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My croton has been slowly losing leaves from the bottom upwards for about three years but since it has also been steadily growing and producing new ones at the top, I didn't consider it an issue.

However, the process has accelerated over the last month, there hasn't been any growth for a few months, the top leaves are rather small and wavy, and I'm unable figure out why.

Here is a photo of the plant on 24 December:

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And this is a photo from today, 10 January:

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Some of the leaves that fall off seem entirely normal, only a slightly lighter shade of green, but others have this one large dry patch that develops from the very tip a few days before the leaf gets detached, as in this instance when it had just fallen off:

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I have another croton right next to it, which is quite strong and healthy, i.e. they both have the same conditions and receive the same care, but only this one has been having issues.

Could you please help me diagnose the issue and suggest how to properly resolve it?

Thank you!

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  • Looks like not enough light.; light is also necessary for the leaves to turn red, yellow, etc. Is the second plant well colored ? Jan 10, 2022 at 19:32
  • @blacksmith37 No, the second plant's leaves are dark green, much like the upper leaves of this one. They are positioned next to the window (about 20 cm to the right in the photo) directly facing east, but it's currently winter and this is in Europe, so there isn't much sunlight. Also, the relative humidity tends to be on the drier side, between 30 and 40%. Jan 10, 2022 at 21:20

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Crotons are grown outdoors in Mexico as hedges due to their colourful foliage. Your plants have little to no variegation which is normally due to low levels over a long period of time.

I don't see any spider mites which are common and look like grains of salt on the underside of the leaves.

My diagnosis is not enough light. Move the plant to a south window or supply additional illumination.

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  • Thank you for your help! Unfortunately, I live in a flat and have only windows facing east and west, plus winters are rather dark over here, but I'll do what I can to maximise the amount of sunlight it gets. Would you recommend moving it between the two rooms during the day as the sun moves, or could it actually be harmful, please? Moreover, if I decided to illuminate it with a grow light, is there a specific one you would recommend? Jan 12, 2022 at 1:54
  • @HaroldCavendish moving the plant daily sounds like more work than any kind of grow light. Also, consider growing a low light plant instead.
    – kevinskio
    Jan 12, 2022 at 12:28
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    Thanks again! While I love these plants, I did not choose them myself, so I can't do much about that now. When I did choose myself, it was Zamioculcas zamiifolia and those are thriving. :) Jan 16, 2022 at 1:59

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