Gold dust croton, Codiaeum variegatum, is not just any household plant. Its gold, speckled blushy, fresh green leaves give it the most royal look wherever you choose to place within your living space.
The finest thing about this plant is it’s easy to look after. Find out this and more in this upcoming care guide.
- What Is Gold Dust Croton?
- Gold Dust Croton Care
What Is Gold Dust Croton?
Gold dust croton is a native of the eastern Pacific islands and Southeast Asia. It is popular for its striking and showy leaves. These leaves are the loveliest green with bright yellow and gold speckles. Gold dust croton scientific name is codiaeum variegatum.
Gold Dust Croton Care
To take good care of this plant, you have to know the proper aspects such as the light, water, fertilizer requirements, and even more. Below are Croton Care requirements in detail.
– Water Requirements
Your Croton plant can tolerate neither underwatered nor overwatered conditions. It must be watered regularly whenever the soil seems dry from the top two inches.
Send your tap water to a laboratory to see if it is safe for Croton use. Otherwise, it is safest to use distilled water at a lukewarm temperature for plant care.
Finding the best way to water this decorative plant at home would be by putting a pencil or a skewer within the upper two inches of the soil to determine if it has dried. Some of us just like to use our fingers for this purpose instead.
When using tap water, you should allow it to stay within a bucket for one whole night. This will help get rid of chlorine and make the water safer.
When watering, keep pouring until this water drains out the drainage hole. For precisely this reason, your pot and soil need top-level drainage.
The water that later collects in the tray under the pot should be drained immediately. Suppose you allow a pot to stay on this water-filled tray. In that case, you risk overwatering and fungal infections developing in the roots.
– Light Requirements
Gold dust croton sunlight needs to be bright but indirect. This plant needs at least five to six hours of daily indirect light in order to grow to its most glorious potential. Outside the patio or garden, your croton must be placed under the leaf canopy of larger trees or plants. You can also place it along a northern-facing wall to keep direct sun out.
Inside, you can better protect the plant from direct sun. Don’t keep it directly on the window sills, especially the southern-facing window. Direct light will cause its leaves to dry and become yellow within a day. The only window safe enough is the one facing to the north.
If your indoor living space lacks natural light, you can substitute it instead with an artificial grow light.
– Soil Requirements
Your croton gold dust houseplant needs loose soil with lots of water channels. This makes it convenient for all the extra water to drain. These channels also make air circulation around the plant much better.
We strongly advise you to make your own soil mixture. Order any fast-draining premanufactured potting mix and then improve upon it. The most important thing is adding chunks of bark, some rocks, and gravel.
If you are into composting, mix your homemade compost with the soil. Alternatively, you can mix peat moss instead. Compost is a better option since it is not a non-renewable resource like peat.
The choice of the pot will make or break your plant. The pot should be larger than the plant’s root ball by barely one or two inches. Any pot larger than this will take forever for the soil to dry. A smaller pot would suffocate the roots and impede their free growth. You can use any potting material, plastic, clay, or terracotta. Just stay away from metal pots because they are not suitable at all.
– Temperature Requirements
This is a warm, loving plant through and through. Keep the temperatures between 60 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit for this sprinkled-looking plant. Below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, this plant suffers from frost-induced shock in which it drops all of its leaves. If the plant goes into dormancy because of frost shock, it will be hard to bring it back to life.
Here are some of our vetted tips to maintain this cute plant’s temperatures within range. Begin with considering when the inside your home or office, the temperature is maintained and controlled using a thermostat, this will guide your plant to grow the most happily.
Take care not to keep the windows to a room open during nighttime. This is especially when the temperatures drop below 50 at night. Keep this plant away from direct drafts of cold air from any possible source.
As a precautionary measure, try to keep this plant in a warmer room without an air conditioner. Many think covering this plant outside with plastic during winters will save it from frost shock.
– Humidity Requirements
This plant loves humidity to be somewhere between 40 to 60 percent. This is essential to keep its leaves from getting dry, cracked, and brown at the edges.
Plants kept outside the house are more prone to drying because of strong winds flowing. Inside the house, air conditioners and radiators can also dry the air significantly.
You will need to mist this plant almost daily to keep up with 40 to 60 percent humidity. Use only clean water at ordinary room temperature. Make use of a spray bottle with a small nozzle at its end.
Spray from a respectable distance of about five to ten inches. This will help your plant get misted properly instead of getting wet. Mist during early morning so that all the water evaporates when the daytime temperatures are high.
Do you find it difficult to mist the plant every day? A pebble tray will help get rid of this daily responsibility. Just take any tray deep enough to hold water and regular-sized pebbles. Put the croton pot on top of the pebbles. The water will evaporate throughout the day and contribute to increased humidity levels around the plant.
– Fertilizing Requirements
Suppose you are using a well-balanced liquid croton fertilizer. In that case, you will only have to fertilize during growth and bloom. This fertilizer will have an equal of the three most essential nutrients, i.e., nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
Diluting the fertilizer is a must using filtered water. It doesn’t matter if you double or triple dilute your fertilizer before use. It only makes it safer for the overall health of the plant. Undiluted fertilizer will cause pretty bad chemical burns to the plant.
Another alternative is to use slow-release fertilizers either in powder or pellet form. Use a rake to mix these within the soil’s top layer at the start of the growing season. They will last from around four to six months in general.
This is a great option for those of you who are into homemade composting. Both ordinary compost and vermicompost are effective enough for the gold dust money tree. Just like slow-release fertilizers, you will have to add a fistful of compost to the top layers of the soil. Compost breaks down slowly in the soil over time. When using compost, you will have to fertilize every month.
