Croton Seeds: Ultimate Grow and Buying Guide

Croton Plant Bearing Fruits
Croton Plant Bearing Fruits (Source: Instagram)

Did you know that Cristóbal Acosta had mentioned croton in 1578 for the first time as lignum pavanae and people used oil from the plant as herbal medicine after extracting from its seeds?

After collecting the seeds, you can also populate the croton plants and make a mini jungle out of them very soon.

Generally, croton seeds take five months after the flowering to get developed. When the capsules or flowers of croton finish drying up, you can extract seeds.  Also, you need to sow the croton seeds in the soil with a pH of 4.8- 7.2 with watering after 2 weeks. 

Croton Plant Bearing Fruits
Croton Plant Bearing Fruits (Source: Instagram)

The journey from seedlings to adult croton plants can take 3-5 years so you need to have patience if you are a fan of crotons.

Also, if you have planned to grow and leverage the croton seeds, you need to go through this article.

Overview of Croton Seeds

Croton seeds originally come from the croton, a small tree-like shrub that is native to Asian countries including India and Malaysia.

After castor seeds, croton seeds are known as ghana seeds or miracle wonder seeds and are praised as a powerful laxative in the world.

To let you know more, here is a table to brief on the Croton seeds.

CharacteristicsIndicator Values
Size
5X4.5 millimeters
ColorUsually Orange to Brown
ShapeNearly Oval and Elongated
WeightApproximately 0.021 grams
Cotyledon (s)Two (Dicotyledon)
ToxicityHighly Toxic
Medical BenefitPurgative
FruitsCapsule (Drupe or Berry Like After Maturity)
Flowering SeasonSummer
Harvesting TimeFive Months After First Flowering
Germination CharacteristicsNon-photoblastic (No Requirement of Light)
Germination Time10 to18 Days

Croton plants may take two to four years to bloom and bear seeds. 

When comparing croton seeds from other species, Croton pistillate seeds are in the diameter of  4–5.5 × 3.5–5.5 mm and Croton capitatus contains three seeds each per fruit.

You can keep croton seeds out of direct sunlight in a cool spot that possesses a fairly consistent temperature. Cold closet and basement can be the best place for this.

However, you should not leave the seeds for an extended period without sowing.

How Do You Get Croton Seeds?

Like other plants, crotons also proceed with pollination and bearing fruits, called capsules to end up with a group of productive seeds. 

After drying the capsules, seeds are released which is called dehiscence. Crotons are picky about their requirements so it does not need any support to release the seeds. 

Croton Plant Bearing Fruits
Croton Plant Bearing Fruits (Source: Instagram)

The capsules are teared up naturally but the plant may need some boost when flowering, so you can nurture it with phosphorus or bloom booster.

When the cover of the seed capsule starts drying up and losing its green color, it indicates that the seeds are nearly ripe.

You can cut the seeds to check if the endosperm is still milky, or mature.

After letting the seed pot get ripped, you can collect it easily but you should not touch or collect them with bare hands.

Instead, check the table below about the tools that you can use for seed collection.

Essential ToolsSpecifications
Utility KnifeSlicing Dried Fruits or Capsules of Crotons.
SecateursFor Cutting Thick Branches of Trees.
TarpaulinsWater-proof Cloth For Catching the Seeds.
Zip-lock BagsTemporary Field Storage of Seeds.
LabelsFor Writing Seeds Descriptions.
Paper BagsDry Temporary Storage.

Steps to Harvest Croton Seeds

You can apply the dry extraction procedure to harvest croton seeds successfully. Follow the steps below!

  • Before beginning the seed extraction process, wear gloves for protection.
  • The best time to harvest is when the fruit (capsule) dries, during late fall, or leaves the seeds open.
  • Hold the branch with the dried capsule and place it over a dry cloth. You can also cut the fruit from the adhering branch using secateurs.
  • Provide a mechanical impact (gentle tap) to separate the seeds from the dried fruit.
  • Store the separated seeds immediately in a paper bag.
The dried fruit capsule of Croton chapelieri
Dried Fruit of Croton chapelieri (A-B) and Croton vatomandrensis (C-D) Revealing Seeds (Source: Researchgate)

Croton seeds will lose viability if it is not propagated immediately. A solution to this is that you can immediately store the seeds in cool conditions until plantation.

Where To Buy Croton Seeds?

If you don’t want to let your croton flower for your selective reasons, you can also buy croton seeds from supermarkets or nurseries. 

Here is the table for your convenience!

Shops/ SitesDelivery Period
AmazonWithin 4 to 5 Days After Placing An Order.
EbayWithin 11 to 15 Days After Placing An Order.
ShopsyWithin 10 Days After Placing An Order.

How to Grow Croton from Seeds?

Croton does not develop bulbs so the only possible propagation method can be seedling excluding air layering and stem cutting.

Generally, the seeds of Croton must be sown promptly to preserve viability and it is the only method to grow more Croton plants.

You can also perform either of the following steps to increase the chances of germination.

  • Soaking the seeds in smoke-water (smoke-infused water) for six hours.
  • Use dilute sulfuric acid or sandpaper to scarify (scratch the seed coat) the seeds.
  • Storing seeds at 22°C for eight months (if you don’t want to sow the seeds immediately).

Germination Process of Croton

Seed germination requires the use of necessary equipment and caring to produce batches of healthy seedlings.

