Croton plant care guide

Croton Plant: The Complete Growth And Care Guide (2021)

This is a complete croton plant propagation and care guide, in here you’ll find everything you need to care for this absolutely beautiful and colorful indoor plant.

Identifying plants goes beyond knowing their color and where to purchase them. It includes knowing where the plant is from, its scientific name, how to care for it, how to propagate it, and so many more.

In this article, we will be giving you all you need to know about one of the most loved indoor plants; croton.

The Croton Plant Background

Plant NameCroton
Botanical NameCordiaeum variegatum.
Plant typeEvergreen shrub.
Soil typeWell-drained potting soil.
Soil pHNeutral.
OriginThe tropical forest of Asia, Australia, and Oceania.
SizeVaries by species and variety.

Also known as Codiaeum variegatium, croton is a flowing plant that is from the spurge family; Euphorbiaceae.

It was first described by Carl Linnaeus in 1753, it also has its name from a Greek word which means “tick”, this name was given because of how the croton seed resembles a tick in shape.

Croton is from the tropical forests of southeast Asia, Australia, and Oceania.

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Croton can serve as both indoor and outdoor plant, when planted outside, it can grow up to 10 feet tall, however, when planted indoor, in a pot, it tends to be smaller.

Croton comes in a variety of leaf shapes and colors. The leaves can be short, long, thin, thick, etc. the colors also can be from yellow, red, orange, cream, pink, and black and can also come in combinations. There is hardly a croton plant that will not match your décor.

When considering growing croton, there is certain information that you require to help you effectively raise this amazing houseplant. Not having this information on what to do will make your plant stay unhealthy for a long while and in the end, they die. The following are tips on how to care for your croton.

Croton Plant Propagation Requirements

Planting croton requires not much stress; you only have to do the right thing.

1. Light

Before you begin to plant, you should consider the location where your plant will sit. Either in your garden or indoor. This is because the croton plant is from the tropical forest, hence it cannot tolerate temperature below 60 degrees. The plant should be kept away from cold and should be exposed to full sun.

2. Soil

Soil is very important to every plant and the type of soil you use will affect the growth of your plant. The soil in which your croton plant will be planted should be moist and well-drained. Croton will not tolerate wet or soggy soil, if you live in a dry environment, you may consider misting the leaf of the plant.

3. Potting

Choosing a container is very important. This is because croton is one plant that grows up, and this means it will become heavy at some point, knowing this; you should pick a container that is strong and will not bend when the plant grows bigger. You can also choose to plan to re-pot your plant later as it gets bigger.

Croton Plant Propagation

Unlike some other plants, you cannot propagate croton from seed. This means you have to look to other means to propagate them. We have discovered two ways for you to propagate croton, they are stem cutting and air layering

1. Stem Cutting

This is done by rooting a stem from a healthy, mature croton plant. This method is not only used for croton but many other houseplants. Do this by cutting a stem of about 3 to 4 inches long, which has at least four leaves. Fill a container with a lightweight potting mixture and dip the stem in the container.

You can try to create a greenhouse atmosphere by covering the container with plastic.

2. Air Layering

This is another propagating technique that involves rooting the stem while it is still attached to the plant. You take a diagonal cut through half the diameter of the stem, hold the cut open with the use of a toothpick, and apply some rooting hormone to treat the wound.

When the stem roots, plant it in a container filled with potting soil or a mixture of ingredients i.e. peat moss, sand, etc.


Croton is from the tropical forest, hence it requires full sunlight to keep its colors bright. Make sure the topsoil is dry before you water it again, croton enjoys well-drained soil.

You must water the plant the day before you propagate, this will enhance rooting and reduce stress to the plant. You should check the plant often to know when the topsoil is dry so you can water, this can be done twice a week.

If you propagate via air layering, the sphagnum moss will change its color when it is dry, you should remove the plastic, mist the plant, and replace the plastic. Regardless of which method you decide to use, it requires bright or indirect light.  

Croton Plant Care: How To Care For Your Croton Plant

One of the most important things to remember about caring for croton is that it requires direct sunlight. The colors of the leaf are dependent on how much light it gets.

1. Always remember to keep the soil moist. Croton will not survive in dry soil or overwatered soil, you must learn to balance it.

