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Growing Illusive Croton Seeds [Harvesting & Buying Guide]

Gardeners prefer stem cuttings to propagate Crotons, but many are unaware that the seeds are the quickest option to grow a garden full of these vivid houseplants. 

Peel the outer layer of ripe blackish-brown fruits to harvest Croton seeds to reveal 3 round seeds. After, imbibe the seeds in warm water at 140°F for half an hour and leave it for the day, then plant them 0.4-0.5 inches deep in a loose and slightly acidic potting mix at 72°F.

It’s futile awaiting the same variegations in baby Croton plants with seeds from mother plants, but all Croton seeds require exact needs for germination.

Overview of Croton Seeds

Croton or Garden Croton (Codiaeum species) are native to the lush tropical habitat of Malaysia to the South-West Pacific.

The outstanding feature of Crotons is their leaves, which can be solid green or variegated.
Image represents a Croton plant
Crotons grow in acidic to neutral soil and prefer full sunlight to maintain their variegation.

Green-leaved Crotons are rare, as they quickly mutate to develop patterns with correct lighting.

Even if you cross-bred male green-leaved Croton with a female variegated plant, the seedlings will develop variegated leaves later. 

The table below shows some more interesting facts about Croton seeds.

Morphological TraitsColor: Brownish-Black (Marbled Spotted)

Shape: Almost Spherical

Size: 4-10 millimeters
Harvesting SeasonEarly to Late Fall
Germination to Fruiting2-5 years
Germination TimeAbout 30 days
Germination RequirementsTemperature: 72°F

Light: Bright Indirect

Soil: Well-draining (pH: 4.5-7.3)

Sowing Depth: 0.4-0.5 inches

Sowing Time: Right After Harvest
Germination InitiatorWater & Temperature

How to Harvest Croton Seeds?

In Crotons, the fruiting and seed setting takes place after the pollination.

Croton blooms year-round with white to yellow starry flowers blooming along the flowering stalk.

After flowering, ants pollinate the flowers, giving rise to tripartite seed pods or capsules, encasing 3 seeds during early to late fall.

When the cover of the capsule dries and fades, the seeds are ripe inside.

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

Interestingly, people use Croton seed oil as an anti-irritant, anti-helminthic, and exfoliant.

Image illustrates flowers and fruits of Croton plant
Starry Croton flowers fall off from the plant after pollination and turn into pods bearing seeds.

Steps to Harvest Croton Seeds

You can apply the dry extraction procedure to harvest Croton seeds successfully, as mentioned below!

  • 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 sterilized secateurs.
  • Provide a mechanical impact (gentle tap) to separate the seeds from the dried fruit.
  • Store the separated seeds immediately in labeled paper bags after a thorough wash and generous sun bask for a few hours.

Croton Seeds For Sale

Croton flowers change into fruits or capsules containing viable or non-viable seeds.

But Crotons rarely bloom indoors. Thus, you can look for their seeds from the following sites. 

Shops/ SitesExpected Delivery Period
Online Buy MoreWithin 20-30 days after placing an order
DHgateWithin 7 days after placing an order

How to Grow Croton from Seeds?

Croton does not develop bulbs, so the only possible propagation method is using seeds, excluding air layering and stem cutting.

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

A. Germinating Croton Seeds

To produce healthy batches of seedlings, start the seeds indoors in a seedling starter tray.

Then, transplant the seedlings to a larger pot or garden soil after germination.

1. Seed Preparation for Sowing

  • To activate the seeds for germination, immerse them in warm water maintained at 140°F for half an hour.
  • After the water attains room temperature, leave the seeds soaked for 24 hours to imbibe.
  • Peel out the outer layer of the seeds and pat them dry using tissue paper.

2. Preparing Soil

3. Sowing the Seeds

  • Plant the seeds in the soil and firm them from the top to set them in place.
  • Add a thin layer of mulch over the seeds and water to keep them moist.

You can also directly plant the seeds on the ground by spacing them 2-3 feet apart or 6 inches when sowing in larger pots.

4. Care During Germination

  • Cover the seeds with a humidity dome and place the tray on a heating mat, regulating the soil temperature to around 72°F.
  • Situate the seeds in the 3 hours of daily direct morning sunlight.
  • Water every 3-5 days to build up moisture for the seeds.
  • Remove or open the top of the humidity dome if the moisture level spikes.
  • The seeds shall sprout after or around 30 days to grow into seedlings.
Image illustrates the steps of harvesting Croton seeds
Before sowing in well-draining acidic soil, you must soak the Croton seeds in warm and room-temperature water.

B. Care After Germination

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

  • Take out any weeds manually to decrease the competition for your plant.
  • Burn the grasses in late winter or early spring.
  • Refrain from feeding fertilizer to the seedlings until they are transplanted.

Transplanting Croton Seedlings 

Keep the seedlings accustomed to the tray environment for at least 4 months and begin the transplant.

  • Tug out the seedlings from the starter trays and prepare terracotta pots, filling them with a pebble layer at the base.
  • Put a layer of sphagnum moss above the pebble layer and adjust the pH of the potting soil. 
  • Fill each pot to one-third depth with potting soil, leaving a cavity at the center.
  • Place the seedlings at the center and add more soil from the sides, leaving 0.5-1 inches at the brim.
  • Gently pack the soil around the seedlings to ensure good contact between roots and the soil.
  • Soak the soil generously with water and mulch the soil to insulate the heat.

Employ 4-7 gallons planters to grow multiple seedlings but ensure a side space of 6 inches between them.

Care for Croton Seedlings

After transplants, Crotons seedlings flourish readily with the following care tips.

  • Offer the seedlings 6-8 hours of daily direct sunlight by placing them near an east-facing or south-facing window.
  • Provide an inch of water weekly in spring and summer and cut back on watering in fall and winter.
  • Use NPK 3-1-2 fertilizer every 2-3 weeks in spring and summer, or feed them once in late winter, early spring, or early summer.
  • Repot the plant after it becomes pot-bound every 1-3 years in containers 1-2 inches larger than the previous one.
Image showing Croton seedlings
Seed-grown Croton plants take 2-5 years to mature and beget their first flowers.
  • Trim 1/3 size of the plant every year in early spring to reduce damaged or green leaves and stems.
  • To warm their roots, protect the seedlings using frost blankets during winter or mulch the soil around the plant’s base.
  • Create a composed potting mix by blending all-purpose soil, pine bark or coco coir, and organic perlite in 3:2:1.
  • Dab pests using Q-tips dipped in neem oil or employing copper-based fungicides to revert the diseases.

From Editorial Team

Beware of the toxic sap!

Croton seeds, leaves, stems, and roots contain white latex, which is mildly toxic to pets and humans. 

So, protect your hands from the milky sap while harvesting the seeds, pruning, or repotting.

Moreover, mild topical skin irritations and rashes are the side effects of Croton oil.

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