The scientific name for croton is Codiaeum variegatum. Another common name is Variegated Laurel. It is in the spruce family (Euphorbiaceae). In Hawaii, it is a popular landscape foliage plant. Worldwide, there are more that 200 + varieties, all with many different color combinations and leaf shapes. The color and leaf shape may even vary on the same plant.
It is most famed these days for its use as a houseplant. However, in subtropical and tropical climates you can use them for hedges, windbreaks, or ornamental landscaping. They also do well and last a long time in tropical flower and foliage arrangements.
Growing Croton in Hawaii
Sunny locations encourage best leaf color but on our farm it also thrives in shady forested areas. Some varieties actually may have more sensitive foliage and prefer partial shade, especially in the tropics. Too much light, and the leaves may be dull and gray. However, with too little light the leaves may revert back to shades of just green.
Croton grows really well from cuttings. If you purchase croton cuttings from us, you will receive a 5″-8″ soft wood cutting of the variety in this picture. Some may still have a few leaves intact. Although these grow easily from cuttings, you may want to start them in smaller pots instead of directly in the ground so that you can control and monitor their moisture level. In the tropics, croton does best in medium to high humidity. To make croton bushier, you can prune it severely, up to about ⅓ of the total height. This will encourage new growth.
For a full list of our plants for sale on Big Island visit our nursery page.