Foliage: Croton

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Light

Crotons need bright, indirect light. Some may not tolerate unfiltered, direct sunlight and tend to thrive in dappled sunlight. Vibrant colors depend on if it gets sufficient bright light. If the plant lacks the light it requires, the leaves will turn green.


Water

Keep them evenly moist in the summer. Croton plants need about one inch of water per week. Reduce watering in the winter to biweekly. Watch the plant for signs that it needs more water, such as wilting young foliage. Increase watering if the wilting noticeably happens during hot weather, but check the top couple of inches of soil with a finger for moisture before you increase water. If it's still moist, hold off on watering. Mist frequently during the growth period.


Soil

A well-drained, moist soil that has been enriched with compost is ideal. This plant prefers humus-rich, acidic soil.


Temperature and Humidity

Keep the room above 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and do not expose the plant to cold drafts. Humidity, along with the lack of bright light, also affects the color of the leaves. Keep the humidity level at 40 to 80 percent. If the humidity isn't high enough, the plant may drop some of its leaves. If you have trouble maintaining the moisture in your home at this level, run a humidifier in the room or set a humidity tray beneath the plant and group it with other plants.


Fertilizer

Apply slow-release pellets three times per growing season: early spring, mid-summer, and early fall. Or, you can use a liquid fertilizer every other month during the growing season from early March to the end of September. Since fertilizers vary widely by type, read the package instructions for feeding quantity. In most cases, if you intend to feed on a regular schedule, you can reduce the package-suggested amount by half strength. Then, observe the plant's growth rate over the next month; you can adjust and add or reduce fertilizer depending on how vigorous you want your plants to grow. Stop giving fertilizer during the winter months.

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