Croton - Features Of Growing

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Croton - Features Of Growing
Croton - Features Of Growing
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Video: CROTON Problems? What a Croton Plant Needs to THRIVE | Petra Crotons 2023, February

Croton or codiaum is one of the most common and favorite decorative deciduous indoor plants. All crotons that are sold in the store belong to one species: Codiaeum (Croton) variegated Codiaeum variegatum. But suppliers of imported plants often omit the specific name, leaving only the genus name: Codiaeum and varieties such as 'Curly Boy'. But, in addition, the names on the imported plants may not coincide with the names given to this variety by its author.

This type of croton can be found in several varieties (lat.varietas): Codiaeum variegatum var. cavernicola, Codiaeum variegatum var. genuinum, Codiaeum variegatum var. moluccanum, Codiaeum variegatum var. pictum, Codiaeum variegatum var. variegatum … Varieties or variations are ecotypes, variants of a botanical species, characterized by special hereditary characteristics found in a particular habitat.

croton flower
croton flower

The distribution area of ​​codiaums is quite wide, and climatic conditions are somewhat different in different places, this led to intraspecific changes, and within the varieties, in turn, to the formation of new forms. The forms arose as a result of the even greater ecological and geographical isolation of individual croton representatives. There are more than a dozen of them. Moreover, differing, first of all, in the shape of the leaf (not another species, namely varieties) from ovoid to linear, corrugated, spiral or even surface, lobed or dissected, with a predominant color of yellow, green, purple, white, orange, red, pink … There is sometimes confusion in the literature describing the forms and variations of crotons, apparently the editions are copied from old sources, many names are outdated, the name of the variation is often omitted,only the name of the form remains.

Most of the known croton species were discovered in the second half of the 19th century by the Swiss botanist Professor Müller Aargauski Muller Argoviensis. He studied and described tropical plants. He is the author of the names of a number of botanical taxa, which are abbreviated as "Mull.Arg." In the botanical (binary) nomenclature.

Codiaeum variegatum var. pictum (Lodd.) Mull.Arg. - Codiaum variegated variety: decorated - one of the most common crotons. Synonym for Codiaeum variegatum var. variegatum. The name Codiaeum pictum is incorrect (outdated synonym) and is no longer used. These are spreading trees reaching 3m in height with bare trunks below. The leaves are short-petiolate, the base of the leaf is cordate-ovate, the length of the leaf exceeds its width by about 1.5-3 times. The main color of the leaf is brownish-green. Widely distributed in Pakistan, China, Taiwan.

This croton variety has several forms *:

  • Codiaeum variegatum var. pictum f. appendiculatum form of the appendage - this form has gone far from the original variety, so much so that it is difficult to imagine their relationship. The peculiarity is that one sheet consists of two leaf plates connected by a thin constriction. The first leaf blade is longer, fusiform in shape, and the second, the terminal leaf blade, is slightly concave at the base by a boat, narrowed at the end, and often hangs down with a small bell.
  • Codiaeum variegatum var. pictum fo. lobatum lobate form - three-lobed leaves, narrowed at the base, usually not deeply dissected, 20-22 cm long, 7-12 cm wide, the middle lobe is more elongated and pointed in comparison with the lateral ones. It has many variegated varieties.
  • Codiaeum variegatum var. pictum fo. platyphyllum flat-leaved - simple, oblong whole leaves, almost oval, slightly wavy surface, about 30 cm long, 8-10 cm wide.
  • Each form, in turn, can have several varieties. For example, fo. platyphyllum:
  • cultivar 'Souvenir Ernest Delarue' - leaves are whole, oval-oblong 20-24 cm long and 10-12 cm wide, light green color without spots.
  • cultivar 'Hookeriana' - leaves are whole, elongated-oblong, up to 30cm long and 8-10cm wide, narrowed towards the base, widening towards the top, pointed at the tip.
  • Another common variety of Codiaeum variegatum var. moluccanum Mull. Arg. - Codiaum variegated variety of Moluccan - petiolate leaves, narrow-spatulate, pointed at the end.
  • Codiaeum variegatum var. moluccanum fo. latifolium broadleaf - with spatulate leaves, broadly ovate have an oblong-obovate shape, while the length exceeds the width of the leaf by 3-5 times, the length of the leaves is from 12 to 20 cm, the width is 2.5-4.5 cm.
  • Codiaeum variegatum var. moluccanum fo. longifolium long-leaved form - usually lanceolate-spatulate, on short petioles, about 1.5 cm, leaf length 7-8 times greater than width, is about 30 cm.
  • Codiaeum variegatum var. moluccanum fo. minus, the form does not have an established Russian name, literally translates as a smaller form - leaves on short petioles, spatulate-lanceolate, 10-12 cm long, about 1.5-2 cm wide, obtuse, rounded at the end. These crotons are common on the islands of Fiji, Amboina and Java.
  • Codiaeum variegatum var. genuinum Mull.Arg. Codiaum variegated genuinic variety - leaves broadly lanceolate, whole, equally narrowed at the base and at the end.
  • Codiaeum variegatum var. genuinum f. lanceolatum lanceolate form - the leaves are 4 times wide in length, slightly blunt at both ends.
  • Codiaeum variegatum var. genuinum f. angustifolium narrow-leaved form - the leaves are narrowly linear-lanceolate, the apex is pointed, 2.5-3 cm wide, 6-9 times longer in length, green, covered with golden strokes or spots.
  • Codiaeum variegatum var. genuinum f. medium medium-leaved form - leaves are linear-lanceolate, 3-3.5 cm wide, 14-17 cm long. The leaves are either almost entirely green or variegated with golden spots.
  • Codiaeum variegatum var. genuinum f. parvifolium small-leaved form - narrowly linear-lanceolate leaves, 1-1.5 cm wide, 10-15 cm long. The leaves are wavy, or curly, with small variegated spots: black, green, yellow, red.
  • Codiaeum variegatum var. genuinum f. txniosum tapered - leaves on very short petioles, narrowly linear-lanceolate, about 1 cm wide, up to 30 cm long, gradually tapering towards the end. Leaves are straight, whole, pure green or with yellow round spots.
Croton Gold Sun
Croton Gold Sun

