Croton is a tropical plant that responds well to household conditions. Because it cannot tolerate cold temperatures and is hardy outdoors only in zones 9 through 11, it is a popular houseplant in the United States. Croton is valued for its attractive, variegated foliage whose colors include combinations of red, orange, yellow and green. Crotons can reach about 6 feet tall when grown outdoors, but they are usually kept much smaller as houseplants. With proper care and maintenance, croton houseplants can live happily for many years indoors.
Keep your croton houseplant in a location that receives bright, indirect light throughout most of the day. Use a growing medium made of three parts peat moss and one part coarse sand to provide proper drainage and fertility.
Monitor the temperature around your croton plant to ensure it never drops below 60 degrees F, or cold damage can occur. Mist the plant once a day using a spray bottle filled with tepid water to raise the relative humidity.
Water croton plants once per week from spring to fall to prevent the soil from drying out completely. Reduce the frequency of watering to once every two weeks during winter, when the plant is not actively growing.
Feed crotons once per month during spring, summer and fall using a balanced 10-10-10 NPK (nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium) fertilizer. Do not fertilize during winter when the plant is dormant. Follow the manufacturer's directions for proper application and dosage.
Clean your croton houseplant's foliage once per week using a damp cloth to remove dust and any pests that may be present on the leaves. Be gentle when wiping to prevent damaging the foliage, but be sure to thoroughly remove any dirt and debris.