Crotons are flowering evergreen shrubs that grow in upright formations. This Euphorbiaceae family plant originates from tropical regions throughout Asia, Australia and Pacific Islands. Crotons have leaves that come in a wide assortment of sizes, shapes and colors. Home gardeners use crotons as container plants, hedges and foundation plants or inside as colorful non-blooming houseplants.
Oval-leafed crotons have foliage with a long rounded appearance. The Andreanum is a 3-feet-tall plant with oval-shaped leaves in hues of copper to red with yellow margins and veins. Standing at 2 to 4 feet in height, the Commotion croton has oval leaves in shades of blue or bright green with pink, yellow and red markings. Evening Embers is a colorful hybrid croton 5 to 6 feet tall with bluish-black oval foliage etched with red and green colors coupled with red veins.
Broad-leafed crotons are shrubs with an upright growth pattern that forms large, wide leaves. The Sanderi croton is a 3- to 8-foot-tall shrub with big broad leaves that have sporadic blotches. Aucubifolim is a croton shrub variety with a spread of 3 to 6 feet and large, wide yellow leaves with red spots that have a coarse texture. The Aureo-maculatum is a slow-growing green broad-leafed shrub with yellow dots that reaches heights of 3 to 8 feet.
Narrow-leafed crotons have leaves up to 2 to 4 inches wide and a length two to four times the size of the width. The Sunrise croton grows to 3 feet in height with orange to red leaves with yellow veins. Angustissimum is a 3- to 8-foot-tall hybrid shrub with thin leaves colored with yellow edges and ribs. Another narrow-leafed variety is the 3- to 8-foot-tall and 3- to 6-feet-wide Weismannii, which develops ruffled margins with yellow and red petioles.
Spiral-leafed croton plants have foliage that twists and swirls into spiral formations. Tortile, another type of croton, grows to heights of 3 feet with green leaves that resemble ribbons. Interruptum is a type of croton shrub with a width of 3 to 6 feet that forms spiral yellow hued leaves complemented with red midribs. Spirale is a shrub that reaches heights of 3 to 8 feet tall, with twirling foliage in numerous shades of red and green.
Caring for Croton
Crotons thrive in abundant sunlight, which is how they get their rich colorful hues. Crotons kept in shady areas don't produce the same colorful leaves. Keep croton soil moist, but don't overwater or allow to dry out. Mist them often as they thrive in humid conditions. Keep in mind that many species of croton are poisonous to humans and it's best to wear gloves when handling.