Crotons are an extensive flowering genus in the spurge family Euphorbiaceae. Rush foil and Croton are the two common names for this genus.
Croton scientific name is “Codiaeum variegatum”. It is also known as Fire croton, Garden croton, or variegated croton.
Crotons are native to the following places:
- and The Western Pacific Ocean Islands.
It is a Tropical evergreen which grows in open forest and is monoecious shrub growing to 3 meters tall and has large thick, leathery, shiny, colorful evergreen leaves.
In Tropical climates, This plant make attractive hedges and potted patio specimens, valued for their striking foliage. They only survive outdoors where the temperature does not normally drop below 10-13 degrees centigrade.
In winter coldest temperature can cause leaf loss.
The cultivated Garden Crotons are usually smaller than the wild plant, they are rarely 1.8 meters tall and come in a wide diversity of leaf shapes and colors.
Crotons in Mr. Sital Sarkar’s garden
They have varieties of leaves. Leaves may be ovate to linear, entire to deeply lobbed or crinkled and variegated with green, red, white, purple, orange, and yellow or pink.
HOW TO GROW AND CARE
You can grow and maintain this plant easily in your home garden by following our instructions.
Planting and growing season
You can plant and propagate this plant during any season but the best time to propagate is in the spring season.
Selection of pots and growing bags
If you want to grow in a container, choose a container as per the size of seedling.
To propagate by cutting use 4-6 inches diameter garden container for developing new seedlings. You may grow it in a growing bag.
Growing containers should have a good draining system with 2-3 holes.
Preparation of Potting Mix
Make potting mix with 45% coco peat + 45 % soil + 5% sand +5% compost.
1. Purchase seedlings from the nearest nursery or online.
3. It is considered best to propagate it from cuttings.
Propagation by cuttings
4. If you want to propagate by cuttings simply cut the stem with shoots tip 3-4 inches long just below the node.
5. Choose a stem with at least 3-4 sets of leaves.
6. You take a cutting that has a node and a small root elevation.
7. Take cutting in the spring with the help of a clean sharp knife.
8. A wound is created by removing the bottom set leaves and later on, new roots formation takes place at the wound site.
9. Wash cutting shoots with dilute broad-spectrum fungicide.
10. Use rooting hormone (IBA) to induce roots in cutting end.
11. If you have no rooting hormone then also you can propagate the plant.
12. Now dip the cutting end in rooting powder and transplant in the potting medium by making a hole in the center of the soil in the pot.
13. Press the potting mix by hand to fix the cutting ends in potting medium and water gently.
14. Now place your pot under the semi-shade area till the development of roots.
15. Rooting will generally occur in 3-4 weeks.
Propagation by Air layering
16. Air layering is a propagation technique in which a stem develops root while it’s attached to the plant.
17. This vegetative propagation is done with a sharp knife in two ways:
- by making a longitudinal upward cutting to an inch or so into the center of the branch,
- or by removing a complete ring of bark, the cambium layer, and the xylem about a half-inch wide from the stem.
18. After removing wash it carefully and apply rooting powder to induce root at the wound site.
19. Now wrap the whole area with a handful of moistened sphagnum moss, including an inch or so of the stem on both sides of the cutting.
20. Finally, cover with a sheet of plastic wrap film or aluminum foil carefully over the sphagnum moss ball with upper and lower end twisted around the stem securely.
21. The sphagnum moss keeps the atmosphere moist around the wound of the stem which is favorable for new roots to develop.
22. New roots develop inside and the air layering can be detected because the plastic cover turns fairly transparent.
23. Once the root system forms on the stem, Cut the rooted stem from the parent plant just below the rooted area and then plant it in the pot.
How To Propagate Crotons in Water
24. Propagation of the Crotons plant in water is very easy.
25. Take a cutting 6 to 10 inches long from the top of the plant.
26. Cut the lower leaves leaving the growing tips intact.
27. Place the cutting ends in a pot filled with water at 20-27 degree centigrade.
28. Roots formation will take place in 5-6 weeks. Then you can transplant the cuttings in a pot filled with soil mix.
Croton in Mr. Sital Sarkar’s Home Garden
29. Place your container where it can receive at least 4- 5 hours of direct sunlight or partial shade sunlight.
30. You may keep the plant indoors in the southeast direction of the living room or hall where at least 2-3 hours of direct sunlight is available.
31. Croton plants like bright light and thrive outdoors under full sun in Tropical climates.
32. Croton plants show the best response in partial shade and greenhouse.
33. Croton plants require a good amount of water to thrive.
34. Keep the soil moist constantly.
35. In peak summer seasons water the plants twice in a day.
36. You should let the soil dry before the next watering done.
37. Keep in mind that water logging in container may infect your roots.
38. If you grow it in water initially you should be changing water when it gets turbidity. Change the water once every week or two.
39. To establish your young plants use nitrogen-rich fertilizer.
40. Use bone dust one teaspoon every three months or any organic compost.
41. During the spring season change 2-3 inches topsoil and fill it with fresh potting mix.
42. Croton plants should only be pruned to remove unhealthy portions of the plant or to maintain a certain shape.
43. Dead leaves or branches should be cut completely but overgrown leaves or branches can be trimmed just above a node or leaf set.
44. Make sure not to remove more than 1/3rd of the stem height at one time.
45. You will have to prune the plant whenever the stems seem outgrown and look untidy.
Repotting of plant
46. This is a fast-growing plant. It is best to change the pot once every two years in a large pot.
47. The best period of repotting is in spring.
48. The croton is not susceptible to pests and diseases.
49. To maintain the plant it is advisable to remove old and dead leaves.
50. Clean leaves with cotton cloth at regular intervals if possible.
51. Croton plant suffers from discoloring leaves if there is too much water. Give less water during this time.
52. They are rarely susceptible to common houseplant pests like mealy bugs, spider mites, and scale insects. In the case of pest infestation use Neem oil as a foliar spray.
To learn “How To Make Neem Oil Spray At Home” click on the quoted text in green.
59. During extreme summer place it under shade.
Benefits Croton plants
The oil of the croton seeds is used to make medicine despite serious safety concerns, and people take croton seeds for emptying and cleansing the stomach and intestine.
Croton seeds are used to treat gall bladder problems, colic blocked intestines, and malaria.
Croton tiglium oil has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat severe constipation, heal lesions, and used as a purgative.
As with many of the Euphorbiaceae, the sap can cause skin eczema in some people. The bark, roots, latex, and leaves are poisonous. The plant contains violently purgative oil and the consumption of seeds can be fatal to children.
Croton seeds are NOT SAFE when taken by mouth or put on the skin. You will notice side effects with only one drop of croton seed oil.
Croton seeds when ingested can cause many problems like:
- burning of the mouth,
- vomiting, dizziness,
- painful bowel movements,
- abortions in pregnant women,
- and even serious health problems when taken by mouth.
They can cause itching, burning, and blistering problems when their seeds are touched on the skin.
I hope you loved and enjoyed reading our article on “Croton: How To Grow And Care Crotons.” Start growing this plant and tell us your results. The information given in this article has been shared by Mr. Sital Sarkar from his gardening experience on Crotons.
You can contact us to ask questions or to give feedback to us.