Croton Plant Care
Croton (Croton), also called «Joseph’s cloak», or codiaeum (Codiaeum), is a member of the Euphorbiaceae family. The most popular among flower growers is not the scientific name codiaum, which means “head” in Greek, but croton at the same time, no one knows for sure what this word means. There is an opinion that this name comes from the name of a city located in southern Italy, in which Pythagoras once founded his own school, or maybe in one of the dialects this word is translated as “bush” … This plant comes from the Pacific Islands and North Australia, and also from Southeast Asia and India. According to information taken from various sources, this genus combines from 17 to 1200 species, however, only variegated croton, as well as its hybrids, are grown at home. Such a flower is the most beautiful of all decorative leafy house plants, it can become the main decoration of any room, and due to its compactness, it does not take up much space. In some countries, such a home flower is the keeper of the hearth, while it protects the home from bad energy.
- 1 Brief description of cultivation
- 2 Features of croton
- 3 Croton care at home
- 3.1 Illumination
- 3.2 Temperature conditions
- 3.3 How to water properly
- 3.4 Air humidity
- 3.5 Top dressing
- 3.6 Cropping
- 3.7 Croton transplant
- 3.8 Wintering
- 4 Breeding methods
- 4.1 Growing from seed
- 4.2 Propagation by cuttings
- 5 Pests and diseases of croton
- 5.1 Pests
- 5.2 Possible problems
- 6 Types of croton with photos and names
- 6.1 Mrs. Aiston
- 6.2 Petra
- 6.3 Black Prince
- 6.4 Disraeli
- 6.5 Excellence
Brief description of cultivation
- Flowering . Croton is an ornamental leafy plant.
- Illumination . Before noon, the bush should be provided with bright sunlight, while after that — a slight shading or diffused bright light.
- Temperature regime . In summer, from 20 to 22 degrees, and in winter — at least 16 degrees.
- Watering . Watering should be regular and moderate.
- Air humidity . It should be elevated. The bush must be regularly moistened with a sprayer and washed with foliage, and another 1 or 2 times a month he needs to arrange a shower.
- Fertilizer . From April to November, the bush must be fertilized with a complex mineral fertilizer for decorative leafy plants, this is done 1 time in 2 weeks. The rest of the time, feeding is carried out 1 time in 4 weeks.
- Rest period . In winter time.
- Transplant . Young bushes — twice a year, and adult specimens — 1 time in a couple of years.
- Reproduction . Seed method and stem, as well as leaf cuttings.
- Harmful insects . Mealybugs, scale insects, nematodes, spider mites.
- Diseases . Gray rot and sooty fungus.
- Properties . Such a culture has poisonous juice.
The croton plant grown at home is a bush with leathery leaf plates, the shape of which can be very different: oblong-lanceolate, asymmetric, pointed or obtuse, three-lobed, broadly ovate, entire, notched, etc. Young leaves are usually painted in a paler greenish-yellow color, after a while the color becomes brighter burgundy and green, in connection with this, such a plant looks like an elegant tree in autumn. For all varieties and varieties, a common feature for leaf blades is a distinctly pronounced venation. Croton blooms not very effectively. So, during flowering, axillary pendulous brushes are formed, consisting of inconspicuous cream-colored flowers.
Croton care at home
The croton houseplant is one of the most capricious flowers, which is quite difficult to care for. Care features:
- The juice of this plant contains a strong poison that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, or contact dermatitis. In this regard, while working with a bush, it is imperative to wear gloves.
- Croton needs high humidity. That is why it is necessary to systematically moisten the bush from the spray gun, and in addition to this, wipe the leaf plates with a moistened soft cloth or sponge. In the summer, the bush should be provided with a regular warm shower, which is carried out once every 4 weeks.
- This plant reacts extremely negatively to drafts, and also to cold water used for irrigation.
- In some cases, at the beginning of the growing season, it was noticed that the foliage of the bush takes on a variety of unusual forms. Scientists today cannot give an exact answer to what this is connected with. However, it should be borne in mind that this culture has a very high degree of mutability, which is why breeders managed to bring out so many different hybrid forms and varieties that differ from each other only in the appearance of leaf plates.
- Croton flowering is unattractive, but it takes a lot of strength from the bush. If you are not going to collect seeds, then cut off flower buds or flower stalks immediately after they form.
