Croton is a beautiful plant that pleases with the beauty of its variegated leaves. Many housewives dream of having a croton flower in their home. Care at home for him is not so simple, which is explained by the finicky culture. The thing is that the plant is very demanding on external conditions. In our article, we want to talk about how to grow croton at home.
Croton, or codiaum as it is often called, belongs to the spurge family, which includes many rainforest dwellers and ornamental houseplants.
As you understand, growing conditions in the tropics and at home are very different. Therefore, in the wild, crotons reach three meters in height. At home, with proper care, the plant can reach 1.5 meters. Having overcome some difficulties in care, you can get a beautiful flower, pleasing with its colorfulfoliage. The effort you put into leaving is worth the end result.
Croton is sometimes called a codiaum or "Joseph's cloak". Translated from the Greek, the name of the plant means "head". Why the culture got such a name, experts do not know for sure. There is speculation that the plant was named after a town in southern Italy.
The islands of Northern Australia and the Pacific Ocean, as well as Southeast Asia and India are considered to be the birthplace of wild-growing forms of croton. The genus includes many species. But indoor culture is represented only by variegated croton and its hybrids. The croton flower (photos are given in the article) is considered one of the most beautiful decorative indoor crops. The plant is used as an interior decoration. In some countries, Croton is considered the keeper of the hearth, which protects the apartment from negative energy.
At home, the plant usually does not exceed 1-1.5 m in height, even with the best care. The description of the croton flower, of course, cannot convey all its beauty. The decorativeness of the plant is its main advantage. Crotons are very often used to decorate halls, lobbies, offices and other premises. Their beautiful leaves of various shapes and bright colors invariably attract the attention of people. Outwardly, codiaums resemble a small tree. The formation of the crown is quite slow, so you should not hope for a quick result. In order to get a beautiful bush, the plant periodicallyhaircut.
Kodieum is a flowering plant. But culture rarely blooms. At the same time, the plant produces an arrow with small nondescript flowers, painted in a light yellow hue. It is worth saying that the flowering of Croton does not add much beauty. But the plant consumes a lot of energy and nutrients. Therefore, many growers prefer to initially remove the arrow so that the crop does not lose its supply of nutrients.
Several varieties of crotons are used for growing at home. Flowers differ in the shape and size of the leaves, as well as their colors. The most popular species is the Motley croton. The plant has the shape of a bush, the height of which reaches three meters. On the branches of the culture are green-brown leaves. There are several varieties, the main difference of which is the shape of the foliage:
- Excellent variety. The plant has characteristic oak leaves, yellow-green above and red-burgundy below.
- Disraeli variety. Plants have lobed leaves, brick-brown below, and green-yellow above with characteristic veins and speckles.
- Variety "Black Prince". This plant has a very exotic appearance. There are red and orange spots and veins on the black surface of the foliage.
- Variety "Petra". Plants of this species may have lobed, oval and pointed leaves of dark green color with yellow veins and speckles.
- Variety "Mrs. Aiston". The small trees have brightly colored foliage thatcan be yellow-pink, maroon with pink dots, or gold with black dots.
Croton varigatum is no less popular among flower growers. The plant has the form of a bush with a bare stem. The leaves of the flower are painted in green-brown tones. Varigatum is represented by several types:
- The flat-leaved croton has oval wavy leaves that reach a length of 30 cm and a width of 10 cm.
- Blade look. Its distinguishing feature is the three-lobed leaves, which can be monochromatic or variegated in color. In length, they reach 22 cm.
- The adnexal croton has characteristic green and variegated leaves, which consist of several plates.
- The decorated codiaum is actively used by breeders to obtain new hybrids.
Purchasing a plant
What kind of care should be provided to Croton at home (the photo of the flower is given in the article)? Much depends on the quality of the plant you purchased in the store. Therefore, I want to say a few words about how to choose the right plant. Buy only those specimens that look he althy. Plants should have hard elastic leaves with bright colors. They should be free of pests on their surface.
Instances with sluggish foliage should not be purchased, as they will certainly fall off during the time of adaptation in your home. And in the worst case, the plant may even die. It is worth giving preference to young bushes,because they are easier to take root and easier to endure the period of adaptation. It is not necessary to purchase a ready-made plant in a store, it is enough to break off a stalk from a croton you like from friends or neighbors.
Lighting and temperature
Maintaining the right temperature and proper lighting is the basis of home care. The croton indoor flower differs from other cultures in the stunningly bright color of the leaves, which attracts the attention of flower growers to it. In order for the bushes to please with a variegated color, it is necessary to place them in a well-lit place. It must be remembered that with a lack of light, the plant loses its unique decorative effect. But at the same time, in summer, crotons must be shaded from direct rays. The leaves of the culture only seem tough. However, from the sun, burns quickly appear on them, which outwardly resemble spots. In winter, the plant can be placed on the south window. If you properly organize care, the croton flower will certainly please you with its beauty.
