S & J Nursery’s Guide to Growing
Croton ‘Petra’ Plants
for the Northeast Florida Landscape
( Codiaeum variegatum ‘Petra’ )
Croton Petra / Codiaeum variegatum ‘Petra’ Origins:
– Croton plants are native to India and Malaysia and come in a variety of leaf colors, shapes and sizes.
Croton Petra / Codiaeum variegatum ‘Petra’ Preferred Exposure:
– Croton Petra / Codiaeum variegatum ‘Petra’ 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.
Croton Petra / Codiaeum variegatum ‘Petra’ Foliage:
– Petra is among the most popular selections of Crotons grown for Northeast Florida landscapes in part due to their large, broad leaves and in part due to their bold bright colors. Foliage colors boast bright reds, yellows, oranges and greens and are a real eye catcher even when viewed from a distance.
– 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 alot of, well why did mine burn when my neighbor right across the streets still look fine?
Croton Petra / Codiaeum variegatum ‘Petra’ Soil Preference / Salt tolerance:
– Petra 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 heavy rains.
– Crotons are only slightly salt tolerant. They can be planted where buildings or other vegetation will block the salt spray from reaching the foliage.
Croton Petra / Codiaeum variegatum ‘Petra’ Size Variance:
– The foliage on the Croton Petra 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.
Variegated Croton Petra / Codiaeum variegatum ‘Petra’ Growth Habit:
– Petra crotons will form an upright rounded shrub of dense foliage, or can be trained to a small ornamental tree with lower leaves and branches removed.
Croton Petra / Codiaeum variegatum ‘Petra’ Growth Rate:
Croton Petra / Codiaeum variegatum ‘Petra’ 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 starbursts 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.
Croton Petra / Codiaeum variegatum ‘Petra’ Water Requirements:
– Although much more durable once established in the landscape, regular water is necessary to get the plant rooted and growing on its 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 balck 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 Uses For Croton Petra / Codiaeum variegatum ‘Petra’ in the Jacksonville | St.
Augustine Area Landscapes :
– Croton Petra / Codiaeum variegatum ‘Petra’ is a great easy care low maintenance addition to just about any landscape.
– Big boldly colored leaves grab attention anywhere you put them.
– Easy care plant for containers on pool decks, patio areas, walkways, home
entry accents etc.
Care of Croton Petra / Codiaeum variegatum ‘Petra’ 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.
Fertlize with a slow release garden food like Osmocote directly after spring pruning and again in summer.