Croton is one of the most colorful evergreen shrub that we grow indoor. Also known " >

Croton

Croton

Croton is one of the most colorful evergreen shrub that we grow indoor. Also known as Codiaeum, this plant has its origin in Malaysia and the larger islands in the Est Pacific. It is grown for its decorative foliage.

The leaves are alternate, linear to broadly ovate, simple or shallowly to deeply lobed, often variegated leaves. They reach all the possible colors that a leaf can get, from the brightest green and yellow to the deepest green and red. They change the foliage colors while they mature. There are never two leaves that look the same on a plant and this is why Croton is so attractive.

When is getting colder or too hot in the summer, Croton will produce tiny, star-shaped yellow flowers in axillary racemes. They don't play part in the decorative role of Croton.

It enjoy a loam-based potting compost and the place in full light but with shade from hot sun and high humidity. So find it a place near a west window and it will be just fine, keeping its bright colors in full shape.

In growth period water freely and apply a liquid fertilizer every 2-3 weeks. Remember to mist regularly in the growth period because of its need for high humidity. Avoid high temperature differences, because this will cause the drop of its leaves.

In winter just water it sparingly with tepid water. Top dress the pot in spring. It is better to change its pot every spring in the first three years of its life and after that repot it only when the root ball is filling the pot. It can reach one meter hight and wide, and will join you for more than ten years if you will care for it.

It can be affected by red spider mites but this will not happen if you will maintain the proper humidity.

To propagate Croton you can root softwood cuttings with bottom heat in summer, dipping the bases in charcoal  to stop 'bleeding' or you can air layer in spring. You can prune young shots in spring to make the plant become more dense and so you will have your cuttings for the propagation.

  Crotons may be pruned heavily during spring or other mild periods of the year. Crotons may attain a height of 8-10 feet, and tend to produce the heaviest foliage at the top of the plant. It is wise to cut back rather heavily to force new foliage lower down on the stem. It is best to prune about one-third of the branches, then wait until new growth has started before pruning again. This keeps the Croton plant more uniform in shape and more attractive during the pruning process. Pinching out the tips of Crotons will encourage multi-branching and therefore, a more attractive, fuller specimen.

How To Care For Croton Plant?

Moderate to high intensity sunlight is what a croton plant requires. So, place the plant within 3-5 feet of an east or west-facing window. This would provide the right amount of light the plant requires for its survival. Take care that the plant is not exposed to heat during mid-day. If the plant does not receive the amount of sunlight that it is supposed to, it loses its leaf color. So it is also important to keep an eye on the leaves in a croton plant care. During winters, keeping the light levels up helps the plant in producing better colors.

Heavy watering and high humidity environment favors the growth of a croton plant. However, heavy watering does not mean over-watering the plant. Moist and well-drained soil keeps the plant in good shape and so does watering with lukewarm water. If the plant does not get enough water, then its leaves would fall and start to slope downwards. If the tips of the leaves start taking a brown color, this indicates poor water supply to the plant. Over-watering of the plant is indicated by wilting. During winters, the croton plant would come to a halt in its growing process and so less water will be required.

Misting the plant once or twice a week also proves beneficial for croton plant care. However, if you live in an area with high-humidity levels, then you can mist the plant less often. A croton plant prefers growing in temperatures of about 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit. Fluctuations in the temperature is considered to be a problematic factor for the plant. If the temperature is too hot or too cold, it can be a reason for the leaves to fall off from the plant.

As with any house plants, croton plant also needs to be fed regularly, but during its growing season and less during the winters. Any good quality houseplant fertilizer may be administered every three weeks to make for the plant's feeding requirements.

Before bringing home a croton plant, it is wise to consider that the plant is toxic for many animals and even for humans. Having kids and pets at home raise concerns about a consistent and regular croton plant care. The plant when punctures, releases a whit sap that can leave stain on clothes or even irritate the skin. However, patience and diligent care of the plant helps prevent these small inconveniences, and helps the plant to add natural beauty to any décor!


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