You know your croton plants are long when you start to notice fewer leaves and an unattractive lanky appearance. They are usually fairly easy to spot, as they are characterized by drooping stems, patchy and sparse growth, and an overall unkempt appearance.
What could be the cause? How can you stop your croutons from doing this? How do you bring your leggy croutons back to life? Several factors contribute to why crotons grow long. Fortunately, there are also measures to prevent your croton from getting long.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to keeping your croutons from stretching.
Why do croutons get long?
Here are some of the main reasons croton plants grow long.
1. Inadequate lighting
This is usually the main reason why croutons get long. Crotons thrive in very bright light. Exposure to adequate sunlight promotes its growth and foliage. If you are growing indoors, you may need fluorescent lights and light bulbs to give you the lighting you need. It is best placed near your window due to its proximity to sunlight.
2. Irregular size
Pruning is an essential aspect of propagating a croton plant. Pruning helps remove unhealthy parts of the plant, such as dead plants or branches, reduces overgrown leaves or branches, and maintains some form. Crotons become long if they are not pruned regularly.
However, pruning should only be done if there is an excess of unhealthy parts of the plant and if it has become too bushy. Pruning gives rise to new growth and prevents the spread of pests.
Crotons thrive in warm environments. Living in an environment that is not conducive to the croton could affect the condition of the plant and it would become leggy. Make sure the area you are growing your croton in is a low humidity environment.
If you live in areas with extreme weather conditions, you may need to use humidifiers or adjust your watering and misting schedule to the needs of your crotons. Crotons are generally resilient and will bounce back even after being damaged by freezing spring weather.
4. Insufficient watering
Crotons tend to grow long if they haven’t been given enough water for a long time. Although crotons survive despite neglect, they need enough to thrive. Your crotons should never dry out. Like most houseplants, keep the soil mix moist and water free.
Crotons grown outdoors are exposed to more sun and need more water than crotons grown indoors. Too much water will cause the leaves to wilt, and too little water will cause the croutons to fall off.
Crotons are generally not easily susceptible to pests other than clinging plants. This tends to attract bugs or insects like mealybugs or mites.
Dry weather often attracts spider mites, so you may need to water your croton more often. Weak and poor crotons also attract the red mite. This is not good because it worsens the condition of the croton.
How to prevent croutons from becoming long?
- Place your croton in an area where it can receive adequate light. Crotons should not be left in direct sunlight for too long, as this can damage the appearance of foliage and affect soil mixing, causing plants to grow tall. Remember to space out your crotons so they don’t have to compete for light. Usually their struggle for light forces them to grow tall and become leggy plants.
- Make sure your croton gets enough water. Constantly mist the leaves, especially if grown outdoors. Time your watering rate to avoid excessive water buildup in the soil. Perforated drainage pots would help with this.
- In the event of an infestation, carefully uproot the affected plants or set them aside. Spraying plants with water helps repel bugs or insects. In severe cases of infestations, you may need to use an insecticidal soap.
- When pruning, your pruning tools should be sterilized before and after use. This is to prevent the spread of pests, especially if the equipment has been in contact with an infected plant.
- Your croton’s environment is critical to its survival and healthy growth. Grow your croton in a warm environment. If you live in a freezing region, you might want to consider growing your crotons indoors for a while.
How to make Leggy Croton plants bushy again?
- To breathe new life into your croton, you will need to update your soil mix. After a long time, the croton’s soil may run out, so you may need to change the soil and transplant the croton. It gives you a fresh start
- Prune the croton trunk and plant to remove all dead parts. More branches grow when stems are pruned
- Squeeze new leaves from the plant. This will remove more leaves and make your croton bushy.
- Make sure that the installation sufficiently meets all requirements.
- Fertilize your croutons regularly to speed up their growth. Use low nitrogen fertilizers.
While leggy crotons can be a hassle, with proper care and grooming, leggy crotons can still bounce back and provide the bright, alluring color they love the most. An additional tip for fertilizing your croton is to use oak leaves as mulch for your crotons.
Check out more houseplant tips