New Petra Croton owner needs advice.

Moosetrackz(9)June 15, 2011

Hello. I just got a 8" Petra Croton from my grandfather. I love this colorful little plant! I want it to thrive and hopefully get to its full size someday.

Ive read that its mainly a house plant but everyone also said it needs very bright light. My window only gets about 3 hours of direct sunlight in the evenings, I think its west facing. SO my question is will it do better outside? My yard is still west facing but it gets much more sun than my window. I live in SoCal and its been between 75-85 lately.

Here is a link that might be useful: My Croton

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birdsnblooms

Moose..Crotons enjoy summer outdoors, but if you decide to set it out, do so gradually.
They are high light/sun-loving plants, but outdoor light, even a shady spot, is much harsher than the brightest south or west window, indoors.

What type of light was it in when your grandpa had it?

Yours is a very nice, healthy, colorful specimen. Keep an eye out for mites..
Crotons need humidity and fresh, circulating air. Toni

    Bookmark   June 15, 2011 at 8:00PM
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izharhaq

my two cents: I had grown many Cortons (including this one) in an area with no direct sunlight at all.. but was a very bright spot for 4 hours each day... in my experience they dont like wet feet at all, so the mix should be a well drained one..

    Bookmark   June 16, 2011 at 2:05AM
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Moosetrackz(9)

You are so very helpful Toni! Thanks for responding to both my posts! :)
My grandpa had just bought it from a Home Depot the day before I arrived so it didnt stay long outside in his yard. Which is probably good because its pretty cold where he lives. Im sure its happier here in SoCal :)

How would I go about gradually acclimating it to being outside?

I love this little plant and want it to stay bright and colorful.

Thanks so much for all the help! :)

    Bookmark   June 16, 2011 at 3:46PM
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birdsnblooms

Hi Moose. When you first take your Croton outside, set in a shady spot.
I prefer lugging plants out on cloudy days. Especially when weather-people predict a few days of clouds.
Gradually set your Croton in a brighter location.

Heat and sun dry soil fast. So, keep an eye out so it doesn't dry too much. If the soil cracks that's way too dry. Also, leaves wilt when they're thirsty.

I agree with Izhar..soil should be well-draining. Crotons don't like wet feet.

My Croton are watered when soil looks crumbly. The pot is light in weight when soil dries.

When you water, soak the rootball/soil thoroughly. Water will seep from the drainage holes.
Rain water is preferrable to tap..

We were in GA a few yrs back. The hotel parking lot had an area filled with Crotons growing in direct sun. In that part of GA, Crotons are hardy and remain in the ground year round. They're used to harsh light.

But bright light should do. If it's too strong leaves may burn..

You'll have to experiment. But please, when you first set your Croton outside, place in shade.
Which direction does your yard face? Toni

    Bookmark   June 17, 2011 at 2:55AM
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Moosetrackz(9)

Sadly my apartment only has 1 window, the back sliding-glass door. So I dont have a lot of options for plants :( The sliding glass door leads to my yard/patio so theyre both west facing I believe. I get about 4-5 hours of direct sun in the evening(3-7PM). I also have a big pine tree right next to my fence. Its still pretty bright the rest of the day though just not sun shining directly into my yard.

I was actually surprised by how well my roses did. I thought theyd need more light but they all seem to be doing great. The minis especially.

I put my croton in the shade of the tree and its cloudy today. Hopefully the little guy will be happy there and grow in to a big beautiful monster like the big ones I see at the store. I heard they were slow growers though so maybe in a few years lol.

Thanks for all your help Toni! You have some awesome plants on your picture site and your dogs are adorable. :)

    Bookmark   June 17, 2011 at 1:47PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Hey Moose,

I found them not to be slow growers at all, in fact just the opposite, quite fast!

I had a Croton colored pretty much like yours, I grew it indoors in NYC near a window where it got lots of light & it did great.

I cut it all the way back when it got too big for its space & it filled in beautifully. It will benefit A LOT from a pebble tray (a dish or saucer w/ small rocks or pebbles), when one waters, water to overflowing & then the plant can still take up water from the rocks below it. The idea being the pot should sit ON TOP OF the rocks in the water, not in the water.

I believe these are tropical plants, need best possible light, lots of water & good circulation. These are pretty thirsty plants too.

I did great w/ mine, it just got too big for the space.

Before I realized it needed more sun, mine kept growing well, it's just that it lost all its multi-colors & went all green.

I saw these growing outdoors in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, in all day sun, gorgeously multicolored, about 6-8 ft. tall, really stunning! Even bloomed, w/ these sprays of white blooms that looked like mini-firecrackers.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2011 at 2:03PM
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Moosetrackz(9)

Thanks Pirate!
Thats good to know. I had heard from everyone that they were slow growers. Do they need a pebble tray even outside or is that a houseplant thing? I mist it everyday even if its outside.
I think I can keep it out year round here in SoCal but I might bring it in, at least at night, if the winter gets too cold.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2011 at 2:36PM
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birdsnblooms

Moose, thanks for the compliment. Do you have a dog? Sam is 11 yrs 5 months old. 92 in human years. He's slowing down a lot, but every so often starts acting like a pup. Wonder if it's the same as elderly humans who they say are enacting a second childhood??? lol.

