Jamaican Croton ( Codiaeum variegatum )

I bought some crotons and snake plants to fill in the back bed that got tore up a couple of weeks ago when the electric company replaced the underground electric transformer. As I type this the water company is digging up my front garden to fix a water pipe. I’m beginning to see why the locals give up on gardening, but onto crotons, I’m new to growing them.

The foliage is bright and flowers are not the main attraction on these plants. They are said to be very easy to grow. It can also be easily grown from cuttings placed in water.

It will drop its leaves when the temperature goes below 40′ but will recover once the weather warms back up, provided the temperature does not stay cold for long. It is really at the edge of what we can grow here in The Woodlands, really only zoned up to 10a, we’re 9b. The lower half of Houston should have no trouble with this plant. They do best between 60′-85′. I’ve read reports of gardeners growing crotons in Tennessee, zone 7a, quite happily so we’ll see what happens come winter.

This plant loves humidity, how perfect for Houston.

Outside a croton can grow to 10′, but often stop between 3′-8′ with a 3′-6′ spread. Inside they tend to top out at ~ 2′

Best color is achieved in full sun.

Keep them moist, but slightly dry.

Not shade, frost or drought tolerant, but a cool plant never the less and worth a try.

Several sources report parts of the plant are poison so don’t eat it.

More information:
Floridata: Codiaeum variegatum

3 thoughts on “Jamaican Croton ( Codiaeum variegatum )

  1. If you’re concerned about them this winter, they can usually do well under some much if it gets really cold, esp if we’re to get some freezing rain at the same time. I usually cover the tender plants with mulch and/or a cover of some kind. If the weather’s going to be cold for several days, try setting up a miniature greenhouse over it by making a tent with some heavy guage clear plastic dropcloth. But, sometimes……replanting happens…..sigh.

  2. I love this plant and have only tried to grow it in a pot. Never even thought of trying to put it in the ground. In a pot it freezes pretty fast though..so I have a hard time believing that it grows in zone 7 without lots of protection!

  3. We’re on the border between zone 8 and 9 so it’s not as cold here as 7.

    I will protect it, it is good to know it will make it through some winters with protection. I’m getting attached to having something bright and not just green and brown outside my office window.

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