The reason for a dying croton is usually because of under watering, over watering, transplant shock or due to cold temperatures. Crotons are tropical plants and sensitive to cold temperatures. Temperatures lower then 50ºF cause the crotons leaves to drop with a dying appearance.
Crotons can show signs of stress such as the leaves drooping, turn yellow and lose their leaves in response to conditions that are contrary to their native environment.
To revive croton plants it is important to recreate some of the conditions of their native environment with consistently warm temperatures, evenly moist soil, relatively high humidity and either partial sun or bright, indirect light.
Keep reading to learn why your croton is dying and how you can revive it…
Croton Plant Dropping its Leaves
- Symptoms. Leaves can droop downwards and fall off the plant either all at once or slowly over time. Leaves often turn yellow before dropping off.
- Causes. Under watering, Over watering, Temperatures cooler then 50°F (10°C), transplant shock after being moved from indoors to outdoors or vice versa.
Croton are attractive house plants that are native to tropical and sub tropical climates across Asia where they grow in consistently warm climates with moderately high humidity, in well draining yet moisture retentive soil with frequent rainfall.
To grow crotons successfully it is important to recreate some of these conditions in the home.
If your croton is dropping leaves this is a sign of stress due to the conditions of your home being contrary to its preferred conditions of its native environment.
Crotons are sensitive to cold temperatures which can be a common cause of dropping leaves in the Winter months even indoors.
In temperatures that are around 50°F (10°C) the leaves can drop, so be careful that the leaves of your croton leaves are not in contact with a cold window or that the croton is not located in the direct air current of air conditioning which can sap moisture from the leaves and lower the humidity as well as potentially keep the temperature on the lower side of comfortable for your croton plant.
Crotons are often moved outdoors during the Summer months when the temperatures are more favorable however the sudden contrast in conditions is a potential cause of the leaves dropping from your plant.
There is quite a wide range of factors can cause crotons leaves to droop off but this is most commonly due to either under watering or over watering. Crotons require an evenly moist soil that is also well draining. If the roots are sat in boggy soil then the croton leaves drop and the plant can die of root rot.
The soil can be too damp for croton plants due to over watering, pots without drainage holes in the base, the use of saucers, trays and decorative pots preventing excess water escaping.
If the soil and air is too dry then the croton drops its leaves to prevent losing more moisture through transpiration (water loss from the leaves) as a survival strategy.
How to Revive Croton with Drooping Leaves or Losing its Leaves due to Under Watering
- Give the soil a generous soak so that excess water trickles from the drainage holes in the base. This ensures that the water has infiltrated the soil and reached the roots at the base of the pot. Watering too lightly only moistens the surface of the soil and the moisture does not reach the roots where it is required.
- Water as frequently as required to keep the soil evenly moist (but not saturated). How often you should water your croton depends on the climate and the conditions of your home. Water your croton with a generous soak then monitor the soil over the course of a week to determine how long it takes for the top inch of the soil to feel slightly dry at which point this is the time to water with a generous soak to ensure the plant has enough water yet to prevent problems associated with over watering.
- Mist the leaves once every 3 days or so to create a humid micro-climate. The dryer your climate the more often you should mist the leaves. This prevents dry air sapping moisture away from the leaves and mimics the humid conditions of the crotons native environment.
These steps should ensure the croton can uptake the water it requires from the potting soil to reverse drooping or wilted leaves and prevent any more leaves falling off due to drought stress.
It may take some time before the croton fully recovers after improving the watering practices but once you see new gorwth emerging this is a good sign the plant is recovering.
How to Revive Croton Dropping Leaves due to Over Watering or Boggy Soil
- Scale back the watering immediately. Let the soil drain properly if the root ball has been in boggy soil. Croton plants require moist yet well draining soil so that the roots are not in saturated pots to prevent more leaves dropping.
- Ensure that your croton is planted in a well draining soil mix. Around 3 parts of ordinary potting soil mixed with 1 part perlite provides a good balance of moisture retentive qualities whilst also still being well draining to prevent root rot.
