Croton Leaf Drop – Why Is My Croton Dropping Leaves

Potted croton plant with multicolored leaves indoors.
Image by tverkhovinets

By Carole Howell

Your brilliant indoor croton plant, the one you admire and prize, is now dropping leaves like crazy. Don’t panic. Leaf drop on croton plants can be expected any time the plant is stressed or out of balance. You just need to get to know your croton and how to give croton what it needs to thrive. Read on to learn more about why croton leaves fall off.

Why is My Croton Dropping Leaves?

Change can be difficult for a croton plant. A croton plant dropping leaves is often a new plant’s response to being transplanted or transported from the greenhouse to your home. It’s natural for a croton to drop leaves as it adjusts to environmental changes. Once settled, in 3 or 4 weeks, your plant will begin to produce new growth.

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If you haven’t changed the plant’s location recently and your croton leaves fall off, then it’s time to look at other possibilities.

Heat and humidity – Croton plants are tropicals, meaning that they thrive in warm and humid conditions. If your croton’s leaves fall off, it could be that it’s exposed to cold or hot extremes, such as open doors or air ducts. A humidifier or a regular misting with distilled water will also help your croton feel at home.

Light – Croton leaf drop and a lack of fiery color can be caused by insufficient sunlight. There are more than 750 varieties of croton plant, some needing more light than others. In general, the more variegated the plant, the more light it craves.

Water – The watering schedule for your other houseplants may not be suitable for your croton.

  • Overwatering can damage the roots and cause croton leaf drop. When the soil on top feels dry, water until the overflow begins to pool in the tray. To prevent root rot, use a pebbled tray or pour off any pooled water after 30 minutes.
  • Underwatering can also cause leaf drop on croton plants. If you’re watering and misting consistently and your croton still seems dry, consider transplanting in fresh, high-quality potting soil that includes peat moss to help retain moisture.

Diseases and pests – If you think you’ve taken care of every possible environmental reason your croton plant is dropping leaves, look again. Inspect underneath the leaves for signs of disease or insect pests and treat accordingly.

Here’s the best news: crotons are tough. Even if your croton is brown and leafless, it doesn’t mean that your lovely plant is gone forever. Gently scratch the main stem. If the tissue underneath is still green, your plant is alive and may recover. Continue to care for your plant’s watering and environmental needs. In several weeks, it’s quite likely that your patience and care will be rewarded with the first of new, bright leaves.

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