Croton petra adds a bright, colorful look to spaces indoors and outside. It does best in bright indirect to bright direct light. Croton petra grows upright, and in their native habitat become small woody shrubs or hedges. The orange, red and yellow foliage brings personality and lightens indoor spaces. With a naturally compact habit, Croton petra can be pruned to encourage branching. These bold plants perform well indoors or outside where hardy in full sun.
Growing Zone: 9-11
Mature Height: 30″-36″
Mature Width: 30″-36″
Classification: Colorful Foliage
Sunlight: Bright, direct light to full sun
Habit: Compact habit
Flower Color: White, does not flower indoors
Foliage: Deep, rich colors appear on stiff, upright facing leaves
Soil Condition: Potting mix with sand added
Water Require: Likes to stay consistently moist
Uses: Attractive plant to add bold color indoors
Does Not Ship To: CA, WA, OR, AZ
Croton petra does best if given lots of light, high humidity and not allowed to dry out completely. This eye catching plant keeps its brightly colored foliage as it continues to grow upwards. Croton petra does well if kept as a tropical and allowed to vacation outdoors for the summer in part to full sun, then can be brought indoors and given bright, direct light all winter. It makes a good houseplant, but partners well with other brightly colored foliage plants in containers or the landscape outdoors. Occasionally, Croton petra can dry out but make it a habit and the leaves will drop.
Light Requirement of Croton petra:
Crotons prefer bright, direct light to maintain their vibrant color. Usually western or southern exposure provides enough light. If given less light, Croton will survive but start to lose its brightly contrasting colors. Croton works outside in part to full sun where hardy or when treated as a tropical in mixed containers or landscapes (coming inside for the winter).
Watering Croton petra:
Croton petra should be watered relatively frequently, as the plants like to stay moist. They don’t like to sit in water or dry out too much. The easiest way to tell if a plant needs to be watered is by the weight of the container. If the container is very heavy and the foliage is upright, chances are good the plant doesn’t need water, whereas a light container and limp foliage means the plant needs some water. Sometimes, water pours out of the container without being retained by the soil. Soaking the dry soil in a small dish or saucer can be a useful way to solve this problem. It is important not to water the foliage of these plants, or to over-water them as this will lead to plant death. If you’re unsure, it is always better to let the plant go dry instead of drenching it with water. Moisture meters are another easy way to tell if plants need to be watered, and usually come with a guide to indicate what number or level of moisture different plants require.
Fertilizing Croton petra:
Indoor houseplant fertilizers fall into two groups: water soluble, liquid quick release, and granular, slow release fertilizers. Jack’s Classic Indoor plant food works well as a powder, quick release fertilizer that is mixed with water to quickly provide nutrients to a plant that has been in a container for an extended time. On the other hand, Biotone Starter or Osmocote Indoor/Outdoor is an option as a granular, slow release fertilizer that can be applied while potting and planting. Any type of fertilizer offers nutrients that help plants with the transition to a new environment. Any of these fertilizers will work well for Croton.
Best Growing Soil for Croton petra:
The best soil for houseplants is a well balanced mix of peat moss, perlite and vermiculite that dries some between watering but takes a long time to compact. Typically, any reputable potting mix will work well and includes those ingredients. Adding a granular, slow release fertilizer while planting is a good way to help the plant thrive in the transplanting transition. Croton does like a well draining soil, sometimes adding sand to the potting mix or using a cactus soil mix helps to prevent overwatering.
History and introduction of Croton:
Croton hails from Malaysia and Pacific Islands, growing in scrub and forests. Native plants can reach 10 feet tall, but commercial greenhouse plants usually reach about 2 to 3 feet. These plants take well to pruning, and can be encouraged to branch. The bright foliage appears on all new growth as long as the light is bright enough. A return to dark green foliage on the new growth is an indication that the plant requires more light. The leaf tips can be cut and used to propagate new Croton.
Codiaeum variegatum ‘Croton’ is the Latin name for Croton. Codiaeum comes from codebo, the Malaysian name for the plant, while variegatum means variegated, referring to the foliage.