Amid all the fuss, Croton propagation is one of the easiest things to do if you have time.
Read on to find out more detailed information on Croton Propagation.
Table of Contents Show
- When to Propagate the Croton?
- How to Propagate a Croton?
- How to Care For Your Newly Propagated Crotons?
- Quick Look on Caring for Newly Propagated Croton
- Wrapping Up…
When to Propagate the Croton?
Early spring months, such as January, February, or March, are the ideal months to propagate them.
This is because their growing phase is relatively high during these timeframes, and propagation can be done easily as they have responsive growth.
In the meantime, they have active growth during their growing phase, and the root conditions are also high functioning. All these factors help in vigorous regeneration.
Last but not least, you must only try and propagate a Croton during its mature phase, as propagation might kill a baby Croton.
Additionally, you can propagate when Croton gets too leggy or bushy if you have no idea of its maturity.
How to Propagate a Croton?
One of the most critical factors while propagation is to choose a healthy growing Croton. You can propagate quickly through stem cutting and air layering; however, you must be patient to try out the petiole rooting.
Every Croton contains diterpene esters capable of causing digestive upset and skin irritation.
It is often the milky sap that you can see around the plants, and yes, it is best to wear a glove while propagating.
Requirements During Propagation
- A healthy Croton
- Knife (or a sharp blade)
- Disinfectant (or rubbing alcohol)
- Pot with fresh soil
- Plastic bag
- Optional: cutting powder
The first and foremost role is to get your things, as mentioned earlier, ready when it comes to propagation.
Furthermore, if you have a disinfectant or pure alcohol, use it to rub in your blade or knife.
1. Stem Cutting
If you like to keep Croton short and bushy, stem-cutting propagation is the best method. Since an average Croton can grow up to 3 to 6 feet tall, you can strip and cut the top parts.
- Cut about 4-6 inch tip cuttings with at least three sets of leaves below a growth nodule. Indeed, the cut area will bear a wound, from where new roots start forming.
- As for the cutting, you can use powdered charcoal (if you have any) to dry the sap or even lay it down on the newspaper.
- Next, plant the cutting in a lightweight potting mixture of moist sand or perlite and sphagnum peat moss.
Lastly, maintaining the perfect temperature and potting mix will keep the cutting warm and moist. Altogether, the rooting will appear within a month.
2. Air Layering
When you have a leggy Croton, it is always best to propagate them through air layering because this will give them a bushy development and new appearance.
- Cut about a 1/2-1 inch strip around the stem or upward halfway through the stem just below a growth node.
- Hold your diagonal cut wound open by sliding a plain wooden toothpick sideways.
- As you hold the wound with the toothpicks, apply some rooting hormone.
- Wrap the wound area with a handful of sphagnum moss dampened with either distilled or purified water.
- Now, use plastic wrap to tape the open wound of your Croton.
- After a few weeks, the plant will showcase a new root against the plastic wrap.
After the new roots are developed, carefully the whole stem out below the layering; next, create a lightweight container filled with perlite, sand, and peat moss, then plant the cutting.
The rooting and the cut will develop within a month.
3. Petiole Rooting
Often, Petiole rooting is done when the Crotons start dropping their leaves due to low humidity or age. However, patience is a must when one opts for this particular method.
- Remove a leaf, then cut and trim up 11⁄2 inches of the petiole.
- Please place it in the water immediately and wait for about four weeks.
- Plant it in perlite, peat, or ground coir as soon as the leaves portray the root development.
This process will form new plants at the base of the petiole.
4. Seed Propagation
Croton plants can also be propagated using the seeds, although this method is not preferred due to its slow germination rate.
If you are planning to propagate Croton using seeds, make sure you get freshly extracted seeds, as Croton seeds lose their viability quickly.
Place the seeds in warm water at around 60°C for about 20-30 minutes and keep them separate for a day.
Follow the steps below to ensure successful propagation.
- After a day, the outer layer must easily separate. Remove the layer to reveal the seed inside.
