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Almanac Planting Petra Croton (Codiaeum variegatum 'Petra') Houseplant Side View 6" Grow Pot
Almanac Planting Petra Croton (Codiaeum variegatum 'Petra') Houseplant Top Foliage View
  • Load image into Gallery viewer, Almanac Planting Petra Croton (Codiaeum variegatum 'Petra') Houseplant Side View 6" Grow Pot
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Petra Croton

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Codiaeum variegatum 'Petra'

Overview

Uses: Houseplant, patio plant, or outdoor plant (in approved tropical zones)

Benefits: Air purifier: removes toxins from the air. Unique and beautiful growth patterns, colors, and foliage. Easy to take care of. 

Zones: 10 - 11 

Sun: Full to medium 

Life Cycle: Perennial

Mature Height: 8' (easily kept under 5' with small pots and periodic trimmings)

Mature Width: 6' (easily kept under 3' with small pots and periodic trimmings)

Summary

The Petra Croton is considered to be the most popular species within the Euphorbiaceae family of plants.

It's best known for and identified by its large, dark green leaves with stunning veins of shades of auburn, scarlet, and lemon. 

Often used as a houseplant since it is unable to withstand prolonged temperatures under 50°F, the Codiaeum variegatum 'Petra' does best in areas where it gets lots of direct sun, but can also thrive in bright, indirect to medium levels of light.

This air-purifying houseplant is fantastic for a spacious, open area of your house.

Petra Croton is one of the larger cultivars of crotons—growing to an average height of 5', sometimes reaching heights of up to 8' in the right conditions. Widths of mature Petra Crotons average around 3.5', but can get up to 6'. 

Care

Petra Croton Care

How to Water a Petra Croton

We suggest watering an indoor Codiaeum variegatum 'Petra' about once every five days during periods of growth, doing your best to ensure that its soil stays moist but not wet. 

Petra Crotons often enter a stage of moderate dormancy over the winter months, and need less water than usual during this time. During these stages of dormancy, we suggest verifying that the top 1"-3" of this plants soil are dry prior to giving it more water.

Avoid overwatering and do not allow this houseplant to rest in standing water.

Like many other plants, too much watering will result in the yellowing of stems and leaves, eventually followed by root rot should the wet conditions persist.

Although it's considered to be drought resistant, it is important to make sure that you don't allow it to go too long without water.

Effects of underwatering include the browning and wilting of leaves, poor growth, and possible death if dry conditions persist for too long.

What is the Best Humidity for Petra Croton?

Codiaeum variegatum 'Petra' is known to be a versatile and tolerant plant that is capable of thriving in a variety of environments.

Although it can be grown in drier areas, it's a tropical plant and does best in environments with humidity between 50% RH and 70% RH.

Petra Croton does well with daily misting, but misting too often may cause problems with fungus and disease.

Humidifiers and pebble trays may be used to supplement humidity. 

How Much Sun Does Petra Croton Like?

Codiaeum variegatum 'Petra' is one the varieties of crotons that seem to do best with extended periods of direct sunlight, although various lighting situations are acceptable.

The best lighting is provided through 6-8 hours of full sunlight daily.

Petra Crotons also do well in areas where they receive the majority of their light from bright, indirect sun.

They are even known to grow in areas of medium light; however, too little light will likely cause a lack of variegation, gangly growth, and possible death if low light conditions persist for too long.

What is the Best Temperature for Petra Croton?

Codiaeum variegatum 'Petra' prefers warmer temperatures and will likely die if exposed to temperatures of 50°F or cooler for prolonged periods of time.

It's best to keep this plant in temperatures above 55°F to ensure its beauty and the integrity of its growth; however the optimal temperature range of this houseplant is between 65°F and 85°F.

As such, Petra Croton thrives outdoors year round in USDA zones 10-11, and will likely not survive living outdoors over winter in USDA zone 9 or lower.

What is the Best Soil for a Petra Croton Plant?

Codiaeum variegatum 'Petra' thrives in a variety of soils, but does best in soils that are both nutrient rich, and moderately well draining.

