Growing Crotons

Latin Name Pronunciation: krow·tn

(Codiaeum variegatum pictum)

Growing Outdoors:

Spacing: 12-24" between plants

Plant in average, well-drained soil. Croton will burn in direct sunlight and prefers bright, filtered light or partial shade in hot southern climates. Leaves will scorch to black if too much sun, and vibrant colors will fade if not enough light. Plant outside when weather is reliably warm, water thoroughly when soil is dry an inch down, fertilize regularly with a liquid balanced or high nitrogen fertilizer at half strength every every 2 weeks in summer, monthly in winter.

Crotons have a high transpiration rate, therefore need frequent watering, the soil should not be allowed to dry out between waterings. If the leaf tips start to turn brown, you are watering too much.

Crotons do not like being moved often, similar to Figs. Leaves may drop to the ground, upon arrival or when repotting, so disturb roots as little as possible. New leaves may emerge green but they will show color as they mature.

Crotons can be overwintered indoors, bring inside before temperatures fall into the 50’s.

Growing Indoors:

Spacing: 1 plant per 10-12" pot 

Crotons prefer temperatures above 60 degrees. Keep them away from cold drafts. Find a spot that offers bright filtered light, like south, east, or west window filtered by curtains.

For repotting, choose a pot 4” larger in diameter than the original, every 3-4 years until it reaches desired, mature size. Wipe leaves off with damp cloth periodically to keep your plant looking good and to keep dust off the leaves.

Humidity: Most houseplants are native to tropical or subtropical regions of the world, where relative humidity is typically very high. They suffer in the dry air produced by furnaces and woodstoves. The best way to increase the humidity around your plants is to run a humidifier nearby. You can also set plants in trays filled with pebbles or gravel. Add water to a level just below the tops of the pebbles (if the potting mix in the pots comes in contact with the water, the mix will draw water into the pot, which will cause the mix to become saturated, eventually leading to rot). Refill trays frequently to replace water lost through evaporation.