- Sow the seeds 0.5-0.6 inches deep into the soil and moisten the soil.
- Place the germination tray at a temperature of around 23°C for a better environment.
- Water the seed once every 4-6 days.
In about a month, you will witness the seed germinate properly.
Croton Propagation Tips
All in all, stem cutting is a promising yet simplest method to propagate and multiply Croton. Below, I have added a list of tips and tricks to carry out before, during, or even after the propagation.
- Constantly water the Croton the day before for healthy propagation. As the roots are medium soaked, this assists with the rooting and minimizes stress to the plant.
- After stem cutting your Croton, use a white plastic bag to cover the container. But yet again, you should check it from time to time and mist it as it begins to dry.
- During the air layering process, the plastic wrapped with sphagnum moss turns brown, which is the significance of dryness.
How to Care For Your Newly Propagated Crotons?
A slight change in Croton’s environment will sometimes result in shock and leaf loss. Newly propagated Crotons get sensitive to every environmental condition.
Therefore, it is crucial to keep their environment constant, and below are the details you will need to focus on.
1. Choose a Spot With Indirect Sunlight
Croton requires ample sunlight every day for about six to eight hours. Although some can handle bright sunlight depending on species, while some prefer partial shade, providing bright light is always best.
You can place Croton in your house’s east or west-facing window and use thin or sheer curtains to block unnecessary direct light.
You can also opt for artificial light if your house lacks sunlight.
Fluorescent lights are always the best option for those artificial lights because they reflect most electrical energy as heat energy, perfect for plants.
2. Ideal Temperature
Crotons are tropical plants that love warm temperatures and do not do well if the temperature is cooler than 50ºF (10ºC).
The idea is to keep the temperature range between 60-85ºF (15-30ºC).
Altogether, you should keep your Crotons far away from cooling/heating vents, uninsulated windows, entrance doors, and heat registers.
Also, you should keep it far from the cool currents and mist them regularly during winter.
3. Optimum Humidity
Croton loves and thrives in a moist environment while they start to droop in dry air. Hence, maintain moist air; try misting your Crotons regularly.
In the meantime, you can also use a good quality humidifier and move them nearby the Crotons.
You can also use a more easy method with a clear plastic bag after tying it on your Croton to make a greenhouse effect.
4. Watering Requirement
It is best always to use distilled or rainwater rather than tap water. This is because tap water is usually softened with minerals, fluoride, chlorine, and salts.
These chemicals sometimes cause Croton to go brown in their tips and edges, turning yellow.
Water only after the top two to three inches of soil are dry.
5. Soil, Fertilizers, and Container Size
Crotons’ ideal potting mix is rich in organic compost and peat moss. Also, ensure they have moist soil (neither soggy nor dry).
As for fertilizers, use all-purpose houseplant fertilizer by diluting it with water once a month. However, it would help if you did not use it often, as it may cause root toxicity.
Furthermore, use a container that is ⅓ larger than the plant’s root ball and has a drainage hole in the bottom. To improvise the drainage system, you can add a gravel layer at the bottom.
Last but not least, it would help if you repotted your Croton every two years to let them grow up to their full potential.
Quick Look on Caring for Newly Propagated Croton
Below I have highlighted the critical factors to consider while caring for your Croton babies.
|Container Size||⅓ larger than the plants' root ball|
|Sunlight||Indirect sunlight for 6-8 hrs|
|Potting Mix||Rich in organic compost and peat moss|
|Fertilizer||Diluted all-purpose houseplant fertilizer
Once a month
|Watering Schedule||Water only after top two to three inches of soil are dry
Use distilled or rainwater
Croton Propagation is not only done when you urge to multiply your plant babies. It also assists tons in rejuvenating them into giving them a fresh look for the time ahead.
Also, with these tempting propagation methods to gain your plant babies, it is no shocker to try them.
Lastly, with whichever method you would love to grow your Croton babies, do be sure to keep their fussy nature intact.