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Care Instructions for a Croton Petra Plant

By M.H. Dyer ; Updated September 21, 2017
Colorful leaves of the croton petra plant

Provide croton petra (Codiaeum) with plenty of sunlight, and you'll be rewarded with vibrant, colorful foliage and big, shiny leaves that will add pizazz to your indoor environment. Native to Ecuador and Bolivia, the croton petra plant will grow outdoors in warm, humid climates where temperatures are always above 60 degrees Fahrenheit. More often, croton petra is grown as a rather fussy indoor plant that will drop its leaves if it isn't happy. Avoid problems, though, by providing the proper growing conditions.

Place croton petra where it will be exposed to bright, unfiltered sunlight for at least six to eight hours every day. Bright sunlight will bring out the vibrant colors in the leaves.

Water croton petra whenever the top inch of the soil is dry to the touch. Cut back on watering slightly during the winter months. When watering croton petra, use room temperature water, as cold water can cause leaf drop.

Keep the croton petra plant in a warm room. Daytime temperatures should be between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit, with nighttime temperatures approximately 10 degrees lower.

Feed croton petra twice monthly, using a liquid fertilizer for indoor plants. Apply the liquid fertilizer according to the manufacturer's directions, but dilute the solution to half strength. During the winter months, fertilize croton petra only once per month.

Protect the croton petra plant from cool drafts, as drafts can cause the plant to drop its leaves. Avoid air conditioner vents, drafty windows or open doors. Place croton petra away from heating vents or fireplaces.

Set the croton petra plant in a tray or saucer filled with gravel or pebbles, and water to increase the humidity around the plant. Don't allow the water level to be high enough to touch the bottom of the planting container, as croton petras should never stand in water.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Liquid fertilizer for indoor plants
  • Tray or saucer
  • Gravel or pebbles

Warning

  • Be careful not to puncture the leaves when working with croton petra plants. Croton contains sap that can stain clothing, and for some people, can be very irritating to the skin.

About the Author

 

M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.