Some crotons up north, in for the winter

Discussion in 'THE CROTON SOCIETY' started by RonDEZone7a, Nov 23, 2009.

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  1. RonDEZone7a

    RonDEZone7a Active Member

    Messages:
    93
    Location:
    Wilmington, Delaware
    Just a few shots of my crotons in the sunroom for the winter. I thought they looked nice this weekend in the Autumn light. A little bit of Florida in Delaware...

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    Andreanum:
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    Franklin Roosevelt:
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  2. Jeff Searle

    Jeff Searle Well-Known Member

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

    Your plants look absolutely great! They look just as nice as if they were growing down here in south Florida. Your sunroom is very inviting and I'm sure you spend alot time there.


    Jeff
     
  3. RonDEZone7a

    RonDEZone7a Active Member

    Messages:
    93
    Location:
    Wilmington, Delaware
    Jeff,

    Thanks for the complements. Yes the sunroom is a real nice addition for me, especially since I like to grow exotic plants - and having it enables me to grow plants to larger sizes. I went all out and got a big one - 18 X 20 feet with cathedral ceiling - it ate up all my inheritance from my parents and then some.

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    Once my neighbors deciduous trees become bare, I get alot of sunshine in there - enough to make poincettias re-bloom from scratch.

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    My birds like it too - they get free flight time on weekends.

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  4. Crazy for Crotons

    Crazy for Crotons Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,050
    Location:
    south Tampa, Bokeelia
    Hi Ron,

    I love what you've done there. How do you handle mites and other 6 legged critters throughout the winter?

    Ray
     
  5. RonDEZone7a

    RonDEZone7a Active Member

    Messages:
    93
    Location:
    Wilmington, Delaware
    Ray,

    I hose everything off real good in the Fall and then spray everything with insecticidal soap. Since I have birds in the sunroom, I let the plants air out outside for a day (after spraying with soap) before bringing them in.

    For most plants, they might need a touch up on the soap once again in late winter / early spring. For that. I either take them outside or into the garage for spraying. I tried Neem Oil but found insecticidal soap works better or lasts longer. I don't use anything more powerful because I like to let some of my birds have free flight time in the sunroom and I don't want them ingesting any real insecticide.

    Compared to my citrus and ti (Cordyline) plants, crotons seem to be less problematic when it comes to pests. They do get some spider mites, scale and sometimes mealy bugs, but other plants get infested worse by spring.

    I let the sunroom get cooler than the house in winter. It's usually in the 60s by day and sometimes down in the 50s on cold nights (I think my all time "low" in the sunroom was around 40'F). Keeping the heat low lets the humidity go up, which the plants like. I wasn't sure how crotons would handle cool temps but they seem to do fine. Probably the coolness and humidity slow down the pests too. By late winter, the days get longer and it gets both warmer and sunnier in the sunroom and most plants start to grow.

    Then, some time in May, I start reintroducing my crotons and other tropicals to the outside - by Mother's Day everything is usually outside for the summer - from then on they really grow.
     
  6. Sihara

    Sihara Active Member

    Messages:
    69
    Ron, I am so impressed by your bodacious croton collection - and that awesome sunroom you have! What a terrific set-up... and good on you for the care you take of your birdies. Is the pink cutie a Bourke's?

    Which insecticidal soap do you use? I just use Bayer's on my crotons, which are almost always outside.

    Also - I have a question about ventilation, since you were mentioning the temps in there. Do you use fans, or is this not a problem. I can't keep a thing in my house for more than a couple of days or it croaks due to lack of ventilation (we don't have central air). Oddly, the exception is my prized aglaonema, which seems to like it in here just fine.
     
  7. RonDEZone7a

    RonDEZone7a Active Member

    Messages:
    93
    Location:
    Wilmington, Delaware
    Sihara,

    Thanks for the feedback about my sunroom. It has enabled me to grow alot of plants that I couldn't otherwise grow. It's 18 X 20 feet with a cathedral roof. When all was said and done, it gobbled my entire inheritance from my parent's estate amd then some! But I like plants and birds so it is my little corner of paradise!