Such a plant needs bright sunlight, but direct sunlight will not be able to harm it only in the morning or evening. In connection with this summer, it is recommended to put a pot with a bush on a northern window, while in winter a southern window sill will do. Experts recommend, if possible, in the summer to move the bush to the street, and you need to choose a place with bright diffused light.
In the warm season, Croton feels best at an air temperature of 20 to 22 degrees, and in winter it should not fall below 16 degrees.
How to water properly
It is necessary to choose such a mode of watering this flower so that the clod of earth in the pot is constantly a little damp, while water should not be allowed to stagnate in the root system, because this may cause rot to appear on it. Water should be used well-settled, but better filtered, and it should not be cold.
In order for such a plant to grow and develop normally, it needs high humidity. In this regard, it must be systematically moistened from a sprayer or wipe the foliage with a moistened sponge. And in the summer, he will need a regular warm shower, but during this procedure, you must ensure that water does not enter the container with the substrate.
From April to November, top dressing is carried out 1 time in 2 weeks, they do it on a pre-moistened substrate, using a solution of complex mineral fertilizer for this. In winter, the flower is fertilized only once every 4 weeks.
In order for the croton crown to be neat and spectacular, young bushes should be pinched regularly, and pruning in adults. The first pinching is carried out after the height of the bush becomes 15 centimeters, and the next — every time the stems grow 20 centimeters. If an adult bush was cut off, then all places of cuts should be sprinkled with sulfur powder or crushed charcoal. Flower buds or young flower stalks, immediately after they form, should be cut off, because the flowers of this plant do not represent any decorative value, however, the flowering process itself takes away strength from it and negatively affects the showiness of leaf plates, as well as its health.
While the bushes are young, they will need to be transplanted once every six months, adult specimens are transplanted less often, namely, once every 2 years. When choosing a new pot for transplanting, it should be borne in mind that it should be only 20 mm larger than the old one in diameter. After the bush is planted in a pot with a diameter of up to 25 centimeters, it is no longer necessary to transplant it, instead, it will be necessary to replace the top layer of the substrate with a new one regularly once a year.
For transplanting and planting, you need to use a soil mixture that consists of river sand, as well as peat, sod and leafy soil (1: 1: 1: 1). Transplantation is recommended to be carried out by transshipment. To do this, the flower is carefully removed from the old container along with a clod of earth and placed in a new pot. At the same time, try to maintain the integrity of the earthen coma. Do not forget to make good drainage in a new pot, which should take up at least ¼ of the container.
With the onset of autumn, the plant is transferred from the northern window to the southern window sill. You also need to reduce watering, but still, the substrate in the pot should be constantly slightly damp. In the cold season, it is also necessary to moisten the foliage from the sprayer and wipe it with a moistened soft cloth or sponge, but the number of these procedures must be reduced. Such a plant does not need to arrange a shower in winter. Top dressing at this time of the year is carried out 1 time in 4 weeks, however, some experienced flower growers are sure that in winter Croton can do without them at all.
Growing from seed
When growing croton in room conditions, seeds are used for its reproduction, but only if we are talking about hybrids. For sowing, it is necessary to use only freshly harvested seed, the fact is that it loses its germination capacity very quickly. If you decide to use this method of propagation of such a plant, then you must remember that the process of growing croton from seeds is very long and that grown plants, as a rule, will not be able to maintain varietal characteristics.
The seeds of such a flower are quite large. They need pre-sowing preparation, for this they are kept in hot water (about 60 degrees) for 30 minutes, and then left for 24 hours to swell. The seeds should be buried in the substrate by 10 mm; after sowing, the container is removed to a warm place (about 22 degrees). Until the first seedlings appear, the substrate in the container should be moistened exclusively with bottom watering. After the third leaf plate is formed at the seedlings, they should be picked into individual pots, reaching 70 mm in diameter. You need to care for seedlings in the same way as for adult bushes.
Reproduction by cuttings
This flower can also be propagated by cuttings. The apical cutting takes root the easiest and fastest, the length of which should be from 60 to 100 mm. In the case when you need to get several cuttings at once, the shoot is divided into several parts, while taking into account that each resulting cutting should have one healthy leaf plate, as well as at least one internode. Most quickly, the roots give semi-lignified or lignified cuttings. The cut sites should be washed with running water to remove the milky juice that is poisonous from them. After that, the cuttings are left for 3 hours in the open air, during which time the cuts will have time to dry.
