Ask a Question forum: Croton (Codiaeum variegatum 'Petra')

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Name: Wes
Ohio (Zone 6a)
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Wes
Sep 17, 2014 2:51 PM CST
As this plant has only been posted about in the Florida and Houseplant forums I decided this might be the best place to post

Picked this beauty up this morning as a treat to myself after dental surgery. Unmarked but I believe I've correctly ID'd it?

So upon a few web reads and the database entry here at ATP I'm still left with a question. I know it's toxic to my critters and the sap isn't good us 2 legged critters but provided it survives the winter months in my (home) office window I'd really like to try moving it to a much larger pot outdoors to see what kind of growth and results I get. I've read that they don't like to be moved and tend to drop foliage but as long as it can snap back I think it's worth a try.

Just curious if anyone here does this successfully (or has at least tried). Any tips or pointers would be great. I will try and all goes well it will be in a pot far too large to return indoors and I would try overwintering in my smallest garage bay which has two large windows and morning through afternoon sunlight. (fwiw, I've successfully overwintered brugmansia, mandevilla, and peppers in there and can afford to heat the small space when winter reaches it's lowest lows and might even opt for some 4' florescent "grow light" bulbs as I intend to add a few more potted tropicals next year. At one point a few years back my peppers started looking really bad and a simple floodlight style grow bulb dramatically improved their appearance in a week's time.

If nothing else I'll be the Zone 6 guinna pig for this project, just hoping someone else has done this successfully...


Thumb of 2014-09-17/Wes/b4d50d

Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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plantladylin
Sep 17, 2014 3:04 PM CST
I've transplanted Codiaeum a few times over the years and the only trouble I have is the leaves tend to break off quite easily but other than that no problems, new leaves will grow. The only issue you may have is the temperature in your garage during the winter months; Codiaeum thrive on heat and humidity. You can keep the humidity up around the plant by placing it on a tray of moist pebbles, just be sure to keep the pebbles moist at all times; as for heat, Codiaeum don't like temp's to drop below @ 50ºF for very long.
~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Enjoys or suffers hot summers Raises cows Plant Identifier
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needrain
Sep 17, 2014 3:35 PM CST
I do think you got 'Petra'. I got one as a funeral plant in late Feb. It didn't like the glass fronted porch. It appeared to be dying and I moved it outside. It thrived and grew, but didn't survive being brought inside for the winter. I enjoyed it outside, so I bought a small one to replace it and grew it outside. When winter arrived, I toted it into a bathroom for the winter and parked it in front of a south window and kept it sitting in a shallow tray. That tray did not have gravel and I pretty much kept water in it all the time. That year it got spider mites and then leaves began to drop. I put it under a pressure wash of warm water in the shower. I did that twice and it went back outside where it thrived and grew. It's now been here for three summers. It outgrew the small bathroom the first summer, so last winter it was put on a stool so it was in a south facing window. I kept the tray filled with water. It's in a big pot and the water in the tray disappears quickly, so it pretty much is refilled every day. It's really getting too big to handle inside for me, but I'll be trying again this winter. It's a lot bigger than the 12" plant it was when I acquired it. I think these are really prone to get spider mites when subjected to CA/CH inside. Warmth, humidity, not letting it dry out and controlling spider mites are what it took to overwinter it successfully. The new growth has to toughen up or the winter growth leaves will sunburn a bit if the transition from inside to outside is too abrupt and too sunny.


Donald
[Last edited by needrain - Sep 17, 2014 3:36 PM (+)]
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Name: Wes
Ohio (Zone 6a)
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Wes
Sep 17, 2014 3:39 PM CST
Thanks for the info Lin! I've insulated that particular garage bay attic and door since I last overwintered anything in there but I noticed it was considerably warmer last winter. Adding heat or light if needed should be easy enough but I might need a humidifier as well. I got in an auto accident last time I overwintered plants and lost everything. I'll be back in my house full-time soon and I'll definitely be adding Brugmansias again. The croton might not pan out but I'm going to give it a try.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Thumbs up
Name: Wes
Ohio (Zone 6a)
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Wes
Sep 17, 2014 3:48 PM CST
Don, just the kind of first-hand info I was looking for! (was typing my reply to Lin while you were posting).

