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Avatar for ellisix
Mar 27, 2018 12:53 PM CST

Hi! I'm new to this forum, and I'm Italian so I'm sorry if I'm making mistakes in English while writing.

So, I recieved this Croton plant about one month ago from an online plant nursery.
It has been very healthy until I left the house for a few days and when I came back two days ago the plant was very droopy. I checked the soil and it was still moist but not too much( I only watered twice since I got it). So I thought it was about the dry air in the room, so I moved in the bathroom (it's the only place my fittonias won't die, so it's pretty humid) but nothing happened.
This morning I woke up and the plant was still drooping. I decided to check the roots to see if any root rot was happening but they looked white and healthy, so I moved the plant to a terracotta pot and I realised that the soil it was sitting in earlier was full of other plants dead leaves so maybe they were retaining too much moisture, so i replanted it in new and drier soil. I moved it back in my room where it receives a good amount of bright light, next to my tiny humidifier and even misted it a little but when I came back home this evening it looked even worse.
What would it be about?
I don't know what else to do, and I really like this plant and want to save it so much.. please help me!!
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Mar 27, 2018 2:11 PM CST
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Your English is fine - better than many native English speakers!

Crotons do not tolerate dryness at all and wilt pathetically and quickly if allowed to get even a bit too dry. Misting and increased humidity is not an adequate substitute for watering the roots frequently. The dead leaves were not absorbing the water.

Unfortunately, moving it to drier soil was the wrong way to go and terra cotta pots absorb and deplete the moisture from the soil more readily than plastic pots.

In addition, repotting is often stressful for plants, especially if done incorrectly. I don't know if you replaced the original soil; what kind of new soil you used; and how much larger the new pot is. All of those are factors in determining how it should now be watered.

For now, I suggest that you water your Croton thoroughly, even letting the pot sit in several inches of water for an hour or so. Ideally, you will water it again just before the leave start to wilt.

Crotons also require a location close to a sunny window and prefer cooler temperatures. They are also very prone to spider mite infestations, especially when they are under stress.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at wcreed@HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
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Mar 27, 2018 3:26 PM CST
JC NJ/So FL (Zone 7b)
Amaryllis Hydroponics Houseplants Region: Florida Container Gardener Garden Photography
Bromeliad Aroids Tropicals Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
I agree with all of the above.
just want to add that it will help to tent it immediately (put a large transparent plastic bag over it) to increase humidity and keep it this way until leaves bounce back, may be even longer (2-3 weeks).
you can also run hot water in a shower until it steams up, shut it down, draw the curtain/door closed and leave the plant sitting their warm and humid overnight. If it's not a bother - do it every night for sev days.
Unfortunately, once the leaves droop to such extent for several days they will drop soon. may be half of them. even if they recover somewhat, it will shorten their lifespan.
Last edited by skylark Mar 27, 2018 3:27 PM Icon for preview
Avatar for ellisix
Mar 28, 2018 2:10 AM CST

Thank you for your advice!

I just put the plant under the sink to water it well, making sure that even the pot was getting a good soak, then I moved it outside my east facing window where it's getting direct sunlight for at least a few hours and where it's obviously cooler. Right now where I live the temperature outside is around 8-12 Celsius degrees and it will just rise up a little during the day and the humidity it's supposed to be around 80%.
The pot is also sitting in few inches of water as you suggested.

I knew that terracotta pots aren't very good for this aim but I thought I kind of overwatered the plant. The soil is just a general potting mix.. And I know they get stressed out from repotting but I didn't know what else to do..I hope I'll get better anyways..

I'll try the plastic bag method as soon as I get back home this afternoon.
I alredy tried the shower steam method but I'm afraid the plant doesn't get enough bright light in my bathroom.

Thank you again, I'll update you in a few weeks.
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Mar 28, 2018 6:29 AM CST
Name: Christine
NY zone 5a
Deer Charter ATP Member Region: United States of America Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Tropicals Region: New York
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For future reference, water with room temp water, never directly from the tap Smiling
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Mar 28, 2018 10:50 AM CST
JC NJ/So FL (Zone 7b)
Amaryllis Hydroponics Houseplants Region: Florida Container Gardener Garden Photography
Bromeliad Aroids Tropicals Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
8C is too low for crotons - when it gets below 11C they drop leaves, even if it's just for several hours. This type of low temperatures are tropical winter for them :).
So NOT a good idea at all to put it outside until it warms up at night to above 12C. and since it's been soaked and is very wet - that makes matters even worse. Bring it indoors if you don't want to kill it!
Avatar for ellisix
Mar 29, 2018 3:17 AM CST

It has been outside my window since yesterday morning and it looks definitely better!the leaves are becoming a little crispier and pointing up!