It must be remembered that the tropics are the birthplace of the codiaum, therefore the culture is thermophilic. The correct temperature regime is an important component of home care. The croton flower is demanding on the air temperature of the room in which it is located. The optimum temperature for the culture is + 20 … + 22 degrees. Please note that the temperature should not fall below +16 degrees. In summer, bushes can be placed on the balcony or taken out into the garden, setting protection from the wind and scorching sun.
It must be remembered thattropical inhabitant loves high humidity. Therefore, spraying the bushes should become a regular care procedure at home. The croton flower should be bathed and sprayed regularly during spring and summer.
If the plant is in a cool room in winter, then water procedures can be practically excluded. But remember that heating dries the air quite strongly. If you do not want to bother with winter spraying, remove the bushes away from the radiators. Otherwise, you will have to humidify the air twice a day. In addition, you can increase the humidity in a simple way. Near the pot it is necessary to place a vessel with water or a tray with wet moss or expanded clay. There is another way to maintain the necessary humidity for the croton flower. Home care can be greatly simplified by using a humidifier, which is best placed near a bush.
Another important point in care is to regularly wipe the leaves with a damp sponge. The procedure must be carried out at least once a week.
Very often, amateur gardeners have a lot of questions regarding the correct care at home. Croton indoor flower cannot be called an unpretentious culture. He is very sensitive, so care for him should be especially careful. It is important to properly organize the watering of the plant. It is necessary to moisten the bushes in such a way that the soil is always slightly moist. But it is important to prevent stagnation of water in the roots. Irrigation is one of the most important componentscare. The croton flower does not like dryness, but it also does not tolerate an excess of moisture, which leads to decay of the root system. At the same time, excessive dryness causes foliage to fall and dry out.
Therefore, it is recommended to use drainage when planting. The croton flower (see photo in the article) must be watered regularly and abundantly, but moisture should not be allowed to stagnate.
In winter and autumn, watering should be reduced if the room is cool. Experienced flower growers recommend using only warm, settled water. This condition applies not only to watering, but also to spraying. It is better to take filtered water. In the summer, the plant needs bathing in the shower.
All the beauty of the variegated color of the plant can be appreciated from the photo of the croton flower. How to care for the culture to get the same beautiful bushes as in the store? The plant needs to be fertilized regularly. From April to November, it is necessary to do two top dressings per month. But in winter, one fertilizer per month is enough.
For top dressing, use complex mineral fertilizers created for decorative and deciduous crops. Fertilize plants after abundant watering, so as not to burn the roots.
It's no secret that almost all indoor flowers need a regular transplant. Croton in home care is very capricious. But at the same time, he needs an annual transplant of young bushes. Transshipment of adult plants can be done muchless often - about once every three years. Transplanting should be done in the spring before the growing season.
For croton, it is necessary to use soil that best matches the soil in which it grows in its natural environment. Many flower growers recommend purchasing a ready-made substrate. But you can prepare the mixture yourself. To do this, in equal proportions, it is necessary to mix humus, sifted sand, soddy soil and peat. By the way, charcoal can be added to the mixture to avoid rotting of the root system. The prepared mixture must be calcined in the oven or spilled with a solution of potassium permanganate so that no insect larvae remain in it.
The convenience of the finished substrate is that it can be used without pre-treatment.
Choose a pot
Before planting a croton flower, you need to choose the right pot. For young bushes, it is worth taking a medium-sized pot that is not deep. There should not be a lot of extra space in the pot, otherwise the roots may rot. It is necessary to transplant the plant if you notice that roots are visible from the drainage hole. The new flowerpot should be slightly wider than the old one. The diameter must be increased by no more than 5 cm.
Young plants brought from the store do not need an urgent transplant. The supply of nutrients in the substrate is enough for them for a long time. At the initial stage, it is important to ensure proper care of the flower. Croton (photo is given in the article) must adapt to your apartment and get used to the new conditions. Moving it from the store to your home is stressfulfor a plant. Therefore, transplanting at this time may lead to the death of the bush.
Many novice flower growers are wondering how to plant croton. The flower needs good drainage. Therefore, at the bottom of the pot it is necessary to put a layer of expanded clay, the thickness of which should be at least three centimeters. Before planting, the plant must be well shed the soil in order to carefully remove the roots from the old flowerpot without damaging them. If the earth ball does not fall apart, the root system will remain intact.
Soil is poured into the bottom of the tank with drainage. Next, a flower is placed in a flowerpot and the roots are covered with earth. The soil is pressed down by hand. The planted bush is abundantly watered with settled water. In the future, it is very important to ensure proper care of the flower. Croton (see photo in the article) after transplantation must be placed in a slightly shaded place. The plant should be regularly watered and sprayed on its leaves.
