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Instructions for Croton Petra Plant Care

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Instructions for Croton Petra Plant Care

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Overview

Crotons (Codiaeum sp.) are a large family of tropical foliage plants commonly grown as houseplants, although they can also be grown quite successfully outdoors. "Petra" is a variegated variety of the croton. This beauty features colorful golden, green, red and bronze-colored leaves all on one plant. The variegation can also be any of the aforementioned colors. Outdoor crotons can grow to heights of 12 feet, but remain smaller when confined in containers indoors. Care of the Petra plant is somewhat of a challenge, according to Floridata.

Step 1

Provide loamy soil rich in organic content for your Petra. The soil should be well-draining, so if planting outdoors, choose a location that does not collect standing water. Indoor plants should be placed in containers with drainage holes.

Step 2

Locate your plant where it will receive at least partial sunlight. These shrubs will grow in full sunlight or part sun and part shade, according to the University of Florida. Full sun exposure will make the colors in the leaves very bright, but could also scorch the leaves. If this happens, filter the sun with dappled shade or a curtained window. Keep your Petra far away from cold or hot drafts, as they do not tolerate sudden changes in temperature.

Step 3

Keep the soil moist and the humidity high. Place the croton on a humidity tray (a shallow tray filled with water and pebbles) to provide humidity. Never let the soil dry out, or the leaves will drop. Cold temperatures and cold water will also cause the leaves to drop, so use lukewarm water when watering the plant.

Step 4

Fertilize your croton plant twice per month with a liquid food formulated for tropical foliage plants. Apply the fertilizer according to the directions on the label for the size and age of your shrub.

Step 5

Prune in early spring, when the plant is still dormant. Outdoor shrubs can be cut back to third of their size. Indoor plants benefit best from removal of damaged or diseased leaves rather than a vigorous pruning.

Things You'll Need

  • Rich, loamy potting soil
  • Shallow tray
  • Pebbles
  • Lukewarm water
  • Pruning tools
  • Tropical foliage plant fertilizer

References

  • University of Florida: Codiaeum variegatum
  • Floridata: Codiaeum variegatum
  • Denver Plants: Croton Petra

Who Can Help

  • The United States National Arboretum: USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
Keywords: croton petra plant, caring for crotons, growing petra plants, Codiaeum variegatum

About this Author

April Sanders has been a professional writer since 1998. Previously, she worked as an educator and currently writes academic research content for EBSCO publishing and elementary reading curriculum for Compass Publishing. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in social psychology from the University of Washington and a master's degree in information sciences and technology in education from Mansfield University.