You're confusing me a little bit with temperature.. some said it likes lower temperatures and some said warm..

What I know is that the plant looks better! So thank you all for the advice! Thumbs up
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Last edited by ellisix Mar 29, 2018 3:32 AM Icon for preview
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Mar 29, 2018 8:39 AM CST
JC NJ/So FL (Zone 7b)
Amaryllis Hydroponics Houseplants Region: Florida Container Gardener Garden Photography
Bromeliad Aroids Tropicals Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
i'm glad it's doing better. if your window sill is sunny and warms up during the day above 65F that would be good. Perhaps you get a warming effect at night from the stone walls too. But i'd say it's chancy.
cooler and warmer are relative terms. their best temp is 75-80F with part sun, not hot afternoon sun which bleaches color out of the leaves. 75F is cooler for tropics for sure ;).
Dropping below 65F stops their growth. 55F is deep winter for them. below 51F leaves drop. They are notorious for that.
https://floridata.com/Plants/E...
Last edited by skylark Mar 29, 2018 9:09 AM Icon for preview
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Mar 29, 2018 2:24 PM CST
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Your Croton looks great. It just needed more moisture around its roots. It is a tropical plant so it certainly won't tolerate temps close to or below freezing. However, it also does not do well in warm, dry air indoors. A terra coot pot is fine; it just will need to be watered a bit more than if it were in a plastic pot. Tap water is fine as long as it is not unusually hard.

You seem to be on the right track now. If it starts to wilt again, just give it a good soak!
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at wcreed@HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Avatar for dorislinda
Nov 22, 2018 1:49 PM CST

I am having the same problem with my croton which I have had for five years. It is in a corner near a light source but we are now in cooler temps due to fall. Today it is about 54 degrees outside but the plant is near a front door with side light windows so that may be the reason the leaves are falling off . The leaves have never done this previously even with the cooler temperatures in past years. I water the plant once a week. Is there a plant food I should be using on it? I bought this plant and used it's own soil in the pot it was in but never added any more soil since the original re-potting of it. It is such a colorful addition to my entry hallway so I suppose I should move to another location. I never go out my front door at all...just use my garage or rear door entry to come into my home, so the plant is not exposed to sudden drafts. I keep my indoor temp at 70 to 71 degrees when the gas heat is on . I really would appreciate your thoughts on the plant's current situation. It lost about 15 leaves recently , just this past week. Thanks to all .
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Nov 23, 2018 11:23 AM CST
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
I suspect the less than ideal amount of light is now catching up to the plant as it can no longer support as many leaves in the reduced light. It may not die in that location, but it will not thrive unless it is moved close to a sunny window. Temperature is not a problem.

Make sure you water it thoroughly when the surface of the soil feels dry.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at wcreed@HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
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Aug 2, 2021 4:34 AM CST
(Zone 10a)
Hello everyone

I am so happy I've found this forum where actually people give useful advice. This is my first post here. I live near Athens, Greece and I have a little croton cutting which I brought from Bali. Initially it did not want to grow any leaves, but after placing it indoors and giving it some myccorhizae it grew few nice leaves. However, since yesterday the leaves started drooping. I water it about once every two days. It is placed next to a window which faces north. Unfortunately all my windows are north facing.

I am afraid to put it outdoors because we are having a bad heatwave at the moment. The temperature is 35 C (95 F) during the day in my yard which is not too extreme, but it's also quite dry. Humidity is 40%. Indoors humidity is 70% and temperature is about 28 C or 82F (yes, you've heard well, my house is very humid).

What could be the problem? The medium is half potting soil and half perlite. The pot has draining holes. Could it be the lack of sunlight? Too much water? Or should I water every day maybe?

Many thanks for any help.

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Aug 2, 2021 5:35 AM CST
(Zone 10a)
Update: About two hours since I watered it now and the drooping has gotten worse...
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Aug 3, 2021 7:33 AM CST
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
@wandering_ant - Welcome! The pot is larger than necessary and that makes proper watering more difficult. I suspect the excess soil is staying too damp for too long around the roots and suffocating them. It certainly should not need water every two days.

Give it as much indoor sun as possible and warm temperatures. Let the top 2 cms of soil get dry before you water it lightly.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at wcreed@HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
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Aug 3, 2021 8:25 AM CST
(Zone 10a)
Thank you so much. I will do that. I thought that due to the perlite the soil dries too quickly and it's underwatered. A month ago when I planted it, it had only three tiny roots.

