Do Croton leaves grow back?

kasia88January 23, 2013

I have a nice colorful Croton that's about 6 years old. And over time as it grew it dropped a couple of leaves from the bottom. They never grew back though, and now it just kind of looks like a feather duster. Is there anything I can do?

They just grow kinda pale and drop.

Thanks

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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I've never seen them grow back.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 3:55PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Not the lower leaves, which the plants drops as they age.

I have cut back Crotons to make them branch & shape more attractively, but I'd wait 'til Spring. Has the mix been changed in all these years? Likely fresh soil at that time will help w/ new growth, also these plants benefit from humidity trays, & watering to overflow when watering.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 5:49PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Basically what Karen said ....

The shed leaves won't grow back, but there are ways to force new branching (and thus, fresh foliage) from latent buds just above old leaf bundle scars.

Al

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 6:04PM
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kasia88

How can I 'branch' it?

Hm, I have changed soil once. But it's pretty 'airy' so it drains quite fast. Day or two and it needs watering.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 8:36PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

It's likely your plant is low on stored energy due to low winter light levels, so the best strategy for getting the most vigorous back-budding would be to move the plant outdoors into shade as soon as night lows are reliably above 55*. Then, cut the plant back hard around Father's Day. The plant will back-bud and several new stalks will grow. On the subsequent Father's Day (2014), you can repeat the process by cutting back the new growth on the several stems that occur after the first pruning. If you don't need a repotting (as opposed to potting up) by this summer (probably will), you undoubtedly will by summer of '14.

Al

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 9:22PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Hi again,

Sorry but a soil change once in 6 yrs. isn't enough, likely the soil is completely spent. It's suggested to refresh mix once a yr, or maybe 2 at most.

To branch it, you'll need to be brave & cut the top off in the Spring. It'll be bare for a while, but w/good care, more of the good light you have that kept it colorful & a bit of time, it'll grow back in. I did this several times & the plant filled back in beautifully, couldn't tell it had ever been cut. But not now, pls. wait til Spring & change the soil first.

Hi Al, If I mixed anything, pls. jump in here.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 9:22PM
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kasia88

Let me make sure I understand this right (English isn't my second language) You mean I should just cut it down short, along with all the leaves? Seems really risky to me : P I might have to with time cos it's gonna start looking like a broom. I can drop a photo tomorrow if it's of any help.

Thanks

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 9:35PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Lol - Karen and I posted with the same time stamp, and offered similar advice. I'd like to see a picture of the plant before I say HOW short, but basically, it doesn't matter. You could cut it back an inch above the soil line if it's healthy and all would be well. It only seems risky to you because you haven't yet done something like this, but I've done it for myself and others hundreds of times - thousands, if you count chopping back containerized trees. The response is genetically encoded in the plant, and extremely predictable. All you need to be relieved of your misgivings is the dauntless daring and dash to make the cut. In two weeks, you'll heave a sigh of relief and feel better for having added another trick to the bag. ;-)

Al

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 9:48PM
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kasia88

Alright, here's the picture. It did have couple of tiny flowers this summer. New leaves are still coming in : )

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 9:57AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Yeah - I'd cut the one on the left back to about even with the window sill on the building across the way, and the other stem about even with the top of the light colored dryvit accent strip just below it. You could even cut back more severely if you like. One of the stems should be 1/2-2/3 the ht of the other. If 1 is thicker, make that the taller ..... and make June your targeted timing, if you can stand the wait. ;-) Cutting back now will result in lackluster back-budding.

Al

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 2:29PM
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kasia88

Hello again.

I have cut my croton down few days ago. How long should it be before it starts to grow again?

Thanks

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 5:25PM
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