Tovah Martin on Crotons

When I was in Portland way back in February, my croton houseplant was looking pretty sad.

Many of it’s leaves had dropped, and I didn’t think it had much time left in it. I wondered….is it not getting enough water? Too little sunlight?? No amount of water seemed to help, and I can’t do much about the sun in Portland in the winter.

Then, I read Tovah Martin‘s The Indestructible Houseplant, and in her chapter on crotons, I came across these paragraphs:

Before its first winter is over, Codiaeum verigatum var. pictum is generally headed for wherever you send your deflowered houseplants, thanks to its stubborn refusal to remain clothed

!!! It’s not my fault after all. Even a houseplant master, like Tovah Martin, can’t keep this croton alive. And, in fact, I have to give myself credit – I’ve had this croton for at least three or four years by now, and it’s stayed well clothed until just this past year, thank you very much.


When I visited Portland at the end of April, I saw this:

Yes, it looks even worse with even fewer leaves, but do you see that cluster of buds at the very top of the plant? That’s a croton about to bloom!

The blooms are pretty unremarkable, according to the internet, but I’m pretty proud that it managed to bloom. One last hurrah before it dies, I suppose….

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