Croton: How to care and details – Beautiful foliage with colorful and leathery leaves

Croton: How to care and details – Beautiful foliage with colorful and leathery leaves
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Image by Paul Brennan from Pixabay

They are ornamental plants grown for their colourful and leathery leaves. Some species are also said to have medicinal properties. The plants are easy to grow and maintain and are hard to kill.

Quick Details of Plant Name

Other Common NamesCroton, Rushfoil
TypeIndoor/outdoor plant
Floweringlate spring/ early summer
LightBright direct sunlight, can tolerate partial indirect light.
WaterRegular watering
TemperatureNormal conditions
SoilWell drained potting mixture
FertilizerAny house plant fertilizer
HabitatIndia, Malaysia
ToxicityToxic to animals
Common DiseasesAphids, spider mites, leaf spot, root rot
Scientific namecroton spp

Croton Buying Instructions

  • Buy a bushy plant with multiple branches.
  • Buy a plant with minimum leaves damage as this plant have big leaves and can easily get damage in transportation.

Overview of Croton

They are perennial evergreen shrubs or trees native to India and Malaysia.  They belong to the family of Euphorbiaceae. The name originated from the Greek word for tick- Croton because the seeds resemble the shape of a tick.

They are grown mainly for their thick, variegated, leathery leaves which are present in varying colours like green, yellow, purple, red, pink, white etc. the colour of the leaves can change as the plants mature and can turn dark. They produce small flowers arranged as small bulbs.

The plants can grow up to a height of 3 feet to 10 feet tall. Some of the common species are: Banana Croton, Gold Sun Croton, Mammy Croton, Oakleaf Croton, Petra Croton, Sunny Star Croton, Yellow Iceton Croton, Zanzibar Croton, Bush on Fire Croton

Special feature:

Croton is grown as an ornamental plant and also grown for its commercial and medicinal use.

Usage and Advantage of Croton

  • The bark of C.eluteria is added in liquor.
  • The seeds collected from the species C.megalocarpus are used in making biofuel.
  • The plants are grown as an ornamental plant.
  • A species C.tiglium is used as a herb in Chinese medicine to treat constipation and other related diseases.
  • The latex obtained from the species C.lechleri is used as a liquid bandage.

General Care for Croton

Type of Soil required for Croton:

They require moist well drained soil. Typically you can water your Croton as soon as you see leaves of the pant are bending down. In summers when temperature is above 40°C you may need to water daily. Morning is the best time to water the plant. If temperature is high you can even mist the pant in the evening.

Water requirement for Croton:

The plant requires regular water. However, make sure the soil is moist and not wet. Excess water can cause root rot. Croton prefers moist humid conditions therefore; it is best to check the soil for water content before watering the plant.

Light conditions for Croton:

They prefer full bright light. The intensity of the leaf color mostly depends on the amount of light the plant receives. For brighter deep colors the plant should be kept in bright light. The plants can survive in shade as well. They cannot survive extreme cold conditions.

Pruning of Croton:

The pruning can be done to remove dead or infected parts of the plants or to shape the plants. The dead leaves or stems can be cut out from the parent plants. The roots of croton grow deep therefore the plants should be re-potted when the roots start growing outside the drainage holes. The pruning of the branches should not be done more than ½ of its total height. The next pruning should be done only after a proper growth is seen.

Best Fertilizers for Croton:

The plants can be fed with any house plant fertilizer or compost during the growing period i.e., spring and summer.

Pests and other problems for Croton

The plants are resistant to diseases. The plants can however get attacked by some common pests like aunts, spider mites, mealy bugs, aphids etc. These can be avoided by hose spraying water or by spraying neem oil extract.

Propagation of Croton

The propagation is done through stem cutting. The 4-6-inch healthy growing stem is cut out from the patent plant and planted into the soil and watered regularly to maintain moisture. This cutting can grow and develop into a new plant. Care should be taken to provide enough moisture and humidity and ample amount of sunlight



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