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close up view of Croton MammyCroton Mammy or Mammy Croton, without a doubt, is one of the best plants to have in a garden because it requires minimum effort and yet adds that much-needed pop of color and freshness to your house.

All you need to do is place it in a spot that receives perfect sunshine and follow its water requirements. That is all it takes to liven up your house, and we are here to tell you exactly what this show-stopper needs in this complete guide.

What Is Croton Mammy?

The Croton mammy is an evergreen plant that typically grows to heights of three and sometimes even eight feet. This is a vibrant plant that is native to Australia, Malaysia, and Indonesia. They make wonderful indoor plants as well, just remember to put your Croton mammy in a warm and well-lit place.

Croton Mammy Care

Have you ever wanted to bring summer into your house? Do you want the breeze that enters your house to carry the scent of the tropics with it? Then plant a Croton mammy in your house today. These small tips and our guide are the ultimate recipes for helping your Croton mammy thrive in your garden.

The Croton mammy is a tropical perennial plant that generally requires low maintenance and is relatively easy to grow. All it needs is adequate sunshine, water, and your affection to thrive and be in its most radiant form. The following highlights some requirements that should be kept in mind when taking care of a Croton mammy plant.

– Water Requirements

Similarly, one must water their Croton mammy regularly to maintain moisture. However, you must cut back on watering the plant when you notice its edges turning slightly brown. It is also advisable to reduce watering your Croton mammy as colder weather approaches since winter is the time when your plant needs to rest.

It is a commonly potted plant and it is advisable to check that the top inch of the soil is dry when you are watering it to ensure that the soil has properly drained.

This also prevents the risk of overwatering the Croton. Also, the leaves of the Croton mammy should be periodically sprayed with water to keep them in the state of their natural habitat.

– Light Requirements

What did one hungry plant say to the other? I think I need a light snack. This is why a variety of Croton, like the Croton Mammy, needs at least up to six to eight hours of direct sunlight for its colors to be as vivid and beautiful as all the gardening blogs show. Otherwise, Crotons are easy-going plants and could grow in partly shady areas too.

However, if you do not keep your Croton in a brightly-lit spot that receives adequate sunshine and warmth, it tends to start sulking and becomes quite gloomy.

Consequently, with less sunshine, your Croton will grow lean, with spare leaves muted in color that do not possess the rich, warm hues that a healthy Croton mammy reels you in with.                                       

– Humidity Requirements

As tropical plants, Croton mammy requires a high humidity level, so do not let your plant dry out. For that reason, it is advisable to keep your Croton on a pebble tray filled with water to provide optimal humidity levels. That, for your plant, is 40 percent to 80 percent. 

– Soil Requirements

Croton mammy plants  require well-draining soil with a pH level of 4.5- 5. pH. Levels higher than this are discouraged and will hinder the growth of your Croton mammy.

Although they can survive in most types of soil, it is very important to keep them in a well-draining potting mix. This will prevent your plant from undergoing waterlogged conditions and developing root rot.

– Temperature Requirements

The Croton mammy is a perennial plant and thrives in a warm, humid environment with temperatures ranging from 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It is also very sensitive to cold temperatures and is not frost resistant. Leaf loss occurs when it is exposed to extremely cold temperatures.

– Fertilizing Requirements

Fertilizing Croton during spring, summer, and autumn is advisable, but you should avoid fertilizing it during the colder winter months. Moreover, a good quality granular or liquid fertilizer should be used for the plant to thrive and be healthy.

Mammy Croton height increases at a balanced pace when fertilizer is available for it during the growing season along with the proper care requirements.

– Pruning

Being a potted plant, regularly pruning your Croton will assist in maintaining its shape by cutting back the stems at the base. This will also enhance its general aesthetic and natural beauty Otherwise, this plant is generally low maintenance and does not require too much effort. 

However, you must prune the dead leaves and branches of your plant. Also, avoid removing more than a third of the stem at the plant, unless it is diseased or rotten. This allows the plant better and easier leaf growth until the next pruning. Happy grooming!

