Crotons are widely adored houseplants for their multi-colored leaves, but prolonged stress, sudden stock, and some unfavorable situations can take away the shine of the leaves and make them dry. If you neglect the issues for a long time, it can even lead to the drying of leaves and wilting of the plant.
In this article we shall understand, why are my croton leaves drying and how can we fix the same.
Underwatering, too much sun, and lack of humidity can lead to dry leaves in croton plants. To fix the problem of dry leaves in crotons, try to maintain a proper watering schedule, provide adequate lighting conditions, fertilize the plant properly, and care for the plant during winter.
We know noticing dry leaves on Crotons is heartbreaking, but it is more frustrating when we can’t figure out how to treat it. This article mentions all the causes and fixes of dry Croton leaves.
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What are the signs that my Croton leaves are drying?
When unhappy or struggling from any issue, houseplants tend to show some signs of damage. The early signs of damage are vital to notice as they will help cure the plant faster.
A dry croton plant is not too difficult to revive, and in the initial stages of damage, they are even easier to cure. Early identification of signs can help a lot in reviving plants.
Some signs of a drying croton plant are:
- Dry, brittle leaves
- Brown leaves
- Leaves with curled browned edges
- Leaves present in the lower parts are brown and falling
- The size of the leaves are decreasing
- The growth rate of your Croton is low
- Sometimes the soil may look dry and cracked due to a lack of moisture
These are some possible signs of dehydrated Croton, along with dry leaves. The reasons why Croton leaves go dry are listed below and described in brief.
Why are my croton leaves drying?
Dryness in crotons generally shows when they are dehydrated, over-fertilized, under stress due to repotting or temperature changes, attacked by pests, etc.
Crotons are moisture-loving plants. The moisture level in the soil should have moisture more than 50% and humidity between 40% to 80%.
Now let’s understand the reasons behind the drying of Croton leaves.
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Crotons are highly reactive towards overwatering and underwatering. Incorrect watering processes like overwatering and underwatering severely affect crotons.
The color of croton leaves depends on three factors, and proper watering is one of them.
Moisture and humidity are among the other essential factors that promote leaves’ growth and color. If the plant doesn’t get a proper water supply, it gets dehydrated.
If you notice that the leaves growing on the lower parts of your croton part are wilting, browning, and falling off after a certain period, your plant is underwatered.
Among all the signs, brown foliage represents underwatering. Sometimes leaf dropping also signifies an underwatered plant.
Also read: How Often To Water Croton Plant? (Watering Schedule+Watering Problems)
Tropical plants love a good source of warmth, humidity, and light, so do Crotons. Croton will flourish better when kept under bright daylight. But too much exposure to the sun can cause sunburn, even to crotons.
Sunburns in plants are also known as leaf sunscald and scorch. Sunburn can happen under two circumstances:
- When you first bring a croton plant indoor from a nursery or plant shop.
- Prolonged exposure to direct sun (mostly during hot summer days).
The lighting in the nursery and plants are different from your house. At times, nurseries also offer the perfect light requirement for a plant. If you can’t keep up with the same, it will affect your plant.
Although direct sun rays for the required span don’t harm crotons, they will get damaged if you keep them outdoors or under the sun for more than 8 hours.
Exposure to direct heat dehydrates the plant by increasing the transpiration rate. The outer surface of the leaf tissue burns up due to so much heat, and it causes the leaves to turn dry and brown.
Also read: Can Crotons Get Too Much Sun? (Sunburn?)
Unfavorable environmental changes
Crotons are very sensitive to low temperatures. They can tolerate temperatures as low as 40°F but not lower than that.
Sudden temperature changes sometimes shock the plant and put them under stress. Plant stress is generally caused when the plant cannot cope with its new changing surrounding.
Crotons do not hibernate or become dormant in winters and need extra care to remain healthy and growing.
If you constantly relocate the pot of your Croton plant, the temperature fluctuation of different places can also cause harm.
Different indoor locations like the balcony, kitchen, living room, bathroom, or even domestic machines have different temperatures and humidity. Those fluctuations can put your plant at high risk of damage leading to dry leaves.
Also read: What Temperature Can Croton Tolerate? (+Ideal Temperature Range)
Fertilizers are a great source of nutrients for any plant. Houseplants are bound to the soil contained in the container; the limited soil provides limited nutrition to the plant.
But overfertilization does the exact opposite to adequate fertilizing. If you put too much fertilizer in the soil, it will reduce the growth rate, and the plant will turn fragile and make the plant prone to many diseases and pests.
While it also affects the root system, resulting in insufficient water and nutrient supply. It also burns up the leaves, giving them a dried look.
Also read: What Fertilizer Is Good For Croton? (Best Fertilizer For Croton Plant)
How do you revive a dried croton plant?
In the above section, I mentioned all the probable signs that indicate dryness in the leaves of your Croton. But just noticing the signs will not do your part of the job. You have to revive the plant.
The most crucial part while treating a plant is knowing the condition and identifying the exact reasons. In this case, we know that the croton plant is suffering from dryness, but the exact cause is what we need to figure.
