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Croton Plant Profile
The croton (Codiaeum variegatum) looks to have it all: vibrant foliage, practically infinite leaf shapes, and even cult status. However, there is one drawback: they are more challenging to live indoors.
Crotons prefer damp, warm environments with dappled light and plenty of water in their natural habitats. When growing them indoors, the most significant issue is to keep the correct temperature—if it becomes too cold, they begin to lose leaves.
On the other hand, Crotons are well worth the effort because well-grown croton is a rainbow of color. Crotons are evergreen shrubs that are only hardy in USDA plant hardiness zones 11 and 12 and are commonly used as attractive shrubs in the landscape.
Outdoor plants can grow up to ten feet tall, but potted specimens are often much smaller, making them ideal for permanent houseplants or indoor/outdoor container plants.
When temperatures remain above 50 degrees Fahrenheit, many crotons can be brought outside if they have been appropriately acclimated to the light and temperature circumstances.
The secret to well-grown croton keeping its leaves to the soil level is to give consistent temperature. Crotons drop leaves even in outdoor settings following a cold night.
If croton develops leggy, prune it back severely at the start of the growing season and transplant it outside. The severed portion of the plant will regenerate. The quality of light determines the vibrancy of leaf hues. Don’t be afraid to use a lot of bright, changing light. Spider mites thrive in low-humidity environments, which renders crotons particularly vulnerable.
To avoid an infestation, mist the plants daily. Crotons require bright, indirect light to thrive. They don’t appreciate direct, unfiltered sunlight, but they flourish in dappled light. Bright light is required for vibrant colors.
In the summer, keep them equally moist, and only water them in the winter. During the growing period, mist regularly. Potting soil should be used, as it should be well-drained.
Humidity and Temperature
Maintain a temperature of at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit in the room and avoid exposing the plant to chilly draughts. The color of the leaves is also affected by humidity and a lack of intense light. Maintain a humidity of 40 to 80 percent.
The plant may drop some of its leaves if the humidity isn’t high enough. Run a humidifier in the room or place a humidity tray beneath the plant and group it with other plants if you have difficulties keeping this amount of humidity in your home.
During the growing season, use slow-release pellets or liquid fertilizer.
Replanting and Potting
In the spring, repot croton if necessary. Use a container that is only one size larger than the current container of the plant. Fill the new container with 1 to 2 inches of damp peat-based potting soil. Slide the croton out of its container by turning it on its side.
Fill in around the roots with potting soil and place it in the new pot. If necessary, water the plant and add more soil to bring the soil level to about 1 inch below the lip of the new container.
Stem cuttings are a simple way to propagate crotons. To improve your chances of success, use a rooting hormone. Crotons may generate “sports,” or shoots, that are dissimilar to the parent plant.
These can be potted on their own. Crotons are challenging to be grown from seed since the plant is unstable, and the progeny will not look like the parent. Cuttings are the only way to get a plant that looks exactly like the parent.
Croton plants come in a variety of types
Dreadlocks, Ann Rutherford, Mona Lisa, and Irene Kingsley are just a few croton variants available. Surprisingly, there are only one species of this plant with such incredible diversity (C. variegatum).
On the other hand, Crotons are genetically unstable, so each plant is unique, and collectors reward fascinating variety. Curling, twisted, oak leaf, narrow, broad, and round are leaf types seen in crotons. Among the most notable kinds are:
- C. variegatum var. pictum has large, brilliantly colored leaves in orange, red, bronze, green, purple, and yellow; as a houseplant; it reaches 3 to 6 feet tall.
- C. variegatum ‘Gold Star’ has narrow, linear green leaves with vivid yellow patterning, a tree-like form, and only reaches a height of around 20 inches.
- C. variegatum ‘Petra’ is a popular cultivar with oval, green leaves with strong veining in pink, red, orange, and yellow hues that can grow from 3 to 6 feet tall.