Croton Propagation: A Complete Guide

Croton
Croton Plant (Source: Unsplash)

Among all the plant mommas, Crotons are hotshots to enhance their floral arrangement. Despite their fussy nature, Crotons are the bold statement on your indoor decor.

Hence, it is understandable why every gardener would love to propagate it from their colorful foliage.

You can quickly propagate your Croton babies in three simple ways; stem cutting, air layering, and petiole rooting.

Croton rooting
Croton rooting (Source: Pixabay)

Propagation helps you multiply your Croton babies and keeps original characteristics alive.

Additionally, propagating them at times provides them freshened looks.

Read on to find out more detailed information on Croton Propagation.

When to Propagate the Croton?

When we propagate Croton and try to multiply it, we face two sides of the coin. Sometimes, it is a healthy growing plant, while we sometimes mess up.

Hence, knowing when to propagate them is a crucial part.

Crotons thrive the best during spring while they get dormant during winters. In addition to that, early springs 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 seen in a bit of time.

In the meantime, they have active growth during their growing phase, and the root conditions are also high functioning. These all 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 your 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 have to be patient to try out the petiole rooting.

After choosing the healthy Croton, it is crucial to know that 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

The first and foremost role is to get your things, as mentioned earlier, ready when it comes to propagation. Initially, take your knife or a sharp blade and clean it thoroughly.

It is always best to keep them in hot water and use a soft clean towel to dry them.

This will prevent getting unnecessary bacterias transferral during the propagation. Furthermore, if you have a disinfectant or pure alcohol, use it to rub in your blade or knife.

Propagating methods

1. Stem Cutting

If you like to keep your Croton short and bushy, propagation by stem cutting is the best method to rejuvenate your Croton. 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 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 the best way to propagate them through air layering because this will give them a bushy development and new appearance.

  • Cut about 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 in 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 in it.

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.

Petiole rooting to propagate Croton
Petiole rooting to propagate Croton (Source: Freepik)
  • Remove a leaf then, cut and trim up to 112 inches of the petiole.
  • Please place it in the water immediately and wait for about four weeks or more.
  • Plant it in perlite and 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.

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Croton Propagation Tips

All in all, stem cutting is a promising yet simplest method to propagate and multiply your Croton. Below, I have added the list of tips and tricks to carry out before, during, or even after the propagation.

  • Always water the Croton the day before the pro to get a 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. This step will give your plant the greenhouse effect and keep it moist for several weeks. But yet again, you should check it from time to time and mist it as it begins to get dry.
  • During the air layering process, the plastic wrapped around with sphagnum moss turns brown, which is the significance of dryness. Hence, you should remove the plastic wrap temporarily and mist the moss carefully as you change the wrap.

How to Care For Your Newly Propagated Crotons?

Crotons are a complex plant to handle, thanks to their fussy nature! As we propagate them for their beautiful foliage and skins, they do not like to be moved from their original place, which often results in their state of depression.

Hence, at times a slight change in their environment will result in shock and leaf loss. For newly propagated Crotons they 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 Spot With Indirect Sunlight

Croton requires an ample amount of sunlight every day of about six to eight hours. Although some can handle bright sunlight depending on species, while some prefer the partial shade, providing bright light is always best.

You can place Croton in the east or west-facing window of your house and use thin or sheer curtains to block out unnecessary direct light.

Moving on, if your house does not get ample sunlight, you can also opt for artificial light.

When using those artificial lights, fluorescent lights are always the best option 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 ideal 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, during winters, you should keep it far from the cool currents and mist them regularly.

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.

Water only after the top two to three inches of soil are dry

These chemicals sometimes cause your Croton to go brown in their tips and edges, turning yellow.

5. Soil, Fertilizers, and Container Size

Crotons’ ideal potting mix is rich in organic compost and peat moss. Additionally, make sure that they have moist soil (neither soggy nor dry).

As for the 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.

Developed and new roots of Croton after propagation
Developed and new roots of Croton after propagation (Source: Unsplash)

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 also add a layer of gravel 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.

BasisRequirement
Container Size⅓ larger than the plants' root ball
SunlightIndirect sunlight for 6-8 hrs
Humidity Between 40-80%
TemperatureBetween 60-70°F
Potting MixRich in organic compost and peat moss
FertilizerDiluted 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

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Some Common Problems with Your Croton

Most of the time, Crotons droop their leaves and go limp when they get under stress after a change in their environment.

However, care and maintenance of their environment will rejuvenate them to their original self. However, having said those, it is essential to learn why they are limp and drooping.

For more Croton Problems, read the details on: Why are the Leaves on my Croton Limp and Drooping?

They have many causes, like too dry or soggy soil, low humidity, no sunlight, excessive fertilizer, or even pests.

1. Common Pests

Usually, you will find the insect infection in a tiny bit of webbing around branch tips and can be noticed due to the frail leaves in your Crotons. Some of the common pests to occur in them are highlighted below.

  • Mealybugs: They appear as a tiny puff of cotton and often leave honeydew behind.
  • Croton Scale: They are of two types, soft-shelled and hard-shelled, which bring trouble.
  • Red Spider Mites: They look like an attached whitish spot on the undersides of the leaves.
  • Thrips: The brownish streaks, silver speckling, or white spots on the leaves.

2. Fungal or Bacterial Disease

You will often see your Croton with swollen stems and leaf veins, usually due to other bacterial infections. These infections affect their crown gall, stem gall, and canker.

Anyways, some of its common infections are listed down below.

  • Powdery Mildew: It appears as a cloud of thin grey dust on the leaves that prevents their growth.
  • Xanthomonas Leaf Spot: They often appear as water-soaked spots at first and later develop into a moist and dark-brown or black appearance.
  • Anthracnose: Initially, they start as a wet sport becoming tan with age.

Solution and Preventive Measures

  • Make sure to check your Croton frequently, searching for any spots of infections.
  • As crazy as it might sound, yes, a simple following of the necessities does wonders in Crotons and keeps them from unwanted infections.
  • Likewise, use a clean towel or baby wipes to wipe the leaves of your Crotons carefully.
  • At the same time, you can also use a diluted solution of leaf shine, neem oil, or liquid soap to wipe their leaves.
  • In any case, if your Croton gets infected, make sure to isolate it from your other plant babies first hand. Then, following it, use water spray on the infected area, throwing away any pests or bugs present.
  • Then, use a sterilized blade to cut the affected area using rubbing alcohol.

Worried about those beautiful foliage turning Yellow, Quick peak at Croton Leaves Turning Yellow – Reasons & Solutions can save your time and effort.

Conclusion

Croton Propagation is not only done when you urge to multiply your plant babies. It also assists ton to rejuvenate 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.

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