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Colorful Crotons

Who needs flowers when the foliage is so colorful?  Crotons (Codiaeum variegatum pictum hybrids and varieties) are tropical shrubs, native to southern India, Malaysia, and Ceylon, sporting leaves variegated in bright shades of green, orange, yellow, red, and burgundy.  The many varieties of croton also have large or small, wide or narrow, rounded or elongated, or even curly leaves.  Small, inconspicuous flowers dangle on long racemes.  These attractive houseplants brighten any sunny windowsill, and can also be used outside for summer color on porch or patio.  Keep the soil moist with good drainage, and mist foliage regularly to increase humidity.  Prune these plants to keep them small, or let them grow into larger plants of five feet or more.  Crotons are relatives of the poinsettia and Crown of Thorns.