Croton Plants
Q.

I Don’t Know What Plant I Have .. Must Know to Help It !!

Zone NYC 10028 | deebeee added on April 18, 2016 | Answered

I have a spindly plant that I so want to help. It used to be bushier but now is very sickly looking. It has spear shaped leaves, but also some rounded ones. Has a yellow stripe up the center. Very thin stalks. Here are pix of the plant. A friend thought it was in the Croton family. Not sure. An "expert" said it was an Oleander (absolutely NOT). Someone else said a Corn Plant (no again). HELP ... I want to help this plant. Many thanks

A.
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deebeee
Answered on April 20, 2016

Thanks again Jeff ... have potting soil, got peat moss and pebbles today. Watered plant today and will do repotting tomorrow. Will check roots when I remove from pot. Crossing my fingers for my little plan. Will let you know how it goes. You've been a HUGE HELP.

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JeffreyGardener
Answered on April 19, 2016

Thanks. Half and half should be fine.

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deebeee
Answered on April 19, 2016

OH, so the soil should always be a bit moist, springy, like a lightly damp sponge, OK. I really was confused on that. Sorry to be so dense, but what percent mix would you suggest when using peat with potting soil. Half Half or ? I'm really hopeful that getting this sweet plant repotted with the right kind of soil, keeping it in a humid atmosphere and getting it direct sunlight during the day will help it. I can only try. You've been a HUGE HELP.

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JeffreyGardener
Answered on April 19, 2016

Yes, you've got the right idea. If the soil is currently moist (and not soggy) and you're partially enclosing the plant in plastic, you won't need to mist it at all. You can use potting mix, peat, sphagnum moss, or any combination of these for your croton. The key is sponginess and light moistness (like a lightly damp sponge). Every now and then (especially when you have guests over) take all of that ugly plastic from around your plant so that you can enjoy looking at it. If you get tired of the plastic, you can still mist the plant every now and then or use a pebble tray (this much more convenient) as I mentioned in an earlier message.

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deebeee
Answered on April 19, 2016

Hi Jeff ... First of all a BIG THANK YOU for continuing to help me and my Golden Bell.

The plant's pretty tall, 12" in its pot, so a terrarium would be pretty large. YES would not seal any clear plastic covering .. would put a stick in soil to hold plastic up to avoid touching the plant.

Should the plant first be watered and misted before encasing in clear plastic (with some openings at bottom)?

Soil: I read about using peat. What do you think? And if so, what %. Should the other kind of soil be Potting Soil? Or is Potting Soil good enough to be the total soil?

There is SO MUCH conflicting info my head is spinning. One site said Crotons need to always be moist, but I heard you need to let the top 1" dry out before watering.

I heard that misting should only be twice a week ... really even in a low humidity environment.

I also read and this makes sense (after I get new soil) to check roots by tapping on container and taking plant out to check color of roots. If roots are brown, cut them off as they're dead (should be white). Then repot with new soil mix. Is this right?

Sorry to be such a continual source of questions.
Many thanks again

denise

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JeffreyGardener
Answered on April 18, 2016

Yes, you can try that. The only problem with is that it doesn't look very attractive. Make sure that you don't completely encase the plant in plastic (because you also want to avoid fungus and mold buildup). A more attractive option would be replanting your croton (if it isn't too big) it in a terrarium.

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deebeee
Answered on April 18, 2016

Oh yipes - I thought I'd move the plant in the early AM to the living room atop A/C to get that direct sunlight, by afternoon it's very indirect. Was going to then move it back to kitchen window.

It can also get a bit chilly at night atop the A/C.
Not sure about drafts as I live in an old apt. and air is continually coming in.

Would encasing the plant in a loose clear plastic bag help?

Thanks - What would you suggest?

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JeffreyGardener
Answered on April 18, 2016

You're welcome. Also, don't move the plant around too much. Crotons don't like sudden changes in growing conditions. Keep them away from drafty areas. These actions will cause them to drop their leaves.

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deebeee
Answered on April 18, 2016

Thanks Jeff ... great info.

I'm going to copy your answer and try to create this in my apt. Light, warmth and humidity.

It's VERY sunny here all day long. The light shifts from bright AM in living room: can put the plant in the window. Then it's bright afternoons in kitchen: can put plant on window sill there.

A pan of pebbles with some water in it sounds great. I was told to only let the top inch get dry. Water from the top and let water seep out.

I wish I knew what kind of soil the Gold Bell likes, but I can research that. I have a feeling this soil (looks like plain dirt to me) is too heavy.

They indicate posting pix ... but it never happened. Dunno?

Thank you so much again!!

denise

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JeffreyGardener
Answered on April 18, 2016

I'm not sure how (or if they allow) posting of photos on this site. But----

Generally speaking, crotons need adequate light (at least 6-8 hours of bright or direct sunlight), temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and consistently (not soggy) moist soil. Setting the flower pot on top of a shallow water-filled tray of pebbles could help increase the humidity around your croton, but don't let the soil get too dry or too wet. The spindliness comes from a lack of light. Crotons can be susceptible to mites if they aren't getting their needs met.
Where crotons are from (Indonesia) they get plenty of light, warmth, and humidity. You need to find a way to create that in your home.

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deebeee
Answered on April 18, 2016

Jeff ... I'd selected 5 pix and for some reason they didn't appear. I found out what I have is a form of Croton called Golden Bell, but sigh, should be outside. I live in a NYC apt., no way to plant it outside. How can I show you pix now?

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JeffreyGardener
Answered on April 18, 2016

Where's the photograph? I don't see it with your question.

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