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3 Reasons Croton Leaves Fall Off and How to Deal With It

I noticed that my Croton’s leaves started to droop and fall off at the slightest touch, even though I regularly misted them. After a few days, even more leaves dropped. The plant’s core bud is still present, but it hasn’t grown much due to the cold.

When I water the soil, the water simply flows out from the bottom. I keep the plant in a sunny indoor spot and water it when the soil feels dry.

I felt I was doing the basic things right, but I was confused about what went wrong. So, I did a bit of research, and here’s what I found.

Crotons are quite sensitive to cold and require a warm environment. They will start dropping leaves if the temperature falls below 50°F (10°C).

Ideally, they need strong sunlight, which can be challenging to provide indoors, especially during darker winters. But don’t lose hope!

If you can maintain the temperature above approximately 41°F (5°C) and the stem isn’t brittle or snapping, new buds can still emerge.

Of course, preventing the leaves from falling off in the first place is better, as this aids growth in the spring.

However, if they do fall off, it’s not overly concerning as long as the plant is alive, even though it might look a bit shabby.

Remember, excessive watering can harm the plant. Therefore, it’s important to water it thoroughly only when the soil is dry, avoiding water accumulation at the bottom.

Also, be cautious about placing it near a sunny window, particularly in the early morning, as temperatures can drop surprisingly low there.

This is especially true in living rooms or other areas that aren’t used overnight. Additionally, if your Croton is directly in the path of air conditioning or heating, it could suffer damage, so keep an eye on that.

Why Croton Leaves Fall Off and How to Deal With It

Let’s look at the main reasons behind Croton leaf drop, along with detailed solutions.

Reason #1 for Croton Leaf Drop: Damage Due to Cold

First off, Crotons originate from warm regions like the Malay Peninsula and Papua New Guinea. So, for Crotons, winters in Japan (or colder climates) are excessively chilly.

When the temperature drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius), Crotons may weaken, leading to increased leaf drop.

Because it is a tropical tree, it is very sensitive to cold!

“Have all the leaves fallen off my Croton? Should I just dispose of it?”

Crotons are sensitive to cold and start shedding leaves rapidly when temperatures fall below 46 degrees Fahrenheit (8 degrees Celsius).

Seeing a Croton reduced to just branches might make you think, “Should I throw it away?” However, remember, Crotons often sprout new leaves when it gets warmer.

So, even if it’s just branches, don’t give up! Keep an eye on it until the warmer weather returns.

Reason #2 for Croton Leaf Drop: Lack of Sunlight

Many houseplants are shade-tolerant and easy to grow indoors, but Crotons are a bit different. They’re not highly shade-tolerant and absolutely love sunlight.

So, when I keep my Croton indoors for too long, it can suffer from a lack of sunlight. This gradually weakens the plant, often resulting in leaf drop. Plus, to keep Croton leaves looking beautiful, sunlight is essential.

Solution for Leaf Drop Due to Lack of Sunlight: Gradually move the pot over a few days to a sunnier spot.

Growing Strong Crotons: Consider Outdoor Placement in Warmer Seasons

Crotons don’t have high shade tolerance.

If you want to grow a robust Croton, let go of the idea that “houseplants = indoors.” Instead, adopt a “mostly outdoor management (during warm seasons)” approach.

Manage them outdoors from spring through autumn, their growing season. When the temperature consistently falls below 59 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius), bring them inside to protect them from the cold.

Reason #3 for Croton Leaf Drop: Excessive Dryness

Spring through fall is the prime growing season for Crotons. During this time, I water them thoroughly as soon as the soil surface dries out, making sure water flows out of the bottom of the pot.

If I forget to water them during this period, leading to excessive dryness, the leaves might start to fall off.

Conversely, during the slower growth period in winter, I manage them with a bit less water. This helps increase their cold tolerance and successfully get them through the winter.

Solution for Leaf Drop Due to Excessive Dryness: If the soil is dry, water generously. However, during winter, manage with slightly drier conditions and monitor the plant.

Key Takeaways

In this article, I’ve detailed the reasons why Croton leaves fall off and provided tailored solutions for each situation.

Crotons are quite different from many other houseplants in terms of shade tolerance. They aren’t as shade-tolerant, so treating them like Pothos or Monstera could lead to insufficient sunlight.

They’re also not very cold-hardy. Crotons love sunlight but really struggle with the cold, similar to snake plants.

I hope this article offers helpful tips for reviving your Croton if its leaves are falling off.

Main Causes of Croton Leaf Drop and Their Solutions

  • Damage from Cold ⇒ Move to a warmer, well-ventilated spot.
  • Lack of Sunlight ⇒ Gradually move the pot to a sunnier location over a few days.
  • Excessive Dryness ⇒ If the soil is bone dry, water it and observe.

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