Crotons are plants of tropical origin. They primarily hail from the evergreen forests of Southeast Asia, where there is moisture and warmth galore.
They particularly enjoy bright and indirect sunlight and are resplendent with their vibrant multicolored foliage. Because of their striking leafage, they are such popular houseplants and a very common fixture in gardens and walkways worldwide.
Crotons thrive seamlessly in warmer and more humid regions where their need for warmth and moisture is easy to fulfill.
Crotons particularly do not take very well to the cold. But does that mean they are inept in surviving cold winters? Let us discuss the answer to this question in this article and take a sneak peek into the survival patterns of a croton.
Can a Croton Plant Survive Winter?
A croton plant can survive winters as long as the temperature does not drop beyond a certain level. Crotons cannot survive for long when constantly exposed to temperatures under 50°F (10°).
It indicates that croton is not naturally fit to survive in places where their winters get cold. Crotons need to be protected from harshly cold winters and consistently cold climates as they are from warm tropical rainforests.
Nonetheless, this does not stop you from owning a croton plant, even if you inhabit a region that experiences cold winters.
Certain measures if taken, and certain arrangements if made, crotons can also be grown and sustained in such places.
How Do You Take Care of a Croton Plant in Winter?
Crotons being big fans of warm temperatures, thrive the best when exposed to temperatures ranging from 60°F-85°F (15°C-(15°C-30°C). Exposure to temperatures below 50°F for long periods can eventually turn fatal for these plants.
If you happen to be a resident of an area that is either cold or experiences cold winters, it is best to grow croton as a potted plant and keep it indoors where you can regulate temperatures at your own will.
Even if you keep them outside, you can easily transport them to a warmer spot indoors during winters if they are potted.
Your crotons might start to drop some of their leaves when moved back and forth, indoors and outdoors.
But you need not worry if you observe such an occurrence. That would be your croton reacting to the shock due to a change in environment.
You can fix it easily by providing generous but judicious watering, maintaining humidity by regular misting, and exposure to bright and indirect sunlight.
Keep your croton indoors to protect it from the cold outside; keep it in a warm and sunny spot. Make sure it receives bright enough indirect sunlight.
Remember to keep your pets and children away from the plants because certain categories of crotons are toxic! Take the other aspects of the nurturing routine seriously, and your croton will be good to go!
Crotons might not be the biggest fans of the cold winters, but they do not stop growing during this period.
Please do not neglect to provide them with ample nourishment in the winter months. The growth rate of crotons during winters is considerably low, so do not use excess fertilizers on them.
Aid them in their slow-paced growth during this phase by only providing them with weak water-soluble fertilizers around once a month. That will act as enough supplement for them.
To cater to a croton’s love for humid surroundings, make sure to mist the plant properly from time to time, and if you own a humidifier, then it shall save you the trouble of misting it.
Place the plant in the vicinity of a functioning humidifier, and it will be good to go.
Keep checking the aridity of the top inch of the soil frequently. If it feels dry, then know that it is time for more watering.
Crotons prefer exposure to an ample amount of sunlight throughout the year.
They need a minimum of 3-4 hours of sunshine a day. Place your croton in a place where it seamlessly gets its daily quota of sunlight throughout the winter season.
The best place for your croton indoors is about a foot away from a balcony or a window that invites bright sunlight during winter.
Make sure you do not keep the plant way too close to the window or an open balcony; that could, in turn, result in the plant experiencing a chill.
Your croton would find it ideal to be exposed to a temperature range of 20°C to 27°C, at least during the day.
Even though it can withstand temperatures below the stated range well enough, make sure you do not let the surrounding temperature drop below 13°C.
How Cold is Too Cold for Crotons?
Crotons have a specific range of temperature within which they can thrive perfectly. They prefer a temperature range of 20°C-30°C. As we move further away from the stated temperature range, namely lower, it increasingly becomes more difficult for crotons to adjust.
The temperature adaptability of croton starts to fade once we go below 10°C-12°C.
It can best survive exposure to temperatures as low as five °C but only for a very short period. Constant exposure to temperatures below 12°C is an absolute no-no for croton plants. It gets too cold for them to survive well below that.
Will Croton Come Back After Freeze?
Crotons desire plenty of water when they are recovering from the damages of a stressful and harsh winter.
Even if the harsh and cold of the winter causes severe harm to croton, it almost always bounce back to good health with the advent of spring. In this phase of recovery, make sure you pay utmost attention to the care you provide here.
Although it is a known fact that too much watering does more harm to croton than good, and its soil needs proper drainage to keep it healthy, during this phase, the soil should not be allowed to stay dry for too long.
Do not let the soil completely dry out before you provide it with the next round of watering.
Crotons are acid-loving plants and would not mind some acid-producing fertilizers. It would allow the soil to generate ample nutrition for the croton to grow and recover.
Croton needs exposure to a lot of bright and indirect sunlight during this phase.
Healthy exposure to sunlight helps step up the recovery process significantly. It would help recreate conditions similar to its natural habitat (tropical forests), from which it had been consistently denied, in the preceding cold winter months.
Make sure you protect the plant from insect infestation during its recovery stage as croton does not exist in the best of its health while undergoing the process of rejuvenation and can invite spiders or mites to feed on its weakness.
Spray the plant with water frequently to keep it clean. If you notice insect infestation starting, make sure you mix water with insecticidal soap and spray the solution on the plant.
When a freeze strikes croton, you can recover with some trimming and care once the temperature starts to get relatively warm.
- Damage from cold usually hits from the top portion of the plant. Observer your croton from the top down and look for green and firm growth. Leaves damaged from the cold undergo discoloration and turn black or brown from the edge inwards. The steams can also become squishy.
- Chop the damaged stems back into the green and turgid growth with clippers.
- Crop the rest of the unhealthy and damaged leaves with clippers or scissors from where their point of origin is.
Crotons are easy to handle, warm, and sun-loving plants. They do not ask for elaborate care or excessive attention during the warmer months of the year.
But if you are a resident of a place that experiences cold winters and you also happen to own croton, you must take the initiative to take proper care of these babies during the winter months.
These plants do not do well in harshly cold conditions, and the last thing you would want is for your beloved and resplendent crotons to die out because of the cold.
Necessary steps, if promptly taken, should be sufficient for you croton to survive through the months of cold winter which they dread.
If your croton is suffering from the effects of cold or you live in a place where the winters are considered cold, and you are looking for preventive measures to protect your croton from the chill, look no further. This article will be sure to help!