2. Specks of dust are easily attracted to the leaves; remember to wipe off the dust from the leaves as often as you can.

3. Paying attention to the pot is as important as watering the plant. When you notice the plant is getting bigger, you should get ready to re-pot.

4. Crotons are susceptible to some houseplant pests’ i.e. scale insects, spider mites, etc. You should protect them at all cost. You can get rid of these pests with the use of cotton balls soaked in alcohol. You can also get them off by washing the plant with gentle soap and water.

You will have to pay attention to your plant to detect these pests. However, apart from these house plant pests, croton isn’t likely to have pests around them.

5. Croton can react to stress, you may find out that your leaves are drying off days after you get them home, do not panic. Crotons do not do well with changing locations and drying off is one of the signs that they have been stressed. You can limit how much they move, you can also care for them when you notice they are drying off, after some days of care, they should be revived. 

croton plant care guide
Image: ErinLewisPhotography/ Shutterstock.

6. Fertilizing croton is a very important part of caring for them; however, it shouldn’t be done frequently. You can fertilize your plant once a month; this is because fertilizing them too often can cause them to look dull. You should purchase fertilizers that are rich in potassium and nitrogen.

Croton Plant FAQ

Are Croton Plants Poisonous?

Yes, croton is a poisonous plant. This is why you cannot have them around children or animals. If you have croton in your home, you may want to place them in a position it will beautify your home, but out of reach for your children and animals.

Why Is My Croton Plant Losing Its Leaves?

There are quite a several reasons your croton are losing its leaves. One known reason for the loss of leaves is stress. Croton does not do well with stress and tends to react by drying off or shedding leaves. Stress could come from moving the plant from one place to another, imbalance in the nutrients, etc.

Does Croton Come Back Every Year? 

Yes! Croton plants are perennial plants and this means that they stay around for many years. Although there have been situations of death during winter, it grows back during spring, through the same root system.

How Do I Revive Croton?

You do not have to do any special thing to get your croton back alive, you only have to place it in a sunny location, make sure the soil is well-drained, and mist the leaves frequently. Your croton should be up in no time.

Are Crotons Hard To Care For?

Indoor Croton has a reputation of being demanding at first, however, after a while, you may not need to stress over it anymore.

How Do I Make My Croton More Colorful?

Croton enjoys direct sunlight to stay colorful; however, you should protect it from the mid-day sun so it doesn’t burn out. Also, you should water and fertilize it.

Are Crotons Poisonous to Dogs and Cats?

While croton is generally healthy to dogs and cats but ingesting it can cause mild oral or gastrointestinal irritation which could inturn lean lead to vomiting, diaharrea or drolling. Hence dogs and cats should be prevented from chewing on croton plants.

 How Often Should I Water Croton?

How often you water croton plants depend on the planting situation. You can water it daily or weekly however you need to ensure the soil doesn’t stay dry for an extended period of time. Croton plants require frequent watering but make sure not to over-water.

How Can I Make My Crotons Grow Faster?

Croton plants are relatively slow growers and they do have moderate slow growth which is about 12 inches in a growing season. To help croton plants grow faster, they need a consistently warm temperature, frequent watering, and filtered light.

Do Crotons Bloom?

Croton is an extensive flowering plant and yes it does bloom. Croton plants are bushy plants so their tiny star-shaped yellow flowers are considered insignificant.

Can Croton Be Kept In Bedroom?

Crotons are definitely great for adding greenery to your room. It is a common houseplant and it helps add a more vibrant touch to your bedroom. So, with proper maintenance and caring, they can be kept in the bedroom.

Where Do Crotons Grow Best?

Croton plants are best known for their bright and bold foliage. They are grown as large shrubs in the wild but these plants are their best when grown in bright light. They grow best when placed in a sunny window but some species tolerate partial shade.

Do Croton Plants Give Oxygen? 

The dark large leaves of croton can help suck up harmful toxins such as xylene, ammonia, formaldehyde, and toluene, and it also purifies the room, making it smell fresh and cool. It also supplies oxygen during the night.

Final Thoughts

Like many other indoor plants, croton requires specific care. Most people have challenges with maintaining the right temperature for it. It should not be too cold, so it doesn’t lose its leaves. It is important to state that croton comes in various varieties and they can be different in care.

If you will be keeping your croton indoors, you must adhere to keeping it out of the reach of children. We recommend croton as the indoor plant for you, it is worth the effort.

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