With bright colorful appearances, crotons adorn any space they are planted in. They increase the aesthetic appeal of the garden and are an integral part of any landscape.
These plants are classified as low maintenance and can easily be planted indoors as well as outdoors. This blog elucidates the planting and growing process for Crotons and how to grow Croton Plants from Cuttings?
In this blog, we will go into details about how to plant Croton plants from cuttings. There are various ways in which one can plant a Croton read on to find out all about the planting process.
This will help you make an informed decision about the process that you would like to incorporate. The blog then goes on to speak about growing and nurturing them which is an integral part of the well-being of these colorful beauties.
As crotons are generally seen outdoors the most common questions that arise are if they can be used as houseplants? or will they grow indoors? or can they be made part of a balcony garden? The answer to all these questions is simple Yes!
Even though these plants are grown outdoors they prove as an excellent addition to the balcony garden or as house plants.
As these plants are native to the tropical climate they do well in any setting as long as they receive ample sunlight, water, and nutrient-rich soil, and of course a wide pot.
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So, if u make a list of the key features required for Crotons to grow well it will look something like this
- Light: Crotons love the sun but cannot stand direct unfiltered sunlight. Their vibrant colors depend on the sunlight so make sure that these plants receive at least four to eight hours of proper sunlight.
- Water: Like the sun these plants love moist soil. Water them regularly and mist them frequently for optimal results.
- Soil: A well-drained pot will give you the healthiest crotons as they like moisture but despise being soaked. Their roots rot easily if exposed to too much water, so be sure that the soil is drained well.
- Fertilizer: Fertilizing the soil that crotons grow in is the most important. Use liquid fertilizers or slow-release variants available. Coffee beans have been proven to be a good source of nitrogen for the plant. Simply dunk the coffee ground after preparing a cup of coffee for yourself.
Note: Do not use instant coffee
Now that we have the basic requirements for healthy crotons out of the way, let’s understand the process of planting and growing crotons in balcony gardens or how they can be used as a houseplant.
When we need to include crotons in the balcony garden, most people purchase ready plants from local sellers. All variants of crotons are available at local plant nurseries, every nursery will have different variants in stock but they will be able to arrange specific variants as they have a close-knit network.
If you are looking for a variant that is not available at the place you live in, it can easily be bought online through various gardening portals.
These plants along with planters, soil, and other necessary material are available over amazon and can be bought from the comfort of your home.
If you decide to ditch the retail route and grow them yourself, it can be done without much effort in about three to four months. All you will require are cutting from the croton variant you are planning to plant.
A small pot with potting mix and a rooting agent which is optional but recommended and lots of patience.
There are a few options in terms of planting Crotons. They can either be planted in pots with soil or in a container with water. Check them out to see which option suits you the best.
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How to grow Croton Plants from Cuttings?
There are two methods in which Crotons can be planted from cuttings and both include almost the same steps with a few alterations.
What you will require:
- 5 to 6-inch cuttings of the variant you are planning to grow.
- A small pot with drainage holes at the bottom to complete the rooting process and a bigger pot with drainage holes at the bottom to transfer the plant after rooting
- Rooting agent
- Potting mix
Take cuttings from the croton variant that you fancy and would like to propagate. Make sure that the cutting is about 5 to 6-inches in length so that it is easier to handle the cutting and at the same time is big enough to support itself through the rooting process.
Once the cuttings are ready, they need to be prepared before plopping them into the pot.
Remember the cuttings must be from branches coming from the main stem and not the main stem itself. These will generally have about 5 – 10 leaves at the end.
The preparation begins by cutting the leaves at the bottom of the stem. This includes the mature leaves that have gotten a deeper color. The leaves on the top are generally tender and green, cut these in half, and leave the rest attached to the stock.
Note: This is the most important step when it comes to propagation as the stem is not strong enough to support the leaves and complete the rooting process to grow into a new plant.
Once the stems are ready, use a rooting agent or commonly known as the rooting hormone. These accelerate the rooting process and provides the necessary nutrients to the plant. If you choose to skip the chemical process you can use Honey, aloe vera, or cinnamon powder, these work just fine.
Once the stems are dipped in the rooting agent, they are ready to be planted in small pots.
Note: The success rate varies from one variant to the other, it is generally 1 or 2 plants rooted to every 3 to 4 plants planted. Hence it is necessary to plant extra to make sure you have enough once the process is complete.
To pot the stems, fill the pots to about three fourth with potting mix.
