It’s January And The Crotons Are Beautiful!

When driving around Sarasota, Venice or Longboat Key you are sure to see central Florida’s most popular landscaping evergreen shrub, the Croton. Single family homes, condominium communities, office buildings and grand country club entryways alike have made the Croton a mainstay in beautiful, lush landscaping.

Crotons arrived in central Florida in the 1950’s and 60’s with their popularity increasing ever since. Though they thrive in heat and humidity with frequent watering, you’ll quickly know they are thirsty when leaves show signs of wilting. Colors are most brilliant with daily sunshine coupled with partial or shifting shade. And should we experience a rare (but possible) Florida frost, plants will typically recover quickly.

A Croton can reach 10 feet or more though height will vary by type with three to six feet being most common. With over 100 varieties, you can choose the perfect type for your landscaping needs. When searching, you’ll find names like Sloppy Painter, Gold Dust, Dreadlock, Zanzibar and many others. Several we commonly see around the Sarasota area include:

• Petra, featuring oval shaped leaves with tapered ends. Petra Crotons are bold and bright with red, orange and yellow shades.

• Mammy, with longer, narrower and wavy leaves. These spiraling, glossy leaves boast shades of yellow, red, orange and purple.

• Oakleaf, featuring lobed, oval leaves reflective of an Oak leaf. The Oakleaf is often darker green with veins of red, yellow, green and orange.

• Sunny Star, a more compact plant with narrower, leathery leaves. It is typically a deeper green with splashes of bright yellow.

• Magnificent, featuring shiny, broad oval leaves in orange, burgundy, yellow and green.

Crotons typically require well-drained soils for best performance and maximum longevity. Though they require limited maintenance once established, we suggest that you regularly monitor your plants for pest and fungal problems. A change in leaf texture, drooping leaves or loss of lower leaves may be signs your Croton needs attention. As specific needs may vary by variety, make sure to follow the care guide provided by your retailer.

Consider Crotons when designing or upgrading your next landscape project. Come next January, you’ll be glad you did!

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