Thoughts on my droopy just repotted plant?

FutilityUAugust 18, 2012

I just repotted this plant into my first batch of Al's gritty mix on Monday. When I repotted I cleaned off all of the old soil and did some minor root pruning (based on my inexperience, I'm assuming it was only minor). The gritty mix was ReptiBark, and screened Turface and Gran-I-Grit all 1:1:1.

I only cut off about an inch of two longer roots to make them the same length as other roots, and to fit into the pot without being bunched up. Unfortunately I didn't take any photos to get feedback on how well I did pruning, or if I even should have. I kept the roots wet while pruning.

I built up a mound in the middle of the pot and let the roots fall to the sides. When I filled in with the rest of the mix I worked it into the roots carefully, but again maybe not as well as I should have given my inexperience.

After repotting I watered thoroughly without fertilizer and have kept the plant out of direct light since Monday. A couple days later the plant started getting droopy and has lost one leaf. Based on my reading, this isn't necessarily uncommon, however it's gone from an upright plant with new growth to a hot mess.

I'm looking for feedback on what may be wrong with the plant and to see if I've done something wrong. I have Foliage Pro 9-3-6 and intend to wait another week before fertilizing for the first time. I also set up a wick to help me get a handle on watering which appears to be working correctly.

Any insight for this newbie would be much appreciated.

Immediately after repot:

Today, 5 days later:

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jessiec777(Washington State 5)

I never have had luck with crotons. I brought one home and moved it from the original plastic container a pot and the darn thing died. So I bought another and the same thing happened. It was a different variety though. They seem awfully fussy to me. Maybe someone with more experience than my two deaths will chime in lol

    Bookmark   August 18, 2012 at 3:42PM
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I don't have any crotons, but repotted other plants. Some of them -if not most- are droopy for about week or two after. I just try to make sure that I don't overwater, thinking they are thirsty. I assume it's a repotting shock, because they eventually spring back.

Only thing I would have done different is not to fertilize right after repotting...but I am not sure if that contributed to your plant droopines.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 12:33AM
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Well, it actually looks like it's starting to come back now. A few of the leaves are starting to pull themselves back up, so that's definitely exciting.

Regarding fertilizer, I haven't used any yet as I'm waiting a couple weeks to let the roots settle into the soil. Basing this decision on what I've read in the forums, so if I shouldn't wait that long (or should wait longer) would love to know.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 9:21AM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

I'd suggest just giving it more time & it should perk back up in another week or so. My experience w/ this Croton is they are extremely thirsty plants. I don't think fertilizer is so critical at this time, getting it resettled is more important IMO. Also working it back to direct sunlight gradually. I believe the more green growth is from less light than the earlier multi-hued growth.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 10:02AM
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sorry, my mistake - you did say 'watered without fertilizer'...I read it as "with"...(need better glasess or more sleep, lol).
I learned from this forum to wait with fertilizing for a week or two.

I am glad to hear that it seems to be perking up...Rina

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 10:13AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I just got back from a really nice visit to Chicago. I pruned some friends' trees and ended up with a nice dinner and lunch, enjoyed some wonderful company, and got to go to the Midwest Bonsai Show at the Chicago Botanic Gardens, where I also saw a lot of people I know. I really enjoyed the time away.

I just came from your other thread with a link to this one. I think the only question I would have had was, "Did you keep the roots moist/wet while going through the repotting steps?" I think that's one of the most critical issues when repotting. I always keep the roots wet, and almost always repot the plant (with wet roots) into a dry gritty mix and then water well as soon as the soil is settled around the roots. Depending on the plant, I often don't observe any wilting at all in most plants, but I wouldn't be too surprised to hear that a Croton might pout a while - even if for no reason other than because it's upset that it is finally going to have to recognize that control has shifted from plant to grower and it now has to adapt. Lol

Two weeks until the first fertilizer is about what I wait. That doesn't have anything to do with the roots being 'tender', or not able to tolerate a full strength dose of fertilizer - they CAN, but withholding fertilizer stimulates the roots to 'reach out' for nutrients, which speeds root colonization of the pot and faster reestablishment. Securing the plant to the pot so it can't move in relation to the pot goes a long way toward faster reestablishment, as well.


    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 3:40PM
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