Young crotons are transplanted annually. As soon as the plant is transplanted into a container with a diameter of 25 cm, it is no longer transshipped. The upper part of the soil can be renewed annually. This is quite enough for the plant.
How to breed Croton? The flower can be propagated in several ways: seeds and cuttings. The last method is very simple and convenient. To get a young plant, it is enough to cut off the top of the bush and root it. If you want to get several cuttings, you need to divide the shoot into several parts. Please note that each stem piece must haveat least one he althy leaf and one internode. Only in this case, the cutting can be rooted and a new flower can be obtained. Reproduction of croton is a simple matter. The resulting pieces of the stem on sections secrete milky juice, which is a toxic substance. White juice must be washed off with water. Next, the cuttings are dried for several hours. Leaves are removed from the bottom of them. The upper leaves are cut halfway parallel to the veins.
Dried cuttings can be placed in a vessel with water. The liquid in the container should not be cold (+23 … +30 degrees). In cooler water, the plant will not only not give roots, but will also rot. How to propagate a flower? Croton, whose photo is striking in beauty, can be planted in a pot only after the roots grow up to 2 cm long. In the future, it is necessary to regularly spray the soil and the plant itself. When the elasticity of the foliage is restored, the croton will begin to grow.
You can also propagate the plant by seeds. It is important to remember that for sowing it is necessary to use freshly harvested material. Croton seeds lose their germination very quickly. Experienced flower growers recommend propagating the plant by cuttings. Firstly, this method is much simpler, and secondly, it allows you to save all varietal characteristics. Unfortunately, the same results cannot be achieved with seed propagation. The process takes a very long time and does not give the desired result.
If you still decide to use the seeds, they must first be heated in water at a temperature of 60 degrees for30 minutes. After they must be left to swell in liquid for a day.
Prepared seeds are sown in containers with soil to a depth of no more than one centimeter. Boxes with crops are covered with glass on top and placed in a warm place with a temperature of at least 22 degrees. Before germination, watering must be done through the pan. Next, the glass is removed, and the pots are taken out to a more lit place. As soon as the plants have a third leaf, they can be transplanted into separate containers to get young indoor croton flowers. How to care for seedlings in the future? Care for seedlings is exactly the same as for adult plants.
You must have noticed that crotons often have bare trunks. This phenomenon affects the decorativeness of the bush. But don't get upset. From the plant, you can get air layering for a young plant. To do this, in June, at a distance of about 10-15 centimeters from the top on the stem, a circular incision up to 0.8 cm wide is made. The cut site is certainly treated with a stimulant so that the roots form faster. You can also use sphagnum moss, which is wrapped around the plant. From above, the cut is closed with a film and tied with a rope. From above, the oilcloth must be fastened not too tightly so that the moss can be regularly moistened. The first roots will appear in about a month. But you can cut the stalk only after the roots grow up to five centimeters. The layer usually retains a lot of leaves. They need a good root system to keep them alive.
The cut stalk is planted in a pot with prepared soil. Seedlings are placed in a shaded place for two weeks. During this period, the plant must be sprayed frequently. It is still very weak, so it cannot get the required amount of water through the roots.
Layers can be obtained in another way. The lignified shoot is pressed to the ground and sprinkled with soil in this state. To accelerate the development of the root system from the bottom of the branch, you can remove the bark. After the appearance of young leaves from the ground, the new plant can be separated from the mother.
In any magazine you can see beautiful photos of the croton flower. How to care for a plant to get the same beautiful tree? Culture needs pruning. By the way, many flower growers neglect it, although pruning is an essential part of care. Codiaum / Croton (flower photo is given in the article) can have a very beautiful shape if it is regularly formed. Mistresses refuse to form a crown because of the poisonous juice of the plant. But this is fundamentally not true. The fact is that cropping has several functions:
- Formation of a beautiful tree or bush.
- Prevention of possible plant depletion due to lack of nutrients in all shoots.
- Hygienic procedure for removing damaged and dry leaves and branches.
Don't let the poisonous juice of the plant scare you, which does not interfere with pruning at all. After all, in the end you want to get a beautiful indoor flower. How to care for croton? Pruning the plant must be done with gloves thatprotect your skin. The juice helps to quickly tighten the cuts, so the cuttings take root well.
The trimming procedure must be carried out regularly. After reaching the required height, all stems should be pinned or cut off. This will activate the growth of dense side shoots.
It is worth saying that care also depends on the age of the plant. Indoor croton flower is pinched when it comes to a young bush. On adult specimens, the branches are cut. After each such procedure, the plant must be treated with stimulants and placed in a greenhouse.
