Crotons,also called Variegated Laurels are colorful plants with a glossy finish and a leathery touch! They naturally grow in Malaysia and other areas in the Pacific and were originally used to cleanse the stomach (please do not try that at home). Crotons are decorative indoor plants that can easily light up a room with their vibrance and colorful leaves. They usually come in several colors, such as yellow, red, and even purple! Their lovely appearance requires daily attention and lots of sunlight, however, their beautiful colors are worth every bit!
Crotons need water!!! These plants are highly sensitive to watering and require watering weekly depending on the specific plant. A good rule of thumb is to make sure the soil does not stay dry for an extended period of time. Make sure the soil is always somewhat moist, however; do not drown your Croton. If you begin to see its leaves droop, check the soil and determine if it needs watering.
Crotons require about 6-8 hours of sunlight every day in order to produce red, yellow, and purple, coloring. Unlike other plants, Croton’s leaves are not usually supposed to be green. If you notice your plant turning green in color, try to find either an eastern or western windowsill with a mix of indirect and direct sunlight.
Like most plants, Crotons should be groomed in order to remove dead and unhealthy stems or leaves. If you notice dead or dried up leaves and branches, cut off those specific areas. If your plant contains overgrown leaves or branches, cut the areas just above a node or leaf set. Remember: do not remove more than 1/3 of the stem height at a time.
To propagate your Croton, choose a healthy leaf with a stem that is about 3-4 inches long and contains around 3-5 leaves. Simply dip the cut stem into an off- the-shelf rooting hormone, and plant it in a fertile light weight soil. In less than a month, your croton should be growing on its own! Don’t forget to place your baby croton in a direct lit environment around 70-80 degrees!
Crotons need rich soil! Some of the best soil to pot your croton in is compost soil (they like peat moss mixed in too!). If you are unable to obtain compost soil, no worries! Your plant will be just as happy in a peat based indoor potting soil. As long as your Croton is potted in soil that drains well, it should be perfectly happy!
Crotons enjoy fertilizer that is high in both nitrogen and potassium. The best time to fertilize your plant is usually in the spring or summer. Make sure to not over fertilize your croton; it’s typical to apply fertilizer once or twice a year. For the best results, just sprinkle a small amount of fertilizer around the base of your plant.
Signs of Unhealthy Plant and Ways to Bring it Back:
Crotons are highly sensitive to both overwatering and underwatering. Luckily, you will know when this happens! Unlike most plants, if your Croton’s leaves begin to wilt, it could be a sign that it’s thirsty. The same goes for if its leaves if they are drying out and falling off. Make sure to always check your Croton’s soil and make sure that it is not drowning in a pool of water. If your plant’s leaves begin to lack brightness, this could mean either too much exposure to sun/water. In case you notice these signs, try moving your plant or readjusting the amount of water you give it.
Keep your pets and plants happy by placing your plant in a high area where animals cannot reach them. Although Crotons are not lethal, they can cause gastrointestinal irritation for pets and other small animals if ingested.
The best time to repot your croton is in the spring. Make sure to use a pot that is one size larger than the previous in order for your plant to grow freely. To pot, pour approximately 1-2 inches of a damp peat based potting soil into the new pot. Carefully slide your Croton out of the old pot and place it in the larger one and cover the remaining soil over