Houseplant of the Week: The Croton

Posted on by

Variegated leaves in a strong greens, yellows, reds, orange, creams and pinks are the calling card of Codiaeum variegatum or the Croton plant. In more tropical areas, these beauties are grown outdoors, but they are also popular as lovely houseplants.

Here’s the first thing you need to know about these plants: They are finicky about being moved. So if you take home your plant and find that it loses a bunch of its leaves within a few days, don’t panic. It’s not that it’s a bad plant or you somehow “failed” it. Basically, it’s gone into shock. It will recover pretty quickly with some regular plant care – the right amount of light, proper watering and good soil.

Caring for your Croton

So let’s talk about lighting first. In general, Crotons like a sunny location; lack of sufficient light can even cause new leaves to be less colorful! But there’s a wide range of Crotons, so be sure to check the specific lighting needs of the variety you purchase.

Crotons also like their humidity; they are, after all, a tropical plant. A pebble tray or regular misting will keep your plant looking good.

Crotons should only be watered only when the top of the soil is dry to the touch. Then, they should be watered until the water flows out the bottom of the container. They like to dry out between waterings, so a soil with good drainage is a must.

The plant should also be kept away from drafts and cold, as it cannot tolerate temperatures below 60 degrees.