The Croton plant is famous for its exotic appearance due to its bold and exuberant leafage. It has a reputation for being demanding and high-maintenance, but truth be told, this tropical plant is easy to grow if you know how to take care of your plant.
If you are a newbie croton owner, watering it properly in a controlled manner might be a pickle.
You might have tried watering your crotons on a strict routine, but it might not have seemed to work very well.
Fortunately, we have some ingenious watering tips for you to incorporate into the care routine of your croton plants. Let’s take a sneak peek into these tips here in this article!
How Often Do You Water Your Croton Plant?
You must water your croton plants frequently, but make sure to keep the soil constantly saturated with moisture. Only go for watering your crotons when you notice the upper layers of the soil have dried.
Watering frequency will also depend on plant size, type, season, humidity, and temperature. Croton is native to tropical climates, so it prefers hot and humid conditions.
It loses a lot of water thanks to its large and beautiful foliage, so constant watering is important.
Do not overwater the soil in which your crotons are growing. Overwatering of soil commonly leads to a fungal outbreak in the plant’s roots and can easily turn deadly for it.
Watering a croton plant also depends on the situation; you can do it daily or weekly.
As long as you are not leaving the soil dry for long periods, it is sufficient. Ensuring evenly moist soil for the plants to grow in during the hot summer months is important.
How Much Water Does a Croton Need?
Crotons can be grown both indoors and outdoors. Since there is an imminent difference in surrounding conditions in the two situations, these plants require different water levels to survive in the two different surroundings.
Research advocates providing one inch of water to crotons every week if grown outdoors.
If the plant shows wilting of foliage, make sure you provide it with more water. Step up the watering in the more hot and dry seasons to prevent the magnificent leaves from drooping; check the soil for moisture Beforehand.
On some occasions, wilting might occur due to too much water saturation in the soil.
Check the soil regularly and take into account the amount of moisture that it is holding. If you observe the soil to be dry, know that it is time for some watering.
The watering routine for crotons growing indoors is a bit different from that of the garden crotons.
Water the soil thoroughly as soon as it starts to feel dry in the top ½ inch. You must water gently until the excess sifts downwards into the base of the pot and trickles out.
This way, the water carries away the excess salt from the soil and aids the process of keeping the roots hale and hearty. Do not let the excess water that has trickled out from the pot’s base into the saucer to sit; get rid of it immediately.
Factors That Determine the Watering Frequency:
Size of the plant:
When raised inside the house, crotons can reach up to 3 feet in height. Its strikingly exuberant leafage can spread around a couple of feet in width, provided it receives the nourishment it deserves.
The larger the croton, the more water it absorbs from the soil.
Larger the plant more widespread shall be its foliage, giving the phenomenon transpiration more agency to make the plant lose more water via its leaves. Hence, the larger the croton, the more water it shall consume than a relatively smaller one.
Younger crotons grow more intensely. Hence, these crotons require more watering than the larger ones that are past their active growth phase.
Crotons find it most comfortable to sustain themselves well at temperatures between 15-29 °C. Temperatures higher than the stated range expedite respiration and render the croton thirstier thereby, making it yearn for more water.
If you are growing your plant indoors, there is a considerable shift in temperature from summer to winter.
Apart from this, higher temperatures and increased exposure to direct sunlight lead to the soil losing its moisture faster. Factors like these have powerful effects on the frequency of watering required by your croton.
Crotons are plants of tropical origin. Thus, it can suggest that they enjoy a lot of warmth and humid surroundings.
The transpiration rate steps up significantly in more arid environments, making croton require more water to thrive well. Misting their foliage is strictly advised on such occasions to maintain proper humidity.
Type and Size of Container:
Terracotta or clay pots are more porous than plastic pots. If you grow your crotons in pots made of more porous substances, watering needs to be more frequent since the soil will lose moisture more readily in such containers.
The size of the container or the pot in which your croton is also growing matters.
If the container is disproportionately large for the croton, the soil will take extremely long to dry out post watering. It would help if you curtailed the frequency of watering in such cases.
If your crotons are outdoors, they lose water from their tissues and the soil quite readily.
Water your crotons at infrequent intervals if you are growing them in your gardens or walkways.
In the case of indoor crotons, you need not water them as frequently as you would want to if they are outdoors.
But you must make sure that you provide them with enough water if they are in a corner exposed to a lot of direct sunlight throughout the day.
The amount of water that you must provide also depends on the time of the year or the season.
The rate at which croton grows in the cold winter months is significantly lesser than what it goes through in the summer months.
It calls for a croton owner to cut down on the frequency of watering they offer to the plant to avoid water-logging in the soil, which otherwise might lead to root rot.
Since crotons grow more rapidly in the summer months, make sure to provide them with water more frequently.
