25 November 2023

In the world of flora and fauna, it is known as a shrub that is usually kept as an indoor plant, since it gives joy to homes due to its great variety of sizes, shapes and the colors that its leaves obtain over time. It is also characterized by its purifying function in indoor environments. And although they tend to grow slowly, they are widely used in decoration.

What does croton mean in plants?

It is a plant of the euphorbiaceae family, whose scientific name is Codiaeum Variegatum Pictum, which includes around two thousand species. These plants can be shrubs, trees, or grasses. In addition, they are characterized by having alternate leaves and their texture is similar to leather, with a wide variety of bright colors such as orange, red and yellow.

The croton is native to the Malacca Islands, Philipina, India and other Pacific islands, although it is also very popular in East Asia and Australia and anywhere near the tropics. It is obtained as a ornamental plant whose cultivation is easy to use indoors or outdoors, as long as it is in soils with good drainage and constant humidity and sunlight.

On the other hand, it is a plant that has a characteristic in common with other species of this family. And it is the ciato, an organ that has the shape of a glass of cava, made up of five small bracts within it, in which the inflorescence composed of many male flowers and one female is generated, which is why only one fruit is formed. And although the flowers are not very showy, their asymmetrical leaves with a wide range of colors are.

What are the characteristics of crotons?

Croton is a perennial plant grown for its showy, colorful leaves that require bright light, moisture, well-draining soil, and warm temperatures. Some of its features include:

  • showy leaves: they are large and attractive, with bright colors ranging from green, yellow, red, orange, pink, and purple, often with contrasting spots and stripes.
  • Light Require: they need plenty of light to grow well and develop their colorful foliage. Shady areas should be avoided, as this can cause the plant to lose its hue.
  • They need humidity: Crotons prefer a humid environment and do not tolerate dryness. They should be watered regularly and can benefit from additional room mist, especially indoors with dry air.
  • It is necessary to have a drained soil: it also needs to be fertile to grow well. The soil must have a good water retention capacity, but not be very wet or heavy.
  • They do not tolerate cold climates: They are tropical plants and do not support low temperatures. They should be kept indoors or outdoors in warm environments, and protected from frost.
  • They can be toxic: they contain latex and therefore can be poisonous to pets and people if swallowed. They must be kept out of the reach of children and animals and must be handled with care.

What kind of plant is a croton?

The croton (Codiaeum variegatum) is a perennial native to Indonesia and Malaysia, grown for its showy foliage. It is a shrub that can reach a height of one to three meters and is grown indoors or outdoors in warm climates.

Also, being part of the family Euphorbiaceae It is characterized by its large leaves with bright and varied colors. They can also have contrasting spots, stripes or borders, giving them a very striking appearance.

In nature, crotons are found in tropical and subtropical zones, where they prefer to grow in well-drained soil and in areas with bright light and moisture. They are hardy and easy to grow, making them popular with gardeners and ornamental hobbyists alike.

Is the croton poisonous?

As it belongs to the euphorbiaceae family, it contains a white latex which can be very poisonous when it overflows when the leaf or branch is cut. Latex contains water, some starches, alkaloids, resins, certain protein substances, and gums. In addition, it contains a toxic diterpene called Deoxyingenol.

When in contact with latex, it can cause certain skin conditions such as different degrees of edema, blisters, irritation, and burning pain. Also, if consumed, it can generate diarrheadysphagia, irritation in the gastrointestinal tract and the possible loss of voice, which is why, being an indoor plant, extreme caution should be exercised with children and pets.

In case of being in contact with the toxic liquid, you should go to a toxicological or health control center. If skin irritations occur, it can be treated with a deep wash in the affected area or apply demulcent creams. When the eyes are damaged, you should go to an ophthalmologist to provide systemic analgesics. In case of ingestion, it is necessary to give airway care where corticosteroids are needed so that the pharyngeal does not become inflamed.

And although it can be used as a powerful purgative or when mixed with almond oil, it is part of the foods that are supplied for rheumatism, there are countries where no pharmaceutical records with this vegetable component.

Croton care

Like all plants, crotons must have certain care in order to maintain their health and beauty:

  • Moisture and watering: the earth must be humid, but never soaked, that is why it has a fibrous root system, therefore, irrigation is important for the crop, it is also good to clean the leaves with a cotton ball with water.
  • Transplant and soil: The land that is suitable for this type of plant is made up of leaves and peat, so it is possible to have an acid soil, with a pH of 5.5 to 6.5. On the other hand, to transplant the croton, it must be at the end of winter, as long as the roots are well attached to the pot.
  • Pass: It is a plant that has a rapid development, therefore, it must be given enough fertilizer to achieve a correct and balanced growth. In addition, it is necessary to use a type of liquid fertilizer that is diluted in water every two months.
  • Pruning: it is necessary to remove the young shoots in spring in order to obtain a compact plant. Also take into account that the utensils used are clean and disinfected so as not to contaminate the tissues.

Pests and diseases: if the leaves of the plant drop a lot, you should look for a place with stable temperatures both during the day and at night. On the other hand, if the leaves do not have variegation, it must be placed in a brighter place.

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