S & J Nursery’s Guide to Growing
Oakleaf Croton Plants
for the Northeast Florida Landscape
( Codiaeum variegatum ‘Oakleaf’ )
Oakleaf Croton / Codiaeum variegatum ‘Oakleaf’ Origins:
– Croton plants are native to India and Malaysia and come in a variety of leaf
colors, shapes and sizes.
Oakleaf Croton / Codiaeum variegatum ‘Oakleaf’ Preferred Exposure:
– Oakleaf Croton / Codiaeum variegatum ‘Oakleaf’ can be planted in a full sun to
partially shaded location in the North Florida | Jacksonville | St. Augustine area landscape. Best or brightest
foliage color will be achieved in a full sun location.
Oakleaf Croton / Codiaeum variegatum ‘Oakleaf’ Foliage:
– Oakleaf croton foliage is one of the larger leaf selections grown here in Florida.
It is similar in coloring to the Petra, but the leaves are much larger and have distinct points on each side of
the leaf giving the plant its name and just a little bit of extra eye appeal. Very pretty foliage, Oakleaf is a
great choice when you want a little something different.
– Foliage may remain evergreen during the winter in our North Florida area
gardens, but can go dormant and regrow from undamaged stems or from the roots the following spring depending on
winter conditions and temperature exposure. This is much debated among gardeners as they are particularly
responsive to their individual planting location. When planted on the south side of the house away from north
winds, or where receiving some frost protection form larger trees or nearby buildings, croton plants have been
known to remain evergreen in the roughest of winters here in North Florida.
The same plant planted and purchased at the same time even 30 feet away may behave
differently over the winter. For every customer that tells me their crotons burnt over the winter, there is a
customer that tells me theirs faired the winter just fine. I also get allot of, well why did mine burn when my
neighbor right across the streets still look fine?
Oakleaf Croton / Codiaeum variegatum ‘Oakleaf’ Soil Preference / Salt tolerance:
– Oakleaf croton plants prefer well drained soils but are not particular about the
soil components. Do not plant into poorly drained soils or areas where water pools even for brief periods after
– Crotons are only slightly salt tolerant. They can be planted where buildings
or other vegetation will block the salt spray from reaching the foliage.
Oakleaf Croton / Codiaeum variegatum ‘Oakleaf’ Size Variance:
– The foliage on the croton oakleaf plant may reach heights of 10 ft or more in the
tropics, but are normally seen at around 3-4 ft here in the Jacksonville and St. Augustine area landscapes.
Oakleaf Croton / Codiaeum variegatum ‘Oakleaf’ Growth Habit:
– Mammy crotons will form an upright shrub with dense highly colored foliage.
Oakleaf Croton / Codiaeum variegatum ‘Oakleaf’ Growth Rate:
– Faster growing than most crotons.
Oakleaf Croton / Codiaeum variegatum ‘Oakleaf’ Bloom:
– Have you ever heard the old saying that someone has a face that only a mother
could love? Well crotons just may have a bloom that only a gardener could appreciate. Croton blooms are born on
a short stem and are small creamy white starburst that look similar to a firework when it explodes in the sky.
Quite unusual looking for a bloom, definitely not an eye catcher, but still a little added something to look at
for the avid gardener.
Oakleaf Croton / Codiaeum variegatum ‘Oakleaf’ Water Requirements:
– Although much more durable once established in the landscape, regular water is
necessary to get the plant rooted and growing on it’s own after being planted in the ground from an S & J
Nursery container. Water every day for the first week then every other day for the next week, and continue to
taper watering black to a minimum of once a week.
– Use supplemental irrigation once to twice a week after the plant is
established and growing in the landscape especially during the hot summer months.
Best Use for the Oakleaf Croton / Codiaeum variegatum ‘Oakleaf’ plant in the
Jacksonville | St. Augustine Area Landscapes :
– Oakleaf croton is a great easy care low maintenance addition to just about any
– Large boldly colored leaves make the perfect landscape accent to draw your
attention wherever you plant them.
– Easy care plant for containers on pool decks, patio areas, walkways, home
entry accents etc.
Care of Oakleaf Croton / Codiaeum variegatum ‘Oakleaf’ in the North Florida
– Water every day during the establishment period after planting in the garden from
an S & J Nursery container.
-Trim off cold damaged foliage in spring after all danger of frost has passed.
Fertilize with a slow release garden food like Osmocote directly after spring pruning and again in summer.