Pictures of Crotons ~ Bright Dazzling Colored Plants in Garden Landscaping
Crotons (close-up photo)
There are many varieties of croton and they are primarily added to the garden landscape or included indoors as potted plants because of their bright and dazzling leaf colors.
Crotons can be used as an accent plant in a garden design or can be massed for maximum impact if desired.
I have used them both ways in our Houston, Texas garden.
For several years I had a beautiful specimen plant that could be viewed out of our everyday dining area and when frost or freeze warnings were given in the winter, my husband and I would cover our more tender vegetation with some old bed sheets which generally saved them and kept the plants alive from year to year.
Last year was a great exception in terms of the weather. Not only did we have prolonged days of freezing weather but it actually snowed a couple of times in Houston and the surrounding area! It was most unusual weather and we lost that specimen plant and a few others that I had planted in other areas of the garden.
Gold Dust Crotons
The Croton plant is very tropical in nature and is native to either Malaysia, Bolivia or Ecuador depending upon different sources writing about their origin.
For that reason, most people are probably more familiar with viewing these show stopping colorful leafed plants in indoor settings as opposed to outdoors unless one lives in a tropical climate.
In commercial settings like hotels and other venues that utilize live plants for décor, crotons brighten up the areas with a rainbow of colors.
Speaking of brightness, that is one requirement for successfully growing crotons in an indoor setting. They do need bright lighting to maintain their vibrant coloration of their leaves. It can be natural light or even artificial lighting as is often the case in business establishments.
If grown in lighting conditions with not enough light, the colors gradually fade thereby losing their main attractive feature. So while they do not talk to one in a literal sense, crotons will let you know their needs in a demonstrative manner!
Crotons on our backyard patio in pots
Crotons grown in clay pots
Do you like to use crotons in your home or garden?
Ideal growing conditions for Crotons in addition to the direct sunlight or at least very bright lighting conditions include the right amount of water and humidity.
In Houston, Texas we generally have enough humidity outdoors to suit any humidity loving plant. Our air-conditioners hum off and on most of the year trying to wring some of that water laden air out of our homes and offices.
Thus, if growing Crotons outside, worrying about humidity is one thing that we Houstonians can cross off of our "to-do" list. For others a light misting of water onto the Croton leaves will keep these plants happy if growing them in drier locations.
Crotons appreciate moist soil so again depending upon weather conditions and heat, water accordingly.
If it is in the middle of the summer and temperatures in Houston could enable one to literally fry an egg on a side-walk, we water our potted Croton plants every day. Other times of the year, once or twice a week is sufficient to keep the soil moist.
A light fertilizing several times a year will help nourish Crotons.
The potting soil that I choose to use has some fertilizer in it that helps feed any new plants for a number of months. In addition it helps the plants from being under or over-watered.
They are coming out with some great potting soils these days that can be acquired at nurseries.
If one is investing in new plants, one may as well spend a little extra and get a good potting soil to get them off to a great start!
Underside of croton leaf
Other Characteristics of Crotons
The undersides of the Croton leaves are amazing to see as well as the top sides as these photos indicate. The veins in the leaves create intricate patterns and multiple colors would hit just about every color spectrum depending upon which species one is viewing.
Speaking of species...there are 750 of them!
Crotons come from a family called Euphorbiaceae.
While the leaves, fruits and sap of the Croton can be dangerous or even poisonous, it has also been studied academically and many uses have been found in addition to simply embellishing a landscape.
Crotons have been used medicinally as a tonic and even show some antibacterial effects. They have also been used in varnishes, waxes and oils. Some tobaccos have been scented with parts of the Croton!
With so many species and more being discovered all the time, research on Crotons continues.
Use normal precautions if utilizing these beautiful plants around pets or children and enjoy Crotons for their bright and dazzling colors if using them in your home or garden landscape.
Some of the potted crotons in our backyard landscape
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© 2010 Peggy Woods