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Question about cutting back an OLD croton

Discussion in 'THE CROTON SOCIETY' started by RonDEZone7a, Jun 6, 2011.

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  1. RonDEZone7a

    RonDEZone7a Active Member

    Messages:
    92
    Location:
    Wilmington, Delaware
    I have a really old potted "Andreanum". I collected it as a cutting back 1969 when my aunt in Hollywood, Florida saw me admiring her crotons and gave it to me (I was 11 and it was my first trip to Florida). This plant has been potted ever since and is now 5 feet high, after multiple trimmings.

    It's gotten a bit leggy and I would like to hack it back to 1-2 feet high and have it fill in again. Now, seems to be the time up here (I am in Delaware) as this plant is outside enjoying the summer heat, with a few more months of "Florida weather" to go.

    My question is: is there likely to be any danger of losing this old plant if I cut it back hard? I know with some old evergreen shrubs found up here, you can lose them if you cut them back too hard - while others, like azaleas, generally bounce back very nicely, if you hack them back. I will of course root cuttings after trimming - and the warm weather seems to be good timing for that as well. Lastly, I do have an established potted 3-4 year old baby from this plant already, as a backup - though I wouldn't want to lose the original plant.

    The plant in question is the one on the right (this photo is from 2 years ago so it it now taller and leggier - i.e. more bare stems):
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Moose

    Moose Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    7,947
    Location:
    Coral Gables, FL Zone 10b
    Outstanding Ron that you have kept this croton in such good shape for so long, especially with your growing conditions. Due to your USDA Zone, I would personally be concerned if it were my plant to have it drastically trimmed back. With the long history you have with your Andreanum, you would not be happy if it met its demise. My suggestion is to only trim 1/3 of the branches to allow new growth a chance to harden off prior to winter. I would do it in increments over the next three seasons. Just a suggestion, you know your growing season better than I. :)
     
  3. Crotonologist

    Crotonologist Active Member

    Messages:
    761
    Location:
    southern Louisiana USDA 9a
    If it is activey growing now then I think it should re-sprout pretty well from a hard pruning.
     
  4. fawnridge

    fawnridge Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,422
    Location:
    Western Boca Raton
    Cut it hard, now, or airlayer.
     
  5. Crazy for Crotons

    Crazy for Crotons Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,050
    Location:
    south Tampa, Bokeelia
    Ron, I agree that pruning or a few air layers should be safe and promote some bushier growth. LIke you, I get a bit attached to plants that have been with me for awhile.
     

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