Crotons, to say that most have variegated leaves is an understatement. Some look like they are survivors of the psychedelic era of the 1960s while others look like some painter had problems with his brushes splattering all over the plants. A member of the Euphorbiaceae family, crotons have been used in Florida yards for many years and have never failed to add wild dashes of color to the garden.

Plant Facts:

Common Name:  Croton

Botanical Name:   Codiaeum

Family:  Euphorbiaceae

Plant Type:  Evergreen tree or shrub

Origin: Malaysia and E. Pacific

Zones: 10 – 11

Height: to 10

Rate of Growth: Medium

Salt Tolerance: Low

Soil Requirements:  Rich, well drained, moist

Water Requirements: Water well especially in drought


Nutritional Requirements: Balanced liquid fertilizer monthly, greatly appreciates side dressings of compost or manure. Loves rich soil.

Light Requirements: Does best in partial shade 

Form:  Shrub or tree

Leaves:  6-10″ long ovate multicolored, variegated leaves

Flowers: Tiny star-shaped yellow flowers produced in axillary racemes during the summer


Pests or diseases:  Spider mites, scale insects, mealybugs, caterpillars, stem galls, root rot, fungal and bacterial leaf spots.

Uses:  Shrub, tree, informal hedge or screen, or shrub border

Bad Habits: Contact with latex from foliage may aggravate skin allergies.

Cost:  $$ — Very reasonable

Propagation:  Root softwood cuttings in summer, air layer in spring

Source ( “As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”): THE AMERICAN HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY A-Z ENCYCLOPEDIA OF GARDEN PLANTS