How to Care for a Codiaeum Plant


Codiaeum--better known as Croton or Joseph's Coat--has leaves that start out as green and yellow; as the plant matures, the addition of orange and red colors variegate the leaves. Codiaeum is a tropical plant that likes warm temperatures and high humidity. Most people grow the plant in containers indoors, although in the Southern U.S., you will find it in gardens and shady landscaping beds everywhere. If you love colorful foliage, try growing Codiaeum.

Step 1

Place screening on the bottom of the container to prevent the soil from being washed out while watering. Then place a layer of stones on the bottom of the container to aid in drainage.

Step 2

Fill the pot to within 2 inches of the top with potting soil amended with a few handfuls of compost to keep the soil loose and add some nutrition. With your hand, push the soil aside in the center to make enough room for the root ball.

Step 3

Place the plant in the soil and push the soil back around the roots. Press down firmly to compact the soil around the roots and water well.

Step 4

Water the plant as soon as the top of the soil starts to feel dry. Tropical plants like moist soil but not soggy. Cut back the water in the late fall and winter to once a week using room temperature water.

Step 5

Place a tray filled with pebbles under the container. Add water to the pebbles, making sure the water does not sit against the container. This will add humidity to the area and help keep the Codiaeum healthy. Mist the plant once a day with a spray bottle filled with room temperature water.

Step 6

Place the container in a place where it will get about 3 hours of direct sun, preferably morning sun. Choose a location that has no drafts or sudden temperature changes, such as near a door or air conditioning or heating vent.

Step 7

Fertilize with a liquid 20-20-20 fertilizer every three weeks during the spring and summer. Apply once in the fall and do not apply fertilizer in the winter. Fading color is a sign of over-fertilization. Read manufacturer's directions on the amount to use.

Things You'll Need

  • Codiaeum plant
  • Medium container with drain holes
  • Screening
  • Stones
  • Potting soil
  • Compost
  • Bottom tray
  • Pebbles
  • Spray bottle
  • 20-20-20 fertilizer


  • Flower Shop Network
  • House of Plants
  • Guide to Houseplants
Keywords: growing Croton, caring for Codiaeum, planting Joseph's Coat

About this Author

Dale DeVries is a retired realtor with 30 years of experience in almost every facet of the business. DeVries started writing in 1990 when she wrote advertising and training manuals for her real estate agents. Since retiring, she has spent the last two years writing well over a thousand articles online for Associated Content, Bright Hub and Demand Studios.