Codiaeum variegatum is a houseplant or tender shrub with multi-coloured leaves.
Growing and Cultivation Tips
- The veins and patterns in the leathery leaves can be quite startling with reds, yellows and bright greens predominating.
- Leaves may be oval, sword like or forked.
- Flowers are white and small on long racemes.
- As part of the Euphorbia family the sap is white and can cause itrriation.
- Codiaeum variegatum is also known as the variegated Croton or the garden Croton.
- All Crotons like plenty of water. Even in winter they need watering.
- Do not spray the leaves or feed through the leaves.
- Good light and plenty of sun encourages good colouring.
- Warm moist conditions and a temperature above 60 degrees Fahrenheit suit them best.
Popular Cultivars of Codieaum
- Mrs Iceton with oval red and green leaves.
- Spirale as the name suggests has spirally-twisted red and green leaves.
- Andreanum which has broadly oval yellow leaves with gold veins and margins.
- Codieaum reidii with leaves that fork into three fingers.
- Majesticum which has pendulous branches, with linear leaves with midrib veins yellow maturing to red.
- Eugene Drapps has wide leaves with more colour at the ends.
- Aureo-maculatum which has leaves spotted with yellow.
Crotons are part of the same family of Codiaeum but are less elegant as garden plants. They are also part of the Euphorbiea group and there are many varities and species growing in the native Southeast Asia.
You do not need flowers to produce colour in your houseplants. In addition to Begonia Rex and its relatives why not try growing some Codiaeum, an easy to maintain leafy plant.
Codiaeums are interesting foliage house plants also called Joseph’s Coat.
Codiaeum Cultivation Tips
- This variety is called ‘Petra’ but you may also find ‘Eugene Drapps’ with long lance shaped leaves almost entirely yellow.
- Keep plants moist and in good light with a temperature of at least 60-70° F.
- Root 6 inch cuttings taken from the top of the plant at 70° with a bit of bottom heat.
- Plants can be encouraged to branch by pinching out the growing tip.
- Frequent feeding is needed except in winter when growth slows.
- Large plants will have lots of roots so it may be worth potting up a size using loam based compost.
- Red spider mite can be a problem with Codiaeums
- Without good light but not full scorching sun the colouring will not be as strong and bottom leaves may be shed.