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Codiaeum variegatum, Croton, differences in cold hardiness of cultivars


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#1 Eric in Orlando

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 05:59 AM

This past winter was a mild one here, we did not go below freezing. But the previous 2 winters were cold/cool ones (2009-10, 2010-11). Both winters did not go below 28F but there were long stretches of cool and cold so plants were tested for duration.

In the Tropical Stream Garden here at Leu Gardens we have planted out several dozen cultivars of Croton, Codiaeum variegatum. Until the past 2 winters I had never really noticed much difference in cold hardiness between cultivars. But this became evident following the 2 long winters.

The crotons grow in mostly bright shade so they do not get frost. Also, the area they grow in is warmer so probably didn't see much below 30-31F. Here are some general observations on how some of the cultvars tolerated the cold.

Anyone else have observations on cold hardiness differences in croton cultivars ??

TENDER- these were killed

'Magnificent'
'Nestor'
'Picasso's Paintbrush'
'Piecrust'
'Purity'
'Revolutions'
'Tamara'
'Yellow Mammey'
'Zulu'

SEMI TENDER- these suffered moderate to severe damage

'AFD #5' ('Fantasy')
'Batik'
'Eberneum'
'Mammey'
'Mrs. Iceton'
'Nervia'
'Red Banana'
'Zanibar'

HARDIER- little or no damage

'Appendiculatum' ('Mother and Daughter')
'Aureo-maculata' ('Gold Dust')
'Corkscrew'
'Cupleaf'
'Dreadlocks'
'Eleanor Roosevelt'
'Franklin Roosevelt'
'General Paget'
'Petra'
'Picturatum'
'Pinnochio'
'Sloppy Painter'
'Sunny Star'
'Yellow Petra'
'Victoria Bell'
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Eric
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#2 ThunderSRQ

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 12:33 PM

The only one that comes to mind immediately for me (as basically a match of your findings) is 'Picasso's Paintbrush' -- mine is just barely alive (having been hit very hard by the last two cold winters before this past OK/normal one) -- definitely much more cold-sensitive than most/all others. Other than that, 'Gloriosa', 'Polychrome', and 'President Reagen' were all killed by the Jan. - March 2010 record cold spell, and 'Rudy Bachman' was killed by the Dec. 2010 record cold spell (after being weakened by the previous winter). 'Louis Dupuy' was hit pretty hard -- as was 'King of Siam' -- but both recovered, and both 'Nestor' and 'Ms. Iceton' (from your list) suffered some damage (I'd put those first two in the very tender category and the last two in the semi-tender category)

Tim
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#3 Laisla87

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 12:34 PM

This is very useful information. Did you find any correlation between the age of the cultivars (i.e. the old-fashioned crotons vs. the newer releases) in terms of cold hardiness? I would suspect the older ones have greater tolerance.
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#4 Ray Tampa

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 05:49 PM

Eric,

I would agree with most of your findings but there are a few inconsistencies. I had 26F in the open garden in January 2010 with 28-30F likely under canopy. Nestor and Piecrust survived here with Nestor not even completely defoliating. These are very old cultivars and typically have better genetics than more recently introduced clones.

By the way, Appendiculatum and Mother and Daughter are not the same plant. Appendiculatum has samller leaves that are completely green including the undersides. M & D has larger leaves and some dark red/maroon color on the undersides.

Sloppy Painter is really Eleanor Roosevelt.

Ray
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#5 Eric in Orlando

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 05:52 AM

Thanks, I had been told 'Appendiculatum' and "Mother and Daughter' were the same. We have a couple growing, I will have to look and see which they are.

And with 'Sloppy Painter', that makes sense, I always thought they looked the same.
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Eric
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#6 Moose

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 07:11 AM

Eric - I believe that Stoplight, Stewarti and Morti are some of the most cold hardy of cultivars. Perhaps the garden should add to their collection. :)
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#7 Eric in Orlando

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 07:20 AM

I planted a 'Stoplight' last summer. Thanks for the tip on the other 2 !!!
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Eric
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#8 Eric in Orlando

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 09:21 AM

Came across 2 other "hardier" crotons not hurt by the 2 cold winters;

'Lauren's Rainbow'
'Twist and Point'
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Eric
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#9 Laisla87

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 02:38 AM

I have a cultivar called 'Elaine' which is particularly vigorous. Has anyone had any experience with this one?
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#10 Tropicgardener

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 07:43 PM

Elaine grows very well here as do most codiaeums.........of interest (at least here in Australia) are the 'Colours of Africa' series. I am led to believe that these cultivars were selected in Belgium and specifically selected for their ability to handle cooler temperatures, indoor conditions and their tendency to be vigorous and branching.
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Andrew,
Airlie Beach, Whitsundays

Tropical Queensland





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