Croton flower can provide alternative options to improve the visual appearance of accents colors. Most people think that they need to add more and more colorful flowers when they want to add extra colors to the garden. However, this plant has its own unique leaves that can attract everyone’s attention without overdoing it. Croton plants have extremely variegated and bright leaves, with amazing colors that can compete against the most colorful flowery plants.
The leaves aren’t the showiest part of the plant as Croton plant flower has its own unique appeal. The flowers are small, but unique in form and shape. Moreover, the plant doesn’t flower quite fast (or often), which makes this plant even more valuable and unique. The flowers are considered quite valuable and rare because the plants aren’t exactly the most productive plant on earth.
About Croton Plant
Crotons are known as this bushy plant having leathery, slender, big, and shiny leaves. It’s popular because it is a colorful plant with non-flower type, thanks to the unique leaves. If you want to spark up your living space without having too many flowers, this should be your go-to option.
This plant can be grown inside and outside, but it is only perfect for outdoor setting for hardiness zones 10 and also 11. If you live in areas besides those hardiness zones, it’s better to grow it indoor as a houseplant. If you provide the proper basic care and correct conditions, the leaves can give you vibrant colors of pinks, purples, yellows, and reds.
Crotons can be easily found in their native areas, which is the southern Asia and some Pacific islands. As a semi-tropical plant, Croton likes medium and warm temperatures from 60 degrees Fahrenheit to 85 degrees. In cool areas, this plant can still be grown outdoor, even up to less than 46 degrees Fahrenheit. However, you need to take it indoor when it gets colder. Feel free to take it outdoor again once it is warmer or the temperature increases.
Does Croton Flower?
As it was mentioned before, this plant has attractive leaves with unique appearance. However, when grown indoor, it takes forever for the flowers to finally appear. The plant blooms with tiny and yellow-ish star shaped flowers. Unfortunately, the Croton flower is considered unsignificant and not really visually interesting. However, the placement and the shape is quite interesting. The flowers typically form a cluster, hanging down amongst the big leaves from the branches’ tips.
The flowers would bloom in spring and summer months after the plant finally reaches a level of maturity. Croton flower only last for a week – two weeks would be the maximum. They don’t have any smell or fragrance. The colors may range from off white to yellowish hue. The flowers can be toxic to pets, kids, and humas in general. The male flowers are typically white. They have stars-like arrangement. The female ones are generally more yellowish with ball-like shape. The female flowers don’t have petals.
Because this plant is mostly grown and bred for its foliage, a lot of people think that it doesn’t produce flower at all. It’s completely untrue as Croton flower does exist. But you need to be patient if you want your Croton to produce flowers. It takes between two years and four years for the plant to finally generate the clustered flowers. In fact, consider yourself lucky if your indoor Croton is able to produce flowers within ‘only’ two and four years of time. Some of the varieties need around 10 years (and even more) to finally have its first bloom.
The Nature of the Plant
Many believes that Croton plant is generally small and compact. In reality, though, this plant can grow big and tall. In the wild, it can reach 10 feet of height. However, it also has dwarf varieties with shorter height. In general, the plant is able to reach 3 feet of height, max. But when it comes to volume, this plant can deliver ‘full’ effect because the leaves tend to cluster together. No wonder if it’s known for its bushy trait.
Meaning and Symbol
For those who understand this plant, having the Croton plant symbolizes something. It’s about bringing change through training and knowledge. The meaning of the plant dated back to the time of Milo of Croton, a legendary wrestler. He was famous for his devotion (for improvement) and also invincible strength. That’s why this plant is often owned by scholars or students. Or, it’s possible for teachers to reward or give this plant to their students, symbolizing their efforts to work hard, move forward, and learning phase. The plant is about joy within pain, positivity, and strength for overcoming life’s challenges.
You won’t have to worry about pollination in the wild because insect species are always ready to help with Croton flower pollination. However, if you grow the plant indoor, you will have to help with the process. Or if you want to encourage your outdoor plant to start growing the bloom, you should have no issue doing the hand pollination on your own.
- When the plant finally blooms, check the anther so you can gather the pollen and also the long filament. Use a camel brush, toothpick, or Q-tip to do the collection.
- Rub the brush (which already contains the pollen) onto another flower’s stigma so you can transfer it.
- You need to wait for 4 to 5 months to finally see whether your attempts are successful or not.
Even if the method is successful, be prepared if the new offspring has different result from its parents. Big chances that that’s the most likely possibility. If you are still doubtful or confuse, check the internet for video guidance. You will see countless of videos showing the right way to do the hand pollination.