At the apical cutting in its upper part, the leaf plates must be shortened by half parallel to the veins, while all foliage should be cut off from its lower part. The lower cut is treated, after which it is placed in a vessel with water, which should always be heated to 23-30 degrees (to prevent the development of rot). The container with the cutting is removed under bright diffused light and wait until it grows roots. After the length of the regrown roots is 20 mm, the plant must be planted in a new pot filled with soil mixture for croton (see above). After planting the cuttings during the first decade near the bush, it is necessary to maintain increased air humidity; for this, the plant is often moistened from a spray bottle. When the cuttings are accepted, their leaf plates will restore turgor.
Pests and diseases of Croton
Nematodes, spider mites, mealybugs and scale insects can settle on croton. However, most often it suffers from spider mites, and why this happens and why this flower is so attractive to this pest, experts cannot say for sure. In some cases, having tried all the ways to deal with ticks and having failed, the grower decides to get rid of the diseased plant. However, do not forget that if you follow all the rules of care, then pests will not settle on your flower. And the most common reasons for the appearance of mites on the plant are irregular watering, insufficiently high humidity, as well as non-systematic wiping of leaf plates. To get rid of a mealybug, spider mite or scale insect, use a tobacco solution to which soap is added, it is used to wipe the aerial parts of the bush. After 60–90 min. after processing, the composition must be carefully washed off from the plant, while it should not get into the soil mixture.
Mistakes in caring for croton can cause various problems, for example:
- The leaves have fallen off the bush . In the event that the croton has lowered leaf plates, this indicates that it cannot absorb moisture. This is due to the fact that the root system is in the cold. Such a bush must be transferred to a well-lit and warm place, it is watered only after the top layer of the soil mixture dries a few centimeters deep, top dressing should be stopped for a while. After the foliage is well moistened from the sprayer, a transparent cap or bag should be put on the bush.
- The bush dries up . If only the lower leaf plates of a flower dry out, then this is a completely natural process, as a result of which the lower part of the stem is exposed. If the air humidity is not high enough, then the tips of the foliage dry out in Croton, it should be noted that the optimal humidity level for it is about 70 percent. If brown spots form on the foliage and its edges dry out, this means that it is cold in the room and the bush is freezing. Drying and flying around the foliage is associated with excessively rare or poor watering.
- Flying foliage . It has already been said above that the fall of the leaf plates may be due to improper watering or excessively low air humidity. Another bush can shed foliage if the room is very cold, it has been exposed to a draft or due to sudden changes in temperature. What to do if the bush began to drop foliage? Remember the rules for caring for such a plant and understand where you made a mistake, and then try to correct it.
Types of croton with photos and names
At home, variegated croton is cultivated, it differs in that it can change the color and shape of foliage depending on the conditions in which it grows. Due to this, it is this species that breeders most often use for their work, as a result of which a large number of hybrids, varieties and varieties have been born.
Croton motley (variegatum) — in the wild it can be found in China and Pakistan. The height of the bush is about 3 m, it is decorated with brownish-green leaf plates with short petioles. This species has several forms that differ in the outline of the leaf plates: adnexal, lobed, flat-leaved and decorated, thanks to which many varieties were born:
This large shrub or tree is adorned with rich maroon foliage with bright pink specks. There is a variety with golden foliage with almost black spots, and also a variety in pink and yellow.
In the wild, it grows up to 4 m in height. Such a highly branched bush is decorated with spectacular foliage, which can be lobed, oval or pointed, it is painted in dark green and has a rich yellow border and the same shade of speckling and veining.
Flat leaf plates of a wide oval shape have a greenish-black color and a large number of red, yellow and orange spots.
The lobed foliage in the upper part has a green color with yellow veins, and in the lower part it is painted in a brick-brown color.
The foliage has a shape similar to oak leaves, in the upper part it is greenish-yellow, and in the lower part it is burgundy-red.
In addition to these varieties of variegated croton, flower growers are popular with such as: Molluk croton, «minus», genuine, oval-leaved, tortoiseshell, curly and spiral.