To the genus codiaeum belong some species of evergreen shrubs, originating in Asia; croton is a small or medium-sized shrub, native to the Pacific islands. It has large foliage, conspicuously variegated in various colors including yellow, orange, red or pink; there are numerous varieties of this plant, with leaves of various sizes, oval or elongated, even lobed. The Codiaeum variegatum is a species much appreciated for its decorative foliage, in summer it also produces small flowers, gathered in long arched panicles of great ornamental impact. Specimens of the species reach 90-100 cm in height, but there are dwarf varieties, with small leaves, which remain within 30-40 cm.
The Codiaeum variegatum prefer bright positions, but they do not like the direct rays of the sun; also avoid placing the plants in a place subject to currents, blows of air or sudden changes in temperature; in winter these plants are grown at home, with minimum temperatures above 15 ° C.
As for irrigation, water the plants regularly, avoiding water stagnation, the soil must be kept slightly damp; every 20-25 days add some fertilizer for green plants to the water of the watering, in half the dosage compared to that suggested on the package. In very dry weather, spray the foliage often with demineralised water.
Crotons prefer very well-drained soils, rich in organic and soft matter; repot the plants every 2-3 years, possibly in spring.
Croton multiplication occurs by cutting, in spring or at the end of the summer season. The reproduction by cutting takes place by taking part of the branch of the original plant. This must be about 10 cm long and must have at least 5-6 leaves. To cut the branch it is advisable to use clean and well sharpened working tools to avoid fraying. Once the cut is made, it is necessary to clean the secretions of the plant with powdered charcoal. The cut twig will then be placed in a container with peat and sand. To ensure perfect growth, cover the jar or container where we placed the branch with clear plastic and place it in a sheltered and shaded place. After about 30 days, it will be possible to see the first shoots of the plant.
Croton - Codiaeum variegatum: Parasites
The codiaeum variegatum can be attacked by pests and diseases. Let's see together which are the most common causes of plant weakening. The croton plant can suffer due to an excessively dry climate, a sudden change in temperature or exposure to air blasts can cause the leaves to fall; crotons are often attacked by aphids, mites and cochineal.
Our plant can lose its beautiful streaks when placed in poorly lit places. When the leaves appear to be burned or particularly dry, they mean they have been exposed to the sun and direct sunlight for too many hours. Move the plant to a more suitable and sheltered place.