Please note that when pruning, flower buds and inflorescences, if any, must be removed. Modest flowers do not adorn the bushes at all, but they deplete them greatly, which is reflected in the decorative effect. Pruning plants of different varieties has its own characteristics. As you know, the petra croton does not branch very well. If you want to achieve the splendor of the bush, it is worth planting several bushes in one flowerpot. You can create a great mix. In this case, it is necessary to form each plant separately.
Crop cutting should be done in early spring. It is better to do this before the onset of the active vegetative period. The first pinching can be done at the moment when the plant reaches 15 cm in height. In this case, cut off the upper points of growth. In the future, all shoots are cut when their length reaches 20 cm. This cutting scheme allows you to awaken the lateral buds to make the bush actively branch.
Formation of a beautiful bushIt's not just about proper pruning. The plant must be regularly rotated relative to the light source. This will avoid the one-sided crown. For adult crotons, the cut points must be treated with crushed charcoal. By the way, cut cuttings can be used to get new plants.
The beauty of the foliage is the main advantage of the indoor croton flower. How to care for him, we told earlier. Compliance with all the rules will avoid problems. If something is wrong with the plant, look for mistakes made in the care. Eliminating them will help return the bush to its previous state.
Why do croton leaves fall? The flower may shed its leaves at the bottom of the trunk. Such a process is natural. In this case, don't worry if the rest of the foliage is fine.
If you notice that the tips of the leaves are drying up, causing them to fall later, this indicates a low level of humidity in the house. The tropical beauty lacks moisture and dries out.
When the plant is kept at low temperatures, the edges of the leaf plates dry out. Brown spots may also form. This phenomenon is observed if the plant suffers from cold, which leads to leaf fall. A similar picture can be observed when the bush is in a draft.
If for a long time the croton does not receive the required amount of moisture through watering, it begins to dry out massively and shed its leaves. Since the root system does not receiveenough moisture, it cannot provide it to the whole plant.
Sometimes the croton drops its leaves. Why is this happening? This situation is the reaction of the plant to the cold. When the roots are cold, they do not supply moisture to the plant. The flower pot must be moved to a sunny warm place and regular watering. Between periods of moistening, the soil should dry out in peas by a few centimeters. Until the situation returns to normal, do not feed the plant. It must be sprayed with water and wrapped in a transparent bag.
Loss of elasticity of foliage indicates excessive soil moisture. Abundant and frequent watering does not allow the soil to dry out. Sometimes the stem may even rot. But the most dangerous rotting of the root system. Therefore, it is very important to follow the watering schedule.
Sometimes crotons don't want to grow at all. Why is this happening? This situation occurs if the plant does not have enough light. For a tropical inhabitant, the sun is the basis of life. To improve the situation, the pot should be moved to a more lit place.
Sudden leaf fall is possible if the plant is watered with cold water. Croton prefers warm watering. In the cold season, the water needs to be slightly heated.
Don't worry if the young leaves on the bush are not decorative. This is normal. New foliage is usually a dull yellow or green, becoming variegated with age.
The plant rarely gets sick because it is poisonous. But errors in care can lead to the appearanceailments.
Sometimes bushes suffer from anthracosis. The disease appears with frequent watering with cold water. A sign of anthracosis are ashen spots of red and gray on the foliage. The fungus is very dangerous for culture. It penetrates the tissues of the plant and infects it. Diseased bushes must be isolated and treated with an antifungal agent. All plants that have been in contact with Croton must be treated with biological products.
No less dangerous is root rot. It may appear due to the low acidity of the soil. A sign of the disease is pallor and fall of foliage. Further softening of the stems and roots occurs. To combat rot, broad-spectrum antifungal agents are used.
Spider mites can settle on weakened plants. In this case, a thin cobweb appears on the plant. The reason for the appearance of parasites is dry air and lack of watering.
When a light fluffy coating appears on the foliage, we can say that this is a mealybug. Also, a scale insect can settle on a croton. In this case, heels appear on the foliage. When pests appear, the pot with the plant must be isolated and treated with soapy water. After the foliage must be wiped with vegetable oil. If the bush is severely affected by pests, you can use Actellik or insecticides for processing.
Instead of afterword
Many flower growers consider croton to be a capricious plant. All the difficulties with its cultivation arise due to improper care. The slightest inaccuracies cause a violent reaction. Capriciousa handsome man is a tropical resident, it is not surprising that in our area it is not easy for him to take root. Croton, with proper care, can grow well in the house for up to ten years. A perennial plant in the hands of experienced flower growers can reach impressive sizes.
The main value of culture lies in its decorative effect. With proper care, croton pleases with variegated foliage and large leaves. The plant is not prone to disease due to its toxicity. And yet, with a lack of watering and air humidity, crotons can be capricious and get sick. And this means that simply following the rules of care will avoid trouble.