Croton (also known as rushfoil and Joseph's Coat) is a tropical plant with bright, fresh and colorful leaves. This plant can grow outside in warm and humid climates, but puring is basically better grown as a houseplant or as a seasonal plant to beautify your home. Croton is sometimes difficult to grow because it requires specific light, water, temperature and humidity settings, and cannot be moved. The trick to growing this plant is to find an ideal location that will allow it to thrive and not move it after it grows.
Method 1 of 3: Choosing the Right Location
Step 1. Choose a pot with good drainage
Croton needs a lot of water, but is not suitable for planting in muddy or wet soil. To make sure the pot has good drainage, look for a pot that has drainage holes in the bottom. When choosing a pot, look for one that is about 1/3 times the size of the plant's root clump.
- If you live in a warm climate and have hard soil, you don't need to use a pot if you want to plant croton directly in garden soil.
- To make sure your area has a warm climate, search the internet for information.
Step 2. Choose an area that gets 6 to 8 hours of sunlight
Crotons need lots of sun to maintain their leaf color, but these plants can also dry out if exposed to intense heat throughout the day. The ideal location is near an east or west facing window that is exposed to 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight each day.
The leaves on the croton that are exposed to direct sunlight for too long will dry out
Step 3. Keep the plant out of the air
Croton is not resistant to air flow, especially cold air. Choose a location away from doors or windows that circulate air, ventilation and circulation holes, fans, and other places that are easily exposed to air gusts.
Step 4. Do not move the plant
Once you've found a suitable location for growing your croton, don't move it for any reason. Croton can not withstand shocks well, including when moved. Don't be surprised if the croton leaves drop quite a bit after transplanting.
Step 5. Move the croton to an outdoor location in the spring
Puring can be grown outdoors in warm climates, such as Java. To plant it outdoors, choose a location that is not exposed to direct sunlight, such as an area under a tree that is slightly shaded. Move the plant outside in September through December to minimize plant shock.
- Croton will not survive cold climates with temperatures lower than 4 °C. If winter temperatures fall below that number in your area, you can replant the croton in a pot and bring it indoors while it's still cold or make the croton a seasonal plant by letting it die in the cold.
- If you move your croton indoors and outdoors according to the season, don't be surprised if the leaves drop.
- The ideal soil for croton is loose soil that dries easily. To enrich soil nutrients and improve drainage quality, spread compost before planting.
Method 2 of 3: Growing Healthy Croton Plants
Step 1. Water the plant regularly with warm water to keep the soil moist
Use warm water to prevent shaking of the roots, then water the plant when the soil surface to a depth of 13 mm has dried. Stick your finger into the ground. If it feels dry, you should water it. Keep watering the soil until the excess water comes out of the hole in the bottom of the pot.
- This tropical plant needs a lot of water, but you should make sure the soil feels moist and loose, not muddy or wet.
- During the dormant period in late March and December, reduce watering and allow the soil to dry to a depth of 1 cm.
Step 2. Keep the plant in an area of 24 °C
Croton comes from the tropics so it will not grow if the temperature drops below 16 °C. The ideal temperature for this plant is in the range of 21 °C to 27 °C during the day and 18 °C at night.
You can grow croton outdoors, but only in warm climates with high humidity levels. If you live in an area with a dry or cold climate, grow croton indoors to control the environment
Step 3. Keep the humidity level high around the plant
The ideal humidity range for croton is around 40 to 80% and the optimal number is around 70%. You can get this figure by spraying cold water on the leaves once a day or two, or by placing the pot in a frequently used bathroom.
- Another way to increase the humidity of the plant is to place it in a container of gravel that is submerged in water. Change the water as necessary to keep the gravel wet.
- To measure the humidity around the croton, you can use an instrument called a hygrometer. These tools are sold in shopping malls, home supply stores, and garden supply stores.
Step 4. Fertilize the plants every month during their growth period
Croton needs a lot of nutrients for its colorful leaves to thrive. During periods of active growth in spring, summer, and early fall, fertilize the plant by adding fertilizer or liquid fertilizer to the water before watering the plant.
