Care for a Croton?

flamingogirlApril 13, 2009

Hello, I've just acquired a croton - could anyone advise me on the general care requirements? I prefer asking on this forum rather than searching for general advice on the web, as different people have such different ways of looking after their plants, through genuine trial, error and experience!

One thing I have heard about crotons is that they need lots of sunlight - I currently live in Australia, which is in the late stage of Autumn (i.e. cold and bleak). Is general 'brightness' (e.g. from a cloudy sky) going to be enough?

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birdsnblooms

Howdy..your Croton 'might' lose some color during winter. It depends on the type of croton for one. Bright light keeps color, and humidity is important. Is is humid or dry in your part of the world?
Is your Croton outdoors inside?

Growing plants outside is a world of differece. Even cloudy days are brighter than the sunniest indoor window.
Fresh air is a plus..And Crotons need circulating air otherwise they're prone to spider mites.

Although some may disagree, (when plants are indoors in winter months) my Crotons do best when soil dries a bit between watering. A tad, not bone dry. Especially in winter.
They're misted daily, and once a week taken to the sink for a shower in winter.
They get a balanced fertilizer like 5-5-5, etc during growing season, spring through early fall. None in winter. One author advises fertilizing from sping to July. (In US) That month wouldn't apply to you since your seasons are opposite ours. I have faith in this author, follow most of his instructions, and for a time, stopped fertilizing Crotons in July..instead of stopping altogether, after July they get half dose. Seems to work. :)
That's about it. Living in Austrailia, I think your Croton will do well. Good luck, Toni

    Bookmark   April 13, 2009 at 2:24PM
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flamingogirl

Hi there hopefulauthor, thanks for the advice

My croton is an indoor plant, and unlike the rest of Australia, the winter in my state is very dry. Do you think I should mist it every day, even in winter? I am also curious that when you say 'bright light' in the indoors sense - would you recommend direct sunlight (e.g. sitting in a window, keeping in mind that the sun would be quite weak)?

    Bookmark   April 13, 2009 at 8:38PM
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birdsnblooms

Howdy.. What do you consider dry air? Would you happen to have a hygrometer? A guage that reads air moisture?
Do you have to heat your home in winter? If so, what type of heating system do you have?

Since your Croton will be indoors, the brightest, sunniest window will be perfect. Keeping Croton colors vivid in winter is a bit tricky, so if you have a direct sun south or west window, there's less chance of your Croton losing color.

Do you have a pic of your Croton? Even though all Crotons require humidity, some need more than others.
What size pot is your Croton in? Diameter?
Humidity trays are helpful. Place stones in a tray. Add water, then set your Croton atop the stones. But don't allow bottom of pot to sit in the water. Water will absorb through the drainage holes, keeping soil too wet to muddy.

Some people think misting is a waste of time, but I find it useful, gives me time to inspect 'good or bad' leaves, safer than using leaf shine, removes dust particles and my favorite reason, relaxing. One on one time spent. lol.

I'm not telling you to mist, but if it was my Croton, I'd be at the store buying a mister ASAP. lol. I keep misters filled so when sprayed water is room temp. Morning is the best time to spray, though I do so 2-3 times a day, depending on plant type.

If you have a pic, please post..Toni

    Bookmark   April 13, 2009 at 9:50PM
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amccour

I don't know if misting helps with humidity or not, but low humidity apparently leads to spidermites, and misting/showers seem to help with that. Or at least it did when spidermites started colonizing my Key Lime. Took it outside a little over a month ago, blasted it with the hose, and haven't seen anything living on it since.

Has anyone ever tried setting up five or so humidity trays and, instead of setting the plant ON TOP of it, arranging them around the pot in a circle or something?

    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 11:18AM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Didn't need to. My Croton did great on a humidity tray here in NYC in a heated apartment.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 3:29PM
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bunnygurl(Z3)

The humidity trays around the plant sound like an interesting idea, but I think it'd take up too much room, especially for those of us who have plants crammed so close together due to lack of space.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 5:08PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

This can be kept quite simple. Take a plastic lid from pints of ice cream (Hagen Das uses plastic (or used to), Ben & Jerry's is cardboard, no good).

Fill it w/ small rocks or pebbles, then set the plant on top of it & water to overflow such that the watering overflows onto the rocks. I don't have potted plants too big for this. The few I do don't need pebble trays.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 6:44PM
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flamingogirl

Here is a pic of my croton - bought from the shop 4 days ago, so still in good nick :) I'm actually not sure how many inches that pot is?

Toni, when I say 'dry air', I just mean there doesn't seem to be much humidity at all in the air inside - you know that muggy 'damp' feeling you can sometimes get inside the house if it's cold and raining outside...it hardly rains where I am, it's just cold. As you can tell, the croton is currently in my bathroom - I wonder if I should move it, as the translucent glass and blinds on the window does block out a lot of light. I have only portable electric heating in the house.

The humidity trays sound interesting. At the risk of sounding stupid, exactly how do they help to 'humidify' a plant?

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 8:05PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

I'd say not enough light where it is. Put it in a north(in Australia) window. Mine is in a south window all winter. I'm at about 43 degrees North latitude and even Melbourne is only about 38 degrees South so the sun here is even lower in our winter.

Humidity trays work because as the water evaporates it raises the humidiy of the air near them. Misting doesn't really help for humidity but does help keep mites away.

tj

    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 10:05PM
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