It’s hard not to stare at this one, no matter how many other plants surround it. A croton gold dust has some of the brightest and boldest foliage around. It’s safe to say that this one never fails to add that tropical touch to your home.
However, these exotic plants aren’t very easy to maintain. The conditions they usually thrive in can be hard to mimic but not impossible. Here’s everything you need to know about the gold dust croton plants.
Origin of Gold Dust Plants
Table of Contents
Native to Southern Asia and the Western Pacific Islands, these plants thrive in conditions with high humidity levels.
Furthermore, they need a lot more bright light than their counterparts mainly because light helps their variegation. One of the best ways to increase humidity around it is by grouping it together with the rest.
While it is native to forests, it can also thrive indoors under the right kind of care and maintenance. The striking appearance of the plant is all due to the green and glossy leaves speckled with gold.
While you can grow it indoors, too, the outdoor atmosphere may be more conducive to its growth, helping it go up to a height of 10 feet. Inside the house, it may undergo a rather slow fashion of growth, and it can also get leggy if it isn’t pruned in time.
How Much Light Does a Gold Dust Croton Plant Require?
These plants do well in bright spots around your house. Ideally, they should receive about four to six hours of light per day as it facilitates the production of golden speckles.
If the lack of adequate lighting persists, you will notice the plant growing lanky and tall with drowsy leaves.
How Much Water Does Your Gold Dust Croton Need?
The growing season demands the most watering for these plants. This is because only adequate watering can keep the soil moist.
Overwatering the plant can hinder its growth because no plant responds well to unnecessarily standing water. Hence, it’s important to use a container with drainage holes if you plan to grow your gold dust croton in a pot.
During this period, you also want to ensure that you’re feeding the plant properly. However, as soon as the winter season arrives, cut back on both practices. You want to prevent the soil from getting too rich or too soggy for optimal growth.
What Type Of Water Should You Use?
There are a number of variations to hydrogen dioxide, but not all of them are conducive to the plant’s growth. While watering, you want to ensure that the plant doesn’t suffer from a temperature shock. Hence, avoid using anything too hot or too cold.
Furthermore, try not to use tap water as it contains several harmful chemicals, chlorine, and excess minerals that can damage your plant. If you have no choice but to use it, allow it to sit out overnight so the chlorine gas can escape. Following this, you want to run it through a filtration pitcher.
Only then will it become suitable for your gold dust croton. However, your best bet will be to stick to distilled water for plants which are also sometimes known as baby water.
Rainwater can also prove to be useful if you add some hydrogen peroxide to it. Hence, if you’re out of distilled water, you can place a container outdoors to collect rainwater as an alternative.
How Should You Propagate Croton Plants?
Propagating crotons is a lot easier than it seems. It isn’t hard to obtain and maintain stem cuttings, and the method is also effective if you want the parent plant replica.
The shoots produced by the plant are usually dug out and potted separately, but they’re not the same as the parent plant. You’re bound to get a diverse set of crotons as a result.
It is also possible to propagate with seeds, but it isn’t usually suggested because the plant is unstable. Furthermore, the offspring will be different from the parent plant.
Diseases Your Gold Dust Croton Is Prone to Catching
Like most other plants, gold dust croton is also prone to catching diseases if it isn’t taken care of. In low humidity conditions, it also becomes susceptible to spider mites.
Furthermore, if it isn’t exposed to enough direct and bright sunlight, the leaves may not develop properly and may even lack a rich color. Fortunately, mealybugs aren’t a serious threat to the plant but they should still be eliminated from it.
If you find a bunch of woolly patches on the leaves, use a cotton bud dipped in diluted methylated spirit to remove them. If the infestation doesn’t go away, use neem oil or another non-toxic insecticide.
Additionally, you want to keep an eye out for aphid attacks, scale bugs, and other diseases such as leaf spots and root rot.
Tips For Healthy Soil and Transplanting
- Your gold dust croton plant will certainly grow lush if there’s constant moisture in the soil. Hence, make sure to plant it in slightly acidic soil that is well-drained and organically rich.
- A well-draining soil helps retain adequate moisture levels to prevent the plant from undergoing root rot.
