Codiaeum variegatum plant: Classification, Characteristics, Propagation and Uses


Kingdom: Plantae

Family: Euphorbiaceae

Scientific name: Codiaeum variegatum


Croton, or Codiaeum variegatum (L.) Blume is a beautiful shrub that grows in tropical forests (Govaertset al., 2000). Breeders, landscapers, horticulturists, and gardeners have been captivated by the vast range of leaf form and colouration variations, and a large number of cultivars have been fixed for commercial production. In the ornamental horticulture sector, there are over 300 varieties to choose from. Crotons, together with Ficus benjamina, have become one of the most popular ornamental tropical shrubs in Europe and the United States. The leaf shapes of crotons vary greatly. Leaf morphologies range from ovate to linear, whole to highly lobed, and appendiculate in the centre, with a midrib connecting them. Each cultivar is distinguished by its leaf colouration and pattern. Because almost all varieties of leaf morphology can be found in one species, the phenotypic diversity observed in croton leaves is of tremendous interest in plant science; leaf phenotypic plasticity is highly high (Shimoji et al., 2006).

Codiaeum variegatm Plant


  1. Codiaeum variegatum, also known as Croton and Joseph’s Coat, is a member of the Euphorbiaceae family and is one of the most popular decorative plants due to its vibrant foliage colours and diverse leaf shapes. Croton (Codiaeum variegatum), a plant of the Euphorbiaceae family, is a lovely indoor and outdoor plant that requires substantial agricultural growth.

2. Croton, also known as Codiaeum variegatum, is a popular houseplant known for its eye-catching leaf.

3. Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, India, Thailand, and Sri Lanka are home to Codiaeum variegatum.

4. It’s an evergreen shrub that may grow up to 6 metres tall but is normally kept at 60-90 cm and thrives in humid climates.

5. Croton comes in more than 200 various leaf sizes, shapes, and colour patterns.

6. Young leaves are typically green, bronze, yellow, or red, turning gold, cream, white, scarlet, pink, maroon, purple, black, or brown as they mature. On the same plant, completely diverse leaf shapes and colour variations can occur.

7. The leaf colour and pattern of this evergreen shrub or small tree vary greatly, and various cultivars have been developed.

8. It’s a delicate perennial that’s only hardy in zones 11 and 12. They’re commonly employed as landscaping shrubs in subtropical and tropical regions for dramatic hedges, striking focal pieces in gardens, or potted specimens around structures.

9. Flowers are normally unisexual racemes that are tiny, long, and axillary.

10. Fruits are globular capsules with a diameter of 3-8 mm.


Croton thrives in damp, healthy soil that is well-drained. If grown indoors, they require bright, indirect light. They prefer partial shade outside but can survive full sun if kept moist in cooler areas (and are acclimated first when moved from inside). The leaves have a more bright colour and the plant is more compact when exposed to more light. Insufficient light causes the vibrant leaves to turn green, while too much direct sunlight causes the leaves to turn grey and boring. Water these plants just when the top half-inch to an inch of soil dries out. During the winter, reduce the amount of water you apply to your plants. If plants remain wet or dry for an extended period, they will drop their leaves. It prefers high humidity and warm temperatures as a tropical plant. Croton thrives in temperatures ranging from 60 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, with temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit frequently resulting in leaf drops. Keep them safe from cold draughts and extreme temperature changes. Plants can be shocked and shed leaves if their environs change too quickly. Fertilize once or twice during the growing season, or more often if you want your plants to grow faster. When the plant outgrows its current container, repot it into a pot that is only 1-2 inches bigger. If plants become leggy, they can be trimmed firmly in the early spring before new growth starts to encourage branching and new growth. Aside from the normal insects that infest houseplants, Croton has minimal pest concerns (mealybugs, spider mites, scales).

Leaves of Croton


Croton can be propagated in several ways, including cuttings, grafting, seeds, and air layering. One mother/stock plant can only yield 20 plants each year from shoot tip cuttings (our own nursery experience). The plant is in high demand because of its slow pace of conventional multiplication.

Micropropagation is a relatively new technique, and the use of creative methods has helped to overcome limitations to elite species replication, with further advancements on the way. Several parameters, including genotype, the age and size of the mother plant and explant, the season, growth circumstances, media composition, and other physiological aspects, all have a significant impact on in vitro growth and development. Culture of the shoot apical meristem is a great way to ensure pathogen-free plants. Other benefits of this strategy include the creation of a huge number of plants in a shorter amount of time, regardless of the season (Mulabagal & Tsay, 2004).

