The brightest indoor crotons
Bright colors of shiny curly leaves of crotons distinguish this unique giant among competitors. Even in the company of the most catchy flowering plants, it is always noticeable. Croton - the perfect color decoration for any office and modern home. And from the purchase of this plant, neither its toxicity nor the risk of transforming the croton into a much less attractive “stick” without proper care measures does not deter it. Demanding for everything except lighting, croton is always an up-to-date classic of indoor floriculture.
The most colorful varieties of croton
No matter how hard encyclopedias and reference books try, the botanical name “codium” has not supplanted the more popular, simple and such familiar name “croton”. Colorful crotons-codiums are good everywhere, in any interior and office. They remain a bright color spot even in winter, when the yellow-orange-red colors are so lacking.
Crotons in their youth seem compact, flaunting only a rosette of large leaves, but the trunk quickly rises to 2 meters without plant control. Constant renewal, dropping old leaves from below exposes the “leg”, but the beauty of the foliage remains.
Large, curly and very hard leaves, the shape of which is often compared with oak leaves, is the main pride of the croton. They are strikingly variable, surprising with contours, shades, and the presence of decorative forms with narrow, lobed, spiral-shaped, curly leaves. Only bright color streaks and the presence of patterns, washouts, shades and specks remain invariable - always within the autumn-fire and solar palette, and repainting with age in red tones. Rare inflorescence brushes are subtle and adversely affect the leaves.
In room culture, only one type of croton is grown - colorful codium (Codiaeum variegatum) He had long moved from flower showcases and greenhouses to room interiors. New varieties, in addition to outlandish bright colors, boast more and more stability.
Today the most popular are the following extravagant varieties of hybrid codecs with dazzling paints:
- Mrs. Iceton - a variety almost devoid of green color, replacing young yellow leaves with delicate pink, raspberry, purple and red colors with dark veins and strokes.
- Pie crust - a spectacular variety with wavy lanceolate leaves, at any age, covered with large dots - from yellow on a bright green background to pink-fuchsian on dark red.
- Mammie (Mammy) - a variety with fancifully twisted leaves, famous for scarlet and purple spots on a dark, almost black background, replacing the yellow fire of young leaves.
- Thai String - One of the most narrow-leaved varieties, whose long blades of grass are colored in a wide variety of shades of purple.
- Andreanum - a spectacular oval-leaf variety with almost yellow leaves, highlighted with light gold edges and veins.
- Evening embers - a metal variety with a bluish bloom on almost black leaves, mottled with light green and red spots.
- Magnificent - a watercolor variety with blurry tints of red, orange, pink, bronze and lilac on a dark background, with variegated patterns of light yellow colors.
- Gold dust - speckled croton, in which saturated grassy green and lemon yellow mix in small ripples, forming an explosion of color spray.
- Zanzibar - a variety with grass-like leaves in a very graphic crown and a mixture of shades of purple, red, gold and orange with a light streak in the middle.
- Majesticum - a luxurious variety with thin drooping shoots and very narrow leaves with a golden central vein that changes dark green to red.
- Eleanor roosevelt and Franklin roosevelt - similar varieties with lanceolate, elongated leaves with a basic medium-bright color, with age reddening in very dark wine shades and covered with gold, in the second grade - yellow-pink spots.
- Ramshot - An unusual variety with sickle-shaped, densely spotted leaves, changing from yellow-green to pink-red as they age.
- Irene Kingsley - violet-leafed variety with very strict, large, lanceolate-toothed leaves, a bright pink border and a central vein, as if dissolving over time.
Conditions for growing varietal crotons
You should not assume that codiums can only be found in conservatories or bathrooms with their stable heat and moisture. In the rooms for them, too, you can pick up a good place, but it's better not to forget about the plant's habits and their requirements.