That's a fine looking specimen and exactly what I'm hoping to achieve! Hurray!

I don't keep a lot of houseplants and I really enjoy tending to the plants in the garage during the winter months. I had a Ghost Pepper produce well into February a few years ago. Not that I'd planned it or needed it to but it was fun.
[Last edited by Wes - Sep 17, 2014 3:49 PM (+)]
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Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
Garden Sages Native Plants and Wildflowers Xeriscape Organic Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level
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flaflwrgrl
Sep 17, 2014 4:53 PM CST
Crotons are very easy to root so you guys can take cuttings before winter & start rooting pieces in case you lose the big ones or in the case of Donald, your present plant will make many new plants that are smaller & you can gift the big mama to someone.
I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others.
~~ Sharon Brown ~~



Name: Tara
NE, Florida (Zone 9a)
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terrafirma
Sep 17, 2014 5:04 PM CST
I've been growing this Croton in a pot for many years now...Don't fret about the loss of leaves in the winter months. It's quite normal, and they do fill back out very nicely come spring and summer. Mine stays outside unless we are due for freezing temps, and then it comes into the unheated garage for that period of time. Granted, I am a couple of zones warmer than you, but this is really a pretty tough plant.

Good luck! Happy Gardening!
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
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dyzzypyxxy
Sep 17, 2014 5:53 PM CST
Crotons also take pretty well to being pruned, so Donald you might be able to accommodate that lovely big one a few more years if you just prune it back some. Maybe in early spring, before you put it outside for its big growth spurt in the summer.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
Garden Sages Native Plants and Wildflowers Xeriscape Organic Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level
Butterflies Charter ATP Member Plant Identifier Region: Florida Dog Lover Birds
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flaflwrgrl
Sep 17, 2014 6:03 PM CST
They can be pruned pretty hard too. nodding
I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others.
~~ Sharon Brown ~~



Name: Wes
Ohio (Zone 6a)
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Wes
Sep 17, 2014 8:33 PM CST
Thanks for all the info!

As usual, the fine folks of ATP come through and share their wealth of knowledge. Thank You!

This really is an incredible website! Thumbs up
Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Enjoys or suffers hot summers Raises cows Plant Identifier
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needrain
Sep 17, 2014 8:39 PM CST
Thanks everyone! I'll hang on to it as long as I can manage to accommodate the size. It's good to know it will root from a cutting when I have to start over.
Donald
Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
Garden Sages Native Plants and Wildflowers Xeriscape Organic Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level
Butterflies Charter ATP Member Plant Identifier Region: Florida Dog Lover Birds
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flaflwrgrl
Sep 17, 2014 8:43 PM CST
Cut at an angle & root in sand. Growing up, my mom always rooted them in water in a windowsill & water works very well too but sand would make stronger roots. I grew up in south Fl. & there, you can just stick the cuttings in the ground & they will root as long as you remember to water them once in a while. No worries about humidity b/c there, it's air you can wear. Hilarious!
I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others.
~~ Sharon Brown ~~



Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Enjoys or suffers hot summers Raises cows Plant Identifier
Image
needrain
Sep 17, 2014 8:55 PM CST
Hilarious! Ann. I like it when I can wear the air, but it doesn't happen often here!
Donald
Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
Garden Sages Native Plants and Wildflowers Xeriscape Organic Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level
Butterflies Charter ATP Member Plant Identifier Region: Florida Dog Lover Birds
Image
flaflwrgrl
Sep 17, 2014 9:09 PM CST
Hilarious! Hilarious! Hilarious! Hilarious!
I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others.
~~ Sharon Brown ~~



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