Crotons up north... when it gets cold

Discussion in 'THE CROTON SOCIETY' started by RonDEZone7a, Oct 15, 2009.

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  1. RonDEZone7a

    RonDEZone7a Active Member

    Messages:
    93
    Location:
    Wilmington, Delaware
    I've been reading posts about how HOT it's been in Florida. Well, for at least one poster here, HEAT is not the problem. We hit 37'F here in Wilmington, Delaware last night and too close for (my croton's) comfort !!! So everyone came inside yesterday.

    My larger crotons are in my sunroom. Unfortunately, there isn't much sun in there until my neighbor's trees, to the south of it, drop their leaves - and that's about a month away. I heat my sunroom but not as warm as the house - both to save $$$ and keep the humidity up. The winter "weather" in there is 60s by day and 50s by night. Crotons handle that just fine, which surprised me initially - I thought they needed more heat - but I wouldn't trust my newly-rooted cuttings at those temperatures.

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    So for my smaller, more newly-rooted crotons, they go in my warmer basement under lights - here they are - not perfect conditions - a little dryer than ideal but my basement is a little on cool / damp side so it works out. The grow lights are right over the tables and on timers for 12 - 13 hours a day - there is also some natural sun and light from the basement windows.

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    This table includes some cordylines...

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    Thanks to Lee in Tampa (who sent me many cuttings last summer) and a few purchases on eBay, my croton collection is now quite respectable... for Delaware anyway!

    Petra (or is it Norma? - see the Petra post...)
    Andreanum
    Mammey
    Red Batik
    Dwarf Red Batik
    Eleanor Roosevelt
    Franklin Roosevelt
    Disraeli
    Pride of Winterhaven
    Coral Showers
    Irene Kingsley
    John Bender
    Thomas Edison
    Juliette DeLaRue
    Sunny Star
    Banana
    Mrs Iceton
    Rainbow

    p.s. my future 2010 acquisitions are (hopefully) a Stoplight and Pinocchio from (the other) Ron... thought clearly I am approaching capacity!
     
  2. Jeff Searle

    Jeff Searle Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,752
    Location:
    South Florida, USA
    Ron,

    I'm sincerly impressed with all your tropical plants in your sun room / patio. It looks very inviting.YOU ARE pushing the limits.


    Jeff
     
  3. RonDEZone7a

    RonDEZone7a Active Member

    Messages:
    93
    Location:
    Wilmington, Delaware
    I have colorful birds in the sunroom too!

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    Only the doves get to fly around loose though... this one is named "Pecker"

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    The sunroom was my what I did with my 40K inheritance from my parent's estate. A little piece of Florida...
     
  4. putu enjula

    putu enjula Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,069
    Location:
    Kona, Hawaii
    Wow nice! Are those your Java Sparrows in your avatar pic?
     
  5. RonDEZone7a

    RonDEZone7a Active Member

    Messages:
    93
    Location:
    Wilmington, Delaware
    Angela,

    Yes I have some Java Sparrows too. The yellow and green finch in my post above is a Yellow-Fronted Canary (that one was born in my sunroom). You have both species flying around the Big Island these days - they were either deliberately or accidentally released. I saw both on a bird watching trip there in 2006.

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    I saw some Crotons while in Hawaii but Ti plants (Cordyline fructosa or terminalis) seem to be the more common colorful shrub. I photographed these outside of the Coffee Shack(?) in South Kona.

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    I collected a bunch of Ti Plants as a result of my trip to Hawaii - but I found they are more prone to pest damage indoors than Crotons. I had a real problem with pests last winter when I used Neem Oil. Insecticidal Soap seems more effective and longer lasting so I've gone back to that. I need to use a mild pet-safe insecticide because I have the birds in the sunroom with the plants. Another problem with Ti Plants as houseplants is that they are damaged by Fluoride in the tap water. So I collect rainwater for them in the winter (in summer they are outside getting natural rainfall).
     
  6. Plant Nut

    Plant Nut Active Member

    Messages:
    114
    I enjoyed the pictures. I love the tis and birds too. I don't have caged birds but I have a wonderful selection of birds visiting my yard and garden. Isn't nature grand?
     
  7. Crazy for Crotons

    Crazy for Crotons Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,050
    Location:
    south Tampa, Bokeelia
    ..and for you south Floridians, up north does not mean Central Florida.
     
