Hi, Judy! I’d like your help identifying this houseplant that I received as a gift – it has long (like, 6-10 inches long) leaves that are thin and waxy, bright green, dark green, or red in color, with reddish or orange/yellow single, very pronounced veins. It’s a lovely plant, I just have no idea how to care for it.
Your plant is a type of Croton (variety is Mammy). Here are some care tips for your Croton.
Light: Crotons need bright light to keep their multicolored leaves looking their best. The new leaves will be green not predominantly yellow, red, or orange, if there is insufficient light. Too much direct sun causes phototoridation a condition that makes the leaves gray and dull looking.
Water: Allow the top 25-30% of the soil to dry out before watering. Crunchy leaves indicate over-watering. Leaves become soft and droop when the plant needs water. If the plant is severely over- or under-watered leaves fall off.
Plant Food: Fertilize monthly in the spring and fall and every two weeks in the summer with a basic houseplant food at 1/2 the recommended strength. If your Croton is in a bright sunny spot, but the new leaves are coming in green, cut back on your plant food. Over-fertilizing also causes the leaves of a Croton to curl under.
Read all my care tips in the Popular Houseplant section of the website.
These plants are considered poisonous and should be kept away from pets and children. Read more about common houseplants that are poisonous in Don’t Feed Me To Your Cat! A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants.