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Moist soil but croton is wilted

Discussion in 'THE CROTON SOCIETY' started by Crazy for Crotons, Dec 17, 2010.

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  1. Crazy for Crotons

    Crazy for Crotons Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,050
    Location:
    south Tampa, Bokeelia
    What does it mean when a croton is wilting but the soil is moist. The plant was protected from the cool conditions but I have a hunch the soil is too wet. Is there a remedy or is it a goner?

    Ray
     
  2. fawnridge

    fawnridge Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,417
    Location:
    Western Boca Raton
    Take it out of the moist soil immediately, wash off the roots, and re-pot. If it's in the ground, cut off all the wilted areas, preferably at gray wood.
     
  3. palmisland

    palmisland Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,198
    Location:
    West Boca Raton 10b

    Would splashing a little fungicide on the roots before re-potting be of any help?
     
  4. Crazy for Crotons

    Crazy for Crotons Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,050
    Location:
    south Tampa, Bokeelia
    Don't you have to rewater it after repotting to minimze shock? it's going to get wet again. Hopefully the change of soil alone helps. What kind of fungicide? I've got some Banrot at home.

    I thought the plants in the garage would be in dire need of agua upon emerging from their coccoon. Not so! Thye're almost as moist as when they went in 9 days ago.
     
  5. Crotonologist

    Crotonologist Active Member

    Messages:
    761
    Location:
    southern Louisiana USDA 9a
    For most plants that would indicate either root rot or stem rot blocking water uptake and hence the wilted leaves...
     
  6. Crazy for Crotons

    Crazy for Crotons Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,050
    Location:
    south Tampa, Bokeelia
    Since it was OK before going into the garage, I'm betting on a root problem.
     
  7. fawnridge

    fawnridge Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,417
    Location:
    Western Boca Raton
    Some very, very light fungicide might help, but just washing the roots off with warm water has always worked for me. And yes, you do have to give it a drink after you re-pot it.
     
  8. Jeff Searle

    Jeff Searle Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,736
    Location:
    South Florida, USA
    Unfortunately Ray, when a plant becomes very stressed out, it becomes wilted because of some root problems. In your case, because of the long stay in the garage, very low light, lack of air movement, and lower than normal air temp's, this is what has happened. You should moved these out into some stronger light and fresh air to let them dry out. You could drench them with a soil fungicide, but in some cases, there's no point of return. Good luck.
     
  9. Dypsisdean

    Dypsisdean Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    13,845
    Location:
    Big Island of Hawaii - Kona
    Don't forget to check the type of soil it is in. It might just be heavy, less easily draining soil. And if repotting, make sure it is into a good "open" soil. something with a lot of perlite that will keep moisture, but not keep any of the "wet water" that promotes the rotting or fungal problem you may have.
     
  10. junglegal

    junglegal Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    3,133
    Location:
    St. Pete FL
    I have a Christian's Landscape doing the same thing. I dug it up about 4 mths ago and potted it. It looked fine until this last week. I think I'll re-pot it this weekend.
     
  11. Crazy for Crotons

    Crazy for Crotons Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,050
    Location:
    south Tampa, Bokeelia
    I've repotted C.I. Craigin (hope you have more Jeff), Rose Charmer (Ouch!!) and now Cronstadt. I put them into a well draining mix after treating the rootball with Banrot. The Craigin looks bad but the other two have a chance.

    I've never had a problem in the garage before and they've been in for cold weather before. Out of 100+ plants in there, only these 3 had issues. Jeff, more than the conditions in there, it's due to poorly draining soil. If the container doesn't stay too wet in there, it does fine.
     
  12. fawnridge

    fawnridge Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,417
    Location:
    Western Boca Raton
    Ray - I have several CI Craigin in the ground and can start you a new one in the Spring.
     
  13. Phil Stager

    Phil Stager Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,585
    Location:
    Sunny St. Pete, FL
    ...and most soils will decompose - or at least the organic elements - which can lead to a very heavy soil in a pot after a few years.
     
  14. Moose

    Moose Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    7,947
    Location:
    Coral Gables, FL Zone 10b
    Ray - thanks for this thread. This is a good learning experience for all of us. :)

    Ron in Delaware and/or Peyton - what is your method of over wintering. Do you keep your soil wet, moist or add water sparingly? What is the make-up of your soil?

    In Ray's case I would have wet down my crotons the same as he to ensure they did not desicate. The stuff in the ground needs to be heavily watered in a cold event. In the containers, it may not appear so.

    So far this year I have only had to amass my container plants on the south side of house to protect from the wind. Then they were covers with two layers of shade cloth with a top layer of plastic tarp. In the future I will eventually get a cold event that will require my crotons to move inside. A valid "inside" technique is very important.

    Ron. :)
     
  15. fawnridge

    fawnridge Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,417
    Location:
    Western Boca Raton
    Moose - I've found that Crotons in the ground are going to drop leaves whether you water them or not. For all their "plant" characteristics when young, Crotons are actually small semi-deciduous trees. You can grow them as shrubs, no question about it, but if you let nature take its course, they will get tall and leggy and for the most part, terminally foliated. Winter is hard on a Croton in zone 9 or 10 when it's cold and dry. If you throw too much water, you'll rot them out of the ground; not enough and they wilt. I've taken to running my irrigation system in the winter three days a week unless it rains. The exact same way I run it during any other dry spell.
     