Propagation

Croton plants can be propagated by dipping their stem cuttings in plant rooting hormone. The most common way of propagating a Croton mammy is by replanting the cuttings of its stems. However, other methods of propagation such as water and air layering could also be employed.  

– Propagation by Stem Cuttings

Here is a guide on this method of propagation.

  1. Remove a segment of a stem from a healthy Croton mammy plant. Keep in mind that the stem you use has to have at least three sets of leaves near the top. Remove the leaves at the bottom. 
  2. Place the stem cutting in a glass of water and place it in a warm location that receives adequate sunshine. Moreover, it is advisable to change the water every couple of days to ensure the best results. Soon, you will see roots growing from it.
  3. The roots protruding from the stem cutting should then be placed in a rooting hormone or a glass containing water. Next, place it in a soilless medium like peat moss, sand, vermiculite, coco coir, etc.
  4. Make sure to cover your plant with a plastic bag, disposable plastic cover, or anything that might work efficiently in trapping the humidity of the plant. The roots can be observed developing within a couple of weeks.

Similarly, you could even put your stem clipping in a pot with drainage holes, along with moist soil, and cover it to trap in humidity. You will also be able to witness the growth of roots. This makes for a simpler propagation method and is also relatively more convenient for plant repotting.

– Propagation Through Air Layering

Along with using stem cuttings to propagate the Croton mammy, air layering could also be used. Follow these steps to do it perfectly:

  1. Make a notch or a cut that is about one-third or half of the diameter deep on the stem of the Croton mammy while it is still attached to the plant.
  2. Keep the cut open with a wooden toothpick or matchstick. Also, it is necessary to treat this with some rooting hormone powder.
  3. Cover the cut with some moss, then carefully cover it with plastic wrap.
  4. Make sure it is kept properly moist. Remoisten the moss if it starts turning a tan color. Within a few weeks, the roots will start growing.
  5. Unwrap the plastic and repot your Croton mammy plant once the roots are properly developed.

Conclusively, always be mindful to repot your plant in an appropriately well-draining pot, and place it in a location that is humid and warm. Do this regardless of which above-mentioned method you use to propagate your Croton mammy. 

– Repotting

Although Croton mammy outdoor plant will also perform well in a garden, here are some tips for repotting your Croton mammy

  • Always select a pot that is at least 3 inches bigger than your original pot to minimize the possibility of repotting before a year at least. This is necessary because a Croton mammy is sensitive to movement and if you keep moving it from pot to pot, it might start decaying. 
  • The optimal season for repotting your Croton mammy is spring.
  • Make sure you limit your repotting to a duration of two or three years.
  • The pot you use should have proper draining holes so the soil does not get too soggy.
  • There should be adequate soil in the pot when you repot your Croton. Preferably, an inch above the top of the pot.
  • Make a small hole in the soil and gently place your Croton mammy in it. Pack it with more soil and water.
  • Keep your mammy warm and well-loved! Make sure it remains well-drained, adequately watered and located in a warm and humid space. 

 

Problems

Generally, if you keep your Croton mammy well watered and in a pot that has proper drainage and is placed in a warm place, it would not face many problems. However, as a living thing, it is bound to experience some difficulties too. 

So do not fret and keep your green thumbs working in making your Croton happy and healthy! All you need to do is look out for the following signs and remedy them in time:

– Green Leaves

A Croton mammy generally has vividly colorful leaves, so if you see the leaves of your Croton turning green, it is a sign that it might not be receiving adequate sunshine. Give your Croton back its color by placing it in a well-lit, warm place so it receives lots of sunshine and love.

– Burned Leaves

If gray spots start appearing on your Croton’s leaves, quickly move your plant to a partially shaded spot. Gray spots are a sign that your Croton might be sunburnt, and its exposure to sunlight is more than it needs at the moment.

Exposure to high temperatures also manifests in these gray spots, so all you need to do is place your plant in a partially shaded area and let it cool down.

– Dull Leaves

Naturally, Croton mammy has vibrant and thick leaves. When its leaves start getting dull, it is a sign that they are not getting proper moisture. Periodically spray its leaves with calcium-free water, or add a few drops of neem tree oil in water before spraying on the leaves.