- The use of saucers trays and decorative outer pots is useful to prevent excess water spilling from the pot in the home but it can prevent water from draing from the bottom of the pot effectively. Empty anything that is underneath your pot of excess water regularly to ensure good drainage and to prevent the roots of your croton being sat in standing water which causes the leaves to drop and the plant to die back.
Once the croton has been re-potted in more suitable, well draining potting soil and in a pot with drainage holes in the base the croton can recover although the recovery can often be slow as it is more difficult to revive an over watered croton then an under watered croton.
Maintain a water schedule so that the soil is evenly moist and locate your croton in bright, indirect light whilst it recovers. Hopefully in the Spring and Summer, new growth should emerge from the plant.
However if the croton has been in damp, boggy soil for a long time then it has likely developed root rot which can kill the plant, which is why goo drainage is so important when growing crotons.
Revive Dying Croton with Yellow Leaves Due to Cold Temperatures or Transplant Shock
If the crotons leaves have fallen off suddenly, rather then gradually, then the cause is far more likely to be due to cold temperatures or due to the fact the croton has been moved from one location to another or it has been disrupted by re-potting.
The leaves can also turn yellow and die back in response to cold temperatures and a sudden change in conditions.
As crotons are tropical plants, it is important to keep it in a location with fairly even temperatures ideally between 60ºF and 85ºF (15ºC to 30ºC). Crotons tend to lose their leaves and die back in temperatures cooler then 50ºF (10ºC).
If the croton has suffered damage from cold, whether or not it revives depends on the extent of the cold snap in terms of both duration and how much colder then 50ºF the croton had to cope with.
Th only way to revive it is to choose a location that is away from draughts or air currents and ensure leaves are not in contact with cold windows and adhere to the best practices of care with regular watering, regular misting and bright indirect light.
If the plant has a chance of recover, there should be new growth emerging in the coming weeks if it is in Spring or Summer (crotons can be dormant in Winter with little to no growth).
Crotons often loose their leaves when they are moved due to a shock of the contrast between conditions, particuarly from indoors to outdoors.
Usually this is temporary and the leaves can grow back as long as the croton is cared for diligently with moist well draining soil, regularly watering and misting of the plant to maintain humidity, the correct temperature range of between 60ºF and 85ºF (15ºC to 30ºC).
Do not add any fertilizer whilst the croton is stressed as this does not help, and wait for signs of new growth to emerge.
Revive Croton Leaves Loosing Color
If your croton leaves are loosing color this is often because of too much direct sun or not enough light.
Crotons prefer bright indirect light and can tolerate some partial sun. This is because crotons are native to tropical regions of the world and often grow under canopies with bright light or filtered sunlight.
If the leaves are in direct sunlight then their attractive variegated foliage tends to look faded and dull and can potentially turn yellow or brown. This can also cause problems such as drooping leaves.
However if the croton is in a shaded area of the house this causes poor growth and can also cause the leaves to turn green rather then their original variegated color.
Whether your croton has been in too much shade or in full sun, the plant can be revived by locating it in an area of bright, indirect light.
- Under watering, over watering or cold temperatures are usually the cause for a dying croton plant. Temperatures lower then 50ºF cause the crotons leaves to drop and the plant to die back. Under watering and low humidity can cause the leaves to turn yellow, die back and drop off.
- Over watering a croton also causes the leaves to turn yellow and drop off as a sign of stress. Plant crotons in pots with drainage holes in the base and empty saucers or trays underneath pots to prevent water pooling around the roots.
- Too much sun can cause the crotons leaves to scorch or fade in color. Not enough sun can also reduce the color of the variegated laves.
- To revive crotons locate the plant in bright, indirect light, ensure that the soil is evenly moist yet well draining, and mist the leaves regularly to create a humid micro-climate that emulates the humid conditions of the crotons native environment. Always keep the croton in a warm area ideally between 60ºF and 85ºF (15ºC to 30ºC) and the plant can recover.