Croton Question

eahamel(9a)August 20, 2012

I'm thinking about getting a croton. There are some gorgeous ones at a local nursery and they're very inexpensive.

Question is: this plant will be outdoors. What kind of low temps can it take? I'll keep it in a pot, since it won't survive winter here, even though our winters are usually mild. Winters here fluctuate quite a bit, and can be in the 60's one day (or higher) and near freezing the next. (I have a LOT of tropical plants that get moved in and out during the winter.)

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They're pretty tropical. I would say, highs should be at least above 60 with min. lows above 40. In my opinion, it will go into decline even with chilly but frost free conditions-- unlike any other (sub)/tropicals.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 8:54AM
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Eahamel. When we were in Ft.Benning, GA, the hotel we stayed at had a huge Palm surrounded by Crotons that were planted in the grounds for years.

I don't know Ft. Benning's zone, but it must be close to yours, zone 9.
We were in GA during March...the first 5 days were absolutely gorgeous...high 80's. The day we left turned very cold. Can't recall the exact temp, but steam left our mouths when exhaling.

Do temps drop below 40F? Toni

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 9:50AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

From the little bit of reading I just did, it sounds like a frost might kill the foliage, and a hard frost might even damage the stem, but as long as roots don't freeze, it should come back from the roots. It seems reasonable that the plant would prefer temps well above 60* (like 70-80*, at least) and the plant would decline at temps below the 60* mark. Here, you need to only recognize the difference between the plant's wants/needs vs what it's capable of tolerating to recognize that though the low temps aren' the best, they're survivable. The 40* mark also seems reasonable as a temp at which you might consider bringing the plant indoors to prevent chill injury, which can occur at temps well above freezing, especially if temps fall quickly.


    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 10:21AM
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Toni, I'm in zone 9, Houston. Yes, temps get below 40 pretty frequently. It's about 95 here right now, and it gets hotter. The heat doesn't bother them - the nursery has them out in full sun. I want to put it on the south side of the house, which is the front, and it will probably do better there in winter than it would in the back yard, since our cold comes from the north. I've had nasturtiums die in the back during a freeze, and the ones in the front were fine.

Al, a lot of plant info has 60� as a minimum, but can easily tolerate temps in the 40's or upper 30's. I have an extensive collection of sensitive plants that I bring indoors every winter, and the collection seems to be growing, with all the coleus I want to overwinter this year. I have to decide whether I want to add any more plants to the in/out collection.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 6:51PM
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Indoors they have a reputation for being intolerant of cold. Wouldn't expect one to enjoy going below 50 deg F.

Coincidentally I've just planted a couple of nice ones up at work.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 7:25AM
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Eahamel. Hmm...Ft. Benning Ga gets cold in winter, too. My son was in boot camp, (army) and he was surprised how cold GA got during winter.

Perhaps a local nursery will know? There are GW Forums for different locations. Have you checked the TX forum?

SJ, your Crotons are lovely. Toni

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 4:06PM
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A friend of mine told me that she had one outside for a couple of years. It did just fine until we had a really killer freeze year before last (and last year, both in January). That killed it. It looks like they can take our normal winters, so I will get one and give it a try.

Yes, SJ, your crotons are really nice!

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 11:08PM
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