How to Care for a Croton Petra

Overview

The croton petra is an attractive plant characterized by its unusual leaves, which are striped with a combination of yellow, red, pink and orange. Croton petras are most often planted in small to medium-sized flower pots and grown as houseplants, but they can grow up to 5 feet tall if planted in the garden or in a very large container. This plant requires a bit of extra attention and care in order to look its best, but the results are well worth the effort.

Step 1

Choose a location in your house that receives full morning or evening sun. An east- or west-facing window is ideal. Temperatures in the chosen location should range between 60 and 80 degrees F.

Step 2

Add lukewarm water whenever the top of the soil feels dry to the touch if growing a small croton petra. For larger plants, water whenever the top inch of soil no longer sticks to your finger.

Step 3

Fertilize every 2 weeks with liquid fertilizer from early spring until fall. Stop fertilizing altogether during the winter months.

Step 4

Prune the stems back to the point where they join with the leaves to cause the plant to become bushier. Avoid pruning in late fall or early winter.

Step 5

Examine the croton plant regularly for spider mites. The mites tend to prefer the upper leaves of the plant and can cause significant damage if not treated promptly. If you suspect an infestation, move the affected plant away from other houseplants and wash the stems and leaves well with insecticidal soap.

Tips and Warnings

  • Croton petra is poisonous to animals, so take precautions if you share your home with pets. The sap from croton petra plants can be very irritating if it comes into contact with your skin. Do not add cold water; it may cause the leaves to fall off.

Things You'll Need

  • Liquid fertilizer
  • Garden shears

References

  • Plant Care: Crotons
  • Denver Plants: Autumn Plant
  • Evergrowing: Quick Help for Common Houseplants
  • My Indoor Houseplants: Croton Plant
Keywords: croton petra, houseplant care, garden plants

About this Author

Annita Lawson has been working as a freelance writer since 2004. Her work has been published in various web and print outlets, including The Dabbling Mum, A Virtuous Woman, and Pediatrics for Parents. Lawson is pursuing an Associate of Arts degree at Southeast Kentucky Community College. She enjoys sharing all that she has learned about parenting, healthy eating and living a frugal lifestyle.