Why are the Leaves on my Croton Limp and Drooping?

Croton
Croton Plant (Source: Unsplash)

Crotons are tropical plants, and behold rich, colorful patterns; nevertheless, they are not flexible.

As an artsy vibe may add to our home decor, we can not deny that they are pretty dramatic plants and require much care and love. But right here, is its drooping leaves of much concern?

Well, we do agree that drooping of Croton’s leaves is expected during the beginning phase when you bring it home. However, it is alarming to notice a sudden leaf drooping later.

The reasons why Croton leaves go limping and drooping are dry soil and overwatered plant. In addition, low humidity, light problems, temperature stress, chilly breezes, pests, and transplant shock are possible reasons. 

Often, the changes in their watering schedules, temperature, humidity, light, and many more affect them.

Hence, they are known as fussy plants. But fear not, we will state and discuss every single major cause and solution to revive your Crotons.

Reasons for Croton Leaves Limping and Drooping

Indeed, Crotons are dramatic plants and detest changes. They long for a stable environment with no disturbance.

Hence, any slight differences in their environment induce stress as they get aggressive and may start to shed leaves.

Drooping Leaves of Croton
Drooping leaves of Croton (Source: Freepik)

All in all, the best factor is not to move them often and limit drastic changes with them.

Below are the reasons why your Croton leaves are drooping and how we can save them.

1. Dry Soil

Symptoms: Brown crispy leaves

Crotons prefer moist soil, and hence, one should keep in mind to water it timely. When they fall into chronic dehydration, their leaves tend to get crispy and brown.

However, it is also crucial that you don’t water it so much that it gets soggy.

Therefore, it is always best to have a consistent watering schedule and only water them when the soil’s top is up to two to three inches dry.

The main contribution to the dry soil may be caused by inadequate humidity, poor watering routine, and excessive sunlight.

Yet again, to avoid dry soil, one should keep a steady water flow rather than a hurried expression.

This is because jumping from bone dry soil to high water at once will do no good.

You might be interested to read about: Why is your Peperomia leaves limp and drooping?

Solutions

To maintain a steady water flow, you should follow the following points.

  • You should use cold water in a bathtub or a basin and place your Croton in it without the saucer. Also, you have to make sure that the water is only three to four inches in level.
  • Following it, you should wait for 45 minutes as the soil is saturated with water through the pot’s drainage hole.
  • You can find out if it is evenly soaked as you feel the top layer of the soil. If not all the soil is saturated, slowly water your Croton from the top.
  • After the soil is fully saturated, drain the basin or bathtub and let the plant rest for a while.
  • You can also use Q-tips and insert them into the drainage hole to fast forward the draining as the water drains.
  • Then, you can place the saucer and keep the plant back in its place.

2. Overwatering

Symptoms: Soggy soil, root rot, and blisters in leaf edema

Every single thing is good only in a limited amount. Similarly, watering timely is also beneficial but only in limited amounts, making sure not to drown the plant.

As a fun fact, overwatering Crotons are much more common than underwatering them.

Indeed, it is not a good feeling to always have a wet and soggy foot. Hence, one should be wary of not overwatering them.

Well, you can decide on an overwatered Corton if they have soggy soil for five to seven days after watering.

Waterlogged soil is bad for them as it suffocates their roots that eventually lead their leaves to droop.

water-soaked blisters in Croton due to overwatering
water-soaked blisters in Croton due to overwatering (Source: Pexels)

Some of the other symptoms of having soggy soil are mentioned below.

  • Water-soaked blisters on their leaves.
  • Yellowing of the older leaves and leaves on the lower half.
  • Presence of rusty brown or black, mushy roots with a rotting smell.
  • Presence of wet brown spots ringed with a yellow halo on the leaves.
  • It is a bacterial leaf disease that later turns into larger brown or black patches.
  • Wilted leaves start to fall off entirely.

Factors Contributing to Soggy Soil

It is best if you can find out the overwatered situation in Croton at an early phase. Well, the longer Crotons get overwatered, the more their roots rot.

As soon as you find soggy soil, make sure to stop watering them for the time being and wait.

