I need opinion/advice

Discussion in 'THE CROTON SOCIETY' started by annafl, Jun 23, 2013.

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  1. annafl

    annafl Esteemed Member

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    Since late winter/early spring, my Claude Lorraine has been in trouble. It has always been healthy, beautiful and very, very full and robust. One could not see through it at all, it was very dense. At that time I pruned down the firespike plants in front of it. It did get more sun at that point and it promptly started defoliating big time. However, it defoliated much more on the right-front than left back. I had never paid attention, but when I looked closely, I noticed it's really two plants. You can see the two trunks close together that came in one pot. One of the plants defoliated much more and became scrawny and see-through. You can see that the plant on the right is much fuller and healthier looking.

    The photos above show the two plants pictured from the back, the weaker plant, the two trunks, the better plant recovering more rapidly, and the new growth the better plant is putting out (just like the healthy, old growth).

    I'm wondering what I should do, if anything. Should I just wait it out and see if the weaker plant recovers fully? It is putting out new leaves, but has tried to flower like crazy (I keep cutting them off in favor of new leaves). Should I cut the weaker plant down and let the stronger one take over and get fuller again? I feel like it is not just the incident of more sun causing the defoliation. I feel it may be a root problem. As plants get older maybe the nematodes play more havoc on the roots? What would you do? It's been maybe 4-5 months I've been watching it already. Thanks.
     
  2. Bullwinkle

    Bullwinkle Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    1,460
    Location:
    DAVIE FL
    I would not prune a weak plant,I would lightly fertilize and leave the plant to recover for now.


     
  3. Phil Stager

    Phil Stager Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,650
    Location:
    Sunny St. Pete, FL
    Good advice from Mike. If it recovers, well and good. And if it dies, not so good but you did all you reasonably could. I've had healthy plants just slowly decline and the ones around it are just fine. No rational explanation...
     
  4. koki

    koki Active Member

    Messages:
    266
    Location:
    pine island, fl
    Over the years I've had about a half a dozen crotons decline, in an unexplainable, failure to thrive sort of way. I always thought it was due to prior cold damage, but nematodes is also a very good theory. Of these plants, only a couple have croaked, and the majority have pulled through. I don't think the less healthy plant will effect the healthy plant, because I had the same situation with a good size Franklin Roosevelt. Two plants that grew up a couple inches apart from the same pot, one croaked, and today the remaining plant looks great. Fertilizer and heavy mulch is probably the best bet.
     
  5. annafl

    annafl Esteemed Member

    Thanks for the advice Mike, Phil and Toby. I did take a couple of air layers of both sides, but they equaled a small portion of the plant. I have loved this croton and wanted to make sure I had a replacement just like it. I have fertilized in my usual way (alfalfa pellets, manure and K-mag), and will continue to wait and see what happens. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, but it sure looks ugly right now. Thanks again.

    Ana
     
  6. Crazy for Crotons

    Crazy for Crotons Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,050
    Location:
    south Tampa, Bokeelia
    I'd spray the plant locally for mites. Sometimes one plant is affected by these microscopic creatures while other plants in close proximity go unphased.
     
  7. annafl

    annafl Esteemed Member

    Ray, I've looked many times for pests/diseases and found none. I know mites are tiny, but it is not difficult to discern them if you've seen them in the past. The tiny webs, loss of luster of the leaf, and the teensie culprits- sometimes red, sometimes dark. The leaves seem normal in every way except they are smaller than usual. Good thought though.

    Ana
     

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