The Most Colorful and Eclectic Croton Plants for Your Home or Garden

Crotons are known and loved for their bright foliage and intriguing patterns. Most of these plants make excellent houseplants, or you can plant them outdoors in warmer areas. Plus, all of them are low maintenance and a good choice for beginners. If you’re looking for the perfect plant to add a splash, check out this list of 17 of the most popular types of crotons plants to grow at home.


About Croton Plants: 

About Croton Plants

The genus Croton comprises a myriad of flowering plants including a range of herbs, shrubs, and trees. They hail from the Euphorbiaceae family, which are predominantly native to tropical climates in the Indo-Malayan and Central American regions. 

Croton plants are loved for their bright, radiant foliage which showcase an array of color tones spanning tropical greens, pinks, reds, yellows, and more. 

Most croton plants are toxic if consumed so it’s best to lean on the side of caution and keep these plants away from pets and children particularly if you’re growing in an indoor environment. 

However, these plants are excellent natural air purifiers and perform a stellar job removing harmful airborne toxins!


Croton Plant Care & Maintenance Requirements: 

Croton Plant Care & Maintenance Requirements

Croton Plants are relatively easy, low-maintenance plants to grow at home. Follow these key steps and yours should thrive just fine: 

  • Light – find a location in your home that receives plenty of bright, indirect light throughout the majority of the day. Somewhere near a south or easterly facing window would be perfect with a little protection from a half-drawn blind or shade. 
  • Soil – pot with a nutrient-rich, well-draining soil mix. 
  • Water – croton plants love moisture but should never be left to standing in a saturated soil base. Water every 7 to 10 days or so in spring and summer when the top few inches of soil feel dry to the touch. Water requirements will reduce in the late fall and winter months. 
  • Fertilize – monthly in spring and summer only with an all-purpose, water-soluble houseplant feed. 
  • Repotting – aim to upsize if necessary ahead of the new growing season in early spring when necessary. 

For more, see our comprehensive guide to Croton plant care and growing tips at home.


17 Best Types of Croton Plants to Grow at Home: 

Here you’ll find a collection of our favorite croton plants to grow at home. We’ve included some essential care tips for each plus a few interesting facts about their history, origins, and botanical characteristics: 

1) Petra Croton (Codiaeum variegatum ‘Petra’)

Petra Croton (Codiaeum variegatum ‘Petra’)

The petra croton has oval green leaves covered with bright yellow, red, and orange mottling. It’s native to Southeast Asia and the South Pacific.

General Care Requirements:The petra croton prefers at least five hours of bright yet indirect sun. Keep the temperature between 60-85ºF and maintain moderate humidity. Water when the top two inches of soil is dry. Fertilize with a diluted houseplant fertilizer once a month.
Suitable for Indoors and/or Outdoors:This croton can be grown indoors in any area. It can also be grown outdoors in zones 9B-12.
Size & Growth Expectations:When grown outdoors, the petra croton can grow up to eight feet tall! When grown indoors, its size will be limited by the container and environment. With the proper conditions, these plants can reach six feet tall indoors.

2) Zanzibar Croton (Codiaeum variegatum ‘Zanzibar’)

Zanzibar Croton (Codiaeum variegatum ‘Zanzibar’)

The Zanzibar croton has long, thin leaves that are some combination of green, yellow, red, and orange. Due to its long leaves, it can often resemble decorative grass.

General Care Requirements:This croton prefers part-shade outdoors and indirect light indoors. It prefers temperatures between 60-85ºF as well as moderate to high humidity. Allow the top few inches of soil to dry between waterings, and feed twice a year with an all-purpose fertilizer.
Suitable for Indoors and/or Outdoors:You may grow this croton outdoors in zones 11-12 all year long. You may keep it outside in other areas as long as you bring it inside before the first frost. It also makes a great houseplant.
Size & Growth Expectations:The Zanzibar croton can grow up to six feet tall and five feet wide when grown outdoors.