FactorsEffectsSolutions
Inadequate LightSlow drying of soilExposure to bright, indirect sunlight
Large ContainerOverwatered soilChoosing a small pot with an inch separation from plant and the pot wall
High Soil Mixture of Clay or Organic Matter Absorbs more waterAddition of perlite or vermiculite
Few or No Drainage HolesWaterlogs the plantAdd drainage holes
Season Change Induces dormancy during winterReduce water frequency

Revive Your Croton From Root Rot

The confirmed outcome of soggy soil is a root rot in Crotons. Hence, it would be best if you unpotted your Crotons to search for its sign.

Well, a healthy root is white in color and firm in stature. However, if you find the roots black or rusty brown and soft, mushy in stature, sadly, the root rot has seeped in.

Yet, fear not! Following through the below steps will help to revive your Crotons.

  • After unpotting your Croton, wash the root thoroughly.
  • Cut out the affected roots.
  • Choose a fungicide solution and dip the remaining roots for a while.
  • Repot your Croton with the potting mix of hydrogen peroxide.
  • Make sure to give them the condition they require.

Related Article:Reasons and solutions on why the leaves are falling off your Zebra plant. 

3. Low Humidity

Symptoms: Brown crisped leaves, Curled leaves, Shedding leaves

Crotons love and thrive in a moist environment. Hence, as the air gets dry, their leaves start dropping.

Typically, this condition occurs during winter, mostly when we commence using a heating system. Other than the shedding, they also have curled-up leaves with brown crusty edges.

Well, one can do quite a few things during this condition to revive your Crotons, which is mentioned below.

Solutions

  • It would help if you tied your Crottons loosely with a clear plastic bag.
  • Let your Croton pot sit in a tray of pebbles and water without submerging the bottom.
  • You can also mist your Croton leaves regularly to increase the humidity. It will contribute to their healthy leaf growth.
  • If you can afford it, buy a good quality humidifier and move them nearby the Crotons.
Humidifier
Humidifier (Source: Amazon)

4. Bright Direct Sunlight

All those vivid and bright foliage of Crotons best flourishes under bright sunlight.

If you find your Crotons leaves limping again even with a perfect watering schedule and humidity, make sure you are also giving it an ample amount of sunlight.

Well, Crotons require about 4-6 hours of indirect and bright sunlight to get in their best form.

Remember, indirect sunlight because excess direct sunlight will also burn and discolor your Croton. This will eventually lead them to wilt and droop.

Again, when you do not meet the requirement of ample sunlight, your Croton will not grow up to its full potential.

The light shortage raises the potential threat of overwatering them.

Sunlight Hitting the Leaves
Sunlight hitting the leaves (Source: Unsplash.com)

Solutions

  • Keep your Croton in the east or west-facing window of your house and use sheer or thin curtains to block out unnecessary direct light.
  • In the absence of natural light in the house, use artificial lights.
  • While using artificial light, be aware of the factors as wavelength, color, and types.
  • Artificial light can emit a wavelength ranging from 700-1,000,000 nm, and among it, 610-700 nm wavelength range is best for them.
  • We have four kinds of artificial light; incandescent, fluorescent, high-intensity or gas, and light-emitting diodes.
  • Fluorescent lights are the best for indoor plants as they reflect most of the electrical energy as heat energy that is perfect for plants.
  • Fluorescent lights come in red or blue light and are also long-living among them all artificial lights.
  • Simply set your croton in a bright or dappled light source. This would be in front of an east or west-facing window in your home.

Note: The plants gain most of the light energy from red or blue colored lighting rather than green or yellow-colored.

5. Temperature Extremities

Symptoms: Drooping leaves, curled leaves, dry leaves

Indeed, Crotons are demanding plants, as they are pretty picky with the temperature.

Crotons portray a sign of recurrent temperature stress in response to either high or low temperatures.

Here, the ideal temperature to keep in mind for the Crotons is 60ºF and 85ºF (15ºC to 30ºC).

Therefore, if you have a temperature cooler than 50ºF (10ºC), Crotons tend to lose their leaves and die.

