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Crotons and the Freeze of 2010

Chicago, IL(Zone 5b)

Hi All,

My crotons looked fine for a while and now they are dropping leaves like crazy. It's only been a couple of weeks since, but I don't see any new growth.

Do you think that they are goners or will eventuality put out new growth? Should I cut them back and replant the tops or just let them be for now? There are 4 in pots around the pool that I don't really want to lose. NO, I don't want to lose any of them.

What's a girl to do? LOL

Hap

Christiansted, VI(Zone 11)

Get a magnifying glass and see if the tips of the stems are green or black. I'd just wait.

Poor you! I love crotons.

Chicago, IL(Zone 5b)

I really checked today....Nada.

Hap

West Palm Beach, FL(Zone 10a)

Im north of you and having the same worries, Im taking a wait and see attitude with alot of things, not cutting things back till Im sure theres no hope!

Naples, FL(Zone 10a)

I think the Crotons will come back. Remove the ugly leaves and wait a bit longer.... it's what I'm doing.

Chicago, IL(Zone 5b)

Thanks, and will wait. Whada mess.

Xai Xai, Mozambique

sorry to hear your problems with your crotons!!
is it because of the cold weatherer?? over here its so hot, even in the 'winter', that they grow just fine all year round.
but crotons are pretty tough, they should survive. try scratching the skin off the stalk to see if its still green, and if it is maybe you can cut them back just a little, to stimulate new growth.
isaac

Chicago, IL(Zone 5b)

Isaac,

It has been the winter from hell. We were between 35-45 for almost 11 days. There is now a second pile of plants/cuttings at the curb for the bulk garbage pick-up. I have been here 25 years and nothing has ever been close to this. So much is gone.

Thanks for posting.

Hap

Portland, TX(Zone 9a)

Hap

I feel your pain. We dropped in the high 20's this winter which is a first in years. Everything is look desolate and I'm holding my breath and waiting to see what will come back when spring decides to make it's appearance. I hate to go outside now cause all I see is ugliness.

Patty

Chicago, IL(Zone 5b)

Patty,

Thanks for the post.

There are many things more important than plants, as you know, but it still hurts.

I nearly lost it with Hurricane Wilma in 2005, but things did grow back. That's the mind-set that I have to keep now. Right?

Hugs.

Hap

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

Hap, give them about 3 months for recovery..they will come back!
I can't wait for winter to be over, but winter has other plans-- I just read that our area has the recipe brewing for another Canadian cold air mass ...right now just recipe, but not forecasted..gosh I hope not!

Naples, FL(Zone 10a)

So - are we still under the 'don't cut them back' rule?

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

In Houston we are, I saw the weather was pretty fabulous in most of Florida- I'm sorry to say I didn't look past my back yard on the forecast! LOL
http://blogs.chron.com/sciguy/archives/2010/02/icy_outlook_from_cold_to_colder_next_week.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+houstonchronicle%2Fsciguy+%28SciGuy%29

Chicago, IL(Zone 5b)

Ok, I'll wait, seeing that patience is my strong point. ROTFLMBO.....

It's so hard......

Hap

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

hahahahahahahah!...Me too...I swear I'll be chopping, sweeping, cleaning and won't be able to resist some good pruning come snow or whatever...I'm so over it....gosh listen to us Gulfcoasties whine! I have operation spring cleaning going into effect this weekend...not going to budge from those plans..

This message was edited Feb 3, 2010 6:35 PM

noonamah, Australia

When disaster comes what's important is the mindset you develop and maintain. Some things are beyond us. It's important to focus on the way forward. The reminders are there, like the black walls of the tunnel, but the light is also there at the end of it.

West Palm Beach, FL(Zone 10a)

For my crotons Im still not cutting back, my heliconias I chopped down because I was tired of looking at the mess but they are already coming back up. My sanchezia can go ahead and shrivel up and die I just really hate them, Im gonna rip those out this year I think! My christmas tree palms have lost alot of fronds Im watching nervously with those because I love them so much!
Most everything else seems to be coming along ok and putting up new buds.

I just look at the freeze as opening the door for new possibilities, our gardens are forever evolving and changing!

Xai Xai, Mozambique

i sympathize with you all, thankfully i never have those problems with the cold!! here plants die from heat...
i lost a bunch of bachelor's buttons, they just shriveled up and died!! it happened on an extremely hot day...
isaac

Chicago, IL(Zone 5b)

Tropic, Thanks for the lesson. As my DD say, 'It IS what it IS.' I will do better, promise.

Cindy, sorry about your babies. My helios are all brown. You said you cut them back...right to the ground? Was afraid to do that, but as you said, They Are Ugly. I do like my Sanchzia and it covers a big space on a back wall and another blocks my view of neighbors.

Not too happy with my coconut palms. Most of their fronds are dead/dying and they are falling and knocking the few living plants that are there, silly. They are big puppies and about 20# each. I'm building a lot of muscles getting them out to the curb.

Right, Gotta think of the new things that will be done this spring.

Hap

Naples, FL(Zone 10a)

I have cut my heliconias all the way back too. There is only so much ugly brown stuff I am willing to look at.

Chicago, IL(Zone 5b)

You're Hetty. If they come back, they come back. If they don't... I won't have to worry about them next time.

Portland, TX(Zone 9a)

I have alot of plants in flower beds that fit that saying Hap--if they come back, they come back. If they dont . . . I won't have to worry about em. Of course, I have several of my favorites that I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they will start perking up when spring makes its debut.

