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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. 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.
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.