Codiaeum (syn.Croton) (Joseph’s Coat)
(Euphorbiaceae) origin: S. India, Ceylon, Malaya, Pacific Islands These plants, always referred to as crotons, are usually regarded as hothouse plants, but they will last for a considerable time in a well-heated room. Planted in a bowl or trough as part of a mixed arrangement, they receive the humidity they require, and have been known to last for over a year. This colourful and beautiful family includes numerous varieties, leaf shapes and colour combinations. Leaf shapes range from long, narrow and curling (corkscrew varieties) to wider and irregularly pointed (oak-leaf varieties) and elongated and oval (broad-leaf varieties).
Colours range from bright yellow and green, through red and green, red and pink, orange and red, to almost black, orange and red. The mid-rib and side veins determine the pattern in some varieties, but other intricate patterns have no regular form. All except two varieties are delicate, requiring warmth, humidity and good light, but not direct strong sunlight. Keep evenly moist at all times and provide warmth (minimum 60° F. or 16° C.) in winter. Feed during the growing season. The two exceptions are the intermediate varieties C. variegatum pictum and C.v. Pennick. The first has a single stem with narrow ribbon-like leaves flecked with gold, and the second oval leaves about the size of a laurel leaf, which become patterned with bright and dark red when mature. Conditions required are similar to other crotons, but these two varieties will withstand slightly lower temperatures.