting. That is because the plant puts most of its energy into filling the pot with roots at the expense of foliage growth.

Make sure your Petra is getting enough light. Water it as needed, not based on what it has used in the past. It may be using less now than before. Otherwise, be patient and remember that as long as it is not deteriorating, it will probably resume growth in due time.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
[url=www.HorticulturalHelp.com]www.HorticulturalHelp.com[/url]
Name: seaecho
Phelan, Ca. (Zone 8b)
There is ALWAYS room for one more p
Image
seaecho
Mar 23, 2016 9:16 PM CST
Sorry! I forgot about this thread! Appreciate your response, Will. Several years? Wow, I had no idea! And no, it hasn't really needed the repotting. I just try to do it that often because of the soil nutrients breaking down, etc. I have always repotted my houseplants every 2-3 years at the most. I only water it when it just starts to droop a tiny bit. It is just getting more and more spindly, but I will wait on it, as you may be right about me repotting it too often, and it's just trying to refill the pot with roots.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional interior landscaper
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WillC
Mar 26, 2016 8:09 AM CST
If you can provide close to ideal conditions, and that is hard to do outside of a greenhouse, then a plant has an almost unlimited lifespan. However, the farther away from ideal conditions you are, then the more rapid will be the appearance of symptoms and decline. Just because you get a yellow leaf today does not mean it was due to something you did yesterday or even a week ago.

It is not commonly understood that plants use nutrients in extremely minute quantities, especially in less than ideal growing conditions. It is very rare for a plant to deplete all of its essential soil nutrients. Rather than repotting and risking disturbing the roots, it is better to add some dilute fertilizer occasionally if you have reason to believe that there is a nutrient deficiency.

Weak and spindly growth is most often a symptom of inadequate light and rarely due to lack of nutrients.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
[url=www.HorticulturalHelp.com]www.HorticulturalHelp.com[/url]
Name: seaecho
Phelan, Ca. (Zone 8b)
There is ALWAYS room for one more p
Image
seaecho
Mar 31, 2016 9:16 PM CST
Will, this plant has always been in the same place, and received the same amount of light. So you mean I don't have to repot my houseplants every 2-3 years? Oh my gosh, what a lot of work that would save me! I have around 100.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional interior landscaper
Image
WillC
Apr 2, 2016 8:32 AM CST
Seaecho - Just because a plant has been in the same location for several years and is not dead, does not necessarily mean it is getting adequate light. Your Croton should be close to a completely uncovered window.

The conventional wisdom about regular repotting is based on informant from professional nursery growers, who should know, right? Well, they are right, but only for the ideal conditions they maintain in their greenhouses. I take care of plants in hundreds of homes and offices that have far less than ideal conditions. In those environments, plant growth rate - especially in the root zone - slows considerably. That means moderately mature plants in pots 8 inches and larger rarely need repotting or soil replenishing as they would in a greenhouse. As mature plants age indoors, their growth rate slows and so does their use of water and nutrients. In most instances, it is best to do less rather than more, especially when it comes to repotting.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
[url=www.HorticulturalHelp.com]www.HorticulturalHelp.com[/url]
Name: seaecho
Phelan, Ca. (Zone 8b)
There is ALWAYS room for one more p
Image
seaecho
Apr 5, 2016 12:12 AM CST
This croton is very close to a window that is uncovered much of the time (this time of year) but not all the time, as I close it when it gets too cool Our temps are perfect now--in the 70s in the daytime, yet no new growth. I have noticed in the past that with repotting, I've sometimes compromised plants, or even killed them, and I know repotting was what caused it as it happened shortly after repotting. You sure made my day about repotting! I'll check them all to be sure the aren't rootbound, and if not, will not repot this year. I'll probably do at least some of my orchids, as they seem to really perk up with repotting. Thank you for making my plant experience so much easier!

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