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How to Root a Croton

By Eulalia Palomo ; Updated September 21, 2017
Crotons have bright colorful leaves.

Crotons are tropical, perennial flowering shrubs. They grow between 3 and 6 feet tall and have bright colorful leaves. If you live in USDA hardiness zones 10 or 11 you can plant your croton outside; otherwise, put it in a pot and keep it indoors. This tropical shrub makes a great houseplant and it’s easy to propagate. Find a croton you love and ask its owner for a small cutting, or pot up a cutting from your own plant and give it to your fellow plant enthusiasts.

Take a 4- to 6-inch cutting from the end of a croton branch. This is called a leaf-tip cutting. Select a cutting that has 3 to 5 leaves on it.

Place the cutting into a jar of water and place the jar in a warm, light area for two days. Avoid direct sunlight as it can burn and stress the plant. Filtered light is best.

Strip the bark off of the lower 1 to 2 inches of your cutting. Use a sharp knife and cut away from yourself. Cut down to just below the green layer to where the wood is white.

Roll the stripped end of the cutting in hormone rooting powder to stimulate new growth. Rooting powder can be found at most nurseries and garden stores.

Fill a 3-inch planting pot with a mixture of peat moss, compost and topsoil. Choose a pot that has drainage holes in the bottom so that water does not build up around the developing root system.

Stick the bottom end of the cutting into the planting pot and pat down the soil so that the cutting stands upright on its own. You can drive a small bamboo stake into the pot to support it.

Water the cutting so that the soil is thoroughly and evenly damp. Water will begin to drain out of the bottom when the pot is sufficiently watered.

Place a plastic bag over the top of the cutting and secure the open end around the rim of the pot using a rubber band or string. This will create a mini greenhouse to keep the cutting warm and evenly moist.

Put the cutting in an area that gets filtered sunlight. The temperature needs to be between 70 and 80 degrees F for the cutting to root.

Check the soil every three days. If the top of the soil feels dry and crumbly to the touch add water until the soil is evenly damp.

Remove the plastic bag and transplant the cutting to a new pot or into the ground when new green growth emerges on the stem. This will take four to six weeks.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Jar
  • Knife
  • Hormone rooting powder
  • 3-inch planting pot
  • Peat moss
  • Compost
  • Topsoil
  • Small bamboo stake (optional)
  • Plastic bag
  • Rubber band or string

Tips

  • If you are transporting your cutting from one location to another put the cutting in a plastic bag. Add a few squirts of water from a spray bottle and seal the bag until you get to your planting location.
  • Use a larger pot and root several cuttings at once; if one doesn't take you still have the rest to transplant

Warning

  • All parts of the croton are poisonous when ingested. Keep cuttings away from children and pets that might accidentally ingest parts of the plant.

About the Author

 

Eulalia Palomo has been a professional writer since 2009. Prior to taking up writing full time she has worked as a landscape artist and organic gardener. Palomo holds a Bachelor of Arts in liberal studies from Boston University. She travels widely and has spent over six years living abroad.