Solutions

  • The only way to revive your Croton affected from harsh temperature is to keep them away from cooling/heating vents, uninsulated windows, entrance doors, and heat registers.
  • It would be best to choose a place that does not have a cold passing air current and should regularly mist and water them to maintain humidity.

Altogether, if it is the time of spring or summer, your Croton will showcase a new growth after these. However, they are dormant in winter; hence, you should not worry much if they have little or no growth at all.

6. Pests and Insects Infestation

From time to time, one should check out their Crotons for insect infections caused by bugs like red spider mites and mealybugs.

Often this infection is pretty tricky to spot out.

Well, they usually are found as the tiny bits of webbing around branch tips and can be noticed due to the frail leaves in your Crotons.

Their appearance is like white cotton mass, typically in their root region.

Some of the common pests in Crotons are discussed below. 

  • Mealybugs: They are found in a waxy coating and resemble tiny puffs of cotton. They drink the sap of Crotons and often leave honeydew behind, which will only add up to your problem.
  • Croton Scale: They are of two kinds; soft-shelled and hard-shelled. The soft-shelled produces more honeydew; however, hard-shelled are more challenging to tackle.
  • Red Spider Mites: Most common spider mites on the Croton have whitish spots on the undersides of the leaves. You can find them attached to the bottom of leaves and stems.
  • Thrips: They are so small in size that it is almost hard to locate them. If you are searching for their presence, then search for the brownish streaks, silver speckling, or white spots on the leaves.
Insect Infection in Croton Leaves
Insect Infection in Croton Leaves (Source: Pexels)

This infection contributes to nutrient and moisture loss that later results in drooping of leaves and underdeveloped plants.

The bugs drink up all the nutrients and water from your Croton, which will create a blacky sooty mold.

Solutions

  • Start with a water spray at room temperature thoroughly. You should make sure to clean and spray even the stem and undersides of the leaves.
  • Then, allow it to dry and drain off.
  • Following it, use rubbing alcohol in the affected area of your Crotons.
  • Lastly, spray your Crotons with insecticidal soap or neem oil. All in all, you should repeat this process every week until the insect infection is completely gone.

Prevent Measures

  • Water your Croton regularly, and make sure that the water is not high in toxic elements as chloride, fluoride, and salts.
  • Wipe your Croton leaves from both sides regularly with a damp cloth or baby wipe.
  • Re-wipe, your Croton, leaves with a diluted solution of leaf shine, neem oil, or liquid soap.
  • Rinse your Croton with cold water at times but stop using a strong force of the water on it.
  • Do not mist strong liquids as copper soap, chlorothalonil, myclobutanil, or tebuconazole directly on your Croton leaves.
  • Use sterilized scissors or trimming items to cut off the dead leaves or parts of your Crotons.

7. Fungal and Bacterial Diseases

Symptoms: Swollen stems and leaf veins

Some several other infections and diseases cause your Crotons to droop.

As for the crucial part, Crotons with disorders can be figured out as they have swollen stems and leaf veins.

Some of the common cases in your Croton are crown gall, stem gall, and canker. They are often caused by bacterial infection.

Likewise, when you care less for your Croton, they suffer from Oedema. Again, it is an infection that occurs due to overwatering.

  • Powdery Mildew: Powdery mildew is one one of the common infection in Croton which prevents leaf growth in them. Here, mildew is a cloud of thin grey dust covering both sides of the Croton’s leaves.
  • Xanthomonas Leaf Spot: On croton, foliar infections begin as little pinpoint water-soaked spots that quickly grow to 1/4 inch or more. They are very moist and dark-brown or black in appearance when fully formed, and they prefer to stay restricted to the regions between leaf veins. The lesions on certain cultivars have a brilliant yellow border.
  • Anthracnose: Spots appear on leaves of all ages and are first wet, becoming tan with age. Tiny black fungal fruiting bodies can develop in the spot’s dead tissue, sometimes in concentric rings.

Solutions

  • Isolate your Croton from the other plants in your house.
  • Trim or cut down the affected parts of your Croton.
  • To trim, make sure to sterilize the scissors or knife you are using with rubbing alcohol.
  • Bactericides containing copper may be relatively helpful if used on a regular and preventive basis. for bacterial infection.

