Croton Superstar

abigail1280(8)September 5, 2010

I have a Croton Superstar that I've had for 4 months now. I re potted it when I first got it (didn't know any better) in just a houseplant potting soil. It's done pretty well, grown some over these past four months, and then 2 days ago, it started drooping and it's dropped a few leaves. I've not moved it, it's sitting in front of a western window, though I have the blinds closed most of the time. Some days, I'll twist them open for some filtered sun, but that's about it. The soil is really damp now .. maybe it's retaining too much water? I don't see any signs of bugs on it. Is it not getting enough light?

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If it's just bagged potting soil, the soil's too heavy.

Also it's probably not getting enough light. That can cause leaf drop.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2010 at 7:39PM
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Ok, so do you have a recommendation on the type of soil, or mixture that I should be potted in?

Also, can it go outside? I do have a screened in porch I could put it on. Direct sunlight or indirect? My porch gets sunlight most of the day.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2010 at 8:34PM
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abigail1280, I am going to guess that the top (younger) leaves are dropping. It sounds to me as if the croton does not get enough light for the watering schedule. I suggest that you resite the plant in a shaded area where there is more air circulation. This will allow the soil to dry out. When the plant shows signs of moisture stress (the lowest leaves will first droop), water (urgently) or these leaves will wither and drop. Moderately water and allow the soil to dry out throughout its whole depth before watering again. This is a good regimen for croton indoors.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2010 at 6:36AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I would lift the plant from its pot and inspect the roots for signs of root rot. Look for limp roots, a sour smell, roots that are slimy or black, roots that have the cortex (skin) pulling easily off of the center pith .... If you find these conditions, prune the roots back to sound tissue. If you do not find the roots have a rot issue and the soil is saturated, set the root/soil mass on a newspaper over night where air movement is good. The newspaper will 'pull' the water from the saturated layer of soil at the bottom of the root mass and allow air to return to the soil and normal root function/metabolism.

It might be a good idea to repot into a well-aerated soil that is durable and drains well. If you can't/choose not to do that, it would be very helpful to insert a wick into the soil through the bottom of the pot. Allow to wick to dangle below the pot each time you water until water stops dripping from the wick. This technique will remove all or nearly all the water that saturates the pot bottom. Tilting the pot at a 45* angle is also very helpful in removing excess water.

Start watering on an 'as needed' basis, Check the soil for moisture with a sharpened wood dowel or a pencil. Water only when the wood is clean & dry after inserting it deep into the pot. You already know you probably need to get more light to the plant, so if that's possible ....

Good luck - I hope the roots are still sound.


    Bookmark   September 6, 2010 at 4:28PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

...and...yes, it can go outside. Mine has been in a screened porch all summer with western exposure. About ready to come back in now but your zone 8 should have a few more weeks. Given the lack of light yours has had, I'd slowly acclimate it to some direct sun on the porch.


    Bookmark   September 8, 2010 at 3:48AM
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