Codiaeum Variegatum Pictum | Jospeh's Coat Croton Petra

Asch Building

$20

Origin: Pacific Islands, Malaysia, Northern Australia

Height: Up to 3 ft (90 cm), depending on variety. When allowed to grow tall, crotons have a tree-like form with thick trunks.

Light: Bright light and at least 3 hours of direct sun each day. Leaf color is most vibrant when the plant is getting lots of light. If new leaves are mostly green, move the plant to a brighter location. A lack of sunlight can cause croton to drop its leaves. Don't test it on this -- I had one that dropped all of its leaves when I left it in a less-than-sunny location.

Water: Keep soil mix evenly moist with tepid water. It's a good idea to use a pot with drainage holes. Water thoroughly, then empty the drainage saucer. Water less in winter, when growth is slower, but don't allow the potting mix to dry out.

Humidity: Aim to maintain relative humidity around 60% or higher around plant. Stand pot on a tray of wet pebbles or use a cool-mist room humidifier.

Temperature: Average to warm room temperature (65-85°F/18-29°C) year-round. Don't expose this tropical native to temperatures below 60°F/16°C.

Soil: Peat moss-based mix, such as African violet potting mix.

Fertilizer: Feed every 2 weeks from early spring through summer with a balanced liquid or water-soluble fertilizer, diluted by half.

Propagation: Take stem cuttings in spring and dip in rooting hormone before inserting in a half-half mix of sand and peat moss-based potting mix. Croton cuttings root in about a month.