Caring for Croton Houseplant

You most likely did come across this beautiful plant (aka Codiaeum variegatum) with brightly colored stripes on many occasions.

It is a favorite choice for house and outdoor plants alike because they do not require much maintenance and is very beautiful. Still, it is not so simple to provide it with the best care as many people think. This is especially true for indoor care.

Caring for the Croton is Easy

The difficulty associated with growing crotons is widespread, helping the plant produce its trademark leaves that come in all shapes and sizes bursting with color. Croton plants are usually cared for in outdoor conditions, but, as you will soon see, they can be easy to take care of indoors as well. In this article, you will learn everything there is to know about croton plant care.

Humidity and temperature

One of the first issues that pop up whenever you talk with gardeners about croton care is: “It is a pain in the …neck… to provide the adequate temperature.”

The area that they reside in must be high in humidity. If you don’t uphold the required moisture level, you run the risk of losing your plant’s leaves.

A practical solution is to mist your plants, especially when it is not entirely mature.  If you have big crotons and/or a large number of them, humidifiers are great for keeping the area humid. The ideal levels go from 40 to 80%.

As for the ideal temperature for croton plants- as long as you keep it above 55°F, your plant will grow quite nicely, bringing its sheer beauty into your home. It takes about a month to germinate.

Light

Croton petra’s are well-known for their richness of color and jaw-dropping foliage, but do you know the most essential ingredient for achieving these kinds of results?

Bright light

If they don’t get the required amount of sunlight, your plants will turn a dark shade of green and might even start falling off!

Make sure to provide them with dappled sunlight or, if the sun is not too bright, you can leave them by the window for 4-5 hours. They can tolerate 50- 70% shade without becoming sunburnt or going brown. Growth periods are often incurred during colder months.

Caring for Croton Houseplant, Plantly

Watering

As I have said before, these plants are don’t require too much attention. The basic rule that applies for most plants, which is watering them when the soil is dry, also applies to croton plants.

A sure-fire way to quickly check is to insert your finger in the soil itself, at least half an inch deep. If it is dry, you know your plant is thirsty.

When it is time to give your plant water, don’t hesitate to provide them with a lot of it. Also, during growth periods, mist your croton plant every two days in addition to regular watering periods as they require more moisture and water.

If any of these two signs start appearing on your plant, you will know you have done something wrong:

  • When the foliage starts drying out and dropping, it means you didn’t provide it with enough water
  • If the leaves begin to wilt, the plant is over watered
  • Soil

The perfect soil is slightly acidic (the best pH level is from 4.5 to 6) and rich in organic matter, but this is not mandatory.  This combination is excellent for getting the best possible foliage out of your plants.

The only requirement is that the soil has good draining qualities and is not prone to sogging.  If those two conditions are met, you will quickly see your plants thriving.

Still, it is worthwhile to provide adequate aeration and exclude excessive drainage, as it can contribute to your plant drying out. If the aforementioned occurred, it might require you to mist or water it more often.

Potting and Re-potting

Measure the right pot size by taking into account the root ball of the plant. After that,  pick a container that is larger for one-third of that size.

Re-potting should be done during spring if the need arises. In most cases, increasing the container size for only one size larger will suffice most croton plants.

When settling your croton plants in new pots, always add more water to the new potting area. It is recommended to include more soil if there is room to fill 1 inch below your container’s rim.

Pruning

The purpose of pruning croton plants is to preserve the plant’s health by removing dead leaves and branches.

Trimming above the node is useful for taking care of overgrown branches and leaves to keep the plant’s shape to your liking. Before you start removing any unnecessarily large pieces of the plant, take heed not to take more than 1/3 of the stem height.

Croton Propagation

All of this sounded easy to follow so far, right? This part is no different, as propagating crotons is most commonly done through stem cuttings.  Take care to take 5 to 6-inch tip cuttings, all done below a growth node. The cutting should then be placed in powdered lay or charcoal within a newspaper to dry. Tie them up and put them in a plastic bag. Keep them warm and moist. Take care to use these cuttings within a month.

It is recommended that you stick with this method, as crotons don’t grow from seeds, as the offspring aren’t anything like the parent plant. Cuttings, on the other hand, produce identical offspring.

Croton’s often created shoots that can be used for propagation purposes to develop new plants.  Rooting hormones are handy for increasing the chances of success of this step.

Pests

Sadly, these beauties are often the target for a relatively large number of pests. These include the following:

  • Red Spider Mites
  • Plant Scale
  • Mealybugs
  • Thrips

The best way to deal with these intruders is to utilize insecticidal soap, neem oil, and keeping the plants as dustless as possible. Often checking up on your plants is an excellent preventive measure, as these issues can be avoided by taking action early on before an infestation can get out of hand.

If all else fails, neem-based insecticides such as AzaMax will make short work of these pests.

 

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