The theme this year at Reiman Gardens is color, and there is no better plant to highlight this theme than the Croton. The Croton is genus of tropical perennials that are known for their beautiful foliage. Another common name for the Croton is Rushfoil, and there are as many as 1,300 different species that vary in shape in color of the leaves.
The leaves of these plants show a variety of all shapes and colors which include bold and vibrant shades of purples, pinks, yellows, reds, and oranges. Native to tropical areas of Africa, Asia, and South America, they are known to thrive in warm and humid environments and can also be in areas such as Florida. They live as excellent house plants as well. The Crotons’ beautiful colors appear the best when the plant is grown in bright sunlight, but the Croton is shade tolerant as well, though the colors do not appear as vibrant.
Not only are the Crotons a bright and colorful addition to any garden, it is also an important host plant for the moth species Schinia citrinellus. The larvae of this species of moth feed exclusively on the Crotons, making it a vital resource in the moth’s development. In addition, Crotons have been used throughout history for medicinal purposes to treat conditions such as fever, external wounds, and digestive problems. However, the common houseplant Croton is known to be harmful if ingested.
At Reiman Gardens, several Crotons are potted in the sun near the Home Production Garden to maximize their beautiful, colorful foliage. Other Crotons are potted in the shade to showcase their deeper, darker shades of greens and purples. There are several varieties that can be seen by comparing their lobed or rounded leaves, and their shades of color. Be sure to stop in and check out the vibrant, multicolored Croton next time you visit Reiman Gardens!