Get off a plane in Cancun and the airport landscaping will
treat you with the glory and color that is the croton plant. These are quite easy
to grow as houseplants or outside
in warm regions, and they have few pests or disease issues. They can grow
quite leggy, however, and leaves may develop damage due to thrip feeding. Cutting
back a croton can help you acquire a thicker bush or remove ugly leaves.
Whatever the purpose, a few tips on croton pruning will have your plant looking
healthier and more attractive.
Pruning a Croton Plant
Croton care is very straightforward and generally something
even a novice gardener can accomplish with ease. So, should you prune crotons?
The plant only needs rejuvenation trimming when it gets too sparse
and light pruning to remove dead leaves. Pruning a croton is not rocket
science, but you should use proper sanitation procedures to prevent the spread
Crotons can easily get 6 to 10 feet (1.8-3 m.) in height quite
quickly. If you want a shorter plant, pruning a croton will achieve that end.
Sometimes growers want a denser, bushier plant. Cutting back a croton to where
you want the bushing to start will help develop a more lush and thicker
When should you prune a croton? Croton pruning can be done
at any time of the year but avoid cutting the plant when a cold snap is
forecast and when it is in its most active period of growth. These perennials
don’t really go dormant but they do not produce new leaves and other growth in
the cooler season. Early spring is generally the best time for pruning most
How to Trim a Croton
If you don’t want a fungal or bacterial disease to invade
your plant during trimming, sterilize those pruners or shears. A swipe of
alcohol on the blade or a 3% solution of bleach to water will do the trick.
Also, make sure your cutting implement is sharp to prevent inadvertent injury.
You can cut off the petiole of dead
or damaged leaves just outside the main stem. To create a thicker, bushier
plant, cut a foot (.3 m.) above where you want the plant to flush out. Never
cut the plant back by more than one third.
Make cuts just above a leaf bud and at a slight angle that will
propel water away from the cut. Keep the plant watered and feed in spring to
fuel new growth.