Soil is one of the main factors as it determines the growth and health of a plant. As crotons are pretty particular about their requirements, you need to choose suitable potting soil for them to thrive.
So, in this article let us all learn about what kind of soil does a croton need.
As a general rule, croton prefers loose, light, and well-draining soil. The ideal soil mix for croton should contain peat moss, perlite, sand, and compost. Also, crotons like to stay in soil that is a bit acidic, so the soil’s pH level should remain between 4.5 and 6.5.
You are in the right place if you want to know everything about the soil requirements for crotons. This article will help you understand what kind of soil croton needs? Let’s find this out.
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Why is it important to choose the right soil for Crotons?
Crotons cannot grow in every soil type, so choosing suitable soil is vital. Crotons hate staying in water for longer periods, so choosing the soil with good drainage is essential.
Also, crotons can undergo the problem of underwatering, so you need to choose soil with good moisture retention.
Lack of air circulation can suffocate roots, leading to various fungal diseases, so proper aeration in the soil is required for crotons.
Crotons also need nutrients to thrive, so the soil should be rich in nutrients. Overall, if you want your crotons to stay healthy, you must choose a soil with a balance of retention and drainage, sufficient nutrients, and proper aeration.
Otherwise, your Crotons can struggle with various problems due to poor soil.
Common signs you can get because of wrong soil mix
Your crotons will show various signs of illness if you have used the wrong soil mix. Let’s find out all the signs you might notice because of the wrong soil.
If your crotons show stunted growth even after proper care, it might be due to the wrong soil composition. Wrong soil mix will not allow your plant to grow.
Brown leaves can occur due to both overwatering and underwatering. If the soil is draining too fast or too slow, the leaves can turn brown.
Croton can start to lose their leaves due to poor soil drainage. When the soil absorbs more water than required, it can develop root rot disease.
Due to root rot, the Crotons will not function properly, and the leaves will start to fall off.
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A foul smell comes from the soil.
If the soil has a heavy texture, it can cause root rot. Due to the heavy texture of the soil, the plant will get waterlogged, which can create a barrier for roots to receive proper airflow.
Due to root suffocation, various fungal diseases develop inside the soil and cause a poor smell.
What type of soil is best for crotons?
Before planting your crotons, choosing an appropriate soil mix for your plant is essential.
You should first understand what is best for your crotons. Let’s help you understand all the soil requirements this plant needs.
Crotons don’t prefer staying in a wet condition for too long. So, you need to ensure that the soil is loose and light.
The heavy texture of the soil will not allow excess water to drain out properly, which can create waterlogging issues that can further invite various pests or fungal diseases.
If you want to use proper well-draining soil for crotons, you must add peat moss, perlite, vermiculite, pumice, coco peat, compost, sand, and shredded barks.
Make sure the clay content in the soil is not too much. Heavy and compacted soil is not suitable for croton’s growth.
By any chance, if the clay content is more, you can improve the heavy texture of the soil by adding some sandy soil, brick powder, and gypsum powder.
All these ingredients will help change the structure of the soil by making them well-draining and aerated.
Good water retention
Crotons cannot tolerate low moisture conditions. If the soil drains too fast without absorbing enough water, the plant can encounter growth difficulties.
If the soil has a poor water-absorbing capacity, the crotons will stay dehydrated all the time, and the plant will not get moisture and nutrients from the roots.
To improve the soil’s water retention, you can add compost and manure to the soil. Mulching can also help improve water retention as it reduces the rate of evaporation and helps the plant stay moisturized for an extended period.
You can use shredded bark, pine, or wood chips for mulching the soil surface. They are considered the best option for improving water retention.
Rich in nutrients
To make the soil rich in nutrients, you can add organic laden soil or mulch the soil surface with coarse compost and wood chips or barks.
You should use soil that is rich in nutrients. Crotons are heavy feeders and need a good amount of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous.
Providing the plant with a proper amount of nutrients will encourage them to grow faster.
You can also fertilize your crotons with a suitable fertilizer in the N-P-K ratio of 3-1-2. Make sure you use liquid fertilizer as it is a convenient choice.
Proper air circulation
Proper air circulation among the roots is crucial for crotons. Avoid using soil that is too dense and compact.
Poor aeration can restrict the flow of oxygen inside the soil and can suffocate the roots. Due to this reason, it can cause root rot disease, which might kill your plant.
You can quickly improve the air circulation among the roots by adding more sand content, compost, and perlite. All these ingredients help in loosening the soil and making them aerated.
Maintain pH level
You should try to maintain the proper pH level for crotons. If the soil’s pH level is not correct, it can cause numerous kinds of problems to crotons and can even stunt their growth.
