Houseplant of the Week: Sunny Star Croton

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Long, strong leaves with lines of bold neon yellow are typical of this cultivar of the Codiaeum variegatum or the Croton plant. Native to the Pacific Islands, crotons are often grown outdoors, but they are also popular as lovely houseplants.

Here’s the first thing you need to know about croton plants in general: they are a bit stuck in their ways. Crotons are notorious for not liking change and can be sensitive to disturbances whether it’s repotting or changing lighting conditions or humidity.

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

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! 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 like consistent mild moisture, but don’t want to be waterlogged, 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.

Crotons can reach heights of about 3 feet, so you might want to make this a floor plant in your home.