- The best fertilizer for croton is one that contains high levels of nitrogen and potassium, such as an 8-2-10 fertilizer mix because these chemicals will help it grow strong stems and leaves. The numbers 8-2-10 refer to the nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium levels in the fertilizer.
- Do not apply fertilizer during the dormant period in late fall and during winter.
Step 5. Replant the croton back into the pot when it grows bigger than the pot
Choose a pot that is 2.5 to 5 cm larger than the pot you are currently using. Look for a pot that has lots of drainage holes. Fill half the pot with loose soil. Carefully remove the croton from the original pot and slowly place it in the new pot. Cover the plant roots with additional soil along with water for soil.
- Replanting croton into a pot may cause the leaves to drop, but you can reduce the shock to the plant by planting it in mid or late spring.
- Instead of using potting soil, you can use a mixture of peat and compost in a 1:1 ratio.
Step 6. Stop the plant from growing by planting it in the same sized pot
Some species of croton can reach a height of 1.8 meters and you can limit their growth by using a pot of the same size. When you want to stop plant growth, replant the croton into the same sized pot.
Instead of replanting croton in a pot, you can change the soil to keep the plant healthy. Remove the top layer of soil to a depth of 3 cm once a year and replace it with new potting soil
Method 3 of 3: Troubleshooting Common Problems
Step 1. Water the plant more often if the tips of the leaves turn brown
Lack of water is a common problem in croton which causes the leaves to drop. Examine fallen leaves for brown marks at the tips of the leaves and check for dry texture. Give more water and spray the leaves more often to solve this problem.
Step 2. Reduce watering if the leaves curl
Even if your croton likes moist soil, you may be giving it too much water. Curling leaves are a sign of excess water and you can solve this problem by reducing the amount of water you give. Just water the soil surface to a depth of 13 mm when the soil dries and do not allow the croton to be planted in muddy areas.
Choose a pot with good drainage holes to prevent excess water
Step 3. Remove the plant when the leaf margins turn brown
If the croton leaves are starting to fall and are not experiencing excess water, check the leaf margins for signs of browning. This is an indication that the plant is exposed to cold air or cold air gusts. Move the plant to a warmer area or away from fans, vents, and other sources of airflow.
Step 4. Increase the intensity of light exposure if the color of the plant fades
The most prominent feature of the croton is the striking color of its leaves and this plant needs a lot of sunlight to produce this color. If the leaves start to lose color or the newly sprouted leaves are pale green, move the plant to a lighter location.
Crotons need 6 to 8 hours of indirect sunlight to maintain their color and health
Step 5. Reduce the intensity of sun exposure if gray spots appear on the leaves
Gray spots on the leaves indicate a sunburned plant. You can move the plant to a window where it gets less sun or cook a cloth to protect the croton from the hot UV rays.
Step 6. Wash the leaves with soapy water to kill spider mites
Signs of a spider mite attack are the appearance of yellow and brown spots on the leaves, the color of the leaves turning pale, and the presence of a thin white web. Fill a small bowl with warm water and add 5 ml of liquid dish soap or hand soap. Use a clean cloth to wipe the top and bottom of the leaves with the solution. Let the plant sit for 10 minutes, then wipe the leaves with a damp cloth.
- Repeat the process every few days until the mites are gone.
- Alternatively, spray the plant with a sharp stream of water once a week to control pest infestation.
Even if the care instructions for the various varieties of croton remain the same, it's a good idea to look for specific information based on the type of croton planted. For example, if you are growing the very popular variety of croton, you can look for specific care instructions for the croton plant
- Croton does not need to be pruned too often, except to remove dead leaves and stems. Wear gloves when trimming the croton to protect your hands from sap irritation.
- If your plant is elongated and flattened, prune a third of the branches within one year. When the branches grow back the following year, trim back a third of the branches until the plant is used to growing to your liking.
- Some species of croton are toxic to humans and animals, especially the sap. Keep children and pets away from these plants.