- At the same time, consistently dry soil is also harmful to its growth. To get the best out of your soil, use an organic mulch layer around the stem so your roots remain cool, and the soil remains moist.
- The best time to repot the plants is during spring if needed.
- Stick to using a planter that is a size larger than your existing one.
- Lift the plant slowly from the old container before sliding it into the new one.
- Water the plant and fill the area surrounding the roots with potting soil.
Maintenance And Grooming
- Gold dust croton responds well to trimming if you notice that the growth has gotten leggy.
- As soon as the growing season begins, you want to prune the plant back hard and move it under the sun outside.
- If you’re growing it indoors, make sure to maintain optimal humidity levels.
- Bright sunlight is always a must.
- The winter season calls for better gold dust croton care because overwintering can be a problem. Move your plant inside a greenhouse for the required levels of warmth.
- If you expose the plant to cold temperatures for too long, you may notice the leaves drooping instantly.
How Often Should You Fertilize Your Gold Dust Croton Plant?
During the growth season, it’s imperative that you fertilize your gold dust croton thrice. The first feeding session should ideally be at the start of spring.
For the second application, you may want to wait until the start of summer, and the third application should be in mid-summer. Avoid fertilizing the gold dust croton plant during winter and autumn months.
In a nutshell, spring through summer is the best time to fertilize it. The best growth results also depend on the type of fertilizer you use. A general houseplant fertilizer works well to feed the shrub.
Pruning Your Gold Dust Croton Plant
It’s best to remove discolored and damaged foliage as required to ensure that your plant’s growth isn’t hindered. Pruning is recommended in the summer or spring months when you can keep the plant in desirable size and shape.
However, you don’t want to remove too much of the plant’s shrub, or it might go into shock. On the plus side, the plant doesn’t require much maintenance when it comes to pruning.
Pruning becomes necessary if your plant is going out of shape or has damaged and discolored leaves. You don’t want to do it unnecessarily.
Gold Dust Croton Propagation
The best way to propagate the plant is by cutting its stems. A sharp and clean kitchen knife or gardening should do the work effortlessly.
However, you want to make sure that the plant you’re taking a cutting from is undamaged and healthy. Plant the cutting in well-draining and moist soil and care for it using the usual techniques. No wonder these plants are the easiest to propagate.
Common Problems With a Gold Dust Croton Plant
The most common problem the plant often faces is root rot. Unfortunately, it can be a result of overwatering, and it is often hard to reverse once it begins. Hence, you want to focus on preventing it instead of curing it.
Make sure to water your gold dust only when the top layer of the soil has dried completely. A pot with drainage holes can further help you prevent the overwatering problem.
Spider mites, in some cases, can be a minor irritant for these shrubs, but they aren’t a significant threat. However, scale insects and mealybugs can certainly pester your gold dust plant. As soon as you notice any signs of infestation, wipe the plant’s foliage with rubbing alcohol or neem oil.
Is the Gold Dust Plant Toxic?
The gold dust plant or codiaeum variegatum can be extremely toxic to children and pets. The vibrant green foliage of the plant can stand out and garner attention from pets and children, which is why you want to keep it at a safe distance at all times.
The evergreen shrub may seem appealing, but if your dog or cat eats any part of it, they will most likely have symptoms depending on how much they’ve ingested. The most toxic part of gold dust crotons is the berries.
If your pet ends up eating it, it may have an elevated heart rate and loss of control of bodily movements. Since it’s a common indoor plant, your pets and children are more likely to come near it.
Some of the most common poisoning symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain
- Appetite loss
- Dilated pupils
- Increased heart rate
- Excessive drooling
- Walking difficulty
- Stomach Irritation
This subtropical plant can cause severe damage to any animal that ingests it.
Gold dust croton can certainly make your home look exotic, whether it’s placed inside or outside. This beautiful plant can take any space’s appearance up a notch. However, it may require more maintenance than usual.
From watering to pruning, everything must follow a strict schedule, or you may notice the leaves wilting in no time. Even if a few leaves catch a disease or become infested, it can take a toll on the entire plant’s growth if you do not eliminate the cause instantly.
By following this guide, you should be able to understand what your gold dust croton prefers and what conditions it requires to grow well, regardless of the circumstances.