Type of Potting Mix:
The ideal soil conditions for croton to thrive are well-drained soil, which has moderate moisture content and is fertile. Avoid growing your crotons in tightly packed soil with substandard drainage and excess organic content.
The soil tends to hold onto more moisture when exposed to such conditions. If the soil that your crotons are being grown in has the above-stated qualities, then make sure that you do not water them very frequently.
Mixing perlite, sand, and vermiculite in the soil is a perfect hack to intensify its drainage abilities.
An environment with good air circulation steps up the evaporation of water from the soil thus, increasing the water requirement of crotons. Well-circulated air is beneficial for your crotons (especially if you are growing them indoors), reducing the chances of various diseases and pest infestation.
How Do You Know When to Water Your Croton Plant?
Test for humidity with finger or stick
The finger test, also known as the stick test, is famously practiced. It involves checking the soil’s moisture level with the help of a stick or using a finger.
If the first half-inch of soil is dry, it is time for some watering. If it is still wet, wait a few days and then try again. It is easy and hassle-free.
The soil color can tell you at a glance about the moisture level in the soil. Dry soil usually looks grayer and lighter than wet soil, so this is considered an easy and quick way to fathom if the soil needs watering or not.
You can use the soil color as a preliminary assessment to see if you need to dig deeper. If the ground looks dark, it means it is still wet, and no action is needed. A stick test shall inform you whether or not it is time for you to water your croton again when the soil appears to be gray.
Dry and Fallen Leaves
The loss of the glorious leafage of your crotons is unwelcome. However, if the lower leaves start to wither and drop, you must immediately water your plant.
First of all, you must avoid low humidity, insufficient light, and irregular humidity.
Crotons are very different from regular houseplants in terms of wilting. Usually, the leaves of most plants start wilting due to a lack of watering. Wilted leaves in the croton are a significant sign of excess water rather than underwater. Watch out for signs of wilting and dropping of leaves.
You might be alarmed to see leaves falling unexpectedly on your croton. Luckily enough, this problem has an easy solution.
It usually takes place due to significantly low levels of humidity. The lack of moisture in the top layers of the soil can trigger it. Whichever way the case be, you must instantly start watering your crotons properly.
Shriveling of leaves
If your croton leaves wrinkles or curls suddenly, it might not receive the appropriate amount of water it needs. However, it can result from pests; root rots as well. After getting rid of such leaves, water the soil thoroughly but judiciously.
Brown leaf tips
A deficit in a watering can lead to the tips of your croton’s leaves turning brown. Keep in mind that low humidity causes similar reactions in the leaves of the plant. Regular watering and correcting the humidity by frequent misting of the leaves can solve the problems.
Leaves are turning brown/yellowing.
You should water your croton if the leaves are turning brown and crisp on the outer edges. However, if you notice small brown spots surrounded by a band of yellow, your plant might have contracted the leaf spot disease. Keep the humidity in optimum proportions to stop such issues.
Use the moisture meter
If you prefer to avoid extra hassle, get yourself a moisture meter. This scaled device will inform you with great accuracy whether the ground is dry, damp, or wet.
When measuring your croton’s soil moisture, push the meter probe half an inch into the mixture. From there, you can drive it 2 to 3 inches lower into the ground.
You should get a meter that measures the moisture of the soil and its pH and temperature.
Watering Croton Plant Properly
You can easily opt for watering a croton plant from the top. As the water trickles down its lush foliage, it leaves a film of hydration on its leaves, which helps maintain the optimum humidity level that the plant desires to thrive well.
- Making sure that the soil is saturated in water before it trickles through the drainage hole at the bottom of the pot, into the bigger outer pot, or a saucer. It is necessary to ensure this as it helps the water to reach the root system properly.
- Take out the excess water after the croton has basked in it for just above 10 minutes.
- To avoid overwatering, check if the top half-inch of the soil is moist or not. In the colder months, make sure that the top 2-3 inches of the plant’s soil are dry before watering again.
Crotons like their roots to constantly be in touch with moisture. But it would help if you made sure that the soil isn’t too wet, soaked, or soggy up to the top layer. Watering your crotons from below helps to take the said precautionary measure proficiently. You can save your crotons from root rot if you adhere to this process.
- Drainage holes are a must in the pots you choose to grow your crotons in.
- Position the pot in a saucer filled with water (room temperature) up to 2 cm deep after the top half-inch of the soil is dried up.
- Keep the soil moist in a uniform fashion.
- Make sure the plant is left alone for around 20-25 minutes before starting with the process of draining it.
Crotons are one of the finest plants that you can include in your gardens or home decor. There are some myths about them being high-maintenance plants, but that is not the case.
Growing them in your backyards or indoors is extremely manageable as long as you ensure they get the appropriate amount of light and water.