– Pruning Requirements
House plants like pruning just as much as watering and feeding. This is quite important when it comes to maintaining the right shape of the plant. Pruning off a stem or leaf improves the cut part’s growth.
If your pruning shears aren’t properly clean, this could transfer infections and pests. Cutting old, disfigured, and withered leaves is also useful. You also get to improve the air circulation around the inner parts of the plant.
Pruning during spring and summer is good for growing new stems and leaves. A plant that is properly pruned off will also make it easier for you to spot any pests hiding within the plant.
The gold dust plant is quite easy to propagate, even for beginners. The most straightforward method is the stem cutting method.
Begin by cleaning the tools that will help promote better growth from your propagation, and sterilize them with some rubbing alcohol. The only instrument that you will need is a good pair of sharp pruning shears.
Apply bleach, alcohol, or a disinfectant to the blade to kill potential pathogens. Then also, wash it with water so that the disinfected does not come in contact with the plant.
– Cut Off The Right Piece Of Stem
The right cutting piece needs to come from a healthy, non-infected stem. Check carefully around the stem and the leaves to ensure that it is clean.
It’s best to cut a three to four inches long piece from the growing end of the stem using your pruning shears. Make an incision at around 45 degrees. Taking more than one stem cutting in a single cutting is okay.
– Prepare The Stem Before Planting
Preparing your cut stem piece before putting it in the soil makes propagation all the more successful. Wrap the cut piece in a piece of paper napkin or inside a container making sure that it is sealed tightly, for two or three days.
This will help dry this piece and form calluses on the cut end. Afterward, remove this piece and put some powdered rooting hormone on its cut end. Rooting hormone is a wonderful ingredient for new plants. It promotes new growth while helping against bacterial and fungal attacks.
– Prepare The Soil
While the cutting is dry, take the pot intended for the new plant and fill it with a new soil mixture.
The same soil as the parent plant will also work with the propagated plant. Make sure it is well-draining, rich in nutrients, and has a pH of around 5.0 to 7.5.
It really helps when you pour a gravel layer before pouring it on the pot’s soil. Gravel prevents the soil from being washed away with watering and then blocking the drainage holes at the bottom.
– Plant The Cutting In
Now is the time to plant your perfect cutting in the perfect soil mix that you have prepared. Make a hole in the middle and bury half of the cutting in.
This cutting needs to stay upright, so if yours seems to fall, use a small pencil or a stake to support it.
Pour a generous amount of lukewarm water right afterward. This will help kick start your propagation better.
– Provide Adequate Care
It is crucial to take care of the plant carefully for the first two weeks. Make sure it is kept someplace warm and indirectly bright for most of the day. Water right away whenever its topsoil dries up. In approximately two months, you will have a thriving plant at hand.
This is a lucky plant that gives very few problems to its caretakers. It will suffer if you overwater it or put it under direct light. Find out how to deal with some oft-occurring problems in this section.
– Gold Dust Croton Yellow Leaves
This plant is popular mainly because of its gold sprinkled leaves. If you have been turning a bit yellow lately, this is a sign that something is wrong. We have curated a list of all the potential reasons why leaves usually turn yellow.
– Direct Light
As mentioned above, croton cannot tolerate direct rays of light for much longer. If its leaves have been turning yellow, immediately check whether direct light is falling on it or not.
If you find it has, immediately move the plant to a more shaded location. Unfortunately, the leaves that have already been sunburned will not get better.
You will just have to prune these discolored and sunburnt leaves off. You will, however, get to save the rest of the leaves from a similar fate.
Croton is more prone to getting attacked by sap-eating pests than leaf-munching ones. These can be mealybugs, aphids, scales, or spider mites usually.
Long-term infestation by sap-eating pests causes the plant to suffer from malnutrition. Leaf yellowing, in this case, will mostly be in the form of multiple round spots.
Pests can be easily treated using natural approaches like vinegar, milk, neem oil, or baking soda. You can also use chemical insecticides, but they also cause some collateral damage to the plant.
Overwatering is another major reason why your plant now has yellow leaves. Additionally, this is also easy to diagnose because the leaves will appear swollen and mushy concomitantly.
Put a stake in the soil to see if it turns wet and runny. If yes, you have your proof of overwatering there. What you need to do is to improve watering habits right from that instance. It is very important because consistently wet soil leads to root rot infection.
– Root Rot
Root rot is a fungal disease that when the roots are overwatered consistently. Once it attacks the roots, it is only a matter of time before your whole plant starts dying as well.
It is actually pretty easy to diagnose this disease. Large black rot spots will appear all over the rest of the plant. Move a bit closer to the plant, and you will be able to smell a stinky smell coming off it.
To treat root rot, aggressive measures will have to be taken. This means taking it out of the old pot and spraying generously with anti-fungal agents. When the plant dries up, repot in new soil and pot.
Now you know everything there is to know about the Gold Dust Croton! However, we do need to recap the most pertinent parts regarding this plant’s care. Here are the key points that we covered today in this article:
- Put this plant in a warm but shaded brown spot in the house.
- Water the plant as soon as its top soil dries up because it does not like dry conditions.
- Maintain humidity levels above 50 percent using misting or humidity tray.
- Pruning croton during spring and summer is good for this plant’s growth.
Now that you know this fiery plant exists, what stops you from growing one? It is super easy to look for and is also worth every second you invest in it.
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