Croton Petra: Every thing you need to know!
Croton petra also known as the Golden Petra is a popular indoor plant with bright burst of color on deep green leaves. Botanically it is called Codieaum variegatum. this plant is popular for the auburn, scarlet, and lemon colored veins that mark its bright, bushy foliage. It is a slow grower and is ideal for the indoor gardening.
Care and Management of Croton Petra
When growing a Croton Petra indoors, use either commercial potting mixture or soil and compost mix at 1:1. The plant requires continual moisture and ambient humidity, which can be achieved by misting it frequently and watering it in 2-3 days interval.
It prefers bright light however shade should be provided in hot days to protect from sun burn. If light intensity is too low leaves becomes less colorful, which is obviously not what we want. So make sure it gets ample sunlight.
The Croton Petra is a slow grower but can reach up to 1.5 to 2 meter tall with the right care and management. It’s better to fertilize Croton Petra once month with compost, or foliar feed year round.
As a tropical plant that grows natively in the humid, brilliant shade of tropical woods, this houseplant prefers similar conditions. It prefers bright, indirect sunlight, such as that provided by north-facing windows, to full sunshine. It will also grow well in fluorescent lighting.
Watering depends upon the moisture availability in root zone. Watering every 2-3 days and once a week in winter is generally preferred. Care should be given wile watering as the growth is affected by both under watering and over watering.
Temperature and Humidity
Croton Petra prefers thrives temperatures between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit, but will endure a wide variety of temperatures. These plants thrive in humid environments like those found in rain-forests. Misting the plants on a regular basis will protect them from drying out. A room humidifier may be beneficial in arid locations or during the dry winter months.
Croton Petra grows well in standard potting soil with a peat-moss or coco-peat base. The soil should retain some moisture but should also drain well. Adding biochar helps in moisture retention, control soil-borne disease, improves aeration etc. and It prefers slightly acidic to neutral soil with enough organic matter.
Fertilizer and Manure
Feed plants a weak dosage of liquid fertilizer made for tropical plants once a week during the growing season. An excellent recipe is a balanced 5-5-5 NPK fertilizer diluted to half strength.
Any conventional potting soil and compost mix and standard indoor plant pot with bottom drainage holes will work for Petra.
While re-potting always use fresh potting soil and compost mix when you repot to prevent soil compaction and water-logging. Re-potting can be done annually. If you want your plant to grow larger in size using a bigger pot may help. Just swap out the old soil or add some compost and mix well.
Common Problems in Croton Petra
Some of the common problems seen in Croton Petra includes:
- Dropping of leaves
Leaves yellowing and dropping is the major symptom which is caused by inconsistent watering or not enough light or some root disease
Control: Croton Petra prefer to have moist soil and will quickly show their sign at being under or over watered. Try to water when the top 2-4 cm of the soil has dried out, and water regularly for consistent soil moisture. On the other hand, as this plant naturally grows in a tropical environment it craves sunlight. Another way to tell if sunlight is the issue because the veins on your plant will be less colorful. Plant might also drop leaves if it has been to stress recently. And also make sure to give enough food for the plants to be healthy.
Loss of color on leaves
Symptom of this problem includes newer leaves on the plant are green with little to no variegation. The main cause of this problem is little or no exposure to light. If plants do not get enough lights green leaves can be seen with no variegation
Control: Golden Petra are native to tropical regions and need about 6 to 8 hours of bright light a day. It is not uncommon for new growth to be green, but if the plant is placed in a bright window, these new leaves should slowly start to develop the colorful variegation. If you don’t have adequate light in your home, you may consider moving it out for certain time.
- Wilting and drooping of leaves
Symptom like leaves suddenly starts to droop or wilting can be seen. The major cause of this problem is under watering or over watering of pot.
Control: Croton Petra like to dry out between watering but be careful and do not let it dry out completely or its leaves will become limp. If under watered, remove the plant from its decorative pot and give a good shower in the sink. Regularly mist to increase moisture levels. If over watered, simply hold off until the plant dries out a bit until the next watering. If its roots are damaged you may consider re-potting.
How to propagate Croton Petra?
We can easily propagate the plants through stem cutting. Steps in propagating are listed below:
- Select a healthy branch with pencil size thickness.
- Cut the stem with a clean and sterilized knife or secateurs. About 10 cm stem with nodes are usually preferred. Slanting cut is given at bottom to increase the surface area for rooting.
- If available use rooting hormone for faster rooting. Raw honey can also be used but not necessarily.
- Put the cuttings in the pot with soil or potting mixture and water it
- Now wait till it roots, usually a month
- New plant is ready to be potted once few roots arise.