3) Lauren’s Rainbow Croton (Codiaeum variegatum ‘Lauren’s Rainbow’)

Lauren’s Rainbow Croton (Codiaeum variegatum ‘Lauren’s Rainbow’)

About: Lauren’s rainbow croton has thin leaves set atop tall stems. The leaves typically have one color as their base and another color running down the middle.

General Care Requirements:Like many crotons, this one prefers part-shade or bright yet indirect light. To keep it happy, keep the humidity high and water when the top two inches of soil is dry. Aim to keep the air temperature between 55-85ºF.
Suitable for Indoors and/or Outdoors:You can grow this croton indoors in any area, as long as you provide enough light and humidity. It can also be grown outdoors in zones 10-12.
Size & Growth Expectations:Lauren’s rainbow croton can reach up to five feet tall and five feet wide under the right conditions.

4) Gold Dust Croton (Codiaeum variegatum ‘Gold Dust’)

Gold Dust Croton (Codiaeum variegatum ‘Gold Dust’)

The gold dust croton has dark green leaves that look like they’ve been splattered with yellow paint. The brighter the location, the more yellow the leaves.

General Care Requirements:This croton likes at least six hours of bright yet indirect light. When grown outdoors, aim for morning light and afternoon shade. Keep temperatures between 60-85ºF and maintain moderate to high humidity. Water only when the top few inches of soil is dry.
Suitable for Indoors and/or Outdoors:You can grow this croton outdoors in zones 10-12. It also makes a great houseplant as long as you provide enough light.
Size & Growth Expectations:When grown outdoors in warm areas, it grows at a moderate rate, maxing out at ten feet. Indoors, it is a slow grower and tops out at three feet.

5) Banana Croton (Codiaeum variegatum ‘Banana’)

Banana Croton (Codiaeum variegatum ‘Banana’)

The banana croton is a petite plant that is perfect for small spaces. It has bright green oblong leaves that are covered with yellow bits and patches.

General Care Requirements:Plant your banana croton in well-draining soil and water when the top few inches of soil is dry. Keep the temperature between 60-85ºF and make sure the humidity is moderate to high. Provide at least five hours of bright yet indirect light.
Suitable for Indoors and/or Outdoors:You may grow the banana croton outdoors in zones 10-12. You can also grow it indoors in bright areas.
Size & Growth Expectations:This is a slow-growing plant that maxes out at six feet tall. However, it often remains only a foot or two tall indoors.

6) Oakleaf Croton (Codiaeum variegatum ‘Oakleaf’)

Oakleaf Croton (Codiaeum variegatum ‘Oakleaf’)

As its common name suggests, the oakleaf croton has lobed leaves that resemble the leaves of some oaks. The leaves are green with bright yellow markings that turn red as the plant ages. People also refer to this plant as croton excellent.

General Care Requirements:The oakleaf croton needs bright yet indirect sun. Keep the temperature between 60-85ºF. Use a well-draining potting mix and water thoroughly when the top two inches of soil is dry.
Suitable for Indoors and/or Outdoors:You can grow the oakleaf croton outdoors as long as the temperatures don’t reach freezing. You can also grow them indoors.
Size & Growth Expectations:Can reach up to 6 feet in height.

7) Mother and Daughter Croton

Mother and Daughter Croton

Mother and daughter crotons have unmistakable leaves which lead to their name. The oblong leaves appear as if a small leaf is attached to a larger leaf. In actuality, it is one leaf attached via a midrib.

General Care Requirements:Give this plant between five and eight hours of bright yet indirect light each day. Aim to keep the temperature between 60-85ºF and the humidity high. Water when the top two inches of soil is dry.
Suitable for Indoors and/or Outdoors:You can grow outdoors in zones 10-12 or indoors in a pot.
Size & Growth Expectations:This croton is typically only a foot or two tall indoors, but it can grow over four feet tall outdoors.

8) Mammy Croton (Codiaeum variegatum ‘Mammy’)

Mammy Croton (Codiaeum variegatum ‘Mammy’)

Mammy crotons have long, colorful leaves that twist and curl upwards. They are perhaps the most popular and recognizable croton.

