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Botanical name: Codiaeum

Common name: Croton

Crotons or codiaeums (Codiaeum variegatum) are tropical shrubs that make spectacular houseplants, with brightly splashed or boldly veined, multi-coloured leaves in various shades of red, pink, burgundy, orange, yellow and green.


Codiaeum variegatum makes a show-stopping houseplant, with its large, brightly patterned, leathery leaves. These can be up to 30cm (12in) long, in colour combinations ranging through red, pink and orange to yellow and green.


These tender shrubs need humid air, bright but indirect light and warmth (18–35°C/65–95°F) to keep the leaves at their best. A bathroom is an ideal location. They prefer ericaceous (acidic) compost and rainwater, or filtered water, at room temperature.


These plants tend to drop their leaves in dry air or dry compost, so stand the pot in a tray of damp pebbles, away from direct heat, and water regularly once the top of the compost is no longer moist. Avoid using hard tap water if possible. Keep plants out of strong sunshine in summer, which can scorch the foliage, away from cold draughts, and above 15°C (55°F) at all times.

Did you know?

Codiaeums are members of the euphorbia family, and like many of their relatives they have a latex-like sap that can irritate skin and eyes. So take care, and wear gloves when pruning. Also, all parts of the plant are poisonous, so position them carefully, out of reach of children and pets.

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