Preventive Measures

  • Wet foliage should be avoided since it is required for infection and spore dissemination. This is especially important during the propagation.
  • All plants found to be contaminated with the bacteria should be removed and destroyed, and any cutting instruments used on them should be sterilized.
  • Use sterilized scissors or trimming items to cut off the dead leaves or parts of your Crotons.

8. Excess or Unwanted Fertilizers

As we all want the best for our Crotons, at times, we end up feeding them with everything we can lay our hands upon.

However, our excessive and unwanted fertilizers eventually hamper them, which leads to root toxicity.

This occurs as due to the high concentration of salt, your Crotons will not take the necessary nutrients and water from roots.

Hence, it makes your Croton go limp as they start showing the symptom of fertilizer burns.

Avoid and Save your Croton from Excessive Fertilizers

  • The foremost step to save your Croton is not to over-fertilize it in anyways. Well, it is best to use all-purpose houseplant fertilizer by diluting it with water once a month.
  • Crotons have a slow growth rate during winter, and it is also the best time to stop using fertilizer for your Croton. This is because the fertilizers will cause a nutrient deficiency in Croton.
  • Talking about the over-fertilizing, you can realize it when you see a white scab on your Croton’s soil surface. It is the salt build-up, and during the phase, you should repot your Croton using fresh soil.

9. Water Quality

Even after all the correct methods, if the leaves in your Crotons are drooping, it must cause poor water quality. Well, it primarily occurs with tap water as they are softened.

To state in detail, tap water contains minerals, fluoride, chlorine, and salts. These chemicals cause the leaves to go brown in their tips and edges, which will also turn yellow.

Solutions

  • At first, remove the burned-out leaves to let the others grow.
  • Use distilled or rainwater water for irrigation purposes.
  • For all the other times, use a water filtration system.
  • Also, if you use tap water, keep Croton in the sink overnight so that the chloride and fluoride will evaporate.
  • Lastly, if you see any crusty white spots on the soil, you better repot your Croton in fresh soil.
Thorough cleaning of Croton
Thorough cleaning of Croton (Source: Freepik)

Tips to Take Care of your Drooping Croton

Altogether, a few of the steps and ideas can revive your drooping Croton and avoid them from going limp.

BasisRequirement
Container Size⅓ larger than the plants' root ball
SunlightIndirect sunlight for 6-8 hrs
Humidity Between 40-80%
TemperatureBetween 60-70°F
Potting MixRich in organic compost and peat moss
FertilizerDiluted all-purpose houseplant fertilizer
Once a month
Watering Schedule Water only after top two to three inches of soil are dry
Use distilled or rainwater
  • Always have a container with drainage holes in the bottom. Furthermore, to improve the drainage system of your Croton, you can add a layer of gravel at the bottom.
  • If you are confused with the container size, pick the one that is about ⅓ larger than the plant’s root ball.
  • Give your Croton an ample amount of sunlight for six to eight hours.
  • To keep your Croton moist, you should maintain an ideal humidity range between 40% to 80%. In the meantime, you should maintain a room temperature of between 60°F to 70°F.
  • Likewise, the best potting mix for your Croton is the one rich in organic compost and peat moss.
  • Keep your watering schedule consistent, and only water after once the top two to three inches of soil are dry.
  • Only use diluted all-purpose houseplant fertilizer once a month.
  • You can use an air humidifier every time your room gets air dry.
  • During the winter, it’s best not to keep your Croton near the heating equipment.
  • As one of the most important things, you should be sure to clean their leaves regularly and check for any infections. For cleaning the leaves, you can use a clean, soft towel.
  • Lastly, it would help if you repotted your Croton every two years to let them grow up to their full potential.

Conclusion

Indeed, every great thing has a problematic lead to follow! Crotons’ rich and gorgeous foliage is also hard to obtain as they require specific care to keep them in their top shape.

As they are such fussy plants, Crotons can droop and go limp if anything is too much or too little.

Hence, it would help if you had frequent monitor over your Croton.

From water consistency and quality to ample sunlight and pest control, you have to control them all to grow your Croton into a healthy plant.

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