The Q&A Archives: Caring For Croton

Question: My husband recently bought a spectacular-looking plant which he says is a native of Jamaica. He thinks it is called a "Crompton." It looks like it's made of purple-and-green dredlocks! He would like to keep it in his office, which gets a lot of flourescent but not a lot of natural light. Do you have any suggestions for the care of this beautiful plant?

Answer: An educated guess is that your plant is a Croton, a foliage plant native to Africa. The colorful leaves are the main attraction to this popular houseplant. In its native habitat, Crotons can grow to 6 feet tall, but in a warm, bright, humid indoor area it usually will grow only 1 1/2 - 2 feet tall. Give your plant as much light as possible (an east-facing window is best), keep it warm (70F degrees is ideal), water liberally from spring - autumn, but sparingly in the winter months, and mist the plant frequently to keep the humidity high. If leaf color fades, the plant isn't getting enough light. If lower leaves drop, it indicates the conditions are too dry. Good luck with your new plant!

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