Why is My Croton Plant Losing Leaves?

croton plant losing leaves

Croton plants have vibrant foliage that brightens up a space. This easy-care houseplant is all about greenery, which makes it all the more disappointing when your plant experiences leaf drop. There are various reasons why the leaves fall off a Croton plant, and usually, it comes down to fluctuating conditions. Croton have specific care requirements, but they also like consistency. Here are some common reasons if you’re struggling with a Croton plant losing leaves.

Croton foliage

Water Stress

Croton plants need water when the top inch of the soil is dry. A consistent watering routine is essential for the plant to thrive. Allowing the soil to dry out more will dehydrate the plant and can result in leaf loss. Watering when the top layer is damp is also perilous and may result in leaf loss. Being late to water once is unlikely to be a problem, but continued water stress can be damaging. Empty the saucer or cover pot after watering so water is not reabsorbed and the roots are not wet for a prolonged time.

Inconsistent Lighting

Sunlight is an integral part of Croton care. These leafy plants need increased light to maintain their bold variegation. Foliage may revert to green when grown in low light, and growth will slow down. Plants that experience low-light conditions for an extended time may fall victim to leaf drop.

Croton houseplants can handle limited amounts of direct light but avoid direct sunlight for extended periods. Exposure to too much light can singe or burn the leaves. Damaged leaves may fall from the plant.

Croton plant light requirements

Too Much Fertilizer

Monthly fertilizer applications during the growing season benefit Croton and encourage the plant to push out new leaves. Use a balanced fertilizer or a plant food high in nitrogen to promote foliage growth.

Too much of a good thing is not such a good thing. Feeding Croton more frequently than monthly, fertilizing when the plant is dormant, or using the incorrect mix, can be harmful. Overfertilizing can be behind a Croton plant losing leaves.

Temperature Changes

Warm temperatures are ideal for Croton plants. Comfortable room temperature for you is also good for Crotons. This low-maintenance houseplant does not like cool temperatures or temperature swings. Drastic temperature changes can result in a Croton plant losing leaves.

Keep your Croton away from heating and cooling vents. This plant prefers to stay out of air conditioning altogether if possible. Croton plants make an excellent addition to an outdoor space, but wait until the temperature is consistently above 60° F before moving outside.

Dry Air

Croton plants are more forgiving regarding humidity, but change is problematic. Damp conditions are generally fine, although plants grown in high humidity will need water less often. Low humidity is not good. Crispy edges on foliage indicate that conditions are too dry and are a precursor to leaves falling off. Take steps to increase the humidity if you notice dry leaves. Better yet, proactively monitor the humidity and introduce a humidifier or pebble tray into your space if the humidity dips below 40%.

croton plant losing leaves

Environment Change

Bringing a new plant home or moving an acclimated plant to a new location can be reason enough for a Croton plant losing leaves. A plant that is settled into its home and doing well may not be happy to move. Make sure you have a good location lined up before moving a Croton, and give it time. Don’t be alarmed if the plant drops a couple of leaves, but look for other issues if the plant continues to lose leaves.

Potting Stress

Leaves can fall from a rootbound plant just as easily as from a plant that is stressed from repotting. Finding the right time to repot Croton is a careful balance. Roots poking through the drainage holes indicate a Croton needs to be repotted. Plan to repot every couple of years to freshen up the soil and give the plant a new pot.

Gently slide the plant from its existing pot during repotting. Minimize contact with the roots as much as possible. Allow loose soil to fall away, but leave whatever stays in place. Add one or two inches of fresh soil to the new pot, place the Croton’s root ball in the pot, and fill the sides with new soil. 


Pests are unsightly and damaging. Infestation can be behind a Croton plant losing leaves. Mealybugs, mites, scales, and thrips are some of the most likely pests to bother Croton plants. Look under leaves and along the stems for signs of pests. Treat accordingly and continue monitoring the plant until there are no signs of pests.

Help Croton Plant Losing Leaves

It’s a bummer when plants show signs of distress, but there is always a reason. Understanding why a Croton experiences leaf drop makes it possible to resolve an issue and prevent future problems. Stick to ideal care and further help your plant by cleaning the leaves. Gently wipe the leaves using a damp cloth to remove dust buildup. 

Croton are easy houseplants, but they certainly grow accustomed to their environment. Change is sometimes necessary, and minimizing disruption can keep your plant leafy and happy.