Crotons (Codiaeum variegatum) are flowering evergreen shrubs that grow in upright formations. This Euphorbiaceae family plant originates from tropical regions throughout Asia, Australia and Pacific Islands. Garden crotons are often confused with the genus Croton that belongs to the Euphorbiacese family. Many species of crotons are poisonous to humans. 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.
Oval-leafed crotons have foliage with a long rounded appearance. Croton "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 Croton "Commotion" has oval leaves in shades of blue or bright green with pink, yellow and red markings. Evening Embers is a croton cultivar 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 form large, wide leaves. Croton "Sanderi" 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. Croton "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 2 to 4 inches wide and a length two to four times the size of the width. Croton "Sunrise" grows to 3 feet in height with orange to red leaves with yellow veins. Angustissimum is a 3- to 8-foot-tall croton shrub cultivar 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 Croton "Weismannii," which develops ruffled margins with yellow and red petioles.
Spiral-leafed croton plants have foliage that twist and swirl into spiral formations. Croton "Tortile" 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. Croton "Spirale" is a shrub that reaches heights of 3 to 8 feet tall, with twirling foliage in numerous shades of red and green.