They will be back to their radiant vibrancy in no time, while the neem oil will not only restore their luster but also help the Croton get rid of pests and insects.

– Leaf Loss and Leaf Drop

As stated earlier, the Croton mammy is exceptionally sensitive to movement, so you must avoid repotting the plant too often. If you are growing your Croton indoors, make sure it is placed in such a location that minimizes excessive movement.

Overwatering the plant also results in leaf loss. Poor drainage is the main reason for this. Follow the water requirements guide above to know when to water your plant. 

In the case of root rot, you will have to repot the plant into fresh soil if there is still a chance. Otherwise, take cuttings and restart your plants. Follow the propagation guide for rescuing your plants with cuttings.

– Pests

Similar to any other plant, the Croton mammy is susceptible to pest infestations as well. As house plants, Crotons attract spider mites that cause their leaves to turn yellow. However, they are not much of a threat and can easily be removed by using neem oil or other pesticides. 

Moreover, mealy bugs could occasionally infest your plant. This can be remedied by rubbing cotton dipped in rubbing alcohol over the affected area or making use of available pesticides, depending on the severity of the infestation. 

– Toxicity

Even though the Croton mammy is generally kept as a houseplant, it has a highly toxic plant sap. Its bark, stem, leaves, and roots are all poisonous, so children and pets should be prevented from ingesting them.

Moreover, its milky sap causes skin irritation. You must always wear protective gloves when potting or even pruning these vibrant and beautiful plants.

– Diseases

Croton Mammy also suffers from diseases like:

  • Anthracnose: Most Crotons are affected by anthracnose, which is also known as leaf blight disease. This causes the leaves of the Croton mammy to acquire tan-colored spots. It could spread to other parts of the plant if the infected plant comes in contact with the healthy foliage.
  • Crown Gall: Grafted plants or plants that have been propagated through their stems are most susceptible to this type of bacteria. If a gall starts appearing near the root line of your freshly potted plant, then the soil needs to be dug up and replaced.
  • Nectriella Pironni: This is a fungal pathogen that affects more than sixty-two types of plants, including Croton. Its symptoms include brown ringed, slightly sunken spots appearing on the foliage of your Croton mammy. In time, the infected leaves may even turn brown and fall off.
  • Edema: This is caused when you overwater your Croton mammy, so when the plant tries to absorb more water than it is capable of, blisters start appearing on its leaves. Failure to treat this in time would lead to heavy leaf loss.
  • Powdery Mildew: This is an infection where a thin grayish layer of powder starts covering both sides of the leaves of your Croton mammy, causing the Croton mammy to experience stunted growth.

FAQ

Here is an often-asked question about the Croton mammy plant.

– Are Mammy Crotons Perennials?

Yes, the mammy Croton plant is a perennial that loves to stay in warm and humid environments. Aside from its perennial nature, a full grown Croton mammy stands out because of its distinctive features, which are the broad, leathery leaves that make up its foliage.

What makes them so eye-catching is the mesmerizing hues of pink, orange, yellow and red with their beautiful glossy leaves. That is why it is also called the Red mammy Croton.

Croton mammy make for great houseplants, as they are a perfect way to add a touch of pizzazz to your indoor garden with their evergreen shrugs and large, leathery, multi-colored leaves. In addition, these beautiful plants come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. They are ideal for tropical gardens that have well-draining soil.

garden Croton Mammy plant

Conclusion

Growing a Croton mammy is the best way to make your dream of planting a tropical garden at home come true. Let us now go through the essential care guidelines once more:

  • Croton mammy flourishes in moist soil. Hence, regularly watering your Croton mammy is advisable. Be careful to not overwater your Croton mammy though.
  • They also enjoy plenty of sunlight, but it is best to keep them in the shade if it is planted outside. Never expose them to frosty weather because it can be fatal for them.
  • You can propagate them using stem cuttings, air layering, or seed propagation.
  • Typically, Croton mammy does not have a high growth rate, so they do not need plenty of space to grow. They usually grow only 12 inches in the entire growing season.

You should be able to easily care for your Croton mammy with the assistance of our comprehensive guidelines. All you need to do is give them a little love and affection while ensuring they receive plenty of warmth and sunshine.