How to Grow and Care for your Croton Petra

Written By: Lively Root

How to Grow and Care for your Croton Petra

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What is a Croton 'Petra' Plant?

What's not to like about the colorful leaf palette of the Croton 'Petra?' It's bright red, yellow, orange, and green leaves brighten any corner.  New green growth will start coloring up as it matures when it is situated in an eastern, southern, or western window to gain lots of bright, indirect light.

To create bushier growth, pinch back the stems to promote branching. Otherwise, the plant will become tall and leggy. With this trimming, propagate with the 3-4 inch stem from the top. Root them in water or consistently moist soil for 3-6 weeks for rootlets to emerge.

Give it room to grow over time as it can reach 3-8 feet tall and 3-6 feet wide. It doesn't like a change of scenery, so keep it in one place and avoid playing musical chairs with it! Crotons tend to lose their leaves in protest. If this happens, continue to care for it, and it will likely recover from the shock of a new environment and put on new growth.

Toxicity Level

If eaten, this indoor plant will induce oral and gastrointestinal sickness of cats, dogs, and humans. Drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea may occur. When working with the plant or trimming, wear gloves as the sap can cause skin irritation.

Air Cleaner

This plant encourages deep breathes! Your Croton plant is rated by a NASA study as removing VOCs. Enjoy the pure, clean air anywhere you place this indoor plant!

Great for people:

  • Who love bright, warm colors.
  • Who like wild, full, and tropical plants.
  • With lots of space, height, and bright light.
  • Who love tropical jungles.
  • Who has a bright bathroom with space for plants.

How to Care for a Croton 'Petra' Plant

Light preference

The Croton 'Petra' plant will produce multicolored leaves in moderate to bright, indirect sunlight. It can tolerate lower light, but its leaves will stay green like its new growth. It needs 4-6 hours of indirect sunlight a day to keep it colorful.

If grown outside in Zones 10b-12, make sure it has some afternoon and evening shade to avoid burnt leaves. If moving this plant from one spot (indoors to outside), it may drop leaves. Continue to care for it, and it should recover over time.

Water & Humidity

The Croton 'Petra' is a medium maintenance plant. Check the top 1-2" of soil, and if it sticks to your finger, it doesn't need watering. The leaves will also droop if they're thirsty but will bounce back afterward. Use lukewarm, filtered, or bottled water, and flush the plant. Let the water drain completely before placing it back in a decorative pot (if it's in a grower pot). Repeat this watering schedule when the Croton's topsoil gets dry again. Back off on watering in the winter as growth decreases.

This indoor plant comes from the humid tropics of Southeast Asia, Southern India, and Australia, hence continue its native environment with humid conditions. Add humidity through spritzing, a humidifier, or a pebble tray.

Ideal Temps

15°C-27°C/ 60°F-80°F.

Keep this indoor plant away from cold air or drafts in the winter, especially around windows that may leak cold air.

Plant Food/Fertilizer

Fertilize with our organic fertilizer once per month for optimum growth and plant health in the spring and summer months. Discontinue fertilizing in the fall and winter months during its resting period.

Repotting Frequency

Repot when you start seeing the roots emerge through the drainage holes. During the early spring, repot in a container that is 2" wider in size. Use a well-drained container soil. If the soil already has fertilizers mixed in, wait for 3-6 months before adding again. At that time, top dress the soil with fertilizer by tilling it in a little, and as you water, it will release nutrients to the plant.

After repotting the Croton 'Petra' may protest by losing some of its leaves. This shock reaction can be typical of this plant as it's sensitive to changes in its environment. Give it TLC, and it should recover with new green growth.


Keep your Croton 'Petra' dust-free by carefully cleaning the leaves with a moist cloth. Never use spray leaf shine; this may obstruct the stomata's (cell structure for the exchange of carbon dioxide and water in the air).

Common Issues of the Croton 'Petra' Plant

  • Overwatering can kill this plant. Keep the roots from sitting in water. Use a good draining soil and pot with adequate sized drain holes.
  • If your Croton's leaves aren't colorful, move it to a brighter spot near a window with indirect light.
  • Mealybugs and spider mites can attach this plant if it is under stress. Remove these insects by using neem oil or horticulture dormant oil.
  • A change of scenery or repotting can cause shock, and it may lose it's leaves momentarily but grow back over time.

Complimentary Plants with your Croton 'Petra' plant

If you want to add a complimentary color to the Croton 'Petra,' try the Flamingo Flower. Its colorful blooms of red will heighten the hues in the Croton. It also has the same watering and humidity schedule, making them compatible playmates!

Add more color and blooms to the plant palette with our Kalanchoe Collection. Their care level is easy for beginners taking very little time to maintain. Place near your Croton 'Petra' and Flamingo Flower to get the bright, indirect light they're all craving!

For more information on caring for your new Croton indoor plant, check out our comprehensive care guide here.