The Q&A Archives: Croton Care

Question: I was told that this plant like a lot of light. I have it in the office with me. It was doing ok, but now it seems to be at a stand still no new leaves and the yellow ones on top just have a hint of red like in the veins. but some of the leaves at the bottom fell off. I was told not to water it to much wait until it dries out. I seem to have trouble keeping plants well, but I seem to be able to keep them alive. Can you help? Is Osmocote a good food for this plant?

Answer: Codiaeum, or Croton, is a popular house plant because of its vivid foliage colors, and varied leaf shapes. It's a fussy plant, and if you create the right conditions you'll be rewarded with a colorful blush on the leaves. Crotons need fairly constant temperatures (above 60F degrees all year), and relatively high humidity. The soil should be kept moist at all times during the growing season, and it's important to use tepid rather than cold tap water. The plant should be fed every three weeks with a diluted liquid fertilizer when it's growing, but no fertilizer in the winter months. The difficulty with using a time-release fertilizer such as Osmocote is that it will feed the plant all year as the pellets dissolve and Crotons need to rest during the winter months. So, to ensure a healthy, happy plant, keep it warm (above 60F degrees), where it will receive bright light but not direct sunlight, water liberally from spring to autumn but sparingly during the winter months, mist the leaves regularly - daily if possible - to keep the humidity high around the plant, and fertilize only when it's actively growing.

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