Repotting Croton Indoors

(Question)

I have 3 Croton in an 8 inch pot.  Since the ice storm (December 2013), they have started to lose their lower leaves.

Should I repot them in a deeper pot so the extra stem is not showing and just the remaining leaves show?

(Answer)

Thanks for this challenging question. I’ve learned a great deal this evening.

The plants are likely responding to lower light conditions since December.  Crotons (Codiaeum) are demanding. They generally need lots of light and regular watering.   There may also be some crowding in the containers.

Yes, you can move them into one or more larger pots, starting fresh with new potting soil.  However, we  do not advise covering over the base of the stem so that just the leaves show.   Covering the stems would interfere with the plants’ functioning and would likely smother them.

From what I’ve read, the best thing is to propagate new croton plants by cutting off about 3 to 4 inches of the healthy tips and planting them in fresh pots. You can dip them in a rooting hormone powder to help them along.

Cutting off the tips may also work to force the remaining stem to produce leaves at the bottom, but it is not a guarantee.

Recommended reading:

Reader’s Digest Indoor Plants: the essential guide to choosing and caring for houseplants by Jane Courtier   (page 64)

Making More Plants by Ken Druse (Section on Tip Layering, page 166)

Collins Indoor Plants: What to Grow, How to Grow It (page 83)

Check out the library at the Toronto Botanical Garden for these or other excellent books on indoor plants.  Keep growing; your air will be purified!