    I heat the sunroom with one vent from the house and also an electric radiator. Between the 2, I can keep the temps mostly between 65'F and 50'F, through most of the winter - depending on the outside weather. A second radiator does the trick when it's really cold. There is also an AC unit/heat pump, that came with the sunroom, that I can turn on when necessary (it will raise the temp 10'F or more in an hour). So if it's really cold outside - like well below freezing when I go out there in the morning and the sunroom is 45'F, I can raise it up to a more comfortable 60'F pretty easily. And then as I get into early spring, the sunroom is sunnier and warmer - often in the 70s, if it's in the 50s outside, and plants start growing, including the crotons.

    I do have a ceiling fan in there that I can turn on to "mix up" the heat (i.e. get the heat from the ceiling down to the floor). But I don't otherwise have any real ventilation problem, at least as far as the plants being happy. Just limiting the amount of heat in generally helps keep the humidity up and the plants happy.

    The insecticidal soap I usually use is the Safer brand.

    The pink parakeet is a Rosey Bourke Parakeet, as you guessed. I've had her since October (she was born in July). The breeder hand-raised her but I probably would have a friendlier bird now if I got her sooner. She is finger-tame now but not really bonded with me yet. If she sees her cage (inside the house - not the sunroom), she flies right back to it. But I've finally got her eating out of my hand and found a special food she likes (hemp seed) so now I have something positive to offer her - hopefully she will become tamer. I also have doves and finches in the sunroom. The doves get let out to explore the sunroom on weekends and I do have 1 pair of finches that I can release in there (Java Sparrows) that will go back in their cage eventually.

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  8. Crazy for Crotons

    Crazy for Crotons Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,050
    Location:
    south Tampa, Bokeelia
    I love that whole setup Ron. The birds add to the exotic appeal even more. Everything looks great!
     
  9. Sihara

    Sihara Active Member

    Messages:
    69
    Ron, might that awesome red croton be Gloriosa? Can't tell on this monitor. In one of your birdie pix, was that a ring-neck dove? We have those here in abundance, along with the nanday conures - beautiful but so LOUD. I miss seeing them at the feeder each morning.

    Terrific setup - and your croton collection is wonderful.
     
  10. RonDEZone7a

    RonDEZone7a Active Member

    Messages:
    93
    Location:
    Wilmington, Delaware
    Sihara,

    I think my red croton may be a Gloriosa. When I got it, it was not labeled. Some have said it is just a Petra but the markings are not as uniform as most of the Petras I've seen.

    The doves I have are Ringnecked Doves (Streptopelia risoria), a long domesticated species originally from Africa, that does very poorly in the wild. The very similar looking doves you have in Florida are mostly Eurasian Collared Doves (Streptopelia deocato), which were accidentally introduced into the Bahamas in the 1970s and have since spread througout Florida and many parts of the southern U.S. Eurasian Collared Doves are not domesticated but are adapted to living near people and and do very well in the wild, especially around towns.
     
  11. Crazy for Crotons

    Crazy for Crotons Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,050
    Location:
    south Tampa, Bokeelia
    Ron, there were lots of Streptopelia chinensis in Hawaii. Although larger, they were "outmuscled" by the smaller and more agressive Zebra doves.
     
  12. Sihara

    Sihara Active Member

    Messages:
    69
    Looks like a really nice Gloriosa. The larger leaves on Gloriosa are larger than Petra (hard to tell from the photo, but it looks that way on your croton) - also the leaf patterns in your red croton look just like those in my Gloriosa - which is in a pot right across from me in the living room. I often will bring in a croton (or 2 or 3) just to enjoy them indoors for a day or so.

    I'll try to post some pics - hope this works.
     

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