My Croton Plant Has Lost All but 5 Leaves
I have cut the tall stems off hoping to have new leaves popping out. Have I killed my plant? I have it sitting in full sunlight and water when it is dry when I put my finger in dirt, till water drains out of the bottom. HELP ME PLEASE!
I have a slightly different take on crotons as houseplants. They are used some but not a lot in interior landscaping, and the reason? spider mites. When I read your statement that your croton had lost all but 5 leaves, the first thing I thought of was ...spider mites. Crotons have no tolerance for spider mites, they'll drop their leaves as soon as a couple of the little suckers land on them.
What I did with every croton I came to, every time I watered it, was to mist it, spraying up under the bottom leaf surfaces and the area between leaf stems and main stems. Not for humidity (misting doesn't raise humidity except for about 15 minutes after you mist), but so that any webbing will have water stick to it, and thus be visible.
Usually I spray with a mix of 1 teaspoon mild liquid detergent in a small spray bottle of water. That way if I find webbing, I go ahead and spray the plant till it drips, and if there seems to be a lot of webbing, I can wipe the leaf surfaces, especially the under surfaces, with a paper towel, thus wiping off the bugs. Then I spray again.
Now of course if you just purchased it, that could be why it dropped leaves; you didn't say how long you've had the plant, Also, it will put out new leaves at the area where it was cut, but if there are spider mites around, the new leaves will get colonized and will drop almost before you can see them.
So arm yourself with a spray bottle and soap, and good luck to you.
One other thing, regarding temperature. I know conventional literature says 60 degrees, but I live in Fla where crotons of all types are planted everywhere, and I can tell you for sure they stand temps down to the high 30's, even below freezing for a few hours. Just sayin'.
Not to worry, this happens sometimes. This article should ease some of your fears: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/houseplants/croton/care-croton-plants.htm
Croton plants will send up new shoots when the stem is cut. Personally, I think two of the most important things to remember are, 1. Crotons require high humidity and this helps keep spider mites at bay, and 2. Crotons require high light and no draft or cool temperatures.