Find out the cause of drying Croton leaves and treat the issue with the help of the following treatments.
Reviving a Croton suffering from underwatering
You can treat minor underwatering by simple regular watering. Water your Crotons daily until the soil is dark brown and puffy. This simple step can treat the initial phase of underwatering.
Also, prune off all the brown leaves. They will never turn healthy again, so it’s better to get rid of them. To treat underwatering that has been caused for many days, you have to follow a few steps:
Drench the soil with excess water and drain through the drainage holes under the plant pot. For the first time, you should entirely create an overflowing water supply.
This step is necessary because the excess water will be soaked up by the dry soil and reach the roots. If you water less for the first time, it will only make the top layer of the soil moist and add no benefits to your already dry plant.
Try watering your plant as regularly as possible. For Croton, weekly watering works well. But if you are working to revive it, water quite often.
Take a note of how much time soil is taking to soak up all the water from the topsoil. This helps to maintain a proper watering routine. However, do not overwater your plant.
Mist around your Croton more often, install humidifiers, or place it near a good source of humidity. To create a micro humid climate, you should mist the leaves once or twice every 3-4 days.
Treating leaf sunscald or sunburn
The only effective way to treat leaf sunburn is by keeping the plant in a relatively darker region. There is no absolute cure for sunburn, but you can easily prevent it.
Mature crotons can withstand high temperatures as much as 100 degrees, whereas the tolerance level in new plants is much lesser than theirs. Keep the new plants in the shade or under indirect light.
Let the new plants develop and prevent leaf sunscald or potential diseases.
Keep them under a shade and restrict direct heat for a few days for plants already affected. UV rays are harmful to both plants and animals.
For crotons in the garden or outdoors, you can shade above them or mist the leaves. Mist the leaves to reduce the transpiration process and drying of the leaves.
For crotons, keeping them under direct sun for 3-4 hours and 7 hours or more of indirect bright light is sufficient for them to grow.
Curing Croton Damage due to Climatic Changes
Crotons cannot thrive well in winters as they are sensitive to cold weather. If your plant is experiencing dryness due to cold weather, there are some steps to take care of it during the winters.
The first possible way to cure your plant (if it is kept outdoor) is to keep it inside your house during cold winters. Frost and snow are a deadly threat to them.
And if they are already inside indoors, place it away from the balcony, open windows, doors, etc. It is preferable to keep the pot or container in a warmer spot.
Growing crotons in a pot or container are better during winters.
You can avoid fertilizing crotons during winters since they are not in their active growth phase nor complete dormancy. Fertilizing in this condition can drain out water and nutrients rather than providing them.
Make sure the pot of Croton is receiving proper sunlight or bright light. Indoor lights are also efficient sometimes. Warmth and humidity will prevent your plant from turning brown, dry, and dull.
Take a look at your watering methods during winters. Plants generally do not need much watering during winters.
Damage can also be caused by heat and chemicals released from machines. During winter, we use room heaters, furnaces to keep us warm.
But the fluctuating temperature stresses out plants and causes damage to them. When using room heaters, furnaces, air conditioners, keep your plant in a place where the temperature fluctuation is low.
Don’t change the location of your plant more often. Every corner of our indoors has different temperature and humidity levels, and the frequent fluctuation can shock the plant.
Also read: Where Do Crotons Grow Best? (Ideal Placement)
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Reviving dry Croton leaves caused by overfertilization
Fertilizing Crotons with a water-soluble fertilizer rich in nitrogen and potassium once in three months during their growing phase (summer and spring) stimulates healthy growth and enhances the vegetation.
Crotons need rich soil with peat moss in them. Mix fertilizer with the soil while potting, or you can also add it later. Too much fertilization will burn the plant, as the fertilizer has higher phosphorus, nitrogen, and other chemical compounds.
Prune off all the damaged leaves. They will not grow back colorful again and consume extra water and nutrition from the soil.
The most important step to curing an over-fertilized Croton is changing the soil mix. The plant roots are already damaged, and if they stay in that condition for any longer, it might kill your croton plant.
Take another pot, add freshly prepared potting mix without adding any fertilizer and repot your plant. Before repotting, gently clean the roots and free them from the previous soil mix.
Guarantee that you are adding any fertilizer for a month or two. Let the plant heal itself and give the plant time to recover. Repotting may shock your plant, but it is the only way to revive it. Take proper care after repotting.
Also read: What Fertilizer Is Good For Croton? (Best Fertilizer For Croton Plant)
Noticing dry leaves on Crotons is not unusual. I already mentioned the mistakes or the unsuitable conditions that can make the leaves dry.
You need to inspect your Croton thoroughly and find the cause so you can treat it and fix your Croton.
The dried leaves may not revive and might fall off your Croton plant eventually. Don’t worry about them and focus on the healthy leaves.
Try to take care of your Crotons by providing the ideal conditions, so you don’t notice dry leaves again.
Reference: Sciencedirect, Wikipedia, Wikipedia, Britannica, CABI, Academia, University of South Florida, The University of Georgia.
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