However, you can make a list and collect all the items needed for sowing the seeds.

RequirementsUse
SeedsSowing and Germinating Material.
Soil (Sandy-Loamy)Acts as Substrate for Germination and Growth.
Seed TrayMedium for Potting.
PotsFor Growth After Germination and Production of Seedlings.
FertilizerNutritional Requirement for Germination and Growth of Seeds and Seedlings.
GlovesFor Safety Precautions.

Step 1: Seed Preparation for Sowing

Soak the seeds in smoke-induced water for six hours prior to planting. This will increase germination viability.

You can also use scarification techniques such as dipping the seeds in dilute acid or using sandpaper to mechanically scratch the seed surface prior to soaking.

However, freshly extracted seeds may not require soaking or scarification pretreatments.

Image represents rubbing seeds on a sandpaper to scratch the seed surface
Mechanical Scarification Using Sandpaper (Source: growitbuildit.com)

Step 2: Prepare the Soil and Fertilizer Mix Substrate

To continue, take soil and manure mix at a ratio of 70:30. For proper germination, fertilize the soil with NPK supplement at a ratio of 5-10-10 or 10-10-10.

Crotons are sensitive to soil requirements so using sandy-loamy soil is the proper way to establish a substrate for germination.

Step 3: Sowing the Seeds

Make sure you plant the seeds in a large tray or on the field as crotons need large spaces to grow. You can plant the pretreated seeds in rows about half an inch below the soil.

Each row must be three feet apart and plant the seeds two feet apart from each other.

Providing Care During Germination

Post-sowing care is important for Croton seeds.

Moreover, your planted seeds can have successful germination if you pay attention to certain demands of the seeds.

  • Light Requirements – Seeds of Croton are non-photoblastic so they do not require light for germination. Even keeping trays in areas with partial lighting will not harm the seeds.
  • Conditions of pH – Maintain the soil substrate pH between acidic to slightly basic (4.8 to 7.2).
  • Watering the Seeds – Keep the watering course only if the soil dries within the germination period (10 to 18 days).

Providing Care After Germination

Caring for Croton seedlings is like caring for a baby so you need to keep it away from all the harm.

Newly plant in seed germination process
Newly plant in seed germination (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Competition from native grasses suppresses the growth of Croton seedlings but you can control them in four ways.

  • Mechanical weeding or hand weeding to remove the overgrown grasses.
  • Burning the grasses in late winter or early spring.
  • Using less fertilizer during the preparation of the site for planting.
  • Applying brush management techniques if non-herbaceous and woody species become a problem.

I recommend using frequent hand weeding as an initial supply of less fertilizer is the best practice.

Besides, it reduces the risk of burning and brush management techniques, especially those that involve the use of chemicals.

Transplanting Seedlings of Croton 

You also need to transplant the seedlings to the field surrounding as the moving objects can smash them off. Keep the seedlings in a safe place or in the pot. 

Follow these steps if you complete the transplanting of the seedlings to grow them into fuller croton plants.

  • Dig a planting hole in the pot that is a bit bigger than the root ball of the plant. 
  • Place the pot or tray upside down and gently tap the bottom to take the seedling out.
  • Prepare a planting hole in the field that is of the same depth that it was in the tray or pot.
Repotting plant
Repotting plant (Source: Pixabay)
  • Put the seedling in the hole in the field and cover it with one-fourth of the soil.
  • Gently pack the soil around the seedlings to ensure good contact between roots and the soil.
  • Sprinkle water to gently soak the soil around the seedlings.
  • After a few days, provide the plant with a cup of fertilizer containing phosphorous to promote strong root development.

Crotons are drought-tolerant species and can thrive in regions of occasional rainfall but you need to water frequently once a day until the plant is well-established.

Additionally, make sure that there is no canopy above the planted seedlings as crotons require full sunlight to grow.

Benefits and Side Effects of Croton Seeds

Seeds of Croton comprise a wide range of benefits. Seeds of one of the species are also called “Miracle Wonder Seeds” as it contains extreme laxative or purgative properties.

According to the published article in Heliyon,  the extracted oil from Croton macrostachyus seeds reacts positively against microorganisms with inhibition concentration values between 31.25 and 500 mg/ml. 

If you have problems with diabetes, joint pains, and increased cholesterol levels, then the Croton seed powder is very beneficial. They are also sold in markets and are medically approved.

Croton Plant Bearing Fruits
Croton Plant Bearing Fruits (Source: Instagram)

Commercial use of Croton tiglium seeds can be available in vitamin supplements, Ayurvedic powders, and oils.

Seeds of Crotons are also called an anomaly, as they both contain beneficial and harmful effects.

According to a study done in animals, an oral dose from the seeds of Croton macrostachys caused diarrhea, dehydration, partial paralysis of hind limbs, etc. in test subjects.

Croton tiglium seeds can also be toxic to cats causing Drooling, Vomiting, Diarrhea, and Skin irritation.

Besides, seeds of Croton penduliflorus are harmful to pregnant women during the late phases of pregnancy.

Conclusion

Croton has oak leaf-shaped dark green or bronze foliage with veins in yellow, orange, and red which can multifold the decor space.

Though it does not own the as beautiful flower as lily and rose, the blooms can offer new seedlings after reaping into the fruit.

I have explained everything from how to harvest and germinate the seeds and hope you will get all your queries covered! Happy gardening!

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