Supporting the Flower’s Growth
What can you do to make sure that your Croton plant will produce flowers? Well, in order to generate Croton flower, your plant needs bloom boosters or the proper treatment and care. If you are able to create such an ideal environment for your plant, you should be able to enjoy the healthy flowers.
- The plant loves bright but indirect sunlight for at least 6 hours (8 hours would be ideal) to ensure its proper and healthy growth. Consider placing your plant in the area where it gets plentiful of indirect sunlight so the possibility of burning will be limited. If you do want to place the plant in a shady area, consider about having a grow-light supplement to help with its development. It would be a good idea to place the plant close to the east facing window, which ensures its indirect light receive.
- The most ideal temperature for growing Croton is between 55 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, so maintain such a level. You don’t want to have less than 55 degrees or more than 80 degrees. It may be risky for the plant.
- The plant doesn’t require tons of liquid or water. Only water it when around half inch of the top soil is dry. In general, water it once in 3 days to 7 days in springs and summers. If you want to be more sure about it, insert your finger into the soil. If it feels moist, don’t water it just yet. But if it feels dry, you can water it. When you do it, water thoroughly until you see the water coming out the drainage holes.
- Croton plant loves well draining soil. It also prefers acidic soil with ideal pH levels set between 4.5 and 6.5. if you want to have the perfect potting mix, mix peat moss (50%), perlite (25%), sandy soil (10%), compost (10%), and lime (5%) together. It is considered the perfect blend for the plant.
- Pay attention to the proper humidity level too. As one of the tropical plant types, this plant has a good tolerance against medium to high humidity. The ideal level would be from 50% to 80%.
- The flowers typically need proper nutrients and feeding, which they can get from the fertilizer. The ideal one should have 3-1-2 NPK ratios. Apply the fertilizer once every month, especially during the growing seasons (which take place in springs and summers). You can also make your own liquid fertilizer, by making use of the grounded coffee and soak it in water. It’s a natural fertilizer that is able to support the plant’s growth and development. Do this, and you can expect your plant to produce Croton flower.
Keep in mind that Croton plants are just like other plants: It may attract small insects and pesky pests. Be prepared to deal with aphids, thrips, or spiders. It’s also fragile against fungal attacks, such as Crown Gall, Oedema, or Powdery Mildew. You need to check the plant regularly, so you can identify pests or damage symptoms from the early stage.
A word of advice: Don’t fret or freak out if you see the flower stalks somewhat droopy after you apply the fertilizer. It’s a normal thing because the stalks have to go through normal seeding formation. In most cases, the female flowers may turn to round seed pods (with red and green colors) after fertilization. They may also become dark and big.
What to Do with the Flower
As it was said earlier, the Croton flower isn’t exactly beautiful or having nice smell. If you want to add some flowery beauty to your home décor, be ready to be disappointed. So, the decision to keep the flowers or remove them is completely up to you. If you want their seeds, just let them grow. But if you want to save the entire nutrition (for the plant’s overall growth), then it’s better to prune them.
If you want to remove the flowers, do these steps so you can do it safely without harming the plant (or messing up with it).
- Make sure that you have a pair of gloves which will protect you from the sap. You should know that Croton plant generates toxic sap that can cause skin irritation.
- Choose sharp and clean pruning shears. Disinfect them by using the isopropyl alcohol.
- You should be able to cut the flower any time. There is no specific limitation on how you can’t cut it. However, don’t do it during winter months where the days are generally shorter. You may stress the plant out. If it happens, it may not survive and die.
- Hold the flower and pick a spot with several centimeters above the plant’s base. Then snip it with the shears. The cut should be clean and thorough.
- Another option is to pinch the flower and then deadhead it quite easily. But don’t apply too much power or force as it can hurt (and damage) the stem.
While cutting off the flowers, it’s also a good idea to remove damaged stems and leaves. Pruning while cleaning the plant will prevent disease and attacks from insects and mites. They love feeding on those damaged parts.
Final Tips and Tricks
In the overall end, dealing with Croton plant doesn’t have to be difficult. It takes regular care and monitoring, and it should be fine. It can’t really tolerate excessive attention, but little care will also ‘hurt’ it. For instance, too much water will cause root rot, but too little water may cause it to be thirsty. Check the leaves and their colors. If they look dry or wilt, it means that they are thirsty. They are suffering from dehydration. Too much fertilizer may burn the root, but too little may not provide enough nutrient for the plant to grow healthy.
It is advisable that you have a careful observation and monitor. If you inspect the plant regularly, you can learn about its condition. Is it infested by insects? Is it attacked by fungi? How is it condition? Does it look healthy? Does it look normal?
Make sure that you provide the proper nutrients and ideal environment so your plant can grow strong and solid. Most importantly, it can grow well to produce Croton flower that you like so much.