One of the most common and colorful types of houseplant is Croton (Codiaeum Variegatum), a member of the Euphorbiaceae family of plants originally from the western Pacific and tropical Asia.
These tropical plants are only winter hardy in USDA hardiness zones 9 through 12, but they make wonderful houseplants in any climate. In a tropical setting, they can be used to make a low, colorful hedge, in mass plantings, or as pretty understory plants.
Many different cultivars feature a wide variety of leaf patterns and colors. One of the most colorful and popular is the Iceton Croton (Codiaeum variegatum var. pictum), also known as Red Iceton or Mrs. Iceton.
This variety starts out with oval, pointed-tipped leaves in shades of deep yellow. As the plant matures, the leaves transition to shades of pink, rose, and red.
In this article, we discuss the care of the Iceton Croton. Read on to learn more.
How Was The Red Iceton Croton Developed?
A grower in South Florida noticed that some plants exhibited very unusual pink and rose tones. She cultivated this isolated genetic mutation (aka: Sport) and developed plants that could breed true.
The finalized cultivar presents shades ranging from deep purplish black and greenish bronze to pale shades of pink and peach.
Why Is This Croton Variety A Good Indoor Choice?
Mrs. Iceton Croton has a fairly fast growth rate and typically tops out at about 4′ feet high when kept as a houseplant.
It makes an attractive addition to the home because, unlike many other crotons, it does not readily shed its lower leaves. As a result, the plant maintains a full, uniform, attractive growth habit as it matures.
The plants’ coloration and leaf formation are stunning. The leaves of the Iceton Croton are heavily veined, large, and leathery and display a rainbow of splashy colors.
Red Iceton Croton Grows More And More Beautiful With Age
The variations in leaf color are due in part to the maturity of the plant. Coloration is also affected by lighting and temperature.
Provide consistently warm temperatures (70° to 80° degrees Fahrenheit) and bright, indirect lighting for best results.
Consistent Lighting Results In Even More Dazzling Leaf Color
Keep in mind that croton plants are naturally jungle floor plants. In their native setting, they like high, dappled shade. Place your indoor croton near a south, west, or east-facing window.
In the summertime, your Red Iceton Croton will present you with tiny, yellow or white, unscented, star-shaped blooms that are altogether unremarkable.
In the wintertime, the plant will go dormant. During this period, its growth will slow. As with most plants, you should reduce watering in winter.
Soak and Dry Watering Keeps Iceton Croton Happy & Healthy
Generally speaking, Mrs. Iceton Croton needs moderate watering. Provide an occasional thorough, deep watering, and then wait until the soil is nearly dry to water again.
It is best to soak these plants from below or gradually pour warm water over the soil’s surface. Sudden dousing does not tend to soak the soil thoroughly.
When watering, the soil must be thoroughly soaked because these plants do not take in moisture through their leaves. Instead, they depend entirely on their roots. For this reason, high humidity levels are neither needed nor advised.
The Right Potting Medium Facilitates Good Uptake Of Water & Nourishment
A good potting medium is essential to maintaining a correct watering routine.
Be sure to use a high-quality potting or container mix amended with coco coir, perlite, or vermiculite to create a light, airy mixture that will allow excess water to drain off while maintaining the right amount of moisture to nourish the plant’s roots.
No Fertilizer Is Needed!
You will not need to fertilize Iceton Croton if you use a good-quality potting medium. These plants will glean all the nourishment they need from the soil.
However, you must be sure to repot your container croton annually or whenever it doubles in size. It will have consumed all of the nutrients in the soil as it has grown.
Protect Yourself Against The Milky Sap!
When you repot (usually in spring or summer), you may also wish to prune and shape your Mrs. Iceton Croton. When pruning, protect yourself from contact with the plants’ sticky white sap.
Remember that this plant is a Euphorbia, and the sap is an irritant. Protect your eyes, and be sure to wash up after handling and pruning your plant.
Grow More Red Iceton Croton From Cuttings
When you do prune your Iceton Croton, you can use the cuttings to grow new plants. Choose stem cuttings 3″ or 4″ inches long with several leaves.
Dip the ends of the cuttings into a rooting hormone powder and plant them up in small pots using the same potting mix you use to repot the parent plant.
Place your cuttings in an area that receives bright, indirect sunlight and stays between 70° to 80° degrees Fahrenheit. Keep the soil evenly moist (never soggy). You should see new growth within a month.
Healthy Iceton Croton Is A Carefree Plant
For the most part, a well-cared-for Mrs. Iceton easily resists problems with pests and diseases.
However, incorrect amounts of water, sun, and warmth, as well as failure to repot as needed, will weaken the plant and may make it susceptible to common houseplant pests and problems.
Follow the advice presented here to grow and care for Iceton Croton correctly.