Croatons Plant


Crotons are the most popular of South Florida’s colorful foliage plants, with brilliantly-colored leaves shot with gold, red, orange, green and even pink.


Plant specs

These are slow growers, and most can easily be kept 3 feet (or less for smaller varieties).

You can plant in almost any light – full sun to partial shade – with some types of this plant, like the classic Petra, preferring a bit more shade.

Many (such as Mammy croton) attain their brightest coloring in full sun.
Moderately salt-tolerant, these shrubs do best in Zone 10.

In cooler areas of Zone 10A that border Zone 9B, the plants may defoliate in colder winters, so place in an area protected from wind. You may also want to cover the plants if frost is predicted. (See Cold Protection for tips.)

In Zone 9B a croton can be grown in a container and moved inside during winter.

These plants contain toxins, and are considered to be resistant to damage from deer (though we make no guarantees).

Plant care

Add a combination of top soil or organic peat humus and composted cow manure to the hole when you plant.

Make sure the area is well-drained…crotons will not put up with “wet feet.”

This shrub is moderately drought-tolerant once established, though it does best with regular irrigation schedule that gives it time to dry out between waterings.

Trimming is only needed occasionally to keep the plant’s size in check. As with all foliage shrubs, always trim stems – don’t cut across leaves.

Fertilize 3 times a year – once each in spring, summer and autumn with a quality granular fertilizer.

Plant spacing

Smaller croton varieties can go as close as 2 feet apart. The rest should be placed 2-1/2 to 3 feet apart.

Come away from the house 2 feet or more.

These make excellent container plants, especially nice (and non-messy) in a poolcage.

Landscape uses for crotons

  • low to mid-height hedge
  • accent plant
  • around the outside of the poolcage or lanai
  • lining a walkway or drive
  • surrounding palms or trees
  • along a fence
  • flanking the entry or garage
  • edging a deck, patio or porch
  • groundcover shrub (small varieties)
  • under low windows (small varieties)
  • foundation plant (small and regular varieties)
  • privacy screen (larger varieties)
  • in a container or a planter box


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