Croton Codiaeum cultivar 'Gold Sun'

Croton Zanzibar
Croton Zanzibar

Croton Codiaeum cultivar 'Zanzibar'

Croton Mammey
Croton Mammey

Croton Codiaeum cultivar 'Mammey'

Croton Excellent
Croton Excellent

Croton Codiaeum cultivar 'Excellent'

Croton care

Codiaum is a thermophilic tropical plant, native to the jungles of Malaysia and East India, where it is warm and hot all year round, and the average annual temperature ranges from 24 ° to 32 ° C. The weather is rainy, strong, but short-term rains are present throughout the year, precipitation falls evenly, there is no rainy season as such, or there are no dry periods. Average monthly temperatures differ by no more than 5 ° С, but daily temperature fluctuations can be 8-10 ° С. Soil pH values ​​range from 4.5 to 5.5, and the water in streams and rivers is soft, almost desalinated. All these factors determine the needs of crotons, in certain conditions.

Namely: sufficiently bright lighting, with some direct sun (morning or evening). In winter, Croton can even be placed on the southern windowsill (until the end of February). In their natural habitat, crotons are under the delicate shade of the crown of the upper tier of the forest, and therefore the spots on their leaves are "like sun glare breaking through the foliage of trees." The amount of light available to the plant directly affects the color of the leaves, the same variety, in different lighting conditions, has a predominance of different shades. Little sunlight - more on the green leaves, less variegation. But it is worth rearranging the plant to a more illuminated place, and its leaves will sparkle with shades of golden, red, purple.


However, in addition to light, the pattern of croton leaves has a direct dependence on temperature. Croton is a plant of wide temperature ranges from 5-6 ° C to 35-36 ° C, with appropriate watering. It has been noticed that the brightest and most colorful leaf color in crotons is obtained when kept in moderate temperatures of 17-20 ° C and good lighting (with some direct sunlight, openwork sun). In general, at any time of the year, the optimal temperature range when leaves do not crumble, their color is not lost, and less susceptibility to spider mites is from 18 to 24 ° C. If the temperature is higher in winter, then the plants suffer from a lack of light, the leaves acquire a more intense green hue, the lower leaves fall off. At high temperatures in summer, when the thermometer is from 26 ° C to 36 ° C, shading of the leaves is required,otherwise, they acquire a brown color, which clogs the main pattern of the leaf; the leaves dry at the tips, the earth dries up very quickly and the trunk is bare from below.

With the need for watering crotons, everything is very clear and unambiguous: they like uniform moisture throughout the year. Uniform - this means that watering is not carried out strictly on Mondays or Thursdays, but after the earthen lump dries out to a certain state. And the earth dries up faster or slower, depending on the temperature and humidity. Croton loves that the soil in the pot has time to dry out before the next watering, at least one upper third in summer and half in winter.