  16. RonDEZone7a

    RonDEZone7a Active Member

    Messages:
    92
    Location:
    Wilmington, Delaware
    Ron in Delaware and/or Peyton - what is your method of over wintering. Do you keep your soil wet, moist or add water sparingly? What is the make-up of your soil?

    Moose (Ron)/All:

    My crotons are potted in regular potting soil, with a little sand and shredded pine mulch mixed in, to keep it light and well draining. I also put some shredded pine mulch on the soil surface. I keep the soil slightly moist but on the dry side in winter. However, I do try to water before the plants wilt. I do not routinely drench them with alot of water when in my sunroom. They get a light to moderate watering, when the soil is dry.

    My sunroom ranges in temperature from around 50'f on cold nights to mid-60s during the day. (mid-winter averages). My crotons have no problem with these temps if they are well established in their pots beforehand. I find that newly planted crotons are less hardy to cool soil temps and can wilt even if watered (if it is cool) so I avoid transplanting them in winter.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Someone on another board mentioned that they never use cold water when they water their potted tropical plants over the winter. They said they always use slightly warm water and their plants do much better. I haven't had time to test this extensively but it makes sense that it could be helpful.
     
  17. Crotonologist

    Crotonologist Active Member

    Messages:
    761
    Location:
    southern Louisiana USDA 9a
    Last year I overwintered my first croton, Zanzibar, after losing one the year before by letting it stay too cold and wet. So last year during the growing season I bumped my new Zanzibar up into about a 10" clay pot and went kind of heavy on the perlite in the soil mix. I only watered it when it got pretty dry or even started to wilt a little and it made it through the winter fine, mostly indoors with morning sun through a window, but outdoors when the weather was nice.

    This year I have way more crotons, so a bigger challenge...
    A few days before our first cold weather during the first week of November I hosed them all down real well with Bayer 3-in-1 Insect Disease and Mite Control then moved them all inside about three days later. After about 7 to 10 days I start to see a little leaf drop, I think due to the low light levels in the house. I like to put them back outside as soon as possible for some bright light air and water, but the last time I moved them in they had to stay inside for 3 weeks. Some lost a lot of leaves, some held their leaves pretty well.

    Today I found a lot of spider mites on my big Mammy, also on a Petra next to it, and a few mites on some others, plus some pots were starting to dry out pretty well. So they all went back outside today where I tried to knock the mites off with a sharp spray from a hose, watered the dry pots, then hosed them all down again with the Bayer 3-in-1.

    I'm really not happy with my current overwintering situation...
    I have a large screened in porch room that I plan on closing in with glass as a future winter home for my crotons. I also have two of those 10 x 12 harbor freight greenhouses full of cacti and succulents and heated just enough to keep them above freezing when cold fronts come through, but I plan on converting one of the greenhouses for crotons once I install a better heating system and downsize the prickly stuff...

    BTW my favorite potting soil is Miracle Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix, really great stuff. For crotons I add perlite and haydite for additional drainage. I don't like a lot of bark in my soil mix as it tends to break down and compact the soil after a while...
     
  18. Crazy for Crotons

    Crazy for Crotons Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,050
    Location:
    south Tampa, Bokeelia
    I now have a plethora of wilted crotons. They will be replaced with Camelias and Juniper.
     
  19. Jeff Searle

    Jeff Searle Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,736
    Location:
    South Florida, USA
    Ray,
    You are going through the two year itch. Believe me, things will improve next year.:)

    Junipers? Come on....
     
  20. Moose

    Moose Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    7,947
    Location:
    Coral Gables, FL Zone 10b

    Ray - I hear your frustration. Pull some corks on some nice cabernet and wait for the spring! :)

    Ron. ;)
     
  21. Moose

    Moose Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    7,947
    Location:
    Coral Gables, FL Zone 10b
    Ray - how did you do with these this month. Did your corrective measures pan out? :confused:
     
  22. Crazy for Crotons

    Crazy for Crotons Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,050
    Location:
    south Tampa, Bokeelia
    About half of the once wilted plants have passed on. The other half wilted, dropped their leaves and are now showing signs of growth. I don't get too excited when little leaves start to form because many times this is the crotons last gasp before it rots away. The only reason I can attribute to the wilted condition is lack of an established root system. I did notice many of the ones lost were some air layers from Jim and Judy's collection in the Keys. These probably died because the plant was not accustomed to the cold. Both Keith and I had a spiral Thai variety that Judy gave us and both plants are wilted. Two plants in two locations with the same result means the plant's poor cold tolerance is probably the cause.
     
  23. Judy Glock

    Judy Glock Active Member

    Messages:
    120
    Ray,
    We have already put on about 4 air layers on the Thai spiral croton. So maybe you can get a good root system on it before next winter. Ours in Ft. Myers made it through the winter even though we lost several other crotons that we had planted late. I will save one for you and Keith.

    Judy
     
  24. Crazy for Crotons

    Crazy for Crotons Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,050
    Location:
    south Tampa, Bokeelia
    Judy, thanks. On the bright side, the Mosaic, Red Quill and Cobra are doing great!
     

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