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Croton Plant Care

With its colorful, glossy and multicolored tropical foliage, a croton plant is among the popular potted indoor plants. Get some smart tips for croton plant care from this article.
Gardenerdy Staff
Last Updated: Dec 10, 2017
The croton plant has the reputation of being a tough houseplant and comes in varied colors such as red, pink, yellow, rust, orange and sometimes even purple; just like a rainbow! Before it started to be used as a houseplant, the croton was a popular addition to tropical gardens, and was also used for decorating colorful arrangements. Its leaves were used to add color and decorate hotels' interiors.
How To Care For A Croton Plant
While caring for a croton plant, you have to take care of the following factors:
Moderate to high intensity sunlight is what a croton plant requires. So, place the plant within 3-5 feet of an east or west-facing window. This would provide the right amount of light the plant requires for its survival. Take care that the plant is not exposed to heat during mid-day. If the plant does not receive the amount of sunlight that it is supposed to, it loses its leaf color. During winters, keeping the light levels up helps the plant in producing better colors.
Note : A croton plant prefers growing in temperatures of about 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit. Fluctuations in the temperature is considered to be a problematic factor for the plant. If the temperature is too hot or too cold, then it can be a reason for the leaves to fall off from the plant.
Heavy watering and high humidity environment favors the growth of a croton plant. However, heavy watering does not mean over-watering the plant. Moist and well-drained soil keeps the plant in good shape, and so does watering with lukewarm water. If the plant does not get enough water, then its leaves would fall and start to slope downwards. If the tips of the leaves start taking a brown color, then this indicates poor water supply to the plant. Over-watering of the plant is indicated by wilting. During winters, the growth of the plant would come to a halt and so less water will be required.
As with any house plant, croton plant also needs to be fed regularly, but during its growing season and less during the winters. Any good quality houseplant fertilizer may be administered every 3 weeks to make for the plant's feeding requirements.
Pests and Diseases
The plant is commonly susceptible to insects such as spider mites, fungus gnats, mealy bugs, caterpillars, scale insects, shore flies, whiteflies and thrips. Here's what you can do to keep these pesky pests from your plant:
  • Make a soapy solution using a mild detergent, and spray it on the bugs. But be wary of using the solution too much on a young or tender plant.
  • Simply soak a washcloth in a soapy solution, wring it, and gently wipe the leaves of the plant. This helps in dislodging the bugs as well as their eggs on the leaves. Wipe both the top and bottom layers of the leaves.
The above tips work well to curb a mild infestation, but it may not for a heavy one. In that case, use a houseplant insecticide after consulting a local plant shop.
Occasional Misting
Misting a croton plant once or twice a week also proves beneficial for it. However, if you live in an area with high-humidity levels, then you can mist the plant less often.
Toxicity of Croton
Plants If you have small kids or pets around, then you might want to give a second thought to bringing a croton plant home. This is because the plant is toxic when consumed in large quantities. The plant when punctures, releases a white sap that can leave stain on clothes or even irritate the skin. All parts of the plant that contain this sap, including the sap itself are toxic. It can trigger:
  • Blisters
  • Skin rashes
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Burning in mouth, throat and stomach, and even convulsions
To avoid any such mishaps simply restrict access to the place where the croton plant is located. Note that medical assistance is necessary to manage these symptoms.
Often, the beauty of a croton masks it as a difficult plant to grow and care for. This is, however, not the case. As long as you fulfill its basic requirements, it will seamlessly continue to add to the charm and beauty of your home. And a little precaution is all that is needed to prevent small inconveniences such as its toxicity.