Croton was chosen for micropropagation because of its limited performance in conventional breeding and the scarcity of data on in vitro production (Shibata et al., 1996; Orlikowska et al., 1995; 2000). The goal of this work was to develop an efficient, cost-effective, and dependable in vitro propagation procedure for Codiaeum variegatum (Croton).


1. Crotons are well known for their medical value, in addition to their aesthetic value as an indoor plant.

2. Crotons’ leaf extracts contain purgative, sedative, antifungal, antiamoebic, and anticancerous effects, according to reports (Deshmukh & Borle, 1975; Kupchan et al., 1976).

3. The plant is also known for producing important alkaloids, terpenes, and flavanoids as secondary metabolites in nature (Puebla et al., 2003; Maciel et al., 1998; Martins et al., 2002).

4. Although alkaloids are uncommon in the Euphorbiaceae, some croton species are well-known for their alkaloids.

5. The majority of croton alkaloids are molecules that are identical or similar to morphinandienones and tetrahydroprotoberberine alkaloids, which are biogenetically related to benzylisoquinolines. Croton species have yielded gluttarimide alkaloids as well as a new class of sesquiterpene guaiane-type alkaloids (Antonio et al., 2007).


Question: Can we grow Codiaeum variegatum as a House Plant?

ANS: It rarely blossoms as a houseplant, but it produces tiny star-shaped flowers in long axillary racemes when cultivated in the ground in frost-free areas in the spring. The male flowers, which have five tiny petals and 20-30 stamens, are produced on distinct inflorescences from the female flowers, which are yellowish and without petals. Female flowers that have been pollinated produce fruits, which are little capsules about a third of an inch in diameter with three small seeds within.

Question: Can we grow Codiaeum variegatum as an Indoor plant?

Ans: Croton is commonly sold as an indoor plant, but it can also be utilised as a seasonal accent plant in pots or mixed decorative plantings. Consider using a pot colour that complements the colour of the leaves, either by mirroring one of the leaf colours or by contrasting with the primary colour, whether you’re growing in containers indoors or outdoors. Combine croton with other tropical annuals like orange flowering lantana, yellow-golden shrimp plant, or red pants that have blooms in colours that match the colour (s) of the leaves.

Question: Can we grow Codiaeum variegatum in a Container?

ANS: Container-grown plants can be moved outside for the growing season after temperatures consistently exceed 50°F, gradually acclimating them to the varying light levels outside, and then moved back inside before temperatures fall below 50°F in the fall (colder temperatures can cause leaf loss). Plants that were planted in the ground as seasonal plants can be lifted and potted in the fall.

Question:  What are the  Various varieties of Codiaeum variegatum?

ANS: Air layering in the spring or softwood cuttings in the summer are both easy ways to reproduce this plant. It can be grown from seed, but the offspring will not look like the parent, therefore asexual propagation is the only option to keep specific cultivars alive. There are hundreds of cultivars of this popular foliage plant, selected and bred to offer a wide variety of leaf shapes and colours, plant sizes.

1. The leaves of ‘Aureo-maculatum’ are green with yellow spots.

2. ‘Eleanor Roosevelt’ has long, thin medium green foliage that is flecked with golden yellow.

This plant can be easily grown by air layering in the spring or by taking softwood cuttings in the fall.

3. The leaves of ‘Evening Embers’ are a striking metallic blue-black colour with red and green highlights.

4. The brilliant green rounded oval leaves of ‘Gold Dust’ are splattered with golden yellow.

5. The leaves of ‘Grusonii’ are thin and greenish-yellow with red edges. ‘Magnificent’ has green and yellow variegated oval-pointed leaves with vivid colours of red, orange, pink, and occasionally bronze or purple spattered over them.

6. Pendulous branches and linear leaves with yellow midrib veins grow from deep green to scarlet on ‘Majesticum’. ‘Mammy’ has elongate, twisted, multicoloured leaves with hints of crimson.

7. ‘Oakleaf’ has colourful leaves with indentations mimicking those of an oak leaf, ranging in hue from green to bronze with red, orange, or yellow veining.

8. When viewed from a distance, ‘Petra’ is one of the most popular croton kinds, with variously coloured strong yellow, pink, orange, and red lines along the veins of the dark green pointed-oval leaves, giving it a lacy look.

9. Iceton’ or ‘Red Iceton’ features pointed-tipped oval leaves that begin brilliant, warm yellow and mature to pink and red.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *