Codiaeum variegatum, also known as croton plants, belongs to the family of tropical evergreens. Known for their remarkable colors and varied shapes of leaves. Is it possible to plant croton outside? Yes. Although they might be remembered more as indoors houseplants, they can be a great choice to have outside in your garden, they will surely add a lot of beauty to the landscape with their nonstop colors. They have a quite hardy nature when growing in frost-free locations, but if the region where you live is cooler, don’t worry, if you can protect them from the harsher cold during the winter, they will be able to grow there as well. No matter where these plants are placed they have a talent for attracting the eye with their stunning colors and bringing light to parts of your garden that seem more shady and gray. So if you are wondering about how to plant crotons and other pieces of information about the croton plant, read on to find out more.
More Information about Croton Plants
Native plants of India and Malaysia, perennial and slow-growing, are members of the spurge family, presenting themselves in the shape of shrubs or small trees.
How Big Does a Croton Plant Get?
Here is some information about the croton plant height: Depending on how they are cultivated, they can grow to reach a height between 3,5 to 4 meters. So when picking the spot for growing your croton plants, keep in mind the size they can reach when mature so you can allow them enough space to spread. Each variety has a different expected size so check what is the expected mature size of the type you are growing.
One of the features that are most distinguishing of the croton plant is the foliage they possess. The beautiful leaves of these plants maintain their colors year-round, and they come in a large variety. Pink, red, orange, purple, yellow, and white. With patches of these many colors containing spots, leaf veins, splotches, and variegation, this plant just brings a lot of beauty to its surroundings. Their leaves come in different shapes from flat and broad to ribbonlike and thin to oval and corkscrew-shaped.
Preferred Indoors and Outdoors Conditions to Plant Croton
The best climates for growing crotons are the ones that don’t have the occurrence of frosts and freezes. They can withstand, without suffering damage, temperatures from 5 to 40 celsius. But the temperature in which they thrive and you can witness optimal growth is between 18 and 36 celsius. If you live in an area that frosts and freezes happen sometimes unexpectedly, you can still have crotons in your garden, as long as you are aware that when this happens you will have to offer them protection from these cold conditions. Before a cold wave arrives water your plant well, this will assist in insulating the roots, and you can cover your plant with a sheet or blanket, another option is to hang some decorative lights on the croton which will help it to preserve its warmth. If you live in a colder climate area, the best choice is to have your crotons growing in containers that will allow you to shelter them indoors in a bright location for the winter period.
When growing indoors you will rarely see a croton plant bloom, but their foliage is already so striking that I doubt you will miss the flowers.
Planting and Caring for a Croton
So, the croton plant does have a bit of a temper. They don’t like to be moved around for example, but when properly cared for, they will reward you with their stunning beauty.
Here are some tips for giving them the care they need:
- Soil – The soil for croton plants needs to be rich. You can use a combination of peat moss and organic compost. The soil should also be well-draining, they don’t enjoy swimming in a water pool. So the container needs to allow drainage to occur.
- Fertilizing – Using fertilizer will encourage these plants to grow, but feeding them once a month is enough. Use a fertilizer that is high in potassium and nitrogen, just be careful with the amount you give them because overfeeding can cause damage to the roots. In the winter the plant is usually dormant so you can decrease the fertilizer amount during this period.
- Water – When in the growing season, your croton needs to be watered quite frequently. The soil should be maintained moist, so when the top starts to look/feel dry, you must water your plant again. These plants also like to be in a humid environment. If the place where they are doesn’t offer natural humidity, you can create it artificially by misting the leaves. During the winter the watering needs tend to decrease, this the time for you to pay attention to avoid giving your plant too much water.
- Light conditions – These plants need to get direct sunlight for six to eight hours daily, this is what will allow them to produce all those amazing colors on their foliage. So position them in a place where they will get their light needs met. If the plants’ leaves are turning green it probably means they are no getting enough light.
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