Crotons are tropical plants that have long, striated leaves. The leaves are mostly green, but are interspersed with red, yellow and orange color along the leaf veins. They are commonly grown indoors in pots in the majority of the United States, but can grow outdoors in tropical climates such as the lower latitudes of southern Florida. Pruning a croton is only necessary to maintain the appearance of the plant and should be done on indoor and outdoor crotons.
Examine the plant for any yellowing or wilting leaves, which indicates that they are dying. These leaves are usually located at the bottom of the plant, but can be located elsewhere as well. Use pruning shears to cut off the dead leaves as close to the base of the plant as possible.
Prune one-third of the longest branches on the croton by cutting them off near the base of the plant using pruning shears. The tallest branches may grow upward, or they may grow out horizontally.
Wait until new green growth appears along the main stem of the croton, which will occur in less than one month. When the new growth reaches 1/2 inch to 1 inch long, prune the plant again, removing an additional one-third of the longest branches. Using this technique results in a full, uniformly shaped croton, as opposed to one that has a thin stem at the bottom.