Crotons like to stay in a mild acidic condition. This plant prefers soil with a pH value between 4.5 and 6.5.
If the pH is higher than the given value, you can fix the soil by adding peat moss, animal manure, and pine needles. If the pH value is low, you can fix the soil by adding limestone powder.
Best suitable soil mix for crotons
After knowing all the basic soil requirements for crotons, you need to select the appropriate soil mix for your plant.
Here are some recipes for making an appropriate soil mix for crotons by considering all the factors. You can apply any of them.
If you want to prepare the soil with proper aeration, drainage, and retention, you need to mix the ingredients correctly.
- 50% of peat moss or coconut fiber
- 25% of perlite
- 10% of sandy soil (You can also use loamy soil as an alternative)
- 5% of lime
- 10% of compost/worm casting
Peat moss or coconut fiber – Helps to maintain moisture retention.
Perlite – For regulating both aeration and moisture retention.
Loamy/Sandy soil – To improve the drainage of the soil.
Lime – For maintaining the pH level of the soil.
Organic fertilizer – To add nutrients to the soil.
Potting soil – Provides a little bit of everything, such as drainage, retention, and aeration.
Compost- helps to provide nutrients to the soil.
The result of this mixture will be light and loose with rich in nutrients which are best for crotons.
You can use potting soil and perlite in the ratio of 3:1. This means:
This recipe is relatively easy as compared to other ones. You can use this mixture in case you lack time.
Potting soil is used to retain moisture, and perlite is added to drain the excess water. So, it can also work for crotons.
However, you need to keep supplementing fertilizer as you have not added any into the mix.
Can you use cactus soil for crotons?
Cactus soil drains water very well. You can use this soil for crotons, but after modifying them with some ingredients.
Cactus soil does not absorb as much water as crotons needs. You should add potting soil, compost, and peat moss before using it. This soil also has a perfect pH for crotons, so cactus soil is quite suitable.
In what should you plant your crotons?
Crotons don’t like to stay in damp conditions. To avoid such problems, you need to choose a container with proper drainage. Before choosing a suitable container, first, check whether it contains drainage holes or not.
Size of the container is also necessary for crotons; you should always choose a pot 2-3 times larger than the plant’s roots. This will help the plant to grow freely without getting suffocated.
How to know when your crotons need repotting?
Crotons will start to show various kinds of signs. With the help of the given sign, you can easily find out when your crotons need to be repotted.
- Roots will be visible from the soil surface.
- Roots will come out from the drainage holes.
- You will get to see slow and stunted growth.
- Crotons will get dehydrated frequently.
- The color of the leaves will fade away.
- You will notice more roots and less soil.
- Roots will curl inside the soil.
If you come across any signs, your plant will need repotting. Usually, crotons need to be repotted every year, when 1 year is completed. The plant will start to show all these signs.
Crotons need to be repotted when they are actively growing, that means during the spring or early summer season.
How to repot your crotons?
You can repot your Crotons with a few simple steps.
Prune the damaged parts.
First, remove the damaged and diseased parts of crotons carefully before repotting. This will eliminate the unwanted parts and allow the plant to grow healthy.
Choose a new container and prepare a fresh potting mix.
You have to choose a slightly bigger container than the previous one with fresh new soil for repotting.
Select a pot 1 to 2 inches bigger than the last one. Also, the container should have a good number of drainage holes as crotons don’t like staying in soggy soil.
For potting mix, you can use any of the recipes mentioned above in this article.
Take out the croton from the current pot.
After that, remove the plant gently from its pot. Before this process, you should water your plant because moist soil will not let the plant stuck inside the pot.
Hold the stems of crotons and gently pull them out. If it’s getting difficult to pull, you can gently tap the pot and wait until it gets loose enough to pull.
Decompress the roots.
Use your hand gently to loosen the roots. If the roots are fully compacted, you can also use a knife. But make sure you don’t damage the healthy ones.
In root rot, prune all the diseased roots and spray insecticide solution to the healthy roots to prevent future damage.
Repot the crotons.
At first, place a small amount of soil inside the pot and then keep the plant at the center. After that, hold your croton and put all the remaining soil inside the pot.
Don’t push the soil down, as it will get fully compacted. Instead of that, tap the sides of the pot slowly to settle the soil thoroughly.
After you are done with the repotting process, water your crotons to adjust the soil. After some days, maintain the regular watering schedule.
Keep your crotons in a place where they will get a good amount of sunlight. Fertilize your crotons with a balanced fertilizer during the spring and summer seasons.