Crotons are tropical perennial plants originating from Indonesia, Malaysia, and other parts of Asia. These plants are widely grown as houseplants because they are easy to grow and come with variegated foliage.
When growing croton in the house, you must understand how to care for it. Depending on the species, provide full sun to bright indirect sunlight to your Croton. Water it whenever the topsoil goes dry and fertilize the plant once a month as it is a heavy feeder.
If you are growing croton as a houseplant, this article will help you with all the care tips you need to keep in mind to keep the plant healthy and happy.
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How do I keep my Croton happy?
Crotons don’t require much care, but if you understand the basic requirements and provide suitable conditions, you can keep your croton happy.
Take a look at these 10 care tips for Croton.
1. Provide adequate light to your croton.
Crotons have different varieties, and each of them has individual requirements and tolerance levels when it comes to light.
Crotons enjoy full sun to bright indirect sunlight.
Before concluding, find the variety of your croton and provide it light accordingly.
Here are some varieties and their light preferences.
- Zanibar Croton: Prefers indirect sunlight.
- Mammy Croton: Prefers partial to full sunlight.
- Gold Star Croton: Prefers at least 4 hours of direct sunlight.
- Victoria Gold Bell Croton: Prefers indirect sunlight and cannot tolerate direct sunlight.
- Superstar Croton: Prefers full sun to partial shade.
Whichever croton variety you own, keep it away from intense afternoon sunlight to save it from sunburn and dehydration.
Also, avoid placing it in a low-light spot, reducing the plant’s growth.
2. Water your croton to keep the soil moist.
Crotons prefer moist soil.
To keep the soil moist, provide water to the croton whenever the topsoil goes dry.
You should not let the soil go completely dry and compact as it becomes stressful for the croton.
To understand the moistness, stick your finger into the soil.
If the soil feels sticky to your finger, wait for it to get dry.
But you should water your croton if the soil is dry.
If you are a beginner, you can get a moisture meter to do this for you.
In general, crotons will require water once every week when growing actively.
Although crotons don’t go dormant in winter, their water requirements will reduce due to the weather changes.
3. Use a well-drained soil mix for your croton.
Crotons love moisture but don’t enjoy sitting in soggy soil.
Crotons are sensitive to waterlogged soil.
Therefore, consider well-draining and loose soil for your croton.
Since crotons prefer moist soil, the plant will get overwatered with all the watering if you don’t choose well-draining soil.
Never keep the croton in heavy soil.
A suitable soil recipe for croton is:
This soil recipe will maintain the perfect balance of moisture retention and drainage.
4. Fertilize your croton generously during its growing period.
Crotons are heavy feeders, and you must fertilize them once a month during their growing months.
Liquid fertilizers are ideal for houseplants, and crotons will do best with an NPK ratio of 3:1:2.
Fertilizers add nutrients to the soil that it loses every time you water the croton.
Without fertilizer, the croton will not get all the nutrients it needs and will lose its health.
Some signs that your croton might show due to lack of nutrients are leaves losing color, leggy growth, weak stems and roots, smaller and droopy leaves, and slow or stunted growth.
However, don’t overdo it as that can burn the roots and affect the leaves.
If you notice signs of overfertilization on your croton, reduce the frequency or dilute the fertilizer dose.
Reduce fertilizing your croton in the winter as the croton rests during this time and focuses less on growth.
5. Keep the humidity levels high, just the way croton needs.
Crotons come from tropical regions where they get a lot of humidity.
Its humidity requirement doesn’t change even as houseplants.
The ideal humidity range for crotons remains between 40-80%.
If you can’t keep the humidity very high, don’t let it drop below 40%.
Be careful during the winter season as the humidity levels drop drastically.
Here are some ways to raise the humidity around your croton:
- Install a humidifier near your croton or place the croton in a room with a humidifier.
- If you don’t have a humidifier, relocate the croton to the bathroom as it has higher humidity than other rooms.
- You can group the croton with other humidity-loving plants. The transpiration process of the plants will raise the humidity level in that area.
- You can prepare a pebble tray by placing some pebbles on a tray and filling it with water. Place the croton over the pebbles. The humidity will increase when the water evaporates from the tray.
- If you have an aquarium in the house, you can place your croton near it. The water of the aquarium evaporates and creates a humid environment near it.
6. Provide high temperatures to your croton.
Crotons experience warm conditions created by high humidity and high temperatures in tropical regions.
Even when you cannot provide very high temperatures to crotons growing indoors, maintaining room temperature will be sufficient.
Try to maintain temperatures between 65-80°F for your Croton.
Temperatures can fall during the winter season, and that is when you need to find a warmer spot for the croton.
- You can keep your croton in a warm room with a fireplace but keep the plant away from it.
- Avoid keeping the croton near frosty windows.
- Keep the croton away from doors and windows that are opened and closed frequently.
- Don’t place the croton opposite the AC as the direct air of the AC can dehydrate the plant.
7. Prune your croton to encourage growth.
Pruning is an integral part of croton care.
Crotons can grow tall and bushy fast, so pruning keeps the plant in shape.
Crotons react well to pruning, which means if your croton is not growing, you can prune it aggressively, and it will start growing.
Whereas, if you don’t prune the croton at regular intervals, it will grow leggy and uneven.
Pruning also helps remove the unwanted parts that waste the plant’s energy, such as dead leaves, damaged stems, decaying roots, etc.
You can prune your croton any time of the year but pruning during its growing months is ideal as it will get the suitable conditions for growth.
8. Protect your croton in winter.
Crotons are tropical plants, and they don’t prefer harsh winters with low temperatures and frost.
In winter, crotons can get stressed due to the low temperatures, low light, and low humidity levels.
Therefore, you must try to protect the croton from such conditions during winter.
- Avoid taking your croton outside in winter.
- If your croton is not receiving enough light, use artificial lights.
- The air becomes dry during winter, so try to maintain the humidity with the help of a humidifier.
- Don’t expose your croton to frost.
9. Propagate the croton to get new plants out of it.
Since crotons often require pruning, you can use the healthy stem cuttings for propagation and get new crotons.
You can propagate by taking the stem cutting and planting it in soil or water.
Don’t try propagating a leaf, as crotons can’t be propagated from leaves.
You can propagate croton also by the air-layering method.
In this, you can propagate without cutting while the stem is still on the croton.
You should make a diagonal cut on a healthy stem, apply some rooting hormone, and cover that area with sphagnum moss and plastic.
Once roots start coming out of the cut, you can cut that stem and plant it in a pot and suitable potting mix.
10. Repot the croton only when required.
Crotons don’t enjoy being repotted.
Unlike many plants that require frequent repotting, you must repot the croton only when required.
Frequent repotting will put the croton under stress.
A croton plant will generally require repotting once in 3-5 years.
Repot the croton if it is rootbound, has root rot, or other issues like pest infestations or fungal and bacterial diseases.
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Extra care tips for your croton
Now that you know croton’s primary requirements let’s discuss some more tips to keep your croton happier and healthier.
- Clean the croton leaves with a wet wipe at regular intervals to remove the dust.
- Rotate the croton after every few days to provide light on all sides.
- Spray a neem oil solution on the croton once a month to keep the pests away.
- Since croton is toxic, wear gloves when dealing with it and keep it away from pets and children.
- Use a heavy pot for the croton as the plant becomes top-heavy as it grows, and only a heavy and robust pot will hold it in place.
- Avoid relocating your croton too often as that can cause unnecessary stress.