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Crotons are very common ornamental plants. They are almost always spotted adorning an office or balcony.
Crotons are tropical, leafy perennials that have colourful foliage. They do well year after year when adequate care is provided.
If you want to learn how to make croton bushier, this write-up is just for you!
Planting and cultivating them is a little bit difficult because they can be picky when it comes to light, water and temperature needs.
Crotons exist in different varieties and colours ranging from red, orange, pink, yellow, white and green.
A few croton varieties include:
- Mrs Iceton Croton
- Oakleaf Croton
- Sunny Star Croton
- Yellow Iceton Croton
- Petra Croton
- Eleanor Roosevelt Croton
- Magnificent Croton
- Gold Dust or Gold Sun Croton
- Banana Croton
- Bush on Fire Croton
- Mammy Croton
- Zanzibar Croton
Crotons planted outdoors can reach about 8 feet in height, but as pot-grown houseplants they tend to be much smaller, making croton a good indoor plant.
How Do I Make My Croton Bushy?
Though crotons have beautifully coloured leaves, they sometimes grow branches with a scanty foliage. To make your crotons bounce back with lush full leaves, apply these 3 gardening hacks:
Easy Plant Tips For Bushier Crotons
These are 3 easy plant tips to make a bushier croton
- Sunlight, water and fertilizer
- Prune branches with scanty leaves
- Cut off leaf buds
1. Sunlight, Water and Fertilizer
Sufficient sunlight, water and fertilizer are essential in making sure your crotons put out plenty of leaves.
Direct, full sunlight is recommended for crotons including those grown as houseplants. Ensure 6 to 8 hours of direct sun for outdoor crotons and the same amount for indoor crotons.
Too much sun will scorch and fade croton leaves and their colours won’t be as vibrant as they should be.
Water is important for every plant’s growth. However, note that plants do not like their roots wet for extended periods.
Water must not be too small or too much. As a guide, provide an inch of water every week for lush crotons.
As you water the crotons, it is important to make sure that the soil drains well. Crotons should be planted in containers with holes to encourage drainage of excess water.
Spray bottles are a welcome aid in watering croton plants. With these, you have better control over the amount of water the plants receive.
Enrich the planting soil with fertilizer. The fertilizer that is best for the croton plant is NPK fertilizer in the ratio of 8-2-10.
Overwatered crotons develop root rot which manifests in yellow, shrivelled leaves which are shed occasionally.
More signs of an overwatered croton plant are:
- Brown spots on leaves
- Brown leaf tips
- Loss of young and old leaves
- Fungus growth or mould development on leaves, soil, and stems
- Leaf oedema
- Slow development
- Stunted growth
- Powdery mildew or soil gnats.
For crotons that do not get enough water, the leaves on the bottom part of the plant will wilt and fall off.
2. Prune branches with scanty leaves
Leaving your croton with scanty branches only makes it look untidy and unhealthy. Prune such branches.
The right way to prune crotons is to trim down the stem. Completely clip off branches that look unsightly.
This will encourage them to grow back looking bushier than ever because more stems develop from the trimmed points.
If you know you’re sensitive to the sap, wear protective gloves, an apron, or old clothes to protect your skin from potential exposure. If you get anything on your hands, avoid touching your face or eyes and wash with warm water and mild soap to remove the sap as soon as possible.
Ensure that the pruners or shears are sterilized with alcohol or bleach water to prevent spreading fungus plant to plant.
3. Cut off leaf buds
How to make a croton bushier? Cut off leaf buds.
It may not make sense to cut off new leaf buds on your croton plant but trust us when we say this works like magic.
Crotons tend to grow tall and scanty, but if you want a shorter, bushier plant, look for new leaves growing near the top of the plant. Cut them off of the branch before they can grow big to encourage growth near the base.
You can also determine the shape your plant will take by how you trim it. Do not overdo the pruning.
The key to getting it right is moderation.
How Do You Keep Crotons From Getting Leggy?
Crotons get leggy when they do not get enough light. To keep crotons from getting leggy, keep them in parts of the house where they can be exposed to the sun.
Window sills are great. Balconies and patios do fine too. Set up a grow lamp for indoor crotons.
Pruning leggy crotons encourage lush regrowth.
If you prune leggy, sparse crotons, the plants can focus their energy on putting out bushier and fuller branches.
It is a good idea to repot your croton if it is getting too tall or large for the present container. Removing the plant from its original container and putting it in a larger one will make your plant look fuller, stronger, and healthier.
Ensure to keep freshly planted croton cuttings in a humid environment. Some people achieve this by wrapping them in nylon bags.
Leggy crotons can make a full recovery if the underlying issues are dealt with accordingly.
Can You Cut The Top Off a Croton Plant?
Yes, you can. This should be done right above a leaf or stem node.
It is another method on how to make a croton bushier.
Instead of throwing away the cut parts, you can use them to plant new crotons! Leave a few leaves near the top of the cutting so the new plant can begin to make roots.
Once your croton cuttings are available, you can stick them directly into trays or small pots filled with wet potting soil. If you want to, you can dip the cut ends into a rooting hormone powder before sticking them into the soil to encourage faster root development.
Early spring is the best time to cut croton plants. When cutting the plant, do not cut out more than a third of it.
If you have discovered how to make a croton bushier, you are one step closer to saving your leggy plants.
Crotons must be given adequate exposure to sunlight and water. Fertilizing the soil enriches it to provide more nutrients for fuller growth.
Cutting back a croton to where you want the leaves to grow profusely will also help to develop a more lush and thick bush.
Keep in mind that the cut parts do not have to go to waste. You can utilize them to propagate new plants.
These will make excellent presents because nobody turns down a good croton plant.