How to Trim a Croton


The croton plant (Codiaeum variegatum) has been dazzling gardeners with its colorful gold, orange and green foliage for centuries, according to the University of Florida. Originally hailing from the South Pacific and tropical Asia, crotons can be grown in USDA hardiness zones 10A through 11. The plants are very low maintenance, but occasional trimming can help to keep the shrub bushy and attractive.

Step 1

Use your thumb and forefinger to pinch off the ends of new growth on the croton plant throughout the year. This encourages new side branches to develop from the pinched branches, thereby forming a dense and lush appearance.

Step 2

Trim the croton plant back once a year in the spring using pruning shears. Grab a branch and visually identify the 1/3 mark from the end of the branch.

Step 3

Cut the plant at the point you identified. Make the cut right after the branch node or eye where a croton leaf grows. New branches will form from this node.

Tips and Warnings

  • Crotons can grow 10 feet tall or higher. You may need to use a ladder. If so, exercise caution when scaling the ladder while holding the pruning shears.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears


  • "Ornamental Tropical Shrubs"; Amanda Jarrett; 2003
  • "Ornamental Plants & Flowers of Tropical Mexico"; Linda Trapp, et al.; 2006
  • University of Flordia: Croton Production and Use
Keywords: trim crotons, prune crotons, proton cutting

About this Author

Josh Duvauchelle is an editor and journalist with more than 10 years' experience. His work has appeared in various magazines, including "Honolulu Magazine," which has more paid subscribers than any other magazine in Hawaii. He graduated with honors from Trinity Western University, holding a Bachelor of Arts in professional communications, and earned a certificate in applied leadership and public affairs from the Laurentian Leadership Centre.