Croton

Codiaeum variegatum

Synonyms: Croton variegatum, Codiaeum variegatum var. pictum, Codiaeum chrysophyllum, Variegated Laurel, Rushfoil.

Crotons are a tried and true favorite in subtropical and tropical gardens all over the world. Hailing oringinally from Indonesia and New Guinea, the wild type plant was introduced to Horticulture in the 17th century and has since been bred into countless different cultivar and variations. It has long been grown in Brisbane due to its ease of growth in our subtropical climate.

As a garden plant, Crotons are one of the toughest and most adaptable species out there. Most cultivars will happily take full sun all day, and can handle extended drought periods once established. That said, they will also grow in heavy shade and will respond to extra water with vigorous growth. The one thing Crotons are not though, is fast growing. They are steady, but don’t expect a big plant in a hurry. It is on this basis that we’d suggest not concerning over their potential height (3-6m): they will take a long time to get that big, and can be pruned to size if required.

Crotons are very low maintenance also. Their slow growth rate also means little pruning is required, and they are naturally compact if grown in the right position. They can be prone to mealy bugs in hot humid weather. This is generally easy to treat. Water and fertilise regularly if you want to see your Croton at its best.

Crotons are sometime used as an indoor plant in cooler climates where they will not grow outdoors. They are reasonable for this purpose but often become stalky and lose some of their colour.

Applications

  • Tropical gardens
  • Shade areas
  • Foliage contrast
  • Balcony/patio plant
  • Potted specimen
  • Indoors

Care

Easy to care for. Will grow in full sun to part shade. Prone to mealybug attack in warm weather. Although drought tolerant, keep well watered to prevent leaf drop and to keep the the plants growing well. Crotons will not tolerate frost, though will often recover after a freeze. Regular fertilizing with products such as Troforte and Organic Link will produce lush, colourful growth.

Features

  • Glossy, colourful foliage

  • Compact growth
  • Small white flowers

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Size

Height: 3-6m
Width: 1-3m

Light

Full sun to shade. Can be done as indoor.

Watering

Low water needs.

Growth Rate

Slow growth rate.
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