General Care Requirements:Keep temperatures between 60-85ºF, water when the top few inches of soil is dry, and maintain high humidity. Make sure the plant receives at least five hours of bright yet indirect light.
Suitable for Indoors and/or Outdoors:You can grow this croton outside in zones 9-12 or indoors in any area.
Size & Growth Expectations:Mammy crotons can grow up to three feet tall and two feet wide.

9) Eleanor Roosevelt Croton (Codiaeum variegatum ‘Eleanor Roosevelt)

Eleanor Roosevelt Croton (Codiaeum variegatum ‘Eleanor Roosevelt)

Also known as the messy painter croton, the Eleanor Roosevelt croton has oblong green leaves with yellow splotches.

General Care Requirements:Provide six to eight hours of bright yet indirect sun and high humidity. Use well-draining soil and water when the top inch of soil is dry.
Suitable for Indoors and/or Outdoors:You can grow the Eleanor Roosevelt indoors anywhere or outdoors in zones 10-12.
Size & Growth Expectations:Plants can grow up to six feet tall.

10) Andrew Croton (Codiaeum variegatum ‘Andrew’)

Andrew Croton (Codiaeum variegatum ‘Andrew’)

The Andrew croton has long leaves that are dark green and cream. The leaves sometimes develop a wavy texture.

General Care Requirements:Plant in well-draining soil and water when the top two inches of soil is dry. Maintain high humidity and temperatures between 60-85ºF.
Suitable for Indoors and/or Outdoors:Grow indoors or plant outdoors in zones 9-12.
Size & Growth Expectations:The Andrew croton can grow up to ten feet outdoors but generally stays below five feet indoors.

11) Red Iceton Croton (Codiaeum variegatum ‘Red Iceton’)

Red Iceton Croton (Codiaeum variegatum ‘Red Iceton’)

The red ice croton has pointed leaves that start yellow and turn red and pink over time. Most plants will have a combination of red and yellow leaves.

General Care Requirements:Plant in an area that receives bright yet indirect light. Keep temperatures between 60-85ºF and water when the top inch of soil is dry.
Suitable for Indoors and/or Outdoors:Grow indoors or plant outdoors in zones 10-12.
Size & Growth Expectations:The red iceton croton can reach up to eight feet tall outdoors.

12) Picasso’s Paintbrush Croton (Codiaeum variegatum ‘Picasso’s Paintbrush)

Picasso’s Paintbrush Croton (Codiaeum variegatum ‘Picasso’s Paintbrush)

This croton has long, thin leaves that resemble a paintbrush splattered with bright colors.

General Care Requirements:Plant in an area with bright yet indirect light or morning sun. Keep the humidity high, and maintain a temperature between 60-85ºF. Make sure you use well-draining soil and water only when the top few inches of water is dry.
Suitable for Indoors and/or Outdoors:Grow indoors or plant outdoors in zones 9-11.
Size & Growth Expectations:It can grow up to six feet tall and five feet wide but stays smaller indoors.

13) Gold Star Croton (Codiaeum variegatum ‘Gold Star’)

Gold Star Croton (Codiaeum variegatum ‘Gold Star’)

The gold star croton has long, thin green leaves with tiny yellow spots.

General Care Requirements:Provide care similar to other crotons. That means warm temperatures, bright yet indirect light, and high humidity.
Suitable for Indoors and/or Outdoors:The gold star croton can be grown outdoors in zones 9-12.
Size & Growth Expectations:The gold star croton grows a few feet tall indoors and can reach up to eight feet tall outdoors

14) Croton Magnificent (Codiaeum variegatum ‘Magnificent’)

Croton Magnificent (Codiaeum variegatum ‘Magnificent’)

This croton lives up to its name with wide green leaves covered in bright patches of yellow, pink, orange, and more.

