Dropping leaves

Discussion in 'THE CROTON SOCIETY' started by annafl, Sep 14, 2013.

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  1. annafl

    annafl Esteemed Member

    My two most delicate plants- Zanzibar and Madam Butterfly are dropping leaves. Not the older leaves, but many of the younger leaves instead. They are both rather small plants with small diameter stems. I've looked at both with a fine tooth comb and see no pests. No spider mites, or any more visible creatures. Anyone else have this happen? What could the culprit be? Otherwise the plants look healthy and after spraying them with soapy water the leaves start coming back almost immediately and they look healthy. However, it recurs once I stop the soap spray or it rains frequently. Could it be light colored thrips that I can't see? Uncharacteristic of snail damage- and I do have plenty of snails. The plants don't look like they have any root problems. The Madam Butterfly does have some leaves that are a bit deformed. What gives?
     
  2. Jerry Shilling

    Jerry Shilling Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    280
    Location:
    Summerland Key, FL zone 11
    Ana,

    My Zanzibar struggled for several months a while back. It would send out new growth which would soon die back. After much trial & error, the plant has come back with a vengeance. My conclusion, this cultivar is very sensitive to nitrogen. I stopped the fertilizer and flushed with water often to turn things around.

    I have also noticed occasional leaf deformation on some other cultivars after I fertilized. I get my best results cutting back on the fertilizer but applying more often.
     
  3. ScotTi

    ScotTi Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    4,851
    Zanzibar is one my favorites, but I am not its favorite. I have the same problem for a few years as Ana with them. I have cut back to light feedings and things were looking hopeful. I have not noticed mites or any type of bugs, but most leaves have fallen.
     
  4. annafl

    annafl Esteemed Member

    Alright, it's in a pot, so I will flush it out. The Madam is in the ground, and the condition is not so bad, but I will flush around it too. I fertilize lightly but frequently with alfalfa pellets (low nitrogen), but have given plants K-mag and maybe that's been at a too-high dose? I don't know the dose, but I'll be more careful. I have also sprayed a couple of times with the acid loving fertilizer. Another lesson learned. Thanks, guys. Also glad to know it's not just me. I am learning thanks to all of you. Ana
     
  5. Perry Edge

    Perry Edge Active Member

    Messages:
    126
    Re: Zanzibar, I've been zapping mine since spring with the Miracle Grow azalea liquid fertilizer, used as a spray on the leaves. This gives them a tremendous shot of nitrogen (about 30%) and they love it. So I don't think nitrogen (at least in this form) is the problem.
     
  6. Crazy for Crotons

    Crazy for Crotons Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,050
    Location:
    south Tampa, Bokeelia
    Mites, mites, mites
     
  7. annafl

    annafl Esteemed Member

    Nope, no mites. I've looked many times.
     
  8. Crazy for Crotons

    Crazy for Crotons Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,050
    Location:
    south Tampa, Bokeelia
    I have a few crotons doing the same thing. The newest leaves come out deformed and fall off prematurely. Some older leaves are also dropping. There are no visible mites but the symptoms are classic signs even if we can't see them. There's really no other explanation.
     
  9. kwtimo

    kwtimo Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    586
    Location:
    key west, fl 10b-11
    Sounds like it could be thrips possibly as well.
     
  10. Crazy for Crotons

    Crazy for Crotons Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,050
    Location:
    south Tampa, Bokeelia
    That's possible but thrips are more easily visible.
     

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