Potting mix can either be store-bought or you can make your own
To make your own potting mix –
- Take one-part Cocopeat – this is available at local nurseries or can be bought online
- One-part sand in order to make a mixture that will drain well and
- One-part garden soil will retain nutrients and provide the growing base.
- Mix all these well in a separate bowl before using. The cocopeat will need to be soaked for a while before it can be used as it increases 2-4-fold once immersed in water.
An alternative potting mix that can be used is a mixture made of 80% garden soil and 20% compost either homemade or store-bought depending on your preference.
After the pot is filled with potting mix make holes to plant the stems. This can be done using your finger or a twig.
Once the holes are ready gently place the stems inside them and cover them with soil fix them in place.
Note: Be careful not to force the cuttings into the soil or tug onto them. This will damage the nodes as well as displace the rooting enzyme.
Water the stem using the slow watering method, in this, you pour water little by little so that it can be absorbed in the soil properly. Water till the pot overflows.
Once the stem is watered and the access water drained, cover the pot with a Plastic bag to lock in and retain moisture.
Leave the pot in a sunny place for about 4 – 6 weeks. Check the plant every 10 days to see if it needs water.
Note: During this process does no move the stems or tug on them to see if they have grown roots.
After 4-6 weeks remove the bag and keep the pot in a shady partially sunny spot for another 5-6 weeks. This is the time it takes for the roots to form
Be careful not to allow direct sunlight on the plant as the harsh sun will bleach the leaves.
After 2 to 3 months the roots will be completely formed. You can now transfer the plant into a bigger pot.
The initial part of the second method is the same as the first one. The only difference is that after the stem is planted instead of covering it with a plastic bag keep it as it is in a shady place.
It can be left there for about 2 – 4 months.
Be sure to check the plant regularly to see if it needs water. Leaving it without the bag will cause it to lose moisture faster.
After about 4 months the plants will have sufficiently strong roots and can be transferred to a bigger pot
Grow Croton Plants in water
Croton plants can be grown in water using cuttings. In this method, one needs to be careful that the cuttings are mature and about 3 – 4 months old as cuttings from younger branches will rot away in the water.
- To start the rooting process, take the cutting and trim off the Croton Plant leaves. The lower part of the stem will have to be scraped off as well to remove traces of the bark. This will help in the rooting process.
- Once the stem is ready, dip it into a rooting agent – either store-bought or homemade as explained in the previous section.
- Fill a container with about 5-6 inches of water and insert the stem in it
- Keep this in a shady place and remember to change the water every 2 – 3 days.
- After about 4 weeks new leaves and roots will start to grow.
Note: Let the roots grow a little stronger before transferring it into a pot.
How to Transfer Croton Plant to a bigger pot?
To transfer Croton Plant to another pot gently start by filling the pot with potting mix to half its capacity. Then carefully place the newly rooted plants in the soil and adding more soil over it until the pot is filled three fourth capacity.
Press the soil tight to keep the plant in place. Water the plant until it overflows after transferring. It can now be placed in a semi-sunny spot in your balcony.
On the topic of Planting and growing crotons, there are questions raised regarding growing crotons from leaves instead of stem cuttings. It has been tested by leaving leaves in water until they have rooted which takes about a month.
The leaves were then transferred to a pot and left to grow. Unfortunately, it was not successful as the nodes that grow into a plant are not present in leaves and hence leaves will be able to fend for themselves in the soil but won’t be able to grow into a fully functional plant.
After Croton Plant is transferred to a bigger pot it can be placed either indoors or outdoors. Be careful about not letting it sit under direct sunlight as this will burn the leaves or bleach them. A shady place with indirect sunlight is an ideal spot for Crotons.
According to some researchers, crotons can become a little more colorful when they are slightly pot bound. But if the pot is too small, they show signs of weak or slow growth.
To check if your plants are doing fine and are not suffocated check the top layer of soil for roots or see if they are jutting out of the drainage holes. If you notice roots jutting out transfer the plant to a bigger pot.
Note: transferring should be done only in the growing period which is spring and early summer.
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We now know how to plant and grow crotons from cuttings. The process is simple but balcony gardeners need to be mindful of a few things for better growth of their crotons.
I’m Elsa, and I love gardening. I started GardeningElsa.com as a resource for other gardeners, and I offer expert advice on gardening topics such as plants, flowers, herbs, and vegetable gardening. On my website, I share my latest tips and tricks for creating beautiful gardens. When I’m not working on my website, you can find me in my own garden, tending to my plants and flowers. Read more about me.