Thursday, January 21, 2010

Codiaeum variegatum - Croton.

When it comes to bright foliage that provides an explosion of colour in a tropics garden, crotons take the cake!

They can create a bold statement in any garden, but this is a plant that especially loves humid, warm conditions and can also tolerate dry conditions.

Crotons are evergreen shrubs with glossy leathery variegated leaves that are easy to grow and practically problem free.  They will grow to around 3 metres in height and spread to around 1 metre.  There are many variations in leaf shape and size with colours ranging from vibrant yellows, oranges, reds and purples ... usually all on the same plant.

While they prefer to grow in full sun,  I have several growing in a position that is shaded in the afternoons and this seems to bring out the colours even more.  
They get tiny star-shaped, rather insignificant yellow flowers.   These are produced intermittently throughout the year.


 The Croton may loose its leaves when stressed, but the strong trunk holds a lot of nutrients and it will re-shoot when conditions are better.  The one below suffered terribly after a couple of years of drought, but with decent rainfall followed by a good feed, it returned to its former glory!


  1. Beautiful array of crotons. Very tropical and add colours to any garden! ~bangchik

  2. Thanks for your comment Bangchik ... these shrubs definitely add brilliant colour to a garden.

  3. Nice to know you Bernie! I have read your tips for my Calatheas. Since I do not have a pond, I will incorporate the saucer and pebbles :-D Thank you for your advice.

    I have Crotons in my garden as well. Like you have mentioned, they really add colours to a garden. Mine only added yellow. I wish I have more space for more colours. They are spectacular.

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  4. Thanks for visiting Stephanie ... hope your calatheas keep on thriving.

  5. i have a homework about this plant
    you helped me....
    thanks.... ^_^

  6. Codiaeum variegatum is a must in any tropical garden and mine is no exception. When the low sun shines through their leaves they come alive like nothing else except maybe some cordyline fruticosa varieties. Worth bearing in mind when planting, sunrise and sunset behind a planting of these is magic. Also when they get tall looking up into the canopy is a delight for the same reason. Some can get three or four meters tall in my garden.

    I have a problem though with some of the more interesting ones imported here. They are grown in very rarified conditions often in glass houses in Europe with minimal UV and the minute they go outside the leaves start dropping badly. Because they aren't strong, no more than a bundle of cuttings in a pot it can also be lethal. The locally grown ones have no problem at all and can be put straight in the ground half day sun no problem even full sun no problem but anything from the Netherlands for example is a disaster even in dappled shade.

    I just don't seem to be able to get it right. Hardening off these plants is tricky. I suspect they are grown in mist houses or extreme humidity. When I say extreme it must be higher than our 80-90% humidity at any rate. The leaves are thin and delicate, even in only bright light they shed dramatically.

    I've got some at the moment in deep shade and they are going a dull green and getting weak and leggy, as a result getting them into even part sun is going to be as tricky as when they first arrived???!!! Kind of like a lose lose situation.

    Does anyone know if there is something I can spray on the leaves that will prevent leaf drop so that I can harden them off in a normal manner?


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