The croton (Codiaeum variegatum) is related to the Christmas favorite poinsettia and is a tropical plant native to Indonesia. Crotons are grown in frost-free zones as shrubs, but they also can be grown as houseplants. Their variegated foliage has bursts of green, orange, yellow and scarlet.
Choose a location for your croton that gets full sun to partial shade. The brighter the sun, the brighter and more varied your croton's foliage colors will be.
Enrich your soil by adding compost or peat moss. The croton can grow in sandy soil, but will struggle in clay.
Prune your croton in the spring. You may prune it severely, up to one-third of its height, without damage. Cut more branches, if needed, after it has started producing new growth. Crotons tend to be top heavy, so pruning from the top will encourage branching below.
Fertilize once during the spring, summer and fall with a general 6-6-6 or 6-4-8 fertilizer.
Water your plant weekly for the first season until it is established. Water after that only if there is a drought or if your plant starts to wilt.
Crotons As Houseplants
Keep your croton indoors at 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the day, and around 60 degrees Fahrenheit at night.
Place your croton in an area that receives bright to full sun.
Mist your croton every day or two, or keep its pot sitting on a dish filled with stones and water. Because they are tropical plants, crotons need at least 40 percent humidity when indoors.
Fertilize each month with a 50 percent solution of all-purpose, water-soluble fertilizer.