The croton, known mostly as a popular houseplant with spectacular multi colored foliage, has been making its way outdoors. Crotons make a great addition to an outdoor planter combination or as beautiful foliage in your garden beds.
The croton is a tropical plant that likes hot humid conditions so it can easily make the transition from the house to your outdoor patio or garden. It can get as tall as 3-4 foot high outside. The croton should be planted in a very bright location but out of hot direct sunlight. Filtered sunlight gives you the best possible color in the leaves.
If you are looking for a low maintenance container plant then the croton is a great option. It gives you very bright multi colored foliage that requires no deadheading. It works well by itself in a planter or as an accent in a combination of different flowering annuals. When planting in your flower beds it is best to group a few of croton plants together in a mass.
Light Conditions: Plant your croton in a filtered sunlight location for optimum leaf color. Too much direct sunlight tends to fade the color out of the leaves.
Soil Conditions: Plant your croton in rich well drained soil.
Watering Needs: The croton originally comes from a warm humid tropical climate so it will thrive in warm humid conditions with consistently moist soil. Do not let the soil dry out.
Fertilizer: Feed your croton once a week during the growing season for optimum growth.
Potential Pests: The croton is almost pest free but can occasionally get mealy bug, scale, or mites. You can easily control these with insecticidal soap.
Pruning: Cut off any dead leaves as necessary. If the croton becomes too tall take off the taller branches in 3-6 inch pieces.
Container gardening is as popular as ever and people ask me all the time for something different. The croton is what I suggest. Even though it is usually considered a houseplant, I am going to call Croton the “Almost a Flower of the Week” because the great colors of this plant make it just as nice as many of the flowering annuals you put in your garden or planters.