By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer
Croton (Codiaeum variegatum) is a striking plant with stripes, splashes, spots, dots, bands, and blotches in a range of bold and vivid colors. Although usually grown indoors, it makes a beautiful shrub or container plant in non-freezing climates. Either way, bright (but not overly intense) sunlight brings out the amazing colors. Read on for brief descriptions of several different kinds of croton.
When it comes to different croton plants, the selection of croton varieties is nearly endless and absolutely none are boring.
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Read more about Croton Plants
|Family:||Euphorbiaceae (yoo-for-bee-AY-see-ee) (Info)|
|Genus:||Codiaeum (koh-dih-EE-um) (Info)|
|Species:||variegatum (var-ee-GAY-tum) (Info)|
|Synonym:||Codiaeum variegatum var. genuinum|
Tropicals and Tender Perennials
Requires consistently moist soil do not let dry out between waterings
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)
Suitable for growing in containers
All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested
From semi-hardwood cuttings
By stooling or mound layering
Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed
This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:
Boynton Beach, Florida(2 reports)
Fort George G Meade, Maryland
Georgetown, South Carolina
On Mar 17, 2016, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:
As a houseplant, I've never had any long-term success with this shrub. It drops leaves faster than it produces them, till tufts of leaves are left at the ends of long naked stems. Then those go as well. I suspect it's partly low indoor humidity. Outdoor containers sometimes have the same problem--could it be too much or too little water, with a limited margin for error?
In West Palm Beach, a large and reasonably attractive landscape shrub (7' high and wide) still is dropping a daily harvest of leaves. A messy plant.
On Jun 1, 2014, Alex4294 from Plymouth,
United Kingdom (Zone 9b) wrote:
I bought this plant as a small 4" cutting with a few leaves for 99p at a local garden centre. For a few years it threw leaves out in short bursts over the year in a north facing window, before being moved to a window that receives a few hours of afternoon sun. Over the course of 4 years it has reached 2ft high with a couple of small branches on the side. New leaves are green with golden veins, which eventually flush red as they age. Despite reading about how fussy this plant is in textbooks, it copes well with standard house conditions with no special care. While not amazingly fast growing for me, it seems really happy and looks great!
On Jan 24, 2014, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:
I actually saw living,doing well Croton's outdoors in Hayward in the SF bay area. They had to have grown at least one full summer outdoors,and they had managed to take a 30f with what looked like minimal leaf drop this winter. Bigger stems then those right out of the stores,and the leaves had the outdoor grown look,being not quite as big as the greenhouse plants. But,they were paddle shaped and a colorful splash of red and orange. The classic Croton.
I was amazed to see this. I never thought THEY could take our cool winters. Yes,they were in large pots not in ground. But outdoors 24/7.
On Dec 24, 2009, DJ27 from Strawberry Plains, TN wrote:
hi I'm new to the site and I'm not sure if this is the right place to ask questions. I joined because I am a new home owner and inheritant of house plants. I am having trouble with my croton. it seemed fine, a little leggy, but fine. I love the plant and it came from a funeral so, it is special to my husband and I. over night one of its two branches lost the rest of its leaves and the other which was very perky just drooped! I did just repot it due to learning its pot was way to big. it lives in a brigt draft free room with moist soil. what might I be doing wrong?
On Jun 6, 2009, atm1 from Detroit, MI wrote:
Nice root system, so keep soil moist and don't forget to mist!
On Apr 6, 2009, hmbgerl from Folsom, CA wrote:
We grow ours indoors because of extremes in summer/winter. A year ago, the new leaves grew long, thin, and very twisted (corkscrew-like). This year the newer set of leaves are oval and kind of flat. Leaves deepen in red color as the leaves age. Thinking about growing it outdoors. anyone in CA Zone 9 been able to do this with success?
On Nov 13, 2008, goatens from Austin, TX wrote:
I have this as an indoor plant in Rochester, NY. I keep it in the light of the window, and water fairly frequently. It has been doing wonderfully! I love its colors!
On Nov 14, 2007, twilightblue from Waterbury, CT (Zone 5b) wrote:
I have this plant indoors, and just bought it, does it need to stay indoors for my zone? (6b), most seem to have theirs outdoors.
On Oct 1, 2006, nalin1 from New Delhi,
India (Zone 10a) wrote:
Varieties of differing growth habit crotons grouped together under a tree helps them flourish in New Delhi (zone 10a). It seems that the micro-climate of a tree (in my garden a neem tree—uploading image), and wind protecting each other the crotons add a lot of colour throughout the year.
Previously, where these were in open/exposed conditions or even against a south wall, during winters they tended to die down or become leggy.
On Jun 11, 2006, vcb1 from Melbourne Beach, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:
These grow all over the place here in 9b. There are a huge variety of types that vary in leaf shape and color. Varigated colors range from deep burgundy up through pinks and yellows through almost white. They add nice foliage color to a tropical setting. They're susceptible to scale. Easy to propogate by simply putting a cut branch into potting soil and keeping it moist. I propogate them all the time.
On Jul 1, 2004, foodiesleuth from Honomu, HI (Zone 11) wrote:
My son loves crotons and is accumulating a collection of different varieties. When a plant gets too large, we cut limbs off, use in flower arragements in the house (lots of lovely colors!) let them root in the water and replant somewhere else where fillers or color is needed.
On Sep 6, 2003, kamia from Athens, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:
These are true no to extremely low maintenance plants for me. I know once I put one in my yard I never have to worry about it kicking the bucket. I've got 2 in my yard that I help my grandparents plant about 17 years ago and they look still look excellent all the time. They've held up through frost, drought, heavily excessive amounts of rain, weeks of standing water. Nice for tropical effect and some nice for brilliant color.
On Aug 30, 2003, broozersnooze from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:
Thanks to all of you who shared your pix of these plants. I have several lovely crotons but none as grand as some of these pix.
All the gardens in my yard are container gardens, due to back problems, & for the same reason most of my potted plants must weather the winter outside. Surprisingly enough the crotons have survived some pretty harsh winters (for area 9b) so I guess I've been fortunate. They die back but have come back beautifully.
The oaks here must provide not only acid soil from the falling leaves but a little protection from the cold.
My crotons are mixed in with various ferns, bromeliads, impatiens, palms, ivy, coleus & a myriad of other plants with like needs. I do very little for them except mist them a.m. & p.m. They get about 50/50 sun/shade.
. read more Due to their brilliant colors, are perfect for gardens with no flowers.
On Aug 8, 2001, tiredwabbit from Point Pleasant Beach, NJ (Zone 7a) wrote:
Likes to be misted. Can get spider mites very easily. Spider mites don't care for a moist enviornment, so when ever you have the chance squirt it.
The oak leaf croton has lobed leaves that are extremely similar to those of the oak tree. The semi-oak leaf croton has less distinct lobes, with many variations on the oak leaf form. Some examples of these croton types are the Irene Kingsley, carrot, exotica and Ann Rutherford crotons.
Mammy crotons are thick, colorful bushes that grow upright and have twisted leaves. They’re an exceptionally colorful type of croton that's known for its twisted narrow leaves. Just as with most crotons, this variety needs direct filtered light during early morning hours and late day sunlight to keep its bright colors. The brightly colored leaves can attract spider mites so caretakers should look out for them.