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How to Grow and Care for Croton Plants

Codiaeum variegatum

HousePlant IconThis plant grows best with full sun for most of the dayThis plant requires or will tolerate shade during the heat of the dayThis plant will tolerate some drought, but benefits from periodic wateringThis plant needs a thorough, deep weekly watering, Double icons require boggy or wet conditionsYellow flowering plantCodiaeum variegatumHow to Use the Plant Care Icons at The Garden Helper
Crotons are tender perennial plants that will grow to three feet tall or more.
They are most often grown as house plants or in a greenhouse environment.
Their thick, glossy foliage is brightly colored in combinations and shades of
red, yellow, pink, orange, burgundy, bronze or green.
The leaves may be wide and smooth, long and narrow, or very irregularly shaped.
Deeder the Garden Gnome

Growing Requirements for Croton Plants

Unfortunately, Crotons tend to be pretty fussy about their growing environment.
Low humidity, drafts, drought, temperatures below 50°, or
rapid changes in temperature can all cause the leaves to drop.
In USDA zones 11 and 12, they can be grown in the garden
or in containers in a space where the will get full sun.
Crotons can be grown in partial shade, but will lose much of their bright coloring.
Larger growing cultivars make excellent hedge plantings.
Narrow leaved varieties of Croton are considerably easier to grow and care for.

Growing Crotons as House Plants

When growing your Croton as a house plant, it should be planted in a rich, commercial potting mix.
Grow them in a draft free area where they receive full sun or very bright light for at least 4 hours a day.
Night time temperatures should be about 65° and a daytime temperature range of 70°-80°, with 80° being ideal.
Crotons require high humidity (near 70%).
Unfortunately, when temperatures in the home rise above 67°, the humidity drops drastically,
so it may be necessary to sacrifice a few degrees of warmth in lieu of an increase in the humidity.
Additional humidity can be created by setting the planter on a tray filled with moist pebbles,
creating an indoor greenhouse or placing an aquarium nearby.
Keep the soil evenly moist except in December and January when you should allow the soil to dry slightly to allow for dormancy.
Feed Crotons monthly when they are actively growing with a
fertilizer specifically formulated for house plants.
Repot your Croton in early spring.

Propagating Croton Plants and Growing Them from Seed

Crotons are easily propagated with tip cuttings taken from new growth
in the spring or summer and rooted at 70°-80°.

Croton plants can also be propagated by air layering

Start Croton seeds indoors at any time of the year.
Maintain a temperature of 75°-80° within the growing medium until germination, which takes about 30 days.

Codiaeum variegatum
A Glossy Leaved Croton Plant, Codiaeum variegatum A Croton Plant with strongly Variegated Foliage

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