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Croton leaf

How to care for Crotons

Crotons are plants with colorful leaves in all shapes and size and can grow huge in the wild. These colorful plants are native to warmer areas and can actually grow perfectly fine outside in those warmer areas. But what if you live in a colder area that has limited daylight in the winter and still want to take care of these plants? This guide well tell you all you need to know to care for these tropical and sun loving plants. Just because you might not live in a climate that's warm all year doesn't mean you can't have these beautiful plants in your house! Luckily Crotons are very easy plants and you'll be able to keep them healthy by following the tips in this guide.

In this guide we'll go over these topics:

  1. Sensitive to changes
  2. Light requirements
  3. Watering requirements
  4. Soil
  5. Fertilizer
  6. Temperature & Humidity
  7. Pot size
  8. Poisonous
  9. Common pests
  10. Propagation

After reading through this guide, you'll have all the knowledge you need to keep this plant healthy and thriving.

Sensitive to changes

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Before getting into the rest of the requirements, there is something that should be mentioned first. Crotons are plants that can very easily go into shock when they experience change. Changing the watering schedule, moving it to another place to get a different light exposure, or changing the soil can all stress this plant in the short term. When this happens, it might start to drop some leaves. Don't panic and think you killed your plant though, because this is just the nature of this plant. It will recover when it has adjusted to the new environment and will continue to grow like normal. Keep taking good care of your Croton during this period of shock and nothing will go wrong.

Light requirements

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Most Crotons need a lot of light. The rule-of-thumb to determine how much sunlight your croton needs is this: the more colorful the leaves, the more sunlight it needs. The Croton in the picture at the top has very colorful and bright leaves, so this is a great sign that this specific croton needs a lot of direct sunlight. If the leaves on your croton are darker, it's a good idea to give it less sunlight, perhaps bright indirect sunlight. The Croton in the picture at the top is sitting in a south-facing window sill where it gets full sunlight throughout the day. This makes the light requirements very easy for this plant, just place it in the area of your house that gets the most sunlight. When the plants get enough sunlight, they will maintain their beautiful colored leaves.

If you notice that the leaves lose their color and they start to turn to green, it means it doesn't get enough light. If you notice that the specific colors in the leaves start to fade, it could be a sign that your croton is getting too much sunlight and needs to be moved to a darker place.

Watering requirements

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Sometimes you get those amazing plants that will tell you when they're thirsty. Well, the Croton is one of those plants. When this plant gets thirsty, it's leaves will start to droop very dramatically. After a good amount of water and a little bit of patience the leaves will rise again! Normally you should slow down when watering your plant in the winter, but the Croton doesn't seem to agree with this! They like to be watered every single week, even in the winter. So if you have the tendency to over water your plants, the Croton will be your best friend. It loves all that water.

One thing to keep in mind is that you should make sure this plant doesn't sit in a puddle of water. To avoid this situation, you should get a pot with a drainage hole in the bottom or water the plant a little bit less if your pot doesn't have a drainage hole.


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As this plant loves water and a lot of sun, the best soil to use for Crotons is a rich soil that keeps moisture for a longer period of time and contains a lot of nutrients. Crotons can become quite big houseplants and require a soil to support that growth in the long run. As mentioned earlier, Crotons are easily shocked, so replacing all the soil regularly is not a good idea. A rich soil to feed the plant in the long run is the best kind of care you can give these beautiful plants. To help enrich the soil, you can mix compost with the soil.


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As this plant can grow quite large in a fairly short amount of time, it needs to be fertilized every once in a while. Fertilizing this plant will help it grow quicker, but you shouldn't do this more than every 3-4 weeks. During the winter months you can keep fertilizing it, but not as much as during the spring and summer months. The Croton will be mostly dormant during these colder months, so fertilizing it too much will do more harm than good.

Temperature & Humidity

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Crotons are tropical plants and to give these plants the best care you can, you should mimic the native environment as much as you can: warm and humid. Luckily the termperature is easy, as you can put it in a bright spot and that should already be quite warm. The humidity might be more difficult, but you can follow the tips give in 10 ways to raise the humidity in your house to give your Croton the humidity it loves.

If you're in a colder climate, make sure to keep your Croton out of cold drafts, as this could put it into shock.

Pot size

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Crotons can grow really large over time. You can stunt this growth by restricting the size of the pot and giving it limited space to grow its roots. On the other hands, if you give it more space to grow, it will grow larger. Like most plants, start by putting your Croton in a pot that is just a little larger than what it needs. Don't get an enormous pot for a small plant. When you're repotting, incrementally increase the size of the pot for the best results. This will promote growth and reduces the likelyhood of putting the Croton into shock.


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Crotons are toxic when ingested. This means you should keep them away from pets and young children. Ingesting the sap from the plant will cause indigestion, but isn't fatal. Still, it's highly recommended to keep this beautiful plant at a safe space for pets and young children to look at, but not touch.

Common pests

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Like most other plants, Crotons are also susceptible to root rot when the soil is wet for too long. Besides root rot, it can also suffer from spider mites, mealybugs, and caterpillars. Luckily, it's quite easy to help prevent these insects and pests from harming your plant. When you notice any of these pests on your plant, carefully clean your Croton with soap and water to drown the insects and pests and clean your plant off completely. This will help the Croton to stay healthy in the long run.


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Last but not least, propagation. So you love your Croton and want more of them? Propagation is the answer and it's easy for this plant. You can cut off the tips of the stems on the Croton and stick them back into the soil to help them grow roots. Unlike most plants where you don't really have to think about the propagation process any further, Crotons need a bit of extra help.

In order to grow roots, the plant needs to be in a warm and humid environment. Something like a mini greenhouse or a plastic bag over the plant will create the environment your cutting needs to grow roots. This will trap all the heat and humidity inside and create the perfect growing environment for these plants.

Thank you for reading this post! I hope it helps you to keep your plants healthy and beautiful! If you're looking for more guides on specific plants, you can always request a plant guide to get a guide for the plant you have trouble with.

Tags: croton, sun-loving

Posted on: May 24, 2020 Last updated on: Aug 14, 2020

Other common names for this plant

  • Croton Mammy
  • Bush Fire Croton
  • Croton Zanzibar
  • Red Iceton Croton
  • Superstar Croton
  • Eleanor Roosevelt Croton
  • Banana Croton
  • Gold Dust Croton
  • Florida Select Croton
  • Gold Star Croton
  • Yellow Iceton Croton
  • Lauren’s Rainbow Croton
  • Croton Magnificent
  • Mrs. Iceton Croton
  • Croton Petra
  • Oakleaf Croton
  • Sunny Star Croton
  • Victoria Gold Bell

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Frequently asked questions

Why are the leaves falling off the Croton?
The Croton drops its leaves when it is in shock. Crotons go into shock quite easily by any change, like: moving the plant, changing temperatures, and changing watering schedules.
My Croton is dropping leaves, is it dying?
Your croton might be in shock and this is how the plant shows you this. Keep caring for your Croton properly and it'll be in good shape again soon.
How often should I water my Croton?
You should water your croton as soon as the top 5 cm (2 in) of the soil is dry. This plant needs to be in moist soil most of the time.
How much light does my croton need?
Crotons need a lot of light (up to 8 hours of direct sunlight per day). Your croton will do best if you put it in the brightest spot in your house.

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