The croton, native to Indonesia, is related to poinsettia. In their native habitat, they grow into upright shrubs. As a houseplant, they are known for their variegated foliage of green splotched with scarlet, orange or yellow.
Crotons originated in the tropics and perform well in typical household temperatures in Colorado. Keep the room temperature at 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 55 to 60 degrees at night. These plants tolerate the highest temperatures and light extremes experienced in growing houseplants, but need 40 to 80 percent humidity. Crotons perform well in a sunny location and with a potting mix kept evenly moist. Bright light increases color variegation; low light diminishes it. Fertilize crotons every month with a half-strength solution of an all-purpose soluble fertilizer. Use a potting mix with good drainage.
New plants may be started with four to six inch long stem cuttings. Remove the bottom leaves and place the stem cutting directly into potting mix, or plant them after roots have begun to form in a glass of water. Crotons occasionally attract pests such as mealybugs, spider mites and scale.
For "Spider mites" refer to message number 1416.
For more information, see the following Colorado State University Extension fact sheet(s).
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Updated Tuesday, November 19, 2013