The Q&A Archives: Crouton

Question: How do I root croutons from a cutting of a mature plant and can they survive Middle TN cold weather?

Answer: Crotons are frost tender so they won't live outdoors during the winter if you get frost in your garden. They do, however, make excellent houseplants. To propagate a croton, you can take cuttings. Here's how:

Select a short 6-inch section of the croton to propagate. Look for a side shoot, which will be smaller and not detract from the overall look of the parent plant.

Dampen a papertowel or cloth and apply it to the cut ends of the parent plant and the propagation. Crotons are filled with a milky sap that seeps out when the stem is cut. Wetting the cut portion helps to seal in the sap.

Fill a 3-inch pot with a mixture of one part peat moss and one part coarse sand or perlite. Moisten the mixture in preparation for the croton propagation.

Dip the cut end of the stem in rooting hormone powder, giving it a light coating. The powder helps to prevent the cutting from rotting before it takes root.

Insert the cutting into the soil until about 2 inches are covered in soil. Place a large clear plastic bag over the pot to seal in moisture and warmth.

Place the croton propagation in filtered sunlight. It's important the cutting not be exposed to direct sunlight. Give the cutting water if the top of the soil begins to dry out.

Wait 4 to 6 weeks and look for signs of new growth. When the cutting begins growing, remove the plastic and treat the new plant as a mature plant.

Good luck with your propagation project!

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