The croton is a striking, easy-to-grow houseplant known for its variegated foliage covered in green, scarlet, orange, and yellow splotches. Here’s how to care for a croton in your home or garden.
Croton, also called “garden croton,” are native to the tropical forests of Southeast Asia and Oceania. In the wild, they grow as large shrubs, reaching up to 10 feet tall (in the home or garden, they stay much smaller).
Note: All parts of this plant are poisonous—especially the seeds—so it is not recommended for use in homes with curious pets or children. When damaged, croton produces a milky sap that can irritate the skin, too.
When choosing a container for your croton, keep in mind that the plant will grow upright, which eventually may cause it to become top heavy. Pick a container that won’t easily tip over when the croton gets larger. Or, plan to pot up to larger pots over time.
Use a well-draining potting mix. Croton likes to be kept moist but not wet.
In areas with warm, humid summers, croton can be grown outdoors as a unique and colorful landscape plant. They work well in tropical-themed containers or alongside annuals in the ground. When nighttime temperatures drop to around 50°F (10°C), croton will need to be taken indoors.
How to Care for Croton
Place croton in a sunny location such as an eastern, southern, or western window. If croton is getting too little light, its newer leaves will be less colorful.