Chicago, IL(Zone 5b)

My spring starts this month. What about you Patty?

Portland, TX(Zone 9a)

With a mild winter, it is not unusual for spring to start in February, but this winter has been unusual. I don't think our spring will start until late February in to March. I am so ready. I think this is one of the hardest times of the year for gardeners when you're waiting for spring to arrive. Usually I can start getting my fix by starting seeds, but this winter no gardening got done cause of all the other stuff going on.

Bella loves being out in the yard. She will enjoy gardening with her momma once spring arrives.

Chicago, IL(Zone 5b)

Patty, you are delusional! Bella will be nothing but a PIA, but very lovable. How about a new picture?

Also, our 'winters' here usually just mean almost no rain and coolish temps, so my garden rarely changes from summer. Coleus come into their beautiful colors and everything just grows a little slower. What a hit in the head with this winter.

Portland, TX(Zone 9a)

Quoting:
Patty, you are delusional! Bella will be nothing but a PIA, but very lovable


I had to laugh at that one. I am so used to my old shih tzu who would lay in the yard and watch me garden. He was happy just to near.

Bella has already been a bad girl and she got her first spanking (or light pat on the butt). She got out in the front yard and wouldn't come back when I called. I had to run after her. She started running around and headed for the street with a car coming. I nearly had a heart attack.

I have new pictures of her after her hair cut but they are at home. I will try and send one this evening.

West Palm Beach, FL(Zone 10a)

Happy,

Yes, well mine are in pots on either side of my entryway but I cut them all the way to the dirt, remember they are rhizomes so new growth isnt coming from those old dead leaves anyway. Hack em back and get your frustrations out! LOL!

Xai Xai, Mozambique

i am presuming Bella is a dog??

Portland, TX(Zone 9a)

Yes Bella is a shih tzu pup--5 mos. old.

Portland, TX(Zone 9a)

Here's is Bella--not the best picture but she won't be still long enough for me to snap it. I tried to get a decent picture of her last week after she got her first hair cut but she moved that by the time I snapped it, I had a picture with no dog in it.

Thumbnail by phughes
Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

That's true Tropic, and in fact after a Hurricane we can get right in there and re-shape. The suffering here is we have to leave this disastor untouched as cold crappy rainy snowy icy weather keeps pummeling us. Every time we go outside and look at the tragic kingdom, we have to resist the urge to commence the clean up. Soon now though..very soon..we'll be able to have at it. In the mean time I've been focusing my attention on spring cleaning junk out and power washing the deck and house on those occasional semi-nice days. The reduced vegetation is an opportunity after all!

This message was edited Feb 4, 2010 1:52 PM

Chicago, IL(Zone 5b)

Oh, Patty, that brings back a memory that nearly sent me other the edge.

Then Archie was little, he squeezed between two 6' fences that gave him access to a main street. Did you ever see a 60 year old woman scale a 6' fence like it was 2', in my chef's uniform, no less. I was over so fast that I don't remember doing it. Well, Archie continued down the middle of the street 3" from my grasp. A wonderful driver came up behind this crazy duo and slowed down preventing any other cars to run us over. When I finally grabbed him, that's when I found out tails are for, I didn't know whether to Kiss or Kill. Close call there!

At 8, he can't fit through the fence but still bolts out the front door.

Hap

Chicago, IL(Zone 5b)

Rj, you're right. Let's keep our hands and minds busy so we don't go crazy.

Hap

Portland, TX(Zone 9a)

Yes I've decided Ms. Bella is only going out in the back yard which is fenced.

noonamah, Australia

Happy, you had me in stitches with your story. At least I learned something - I now know what dog's tails are for, LOL.

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

I know! I'm still chuckling

Chicago, IL(Zone 5b)

But it's true, but it's true!!!

It works every time. It's the bomb.

There is an un-trainable dog in my house, plus an un-trainable DH. I have given up on both. The tail works for both.

Hap

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

Ha..the Chronicle merged my tree fern in their news letter for Feb.....aaaaahhhh..poooor poor fern. She has new frond coming out...I do say..that I could have lost every plant in the garden and been fine as long as Fern lived...!

Thumbnail by rjuddharrison
noonamah, Australia

The first anniversary for last years firestorms in Victoria is coming up. They've been showing current footage of the area which, although it's recovering, is still looking very charred. One thing interesting though was the number of treeferns that had fully redeveloped their crowns as though nothing had happened. Mind you, their trunks looked more black than their usual furry brown. I think most of those would have been Dicksonia species.

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

Yes..it's turning out to be a hardy plant, once it's established. That's the tricky part for most gardeners here..When it's young ..it needs the perfect drainage, the perfect water, the perfect acidic soil, the perfect A.M./P.M. lighting, the perfect afternoon sun. Once it's made it past a year old, then it seems to go to weed status and taunts nature to give it it's best shot.
So far it's survived being pulled out of the ground and put in a pot/green house for the winter, a freeze that defoliated the garden but not the fern, snow, a Hurricane and now the 3 day freeze (with seat cushions wrapped around. This is the first time that it's ever defoliated.
I'm glad you helped me I.D. this, because it makes so much more sense when talking and seeing other tree ferns here in Houston. I mean this guy lands in the Houston Chronicle a lot. I didn't even know it was in there this time until they emailed me today for some larger photos..they want better quality.

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