Graptophyllum Species, Caricature Plant, Jamaican Croton

Graptophyllum pictum

Family: Acanthaceae (ah-kanth-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Graptophyllum (Grap-toh-FILL-um) (Info)
Species: pictum (PIK-tum) (Info)
Synonym:Graptophyllum hortense
Synonym:Graptophyllum picturatum



Water Requirements:

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


Grown for foliage

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Unknown - Tell us

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From softwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

San Jose, California

Big Pine Key, Florida

Boca Raton, Florida

Cape Coral, Florida

Delray Beach, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida (2 reports)

Hollywood, Florida

Miami, Florida (2 reports)

Palm Harbor, Florida

Pompano Beach, Florida

Saint Petersburg, Florida

Seminole, Florida

Vero Beach, Florida

Kihei, Hawaii

Austin, Texas

Beaumont, Texas

Missouri City, Texas

Taft, Texas

Richmond, Virginia

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On May 15, 2016, pl89266 from Fort Lauderdale, FL wrote:

I have 2 of these Graptophyllum plants both about 3 foot tall. From May-Oct they get full South Florida sun but during Nov - Apr they receive part sun. They seem to thrive in either lighting condition without much stress to the plant. My soil is the typical sandy Florida limestone mix with some peat moss that was added about a year ago. They get the ocassional sprinkling of palm fertilizer and bloom regularly. I rarely need to groom these babies - great addition to the sub-tropical landscape.


On Oct 16, 2012, schmetterling90 from Richmond, VA (Zone 7b) wrote:

I have had a container Graptophyllum for a few months now, and while it was doing quite well initially, it has begun not to look so good. I discovered the cause of its issues: my house cat has been attacking it and eating leaves off of it. Does anyone know if the plant is potentially toxic?


On Jun 16, 2012, Florida9 from Palm Harbor, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

This is a beautiful plant here in my 9b yard. As others have mentioned, it really does need wet soil during the summer months or it wilts badly but it snaps back quickly. It lost all its leaves during light winter freezes here but grew back quickly. However, for me the main problem has been damage from deer. We have more every year and they really love this plant! I still feel it's worth the effort, and I always have a couple of cuttings started on the patio just in case the deer get carried away.


On May 23, 2008, Tetrazygia from Miami, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

Have had this growing along the north side of my house for some years in a very tricky spot with poor, limestoney-sandy soil that gets only very late afternoon sun during the late fall, winter, and early spring, but full sun all day from about May through September.

Almost nothing will take practically no sun for 2/3 of the year and then full sun for summer, but these plants thrive there (I'm assuming it's since its sun-time also correlates with the wet season).

I have three of the same kind and all look great. They are relatively fast growing where I have them and do get pruned. Twice I had to prune them back really hard and they quickly filled in. They have never dropped leaves for me in the winter and I noticed that their roots have spread out over an ... read more


On Apr 8, 2007, Chris_Lorry from Vero Beach, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Pretty easy plant to maintain. Does like water though. As for cold tolerance, it drops some of it's leaves when we get dry air in the winter. Seems to do this when we drop below 40 degrees. It quickly recovers though. Often before the next cold snap as it keeps growing all winter long here.


On Sep 27, 2006, Plantcrazii from Dallas, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

This plant is really easy to grow and is also easy to propagate. Take softwood stem cuttings and put them in water and in no time you'll have plenty of roots. This plant has beautiful coloring, green around the edges, then pink and yellow in the center. It is a fabulous plant to grow.


On Jun 14, 2005, Cearbhaill from Russell, KY (Zone 6b) wrote:

This is another really easy keeper- I have yet to have a problem of any kind. Beautiful and yet doesn't grow so quickly that it needs a lot of maintenance.


On Sep 24, 2003, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro,
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

This plants foliage is so atractive that the showy red/purple flowers are just a secondary atraction. Great for color compositions.


On Feb 11, 2002, Dinu from Mysore,
India (Zone 10a) wrote:

When grown together, these two colours give a magnificient effect.