  8. putu enjula

    putu enjula Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,069
    Location:
    Kona, Hawaii
    I have not seen one yellow-fronted canary here yet in the Big Island. We get tons of Javas, Saffron Finches and zebra doves at our feeder.... we have a couple Cardinals too.
     
  9. RonDEZone7a

    RonDEZone7a Active Member

    Messages:
    93
    Location:
    Wilmington, Delaware
    I saw Yellow-Fronted Canaries (Serinus mozambicus) in South Kona from the deck of the Coffee Shack, flying around the Coffee Plantations near Captain Cook.

    The Coffee Shack, 100% Kona CoffeeThe Coffee Shack is located on the Big Island of Hawaii. Our coffee is known for its flavor and aroma.
    83-5799 Mamalahoa Hwy, Captain Cook, HI 96704

    www.coffeeshack.com/

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  10. Sihara

    Sihara Active Member

    Messages:
    69
    Thank you for posting that. I'd been wondering what I'm doing wrong with my Ti's that, in summer, they get very beat-up looking. No pest except Lubber grasshoppers (eck!) and an occasional wasps nest (our Tis are kept outside) so I was at a loss. Well, due to the heat, we have to water them a lot more often in summer - and yep, our water is flouridated! So I've been poisoning them - eek.

    Your birdies are adorable! And so impressive that they're hand-tame - what a great sunroom with all the tropicals and the birds as well..
     
  11. RonDEZone7a

    RonDEZone7a Active Member

    Messages:
    93
    Location:
    Wilmington, Delaware
    Re: Cordylines and Fluoride

    Sihara:

    Here are some links with articles that talk about the Cordyline / Fluoride problem:

    http://mrec.ifas.ufl.edu/foliage/folnotes/cordylin.htm

    http://www.floridata.com/ref/C/cord_fru.cfm

    http://en.allexperts.com/q/House-Plants-721/Dying-Dead-Ti-Plant.htm

    http://diagnosingplantdiseases.blogspot.com/2008/12/possible-phytotoxicity-on-cordyline.html

    It makes you wonder how many other plants suffer from fluoride toxicity??... and what it does to people!?!? In trying to find a solution for my cordylines, I also found that many types of bottled water contain fluoride. You have to check with the company. The easiest way is to collect rainwater. If you live where it's cold, of course let the rainwater get to room temperature before you water the cordylines.
     
  12. Sihara

    Sihara Active Member

    Messages:
    69
    Re: Cordylines and Fluoride

    Flouride. Gotta be the culprit. Thanks for the links - the ifas.ufl site said:
    And that's exactly what's happening. Argh!

    Really didn't seem like fungus or pests, so I thought maybe too much sun? but in the shade, they lost color. Of course, in the sun, they get watered more often with our flouridated water. I guess the nicely colored cords around town are probably getting well water or reclaimed or something without flouride.

    Yeah - what IS that stuff doing to people?

    Oh, and I read somewhere that perlite contains flouride. Is this true?
     
  13. RonDEZone7a

    RonDEZone7a Active Member

    Messages:
    93
    Location:
    Wilmington, Delaware
    Sorry - I don't know anything about Perlite having Fluoride!

    My advice is to save some rainwater for your cordylines - though I guess that could be tough if you have a whole dry season.

    Another thing to try - put a few moisture crystals in the soil under your cordylines to help keep the soil moist (push them down with chop sticks). But don't go crazy with them - especially in pots - a dozen or so crystals per plant in ground (and half that or less for potted) is usually enough - they grow into blobs of "jello" when wet, so a little is alot.
     
  14. Moose

    Moose Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    7,947
    Location:
    Coral Gables, FL Zone 10b
    I believe that perlite is made from a mined mineral that is processed by super heating it and then becomes the product that we know. It containing flouride is doubtful in my opinion. Many a healthy Ti plant have been grown with potting soil containing this product. :rolleyes:
     
  15. Central Floridave

    Central Floridave Active Member

    Messages:
    483
    Cool photos! thanks.

    If I lived up North I would do the same thing.

    croton can handle 37 degrees however. Mine in my yard have gone down to 29 degrees under oak canopy and survive. I think the most important thing is to provide humidity.

    When it gets cold I start spraying the leaf and especially the undersides to discourage spider mites. But, I do not know or understand the cultural requirements of growing them in containers that far North.

    But, like I said, mine go down just below freezing at least once a year. But, only for an hour or two, and of course warm back up during the day with a better sun angle. You should leave one plant out to experiment and see how much they can take.
     

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