How to Take Care of a Croton Plant

how to take care of a croton plant

A Croton plant (Codiaeum Variegatum) is a perennial evergreen shrub native to the tropical forests of Malaysia, India, and Australia. Known for its beautiful combinations of green, yellow, orange, red, cream, pink, and black leaves, it will add color to your home. Here are some tips and more to properly take care of a croton plant!


What Are Some Different Types of Croton?

  • Mammy
  • Gold Dust
  • Red Iceton
  • Eleanor
  • Oakleaf
  • Petra


What Soil Works Best for Croton Plants?

what soil works best for croton plants

Crotons do well with soil designed for orchids and or azalea plants. They like a little bit of acidity in their ground, with a ph between 4.5 and 6.5. You also want soil that can drain well and place the plant in a container with drainage holes.


Croton’s don’t need a lot of fertilizer. Once at the beginning of spring, the beginning of summer, and mid-summer will be plenty to keep your plant growing strong. You don’t need to fertilize in the fall or winter months.


How Much Sun Does a Croton Plant Need?

Light needs depend on the variety you choose, but they typically need a lot of bright/ direct light.  Direct light allows the leaves to maintain the vibrant hues that these varieties are known for. With types like the Oakleaf variety, noted with bronze or dark green leaves, you will be able to get away with more shaded areas.


On average, these plants need somewhere between 4-6 hours of direct sunlight every day. And if they don’t get enough light, you will notice when your plant begins to grow sparse and lackluster foliage that has lost its vibrant color.


What Temperature Works Best for Croton Plants?

what temperature works best for croton plants

Croton’s do best with warm temperatures between 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit. Below 50 degrees Fahrenheit can be harmful to the plant. In severe cases, it will begin to lose its leaves and possibly die. In the cooler months, make sure to keep the plant away from areas with cold drafts, such as windows and doors.


Does this Plant Enjoy Humidity?

These plants originate from tropical climates – and will typically need around 40-80% humidity. If you don’t keep your home in this range, you have a few options. First, you can mist the leaves every week to create some humidity. Second, you can use a humidifier, a bathroom with a shower, or even a pebble tray to create more humidity.


How Often Should You Water a Croton Plant?

how often should you water a croton plant

A croton plant enjoys moist soil with the chance to dry out between waterings. When the soil is 25-50% dry, often noted as dry to the touch, it is when to water the plant. Make sure that water is draining from the bottom holes of the plot before you stop.


Allow the soil to dry before you water again, or else you can run into root rot.


What Size Does this Grow to Typically?

An average height of a croton plant inside your home is around 4 – 5 feet give or take. However, out in the wild, this plant can grow between 10 – 20 feet.


Most Common Bugs?

Mealybugs, red spider mites, thrips, and plant scale are common bugs that attack this plant. The best way to remove these bugs from the plant is with insecticidal soap or neem oil. If you are looking to make your own insecticidal soap, you can visit this link.


Most Common Diseases?

A common disease with this plant is root rot. Root rot occurs from overwatering the plant and or having the plant in a container without suitable drainage holes. If you suspect root rot, you need to take the plant out of the pot, remove any dead roots and excessive water, and then place the plant in an area with good light. Also, hold off on watering the plant until the plant has had time to completely dry.


How Often Should You Repot this Plant?

You should only repot a croton plant if it looks too big for its current environment. For example, if the roots are sticking out of the bottom of the container, you should repot it. The general rule is to use a new pot two inches or less long in diameter than the previous home and with fresh potting soil.


Can you Propagate this Plant?

Yes, you can propagate a croton plant. If you plan to do this, make sure you do it in the early spring to give the propagated plant plenty of time to become healthy through the growing season.


Here, you will want to begin with 4-6 inch stem cuttings placed in a glass of water. And once the roots start to form, you can begin repotting and transfer it to well-draining potting soil and return to your usual care routine.


Is the Plant Toxic?

Croton’s can be dangerous to both humans and common house pets. If digested, both the seeds and the plant itself can irritate the digestive tract leading to problems like mouth and stomach irritation, abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, and vomiting.


However, the seeds of the plants can be part of medicine. Some uses of the seeds help treat gallbladder issues, malaria and blocked intestines.


Why Are the Leaves on My Croton Falling Off?

This plant has a reputation for being problematic because of the typical experience first-time buyers have. Within the first week, new crotons may have a problem with leaf loss, giving the perception of it as a fickle plant.


But in this case, there is no need to worry. Croton’s don’t like to move between locations, and the stress can put them in shock. This response causes them to shed the leaves. However, within a few weeks, there should be new growth to bring it back to normal.


Conclusion: How to Take Care of a Croton Plant

The croton, fussy by reputation but easy to care for in nature, has been a popular way to add colorful variety to homes worldwide. Originating from the Greek word for tick, it gets its name from the tick-like leaf shape. However, the plant’s toxicity may ward off some parents and pet owners, so consider that before bringing this plant into your home.


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