Outdoors or in, you can’t go wrong with crotons!
These splashy beauties add bold pops of color on your porch, patio, or flower border. Use them on their own or tuck a few alongside brightly colored annuals such as marigold, angelonia, calibrachoa, pentas, or lantana. I always include crotons in my mixed containers because their colorful leaves provide a non-stop show of color throughout the summer.
Indoors, crotons are decorator’s dream because they come in such a variety of shapes and colors. Some of my favorites are the large-leaved types such as Petra, Florida Select, and Oakleaf. But, I also love the varieties with more lance-shaped or wavy leaves such as Mammy, Gold Star, Lauren’s Rainbow, Sunny Star, Zanzibar, and Victoria Gold Bell.
To perk up interior spaces, use large specimens to flank a sunny window or doorway. Or, set smaller plants on a bedside table or kitchen window where their colorful foliage can be appreciated at eye level. Even tiny, young crotons have plenty of appeal. In fact, my wife Karen likes to tuck these little beauties into dish gardens or tabletop displays throughout the house. Crotons also make great autumn and Halloween decorations paired with bright orange pumpkins and colorful gourds. In the photo above, crotons rub shoulders with ornamental peppers and mums for an autumnal look.
Crotons are easy to grow. Just remember that crotons are sun worshippers and prefer a spot where they can receive at least six hours of direct sun a day. Indoors, this means they do best in a south- or east-facing window. If you place your croton in a dark room the leaves will eventually fade and fall off. The more sun they get the more colorful your crotons will be.
Because crotons are tropical in nature, they need protection from cold temperatures (lower than 45F/7C). If you are growing crotons outdoors, move them to a protected location before the onset of chilly weather. Indoors, protect them from cold drafts near windows or dry air from heating ducts. In frost-free regions crotons thrive in your landscape all year.
To keep your plants in top form, water them when the soil feels dry to the touch. If they are too dry or too wet, they’ll quickly let you know it by dropping a few leaves. Crotons love humidity so consider adding a humidifier nearby during the dry winter months.
For more helpful information for selecting crotons for your home, check out our Shopper’s Guide to Crotons.
Written by Doug Jimerson