Welcome to our guide to croton plant care. In general crotons like plenty of bright light, not to dry out and a little bit of extra humidity…
Croton Plant Care Summary
|Light needs:||Bright indirect sunlight.|
|Watering needs:||Only let the top few centimeters (or inch) dry out. Do not let them dry out totally between waterings.|
|Fertilizer:||Use a low nitrogen fertilizer once a month in summer.|
|Soil:||Rich, well draining|
|Humidity:||High end of normal household humidity – mist them 2 or 3 times a week.|
|Temperature:||20°C to 25°C (68°F to 77°F), avoid drafts in the winter.|
|Where to buy:||Try our list of Rare Plant Shops or Etsy.|
|Other names:||Variegated laurel, codiaeum variegatum.|
|Common issues:||The can suffer from dropping leaves, the most common cause is underwatering.|
Welcome to our Croton Plant Care guide. The Croton aka the codiaeum variegatum is a beautifully-leaved tropical house plant, originally from Indonesia. It has become popular for it’s colorful foliage.
Tip: we recommend Etsy for buying plants. Look for the best rated seller you can, and try to buy as close to your home as possible so the plant does not travel too far.
Croton Light Needs
Crotons like a good amount of sunlight. If you want to encourage the brilliant bright leaves give your plant a lot of light. These are definitely ones for south facing windows. But if you cannot provide so much light, then they will be ok with less. Overtime the leaves may not be as bright though.
Tip: give it as much light as possible to encourage the colors.
How Often to Water Your Croton
These plants love moist soil, so keep it wet. Only let the top few centimeters (or inch) dry out. Do not let them dry out totally between waterings. In warmer months I would check them twice a week and then once a week the rest of the year.
Crotons will grow quicker in the growing season if you feed them once a month. Use a low nitrogen fertilizer.
They like a rich, well draining peat based potting compost. I like to add perlite to normal potting compost to add drainage, about 20% perlite to 80% soil.
When To Repot A Croton
Crotons are ok to get slightly root bound, but not heavily. If the pot starts to get root bound or you see roots growing through the holes at the bottom of the pot then it is a good idea to repot your croton. The best time of year is Spring, so check them around Easter time.
Tip: I check all my plants at Easter time and look at the roots, then pot them up a size if they are starting to get crowded. This way they will have room to grow over warmer growing months.
Crotons are tropical plants, mist them when you can! They like bit of humidity, the higher end of normal household humidity levels are good.
Crotons like 20°C to 25°C (68°F to 77°F), so the higher end of normal household temperatures is great for them. Don’t let your plants get cold in the winter by being in a draft or too close to a cold window.
Where To Buy
You see these for sales in a lot of places, so support your local plant shop. It is also worth checking out our list of Rare Plant Shops which covers many small and large online plant retailers. Or Etsy.
Other Names for Croton
Variegated laurel, codiaeum variegatum.
Croton Plant Propagation
The easiest way to propagate a croton plant is to take a cutting, then let the wound callous over for half a day then put the cutting in a jar of water. Keep it warm and well lit and it should root over the forthcoming weeks. Once roots are well established you can pot it up into soil.
How To Divide A Croton Plant
You can divide croton by takign them out of the their pot and splitting them at the roots. The plant obviously needs to be big enough and have quite a few stems. If the roots are tightly packed you can cut the roots with a knife or scissors, just try to limit the damage and be as careful as possible. Then you can pot the plants up individually.
They live for upt to 4 years, but they have normally divided by then, so there is normally only a part of the plants in the pot dies back.
Can Crotons Take Full Sun?
They can grow outside in full sun.
Is It Toxic To Cats?
They are toxic to cats if eaten, and can cause vomiting and numbness. So seek vets advice immediately if your pet eats any.
Croton Plant USDA Zone
You can grow them outdoors in zones 9-11.
Croton Plant Care FAQs and Common Issues
Why Is My Croton Losing Leaves?
One of the most common issues with crotons is losing or dropping leaves. They can drop leaves for a number of reasons – see if the soil is dry as this is the most likely cause. Keep the plant from drying out in the future. Another reason for falling leaves is pests – look at the leaves and check it does not have damage from bugs or mealy bugs.
Why Are My Leaves Browning?
Browning of leaves can also be an issue, this is normally related to a lack of humidity, so mist your plants more regularly.
Why Is My Croton Not Colorful?
The most common cause of your croton losing it’s colour and the leaves becoming green is lack of light. Move it towards your brightest window, or even consider a grow light in winter.
Is My Croton Plant Poisonous?
Yes, it is toxic to people and pets. Make sure no one eats it! It doesn’t taste good so cats and dogs should leave it alone but it is vey toxic if they do eat it, so be careful.
Can Croton Plant Survive Winter Outside?
Crotons will do well outside in most zones, but cannot be allowed to get down to freezing for long periods of time, so bring it indoors when it is frosty outside.
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