Croton Plant Care and Information
Croton Plant Care
I almost killed my croton by not watering it on a regular basis. Keep the soil moist and provide the plant with a lot of humidity. If the conditions aren't naturally humid, then mist the plant slightly 4-5 times a week. Remember, you shouldn't over-water this plant. So prevent the soil from getting soggy, just keep it slightly moist.
Moderate to high light levels are required. Keeping them in shade can affect the coloring of their leaves.
They prefer warmer temperatures throughout the year. Temperature below ten degrees centigrade can harm these plants.
Avoid pruning in winters as the plant is cold-sensitive, so there is no point in over-stressing it. You can prune them in spring and summer, but do not prune more than one-third of it at one time as this will stress the plant immensely. You must wait for the new growth to establish itself before pruning the plant again.
Make sure the potting media does not have excessive drainage as the soil shouldn't be allowed to dry out.
Fertilize your croton plant during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer like 5-5-5.
You can multiply the number of your croton plants by growing new ones through a process called propagation. Air-layering and softwood cutting are two commonly used propagation techniques. Crotons are propagated through air-layering in spring, while softwood cuttings are used to propagate them further usually in summers.
Common Croton Species
Croton hancei - Hong Kong croton
Croton parksii - Park's croton
Croton punctatus - Gulf croton
Croton texensis - Texas croton
Hong Kong Croton
Hong Kong Croton is a species of Crotons endemic to the Tsing Yi island of Hong Kong. Scientifically it is known as Croton Hancei.
This species has an interesting story. After being discovered by H. F. Hance in 1850s on Hong Kong island, the Hong Kong Croton wasn't observed again until February 1997. This time it was observed on a steel slope woodland under the highest peak, Tsing Yi peak. So, it was rediscovered after a gap of over a century. Now, this woodland of 2.6 acres is considered to be a 'Site of Special Scientific Interest(SSSI).
Garden Croton (Codiaeum variegatum)
Codiaeum variegatum, which is also known as the garden croton and variegated croton, is the most common croton species used as houseplants. It is in fact an evergreen shrub which grows about 3 m tall and has large, thick, shiny and brightly colored leaves.
Remember, many croton species can be toxic. So if you have pets or little kids around, it is best to have precautionary measures to keep them from ingesting crotons or rubbing the plant parts on their skin.
Interesting Facts about Crotons
Croton oil has been used in traditional Chinese medicine.
They are an economic source of biofuel.
Bark of Croton Eluteria is used to flavor Vermouth and Campari.