Crotons especially do not like watering with cold water! He also does not like croton and complete drying out, and too abundant watering. In the first case, the tips of the leaves begin to dry (first of all, the lower leaves), and in the second, mold appears on the ground, the roots rot, the hydraulic conductivity of the stem is disrupted, the leaves (first of all, the upper ones) begin to fade. Sometimes the apical growth point dies off. Perhaps you will say, how is it that it rains constantly in the natural habitat of crotons! Indeed, there are usually heavy rains lasting 2-3 hours, however, due to high temperatures and constant air movement, the top layer of the earth, consisting of loose litter, allows moisture to pass very quickly. The soil poured with rain is not a wet, dense, dense mass (the consistency of cottage cheese), as it happens in a pot with indoor flowers,but a loose layered structure of leaves and litter, which does not retain water for a long time. At the same time, the air around the leaves has a constantly high humidity, in the region of 70-80%. Therefore, although crotons love to "drink" some water, one can not be afraid of overflow only if good drainage is made at the bottom of the pot, the soil is loose, breathable, and does not stick together.

I would also like to draw attention to such a thing as a draft. Crotons are not afraid of airing if the window is slightly open, even for a long time, and even in sub-zero temperatures. My croton spent the whole winter every day sleeping with micro-ventilation close to the window gap (the window was opened for a long time when it was down to -15 ° C and the wind was not in the windows), not a single discarded leaf, stain, or damage appeared. This is only because the root system was almost completely dry. I watered only in the morning, little by little, so that by the evening the earth would dry out (the next watering was 90-95% by the time the substrate in the pot was dried). Hypothermia of a wet root is very dangerous, it threatens root rot and death. If the air is humid enough, there is no battery nearby, then the dryness of the earth is not at all terrible for Croton.

Croton leaves
Croton leaves

Survival conditions in the rainforest are harsh, with competition for light and nutrients leaving their mark on the appearance of plants. As already mentioned, for example, about the color of the leaves. But not only this, many of those who grew croton noticed such a feature behind it: sometimes the leaves, especially at the beginning of the growing season, differ in an abnormal shape, resembling hearts or a simple bifurcation of leaf lobes. Quite often, traces of mutations can be seen on the leaves of crotons, leading to a change in color, for example, discoloration of leaf tissues. What gives such a "failure" in the genetic program of the plant is unknown, but due to the high mutability, many varieties and sports of Croton have been obtained.

Another feature: the flowering of the crowns takes a lot of energy from the plant, although the flowers are not particularly beautiful. If you leave flower stalks on the plant, then it slows down and stops growth, which can resume only a few months after flowering. Therefore, if the flowers do not arouse much interest, it is better to carefully break the peduncle.


One of the reasons why crotons are literally thrown into the street is their very high susceptibility to tick attacks. Well, these pests like codiaums, and ticks are taken literally out of nowhere (in fact, they are easily brought in with purchased plants, through the ground, or by air through windows and vents). You can notice ticks on the leaves of croton if the plant is very small and has a predominance of green leaves, or when the colony of ticks has multiplied so much that traces of their presence are noticeable - cobwebs, white husks and massive drying out, and leaf fall. You can fight a tick with acaricides, for example, Apollo. One of the reasons for the appearance of a mite on croton is dry air. Crotons generally like very humid air; it is advisable to place them on wide trays with wet pebbles.In winter, it is imperative to isolate from the central heating battery - directed dry air leads to massive yellowing and flying around the leaves. Even regular spraying will not save, the only way out is to turn on a humidifier next to the flowers.

What to do if the croton trunk is exposed from below

One of the common problems with crotons is the bare trunk. The reason, as already mentioned, is the lack of light and dry air. To correct the appearance of the croton, an air cut is made on the bare trunk. First, in the place where it is supposed to grow new roots, the lignified layer of the trunk is cut in a circle - the bark, in the form of a strip 7-8 mm wide. Then a transparent plastic cup cut along the length (from ice cream) is fixed around the trunk in this place, it is fixed on the trunk with adhesive tape and filled with a substrate (you can use peat in half with vermiculite). Another option: use cling film instead of a glass, and wrap sphagnum moss around the trunk and fasten it with threads.

It is very important to keep the substrate constantly wet around the cut; overdrying must not be allowed. The roots appear during the growing season within a month, but cutting off the cut is possible only when a lot of roots are clearly visible through the bag or glass. The cuttings, as a rule, have several leaves (sometimes even many), and the root system is still weak. The ability of new young roots to suck water from the soil may not be enough for a large evaporating surface of leaves, therefore, the cut and planted cuttings must be shaded and sprayed several times a day. Do not allow croton cuttings to root in the hot summer, otherwise it will continue to lose its lower leaves immediately after rooting and planting. The most optimal time for air lay is from March to June.

Croton - frequently asked questions

Croton in the encyclopedia


* When compiling this article, the following literature was used: de Candolle (ed.), Prodromus Systematis Universalis Regni Vegetabilis Paris XV, pade 1116, //

Article author: Natalia Rusinova

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