how do you keep your croton?

summersunlight(5b)January 1, 2011

I've had a lot of houseplants over the years but I've always avoided crotons since I heard they were fussy.

However, my SO just gave me a croton as a gift! Due to the sentimental meaning of the plant I want to make sure it does well.

What kind of conditions do you guys keep your crotons in?

For now I have it on top of an aquarium in front of a western exposure window (thinking the humidity from the aquarium might be good for it). I'd be interested to hear it if anyone has other tips about what seems to help crotons do well.

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Hi Summer. Happy New Year's.

You heard right, Crotons are fussy. :)
But, they're also beautiful, colorful tropicals.

Do you know which Croton you have? Can you post a pic or describe?
The reason I'm asking, some Crotons are hardier than others. Location makes a big difference too.

This is how I care for my two.

They're in an unobstructed west window. Room temperature is around 70F during the day, 65/6F at night.
Crotons need humidity and fresh circulating air. If the area is too dry and stuffy, Spider Mites are likely.
I spray/mist daily, and shower in the sink once a week.
Keep away from heaters. Far away. Dry/gas heat will suck foliage dry.

Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer, (10-10-10 or 20-20-20) during growing season, when new growth sprouts..then stopped when growth slows down or stops completely.

In winter, place in the brightest window, color fades if given poor light.

In summer/ soil should be kept moderately moist, but when days shorten, soil needs to dry between waterings.
Don't let plant sit in water. The aquarium will help, as long as the bottom of pot/roots aren't sitting in water, where it can be sucked up through drainage holes.

Inspect your Croton for insects, once a week. This is most important. Look under leaves and between stems. That's about it...good luck, Toni

    Bookmark   January 1, 2011 at 7:07PM
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Mine's pretty leggy because I always forget to water it and it loses its lower leaves, but besides that I haven't had any major difficulties. No spidermites, which seem to be the main problem with crotons. Though, I don't really have mite problems anyway.

They seem like they want slightly higher humidity than most houseplants and give them as much light as possible because otherwise the leaves aren't very interesting and they get a bit leggy.

Also standard advice about choosing a proper potting mix and watering applies.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2011 at 7:12PM
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I had a Croton for about 3 years. It did well, lost leaves here and there 'cause of moving or fogetting to water occasionally. When it got too leggy I cut it back and it regrew quite well. Spider mites often appeared 'cause it's so dry here, but were easily gotten rid of by showering it with water a few times a week. I put it outside during the summer months and it did well, but then I brought it in and (bad bad me) I came across a busy time and forgot about it and it didn't get watered for quite some time. Needless to say it's no longer with me.

A few other plants succumbed to the same fate as my Croton during this time, but that's not the topic.

Best of luck with yours. Don't forget to water. =P

    Bookmark   January 1, 2011 at 7:36PM
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Thanks for the advice everyone!
This croton appears to be the variety Petra if that makes any difference.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2011 at 11:33PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Hi SS,

I don't know if yours is a colored leaf variety, but those tend to want as much light as possible to keep their color or they revert to plain green.

I found them very thirsty plants & alwys grew them on a pebble tray to help w/ the moisture, have never had mites (dry, heated apmt in NYC). I gave them very fast draining mix. I cut one all the way back when it got too tall for its allotted space, it regrew very well.

Maybe try more light & a repot in the Spring, good luck.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2011 at 11:56AM
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Summer, your Croton is Codiaeum variegatum petra. Petra is the variety of many.
They can reach 5' after many years.

Do you plan on summering your Croton outside during summer? Toni

    Bookmark   January 2, 2011 at 4:24PM
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"I found them very thirsty plants & alwys grew them on a pebble tray to help w/ the moisture, have never had mites (dry, heated apmt in NYC)."

I wonder if spider mites vary by region. I only had mite issues on one plant of mine, ever, and that was a cactus, and I don't think those were even *spider* mites. Some of my plants DO have spider mite-ish webbing, but no indication of damage, so it's either normal spider webs I'm seeing or for some reason I'm just not having population explosions.

also apparently Gold Dust crotons on are one of the hardest kinds, and Petras are fairly easy? Gold Dust crotons are sort of boring looking anyway, to me at least.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2011 at 6:57PM
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