Lighting and placement
Crotons almost do not notice the difference between natural and artificial lighting, grow well in bright rooms and do not welcome only two extremes - direct sunlight and strong shade. In different varieties, photophilicity (and the dependence of color on light intensity) differ, so when buying it is better to clarify what kind of lighting a particular plant is used to
There’s nothing complicated in choosing a place. Crotons are placed where their decorativeness is revealed, to add dividers and bright accents. In offices, lighting compensates for the distance from the window, in rooms it is worthwhile to focus on conditions similar to western or eastern window sills.
Temperature and humidity for crotons
The heat-loving and moisture-loving croton does not tolerate cooling, is afraid of drafts, especially with a strong temperature difference. The ideal is summer temperature of about 20 degrees and winter temperature of about 18, but in general it feels great in living rooms and offices with their stability. In the summer, when the night temperature does not fall below 16 degrees, the crotons will happily move to the open air.
The rates of aging and deformation, the effectiveness of croton leaves directly depend on whether comfortable air humidity is maintained. Dry air, and even more so the proximity of batteries and air conditioners, codecs do not welcome. It is possible to maintain at least average air humidity by any available means - spraying, installation of pallets, humidifiers.
Simple but comprehensive care
For kodiyeum constant soil moisture is a necessary condition. They will remain decorative and compact for many years, only if gross errors are excluded and the substrate does not completely dry out. Watering is carried out abundantly, allowing several centimeters to dry at the top of the substrate. In winter, watering is reduced.
Crotons signal the need for watering sagging leaves. It is better to drain the water from the pallets after 5-10 minutes. And choose it correctly - soft, slightly tepid or identical temperature in the room.
Fertilizers for croton spend the whole year, with special fertilizers for decorative and deciduous plants. From March to September, 1 feeding in 3 weeks is enough, from October to the end of February - 1 feeding in 1.5 months.
Leaves should be kept clean by regularly arranging “wet cleaning”. Crotons welcome the use of leaf polishes.
Crotons pruning is not needed. Only with the overgrowing of the desired size and excessive stretching of the trunk, the tops are re-rooting or pinching. Regular procedures come down to removing drying leaves and flower buds.
Problems in growing crotons
Despite the amazing density of leaves, in the absence of basic hygiene and constant overfilling, croton will not only suffer from rot, spotting, late blight and fusarium, but will also become vulnerable to thrips, aphids, and spider mites. From its leaves it is very difficult to remove the scale shield. Any pests should be combated not only with correction of care and washing, but also with insecticide treatment, and with diseases - fungicides.
The plant always signals about uncomfortable conditions and careless care with its leaves:
- with insufficient watering, they wilt;
- at overflow - are covered with brown-black spots;
- when soil is depleted, they become smaller;
- in poor lighting - lose their colors;
- in direct sun and in the heat they become covered with white spots and dry at the ends;
- in the cold and in the draft they do not grow and fall.
Transplant, containers and substrate
Crotons are transplanted when the roots appear in the drainage holes, in February or March, by transshipment with the removal of only free soil and the upper contaminated substrate layer.
Crotons are grown in standard pots with a depth slightly exceeding the diameter. Stable ceramic vessels with large drainage holes are preferred. At the bottom of the containers lay 3-4 cm of drainage. Increase pots when transplanting no more than 4 cm.
For croton, any loose universal substrate with neutral acidity and a high percentage of soddy soil is suitable. To prevent problems in the soil, mixers must be mixed in, ideally perlite or small expanded clay.
Reproduction of crotons
Reproduction of codiums requires experience and skills. If you want to root the shoots and get a new plant, it is easier to apply the method of air layers - cut the bark on the stem in the internodes with a “ring” and wrap it with moist moss, reliably fixing it on the stem. Maintaining light moisture allows the roots to develop over time. Only after they have grown enough enough, the top is separated and planted as an independent plant.
The classic cuttings with the tops (length about 10-15 cm) is considered complex, requiring strict control of conditions: temperature of 25 degrees and stable humidity of the substrate in greenhouses with lower heating.