Crotons, scientifically known as Codiaeum variegatum, are commonly seen as outdoor shrubbery and also make great houseplants. There are over 100 varieties, each baring unique coloring and patterned foliage. With many different leaf shapes and colors among this species, one thing you can count on is consistently glossy, vibrant growth.
Place in bright indirect light. They will tolerate medium light, but this may affect growth.
Water once a week or when the top 2-3" of soil feel dry to the touch. Leaves will droop when they're thirsty, but will perk up shortly after watering if you don't wait too long.
Use diluted plant food once a month in the spring and summer. Avoid plant food in the fall and winter when the plant goes dormant. If you've recently repotted, wait ~6 weeks before feeding.
These plants are toxic when ingested, so keep out of reach of pets and small children.
Care instructions are usually consistent for all crotons, but we always recommend researching your specific plant to make sure you get it right the first time.
It's true that crotons have a bad rep for dropping leaves, but once you understand your plant and its needs, this won't be such an issue. When welcoming a new croton home, you can expect some light leaf drop, as this is its natural reaction to stress caused by a change in environment. The key is to already know where you want to place the plant from the jump. Basically, the less you move it around, the better. After you place it in its new, hopefully well-lit spot, check the soil. If it's feeling on the dry side, go ahead and water it. Moist soil and regular check-ups will keep it happy for years to come.
Notice your leaves reverting to green? This can indicate the need for more sunlight. If you wanted green leaves, you would have just gotten a jade pothos. Nothing wrong with a good pothos plant, but we're here for that vibrant color. We suggest a brightly lit windowsill for best growth and vibrancy.