General Care Requirements:If planted outdoors, the croton magnificent prefers dappled shade or morning sun. Try to keep temperatures between 60-90ºF while maintaining high humidity. Use a well-draining soil or potting mix and water when the top two inches of soil are dry.
Suitable for Indoors and/or Outdoors:You can grow this croton indoors in an area with bright yet indirect sun. You can also plan it outdoors in zones 9-11.
Size & Growth Expectations:This plant can reach around 4 to 6 feet in height when mature.

15) Bush on Fire Croton (Codiaeum variegatum ‘Bush on Fire’)

Bush on Fire Croton (Codiaeum variegatum ‘Bush on Fire’)

The bush on fire croton has vibrant leaves speckled with yellow, green, pink, red, and more. Make sure the plant receives lots of indirect sun if you want bright colors.

General Care Requirements:Place this plant somewhere where it will receive five to eight hours of bright yet filtered light. Water only when the top two inches of soil is dry, and fertilize a few times per year. Make sure the humidity stays moderate and high and the temperature remains between 60-85ºF
Suitable for Indoors and/or Outdoors:You may plant the bush on fire croton outdoors in zones 10 and 11. You can also grow it indoors in a sunny location.
Size / Growth Expectations:Size varies depending on the environment, but typically is a few feet tall indoors and a bit bigger outdoors.

16) Sunny Star Croton (Codiaeum variegatum ‘Sunny Star’)

Sunny Star Croton (Codiaeum variegatum ‘Sunny Star’)

The sunny star croton has oblong green leaves covered in scattered bits of yellow. The brighter the location, the more yellow this plant will develop.

General Care Requirements:This croton prefers at least five hours of bright yet indirect light. Maintain temperatures between 60-85ºF and provide moderate to high humidity. Water when the top two inches of soil is dry, and fertilize with a houseplant fertilizer a few times each year.
Suitable for Indoors and/or Outdoors:You can grow this plant indoors in a sunny spot. It can also be planted outdoors in zones 9-11.
Size & Growth Expectations:This croton can grow up to ten feet tall outdoors, but it typically stays between one and five feet.

17) Mrs. Iceton Croton (Codiaeum variegatum ‘Mrs. Iceton’)

Mrs. Iceton Croton (Codiaeum variegatum ‘Mrs. Iceton’)

This croton has large leaves with pointed tips. The leaves are a base color of green, red, orange, or purple and appear lightly dusted with another color.

General Care Requirements:Provide at least six hours of bright yet indirect light to encourage full coloration. Keep the temperature between 55-85ºF, and move potted plants indoors when temperatures dip below this range.
Suitable for Indoors and/or Outdoors:This croton makes an excellent houseplant, or you can grow it outdoors in zones 9-12.
Size & Growth Expectations:Mrs. Iceton croton can grow upwards of five feet tall outdoors. It typically grows between one and three feet tall indoors.

Wrap Up: 

Now that you know about some of the types of crotons available, it’s time to pick out a few you love. With plants of colors, shapes, and sizes, you can find some for every area of your home and garden.


Croton Plant FAQs: 

Croton plants thrive best in bright sunny conditions. Just be sure to provide them with a little break from intense direct light particularly if grown indoors. A location near a south or east-facing window would be perfect with some partial protection from a drawn blind.

Croton plants can be grown both indoors or outdoors if you live in a suitable climate. The majority of croton plants hail from hot, humid, tropical climates so those living in very northerly climates with cool springs and cold winters should consider growing the plant indoors if possible.

Croton plants love moisture and humidity so ensuring your plant is sufficiently watered (not over-watered!) is key to ensuring bright, colorful foliage. Fertilizing monthly in spring and summer will also help these beauties radiate color.

Croton plants make excellent ornamental plants in the home and garden in addition to being an excellent natural air purifier according to NASA’s clean air study.

All croton plants are considered poisonous if ingested and it’s always prudent to handle this plant with care during routine maintenance.


Author

Briana holds a B.S. in Plant Sciences from Penn State University. She manages a small market garden where she grows vegetables and herbs. She also enjoys growing flowers and houseplants at home.

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