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This article is written by Kunsang Choden.

The tropical climate is the home to almost all the plants. Croton plant also falls in the garden of the tropical land. This specie of plant is native to Malaysia, Pacific Island, Florida, Java, Australia and South Sea. The botanical name to croton plant is Codiaeum variegatum pictum. It is the color of the croton leaves that make it a wonderful house plant. Due to its beautiful patterned coat, the plant is also called Joseph’s coat. Keeping this plant indoor adds extra brightness to a room environment.

 There are different types of croton depending on the size of the leaves structure and design. There are around 750 species of croton. It grows rapidly with especially the large leaves adding major beauty to the roadside landscape. The base of the croton is unique with thick trunk and comes in dark green color.

The plant wishes to breathe some fresh air and when the plant is congested in a single place, growth may get obstructed. Thus, it is suggested that you divide the plants by cutting the crowded areas and transplanting them in a newer location.

One of the core benefits of a croton plant is that it is long lasting. The plant can thrive even when it does not get the right amount of sunlight or enough amount of watering or even when the soil is dry enough.

Scientific classification:

Kingdom         : Plantae

Unranked        : Angiosperm

Unranked        : Eudicots

Unranked        : Rosids

Order   : Malpighiales

Family             : Euphorbiaceae

Subfamily: crotonoideae

Tribe    : Crotoneae

Genus  : Croton

Foliage: The beauty of a croton is added mostly by the color of its foliage. It comes in streaks of purple, pink, orange, yellow and red and enormous in size. These varieties of color on a leaf give the leaves a unique texture and beauty as that of the first glow of sunlight or rainbow. It has been discovered that the color of the leaves mostly depend on the amount of sunlight that the plant gets. Croton planted in a sunny location gives rise to more variety of color compared to the one that is planted in a shady location. For instance, the plant planted in a shady location gives rise to green leaves with not much coloration in leaves.

Flower: It would be a mere dream to expect foliage from a croton plant because most of the time, a bloom from croton is very rare.

Planting: The height up to which a croton plant can grow depends on the type of location you have planted the plants. It has the ability to grow up to 10 feet in height provided that the plant is given the right amount of sunlight, water and is planted in the right location. For instance, crotons planted in a garden grow as tall as 10 feet in height and there are lots of times when the plant inhabits the habitat of other surrounding plants. When planted indoor, this plant grows up to the height of 3-5feet tall.

If you have trouble managing the excess growth of this plant, you can control growth by cutting off at least one-third of the plant during the spring months.

Where can you plant croton plant?

You can plant the croton plant wherever you pleased. Crotons grow in containers, patios, gardens and yards. They can be planted in a container and used as a room decorator. The plant does grow inside a home environment but there are cases where the plant starts shading leaves when they can no longer take in the excess cold temperature.

Propagation: The croton plant grows well through the propagation method. It accepts almost all the methods of propagation. The plant grows well not just from the seeding method; it grows from root, stem and also through the layering method where a new plant starts to develop from a parent plant. It is a good idea to transplant the croton plant for a better development of the plant.

Soil: The good development of a plant truly depends on the type of soil that you plant your plant. We desire for a good development in a plant. In order to get the best result, you are suggested to plant the plant in a soil that is rich in humus and compost manure/peat moss. If you are planning to fertilize this plant, the best way is to provide the plant with acidic soil. Also make sure that the soil is moist by frequently watering.

Light and temperature: Since croton plant is native to tropic climates, it grows to its full potential when planted in a full to moderate sunshine. It is generally suggested that you plant it in a location where it can receive at least six hours of sunlight in a week. The plant will grow even when there is no enough sunlight but during this time, the plant will not be able to give rise to colorful leaves. The colorful leaves when kept in a shady location will start to turn green in color.

Croton being a tropical plant that falls in the category of evergreen plant. Thus, the plant grows almost all the year round. However, the plant cannot grow below 60 degree F and above 100 degree F.  A temperature between 60-85 degree F is considered ideal for its maximum growth.

Watering: Water is the taken as the blood in a plants life. Although the plant has the ability to thrive in dry soil, you will need to provide due amount of water to this plant for its maximum growth. The plant requires watering once the top soil turns dry. It is suggested that you water this plant at least twice a day when the summer heat shoots up. It is good to add mist to the leaves to freshen up and make them appear fresh and healthy on the hot summer days.

Fertilizer: Fertilizer is the vitamin to any plant. Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium are the major nutrient required by a croton plant. The above mentioned fertilizers are regarded as the outdoor fertilizers. Adding access amount of fertilizer to a plant will not give good result. Adding diluted fertilizer at least twice a week will make the plant healthy and away from harmful disease. At times you will see the plant experiencing dull leaves and rotten roots. This is due to access amount of fertilizing.

Care: Croton is an easy plant. Once the plant is in full growth, the plant requires very less attention from us. As it is the need of all plants to get right amount of sunlight, water and temperature. The same goes for a croton plant. The plant grows to its best ability when planted in a mild temperature. Since this plant can survive both indoor and outdoor, the plant has less need compared to the other plants. However, you will need to keep in mind that this plant is a tropical plant and cannot survive the cold winter months—it shades leaves in winter. The temperature by this plant is above 60 degree F.

Uses: The beauty of a croton plant is lighted by its variety of color. The plant adds extra effect of brightness to its surrounding landscape.

Pests: When it comes to pest attack in a croton plant, it is spider mite that is super fund of the croton leaves. After consuming the leaves tiny blotches are left on the leaves. This attack of a spider mite makes the  plant weak making the plant lack in important nutrition and moisture. The only way to get rid of the mite attack is by using an insecticide or miticide.

Caution: As a member of the Euphorbia family, croton plant is poisonous. You will need to use gloves while dealing with the croton plant in order to avoid skin irritation.

It is acceptable that a croton plant is beautiful with beautiful leaves. You need to be cautious that this plant at some point is toxic especially for humans and pets.

 

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