Crotons aren't fast or slow-growing. Speed depends on your definition.
Crotons grow faster than most Cactus, and slower than a weed. lol.

Speed depends on light and other factors. Although I adore Crotons, I have other sun-loving plants before the windows. So my poor Croton is getting medium light.

A strange tale. In front, 'inside the house,' are two, big south and west windows. I placed my Croton before these two sunny panes, (years ago)..Every year they'd end up getting Spider Mites. Once they were set in lower light, mites kicked the bucket. Out of curiosity, I placed my Croton in the same two windows, sure enough: Mites. There's something weird about those windows, although other high-light plants do well.

Roses..I once bought a Rose 'in a bag' from Aldi's. The rose said upright, flowers were supposed to be multi-colored.

The price was right, something like 1.99 per bag. So, I planted this rose in a semi-shady spot. (90's)
Well, for one, the rose turned out to be a trailer, and flowers are red. lol.
I took this pic the other day...flowers are fading, but still noticeable. Plus, it gets less than an hours sun.

Do you have a taller plant/s to block any strong rays to start? Toni

I'm assuming the air in that part of the room is too dry, which brought on the mites..

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 1:30PM
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Moosetrackz(9)

I do have a dog :) A Basset Hound named Delilah and my twin sister has a Neapolitan Mastiff named Sampson. Theyre both 6 years old. You must take great care of your mastiff. Ive worked in animal care all my life and Ive rarely seen them older than 10. They sure are great dogs though :)

I put my croton in a shady spot under some of my hanging plants and in the shadow of the pine tree. Im checking it everyday for any signs of burn or mites when I mist it and so far so good. Ive been lucky on the mites. So far just my purple passion plant has gotten them and I cured it with some soap and its doing better. :)

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 2:41PM
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birdsnblooms

Moose, thanks for the compliment. Do you have a dog? Sam is 11 yrs 5 months old. 92 in human years. He's slowing down a lot, but every so often starts acting like a pup. Wonder if it's the same as elderly humans who they say are enacting a second childhood??? lol.

Crotons aren't fast or slow-growing. Speed depends on your definition.
Crotons grow faster than most Cactus, and slower than a weed. lol.

Speed depends on light and other factors. Although I adore Crotons, I have other sun-loving plants before the windows. So my poor Croton is getting medium light.

A strange tale. In front, 'inside the house,' are two, big south and west windows. I placed my Croton before these two sunny panes, (years ago)..Every year they'd end up getting Spider Mites. Once they were set in lower light, mites kicked the bucket. Out of curiosity, I placed my Croton in the same two windows, sure enough: Mites. There's something weird about those windows, although other high-light plants do well.

Roses..I once bought a Rose 'in a bag' from Aldi's. The rose said upright, flowers were supposed to be multi-colored.

The price was right, something like 1.99 per bag. So, I planted this rose in a semi-shady spot. (90's)
Well, for one, the rose turned out to be a trailer, and flowers are red. lol.
I took this pic the other day...flowers are fading, but still noticeable. Plus, it gets less than an hours sun.

Do you have a taller plant/s to block any strong rays to start? Toni

I'm assuming the air in that part of the room is too dry, which brought on the mites..

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 4:19PM
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birdsnblooms

Hi Moose. It's funny about the difference between dog sizes. Same here. We also have a 16lb Shih-pu (Coco) who thinks he's the Hulk. lol.

There were 4 Mastiffs within a few blocks of our home..all went to heaven at 7-yrs-old.

Good thing..keep checking your Croton, and it'll do fine. They prefer the outdoors..sun, humidity, fresh air.
Your Croton will be a happy camper.. :)

Mites are easy to rid. I make a home-made (organic) insecticide, then 'try' spraying every two weeks..Mainly in winter, when plants are indoors.
One ingredient is soap, which mites detest. Toni

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 4:22PM
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Moosetrackz(9)

Thanks for all your help Toni and Pirate!

I think my little croton is going to be a happy outdoor plant :)

I included a link with some pictures of my dogs if anyones interested. :)

Here is a link that might be useful: The Dogs!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 9:34PM
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birdsnblooms

Moose, AWWWW! Sam and Deliah are two cuties..Sam's head is huge. lol.
Diliah looks mighty comfortable. Relaxed. Isn't it funny how we allow are smaller doggies to rest/sleep on the bed/couch? lol.
A 200lb Mastiff would take over. lol. Adorable.

Yep, I think your Croton will be happy outdoors. Just keep watch on harsh, sunny days.
How cold do your winters get? Toni

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 2:04PM
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Richard78(10a-Ft. Lauderdale)

I live in south FL, a zone that may be comparable to yours, and here are my variegated crotons that started as 2 foot high plants about 3 years ago. They love the heat (mine get the hot afternoon sun) and are very hard.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 6:33PM
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