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Croton, unique leafage: planting and care

Croton care

Croton is native to the islands of the Pacific Ocean.

Key facts about Croton

Name – Codiaeum variegatum
Family – Euphorbiaceae
Type – indoor plant

Height – 36 to 40 inches (0.8 to 1 meter) indoors
Exposure – very well-lit
Soil – soil mix

Foliage – evergreen

Care, repotting, watering and exposure, are items to focus your attention on  that will make your croton even nicer.

It makes our houses and apartments look lively with its elevated ornamental impact and unique foliage.

Planting and repotting croton

Upon purchasing, if the pot is too small, proceed to repotting so that the plant may grow adequately.

After that, every 2 or 3 years and preferably in spring, repot your croton in a pot of a slightly larger size.

  • Croton roots hate having too much water.
    Double-check that the pot has a hole in the bottom.
    Increase drainage with a layer of gravel or clay pebbles along the bottom of the pot, to make water flow through more easily.
  • Good soil mix is needed.
    The plant, when it lives indoors, needs soil mix because that is the only source for the nutrients it needs.

Pruning, and caring for croton

At the end of winter, if your croton has lost many leaves, feel free to cut it back even more.

That will stimulate the sending of new shoots and will rejuvenate your plant.

Where to place the croton

Croton with colorful leavesThe best place to set up your croton is near a window that lets a lot of light through, but isn’t in direct sunlight.

  • It is vulnerable to excess sun that might dry the plant up.
  • The more light a croton receives, the nicer its foliage.

Absolutely avoid setting it near heat sources such as radiators, because moisture is what this tropical plant most needs.

  • Ideal temperatures hover around 70°F (20°C).

Croton care

At the end of winter, if you croton plant has lots a lot of leaves, go ahead and cut the stem back by a third, or even half.

It’ll trigger new leaves: these will appear lower down and give your plant a fresh, new look.

Watering croton:

Regular but moderate watering is called for.

All year long and especially during summer, spray leaves to recreate the moisture levels of its natural habitat.

In spring and summer

Keep the soil mix moist and check that water drains properly.

Add green plant liquid fertilizer every 8 to 15 days during the growing phase.

  • Spray the leaves on a regular basis with calcium-free water.

In fall and winter

Reduce watering and wait for the soil to be dry before watering again.

  • Stop adding fertilizer.

Common diseases that infect croton

Most diseases targeting the plant are common indoor plant diseases, red spiders and scale insects.

Learn more about croton

A marvelous indoor plant, croton is toxic and poisonous and must be handled with gloves to avoid risking intoxication.

Read also:

Images: 123RF: Юрий Поздников, CC BY-SA 2.0: Daryl Mitchell
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  • Pragya wrote on 17 July 2020 at 12 h 09 min

    Thank you for the article. I am a new gardener and have purchased different kind of plants during the last 2 months. I loved the looks of Croton and purchased two. First one I think is Gold Star Croton and second one had similar colors but longer leaves. I repotted both in new pots at home. The Gold Star reacted well and is doing fine. It has even given me 2-3 new leaves.
    The second one in the first 2 weeks itself dropped its leaves, then nothing for 2 weeks, then again gave me 2 leaves and now the leaves again dried/dropped.
    Earlier I gave much water and after reading the article, I reduced the amount of water in both. The second one still doesnt seem to revive. They are both kept in balcony but not in the direct sun area. I dont know what to do. My second plant’s pot doesnt have a drainage hole and its too thick to make one. Is it advisable to repot it given its behaviour till date?
    Thank you in advance.

    • Gaspard wrote on 17 July 2020 at 22 h 23 min

      It’s definitely essential to find a way for the water to drain. Otherwise, it’s simply going to drown. Croton can take a lot of water, but the roots do need to breath sometimes. It isn’t very difficult to drill a hole, even in stone or ceramic or terra cotta: the most important part is having the correct drill bit for that, and to turn at recommended speeds. It’s slow but it works fine. Your other option is to transfer it to a new pot with holes. It’s important to solve the problem or your second croton will die! But you can also take a cutting from it, that way it can survive in a different way 🙂