Should I place it outdoors given the conditions I described? No sun gets through the window. It faces N-NW and there are some tall trees at the front too.
Last edited by wandering_ant Aug 3, 2021 9:14 AM Icon for preview
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Aug 4, 2021 7:36 AM CST
JC NJ/So FL (Zone 7b)
Amaryllis Hydroponics Houseplants Region: Florida Container Gardener Garden Photography
Bromeliad Aroids Tropicals Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
The pot is way too large for it : you need to down size if you want to keep it. The roots likely rotted . I grow cuttings of this size in plastic 12 oz tumblers (I put holes in them of course). But I put a rope wick in mine ( and place tumbler over water reservoir ) to assure that they never dry out: that's death to crotons. The roots will be at the very bottom only, so deeper narrower tree pot is better .
Does it still have leaves? Is it in the same pot?
Your home conditions temp and humidity are perfect. Some part sun would be nice: without it it won't develop variegation. But it will grow mostly green leaves ok.
If you put it outside it will likely dry up much faster, so in the small pot (if you downsize) you'll need to watch it ev day.
In general crotons can take tropical dappled sun, even direct sun and very hot temps in the 90's are not a problem. But no hot noon sun: that bleaches the color out of them. So perhaps you can try positioning it in the courtyard on the weekend when you can watch for a best spot in semi-shade from the building?
Last edited by skylark Aug 4, 2021 7:38 AM Icon for preview
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Aug 4, 2021 10:54 AM CST
(Zone 10a)
skylark said:The pot is way too large for it : you need to down size if you want to keep it. The roots likely rotted . I grow cuttings of this size in plastic 12 oz tumblers (I put holes in them of course). But I put a rope wick in mine ( and place tumbler over water reservoir ) to assure that they never dry out: that's death to crotons. The roots will be at the very bottom only, so deeper narrower tree pot is better .
Does it still have leaves? Is it in the same pot?
Your home conditions temp and humidity are perfect. Some part sun would be nice: without it it won't develop variegation. But it will grow mostly green leaves ok.
If you put it outside it will likely dry up much faster, so in the small pot (if you downsize) you'll need to watch it ev day.
In general crotons can take tropical dappled sun, even direct sun and very hot temps in the 90's are not a problem. But no hot noon sun: that bleaches the color out of them. So perhaps you can try positioning it in the courtyard on the weekend when you can watch for a best spot in semi-shade from the building?


Thank you for your advice. I will downsize to a much smaller pot tomorrow. It still has its leaves but they look really sad right now, drooped and wrinkly.

I put it outside in the early morning sun and again in the evening sun. Unfortunately the humidity is 40% outside but I also mist the leaves twice a day when outside. I'll follow your advice and keep it indoors from now on though.

Never heard that rope wick method. Is there some video on YouTube perhaps where I can see how to do it?

Many thanks again
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Aug 4, 2021 12:38 PM CST
(Zone 10a)
So I went ahead and repotted it to a 300ml tumbler. I made several holes. I used the same medium which was still moist. I didn't water. Perhaps repotting wasn't a good idea, thinking about it now I gave the plant yet another shock. Perhaps I should have waited until it recovered first. Too late now.

I saw the roots, they were long and thin. Then I noticed that they had lost their outer cover. It seems that they had some kind of velamen, similar to orchid roots? I was very gentle but it seems that it came off along with the soil.. perhaps it was rotten already. Does this means the roots will now die?

I guess the prognosis is bleak..
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Last edited by wandering_ant Aug 4, 2021 1:44 PM Icon for preview
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Aug 4, 2021 1:36 PM CST
JC NJ/So FL (Zone 7b)
Amaryllis Hydroponics Houseplants Region: Florida Container Gardener Garden Photography
Bromeliad Aroids Tropicals Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
When I said down pot I meant that you need to move it to a smaller size, not do a repot. You need to slide the soil carefully out of the pot and remove some on the sides and bottom to fit into smaller pot. It is best not to disturb the roots (if Amy are left) at this point. If a lot of soil drops off loosely when you remove it , just try to keep as much as possible together near center where the roots should be. If all soil just falls out you probably should see if any roots are visible around the stem or not. Try not to disturb them. Just slide it sideways into the new pot and fill a little on sides if it fell out.
And don't pull it by the stem or hold it by the stem: when roots are small it's very easy to break them off. Small long scoop for planting would help to move the stem out with some soil around it.
Last edited by skylark Aug 4, 2021 1:38 PM Icon for preview
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Aug 4, 2021 1:46 PM CST
(Zone 10a)
Oh dear, I repotted just a couple of minutes before I saw your message.. I am so sorry. I guess I must bid farewell to my croton Sad

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