It's important to not use soil that will allow water to hang around the roots of this plant for too long as it is susceptible to root rot.

Our potting soil is a great growing medium for Petra Crotons. 

How to Fertilize a Petra Croton Plant

Codiaeum variegatum should be fertilized on a regular basis between early spring and early fall.

Fertilization may be given on a less intense to nonexistent basis between fall and spring, during which this plant experiences slower growth and/or partial dormancy.

We suggest using a liquid fertilizer high in nitrogen and potassium, being careful not to overfertilize. Our slow-release plant food is also a great, balanced option.

How to Trim and Maintain a Petra Croton

Codiaeum variegatum 'Petra' may be trimmed to maintain a certain plant size or shape, or to remove dead and unsightly growth.

Stems may be cut as close to 6" from the soil when trimming is required, although we suggest to not remove more than 1/3 of the stem height at one time. When taking a cutting/trimming, it's suggested to make the cut just above a node. 

A bushy plant can be grown by trimming or pinching new growth from the tips of the stems, which will signal the plant to sprout lower growth. Bushiness can also be encouraged by pruning stems by 1/3 of their length and allowing them to regrow. 

All pruning of Petra Croton should be done using a sharp and clean set of pruning shears to ensure a clean cut and to mitigate the spread of disease. 

We suggest lightly fertilizing after any extensive pruning. 

How to Repot a Petra Croton

Codiaeum variegatum 'Petra' do not like being rootbound so it's suggested that you repot your plant if its roots are crowding its pot.

You can repot your plant by placing the entire root ball into a larger pot then softly breaking up its root structure around the edges of its root ball prior to surrounding it with a lightly packed, medium porosity potting mix.

It's advised to increase the pot size by 1"-2" when repotting. 

In situations of root bounding without the desire for a larger pot and/or plant, it's advised to remove your Codiaeum variegatum from its pot and to trim away the side/lower roots and to replace their space with new potting soil. Use caution as this method will likely put your Petra Croton into a state of shock causing leaf loss at a minimum. 

How to Propagate a Petra Croton

The propagation of Codiaeum variegatum 'Petra' is easily accomplished by placing a 4" cutting with 3-4 leaves on it into a pot of lightly moistened soil, possibly with a slight amount of liquid fertilizer and/or rooting hormone (although neither are necessary).

It's best to provide propagation cuttings with ample light, but to keep them out of strong, direct sun.

It's also advisable that the cutting be freshly snipped at a slight angle just below the lowest node, kept in temperatures above 70°F, and provided with an environment that offers humidity greater than 50% RH.

Root/bottom heating methods aid propagation, which typically takes 2-3 weeks.  

Size

What Size are the Petra Crotons Sold On This Site?

Our Codiaeum variegatum 'Petra' will ship in a 6" grow pot and will typically be between 12"-18" high and 8"-12" wide.

We measure our plant's height by measuring above the soil.

How Large Do Petra Crotons Grow?

The size of the Codiaeum variegatum 'Petra' at maturity is very dependent on its situation.

Indoors, this plant can easily be kept to no more than a few feet in length with the use of a smaller pot and periodic trimmings.

An average mature size of a potted Petra Croton is likely somewhere around 5' high and 3.5' wide, with large examples (typically grown outdoors in appropriate climates) reaching up to 8'x6'.

Additional Information

Common Names of Codiaeum variegatum 'Petra'

  • Petra Croton

  • Variegated Croton

  • Fire Croton

  • Garden Croton

Toxicity and Risks of Petra Croton

Petra Croton (Codiaeum variegatum 'Petra') is known for its toxicity to both people and to pets.

Excessive salivation, abdominal pain, blistering and swelling of the mouth, violent vomiting, severe diarrhea, and/or death can occur after the ingestion of this plant—which contains the toxic and potentially carcinogenic chemical compound 5-deoxyingenol (a diterpene). 

Allergic dermatitis (skin inflammation), swelling of the skin, and eczema can occur after repeated skin exposure to this plant, especially its sap.