Droopy crotons! Need help

eclipse3July 28, 2006

I just repotted these crotons that had been previously potted with other crotons and draceanas in the same pot (see previous post) Most of them look ok, but a couple of them are VERY droopy. I broke quite a few roots to try to get these plants separated from the draceanas, but I still tried to keep as much as I possibly could. I had already repotted them the day after I got them which was just a week ago, but I had kept all of the plants together to avoid breaking stems and roots. Is this too much stress for these plants, is there anything I can do to make them better? Should I just cut off the droopy tips? On the tallest ones, can I cut back the top 4-5 inches to make it a little fuller and more compact, and if I do, can I root the tip cuttings? I really love crotons, but I previously have not had the best of luck with them. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Yes, if I understand your post, repotting them twice in so short a time IS WAY TOO much stress.

I'd suggest you stop mucking w/ them & leave them alone to allow them to recover.

If you'd just move homes, changed environments & someone kept changing it again & again & again w/out letting you catch your breath, you probably wouldn't look too good either.

Pls. give the plants a chance & some TIME, not everything is immediately fixable. There is a certain amount of patience required in growing & caring for plants.

In the meantime, you could use this time to search around & find out about Croton care & answer some of the rest of your questions. You could search either by its name Croton or its more formal botanical name which is Codaeum.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2006 at 5:37PM
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The reason I replanted so quickly is because the care for these plants is different and I wanted to separate them so I don't end up killing all of them while trying to find a happy medium. A couple of people suggested that I repot them now so that the roots don't get even more entwined and to prevent problems with the different care that they need. As far as the care goes, I have read a lot about them, I just want to know of personal experience with these plants, cuz it's much better to hear what actually works, not just "bright light- medium water- etc."
I know it sounds like I am wanting everything to be overnight, but I just want to make sure that I am doing everything I can. Plus, I am not used to getting answers on here very quickly, so I figured by the time I got an answer, I might be able to do something to fix it:o) Thanks for the quick response!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2006 at 7:56PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

I think you were right to repot them again.

Keep them moist and in bright light and do cut off any growth that doesn't appear to be recovering.

Plants are tougher than people think.

A very weak shot of liquid fertilizer wouldn't hurt either.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2006 at 12:42PM
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Well, I was looking very closely at them last night and found mealies and spidermites, as well as an outbreak of fungus gnats in these plants. Hmmm, I have only had them for about 2 weeks and they are full of these bugs! It sucks! I am a glutton for punishment though, all of my plants got showers tonight, and very thorough "look overs." Now I am finding things in all of my plants (not necessarily real things, but if you look really hard, that brownish spot could be scale, or that dry patch could be the result of some other type of pest, etc) This is so frustrating! Well, I guess all I can do is give it time now, and try to keep up with the bugs! I refuse to throw any plants until there is absolutely no hope!

    Bookmark   August 1, 2006 at 12:10AM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

If you've had the plants for only 2 wks & have bugs, try taking them back to the store where you bought them (I wouldn't volunteer the fact that you've repotted it, if you do, they may think that the bugs came from your soil).

Additionally, tho' I see that you're examining them closely is what revealed they have bugs, you're sounding a bit like someone who simply cannot/will not leave the new plants alone.

In more extreme cases, we sometimes refer to this as killing them with kindness (which really can & often will kill them).

As these are neither rare nor expensive plants, if they were mine, I would toss the whole thing, plants, pots, soil & everything related to this misadventure in the garbage; mealy bugs can be highly contagious & quickly too (sorry to be the bearer of such a sad prognosis).

Just so you know (I could be wrong) but your hard-headed refusal to throw any of these plant away, could ultimately (in extreme case) contaminate the rest of your plants & cost you ALL of your plants. Is that really a chance you want to take?

    Bookmark   August 3, 2006 at 1:48PM
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I have a sago palm that everyone told me to toss because it was so badly infested with scale, one of the hardest of the bugs to kill off! Well, I separated it from my healthy plants and drenched it with insecticidal soap every two weeks for a month or so and now it is beautiful, rewarding me with alot of new growth. My point being that not all hope is lost and if you really want to save your plants you should try.

I inspect my plants on a daily basis, looking for bugs, new growth etc and I think that can be a good thing, because you will notice right away when something is wrong. As long as you aren't overwatering or overfertilizing, looking at them and giving them attention won't hurt them. In fact, it is for sure that you will be able to nip any bug infestations in the bud, before they do too much damage. If you weren't concerned, you may have not noticed the bugs on them now.

Spider mites are brutal to crotons, and will probably always be present in small numbers. You did good to wash them, now you need to spray with insecticidal soap till they are gone, and a few more treatments after that for good measure. Misting the plants a few times a day is also good way to keep the spider mites/mealies under control. I have lost a croton or two to both the mites and the fact that they were overwatered before I got them, so don't be too hard on yourself if you lose them. Right now I would isolate them and treat them with some chemicals, don't over water, and follow the instructions on the chemicals you choose for treatment. Considering your plants are under enough stress, insecticidal soap is the gentlest thing you can use that is still effective. You will know when it is time to throw in the towel, they will probably quickly drop all their leaves and you'll be left with nothing but stems. (Hopefully they will recover instead!)

Good luck

    Bookmark   August 4, 2006 at 10:50PM
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PS- do not mist if your plants are recovering from being overwatered

    Bookmark   August 5, 2006 at 10:43AM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Crotons are spider mite Filet Mignon and almost all I see in stores, especially big box/grocery stores have them.

Fungus gnats are a sign of over watering.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2006 at 10:23PM
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