Croton Species, Joseph's Coat, Variegated Croton

Codiaeum variegatum

Family: Euphorbiaceae (yoo-for-bee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Codiaeum (koh-dih-EE-um) (Info)
Species: variegatum (var-ee-GAY-tum) (Info)
Synonym:Codiaeum variegatum var. genuinum
Synonym:Croton variegatus
View this plant in a garden


Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

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

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade


Grown for foliage


Good Fall Color



Foliage Color:





36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


24-36 in. (60-90 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:

Suitable for growing in containers


All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Gold (yellow-orange)

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Blooms repeatedly

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From woody stem cuttings

From softwood cuttings

From semi-hardwood cuttings

By air layering

By tip layering

By stooling or mound layering

Seed Collecting:

Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Budapest, Budapest

Antelope, California

Brentwood, California

Carlsbad, California

Folsom, California

Indio, California

Irvine, California

Merced, California

Stockton, California

Bartow, Florida

Boca Raton, Florida

Boynton Beach, Florida(2 reports)

Brandon, Florida

Brooksville, Florida

Cape Coral, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Hollywood, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida

Lutz, Florida

Melbourne Beach, Florida

Miami, Florida

Ocoee, Florida

Orlando, Florida

Parrish, Florida

Pompano Beach, Florida

Rockledge, Florida

Ruskin, Florida

Saint Petersburg, Florida

Sarasota, Florida

Seminole, Florida

Tampa, Florida

Titusville, Florida

Vero Beach, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida

Honomu, Hawaii


Kula, Hawaii

Belvidere, Illinois

Crofton, Kentucky

Fort George G Meade, Maryland

Rochester, New York

Georgetown, South Carolina

Broaddus, Texas

Dallas, Texas

Elgin, Texas

La Vernia, Texas

League City, Texas

Port Lavaca, Texas

Spring, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Mar 17, 2016, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

As a houseplant, I've never had any long-term success with this shrub. It drops leaves faster than it produces them, till tufts of leaves are left at the ends of long naked stems. Then those go as well. I suspect it's partly low indoor humidity. Outdoor containers sometimes have the same problem--could it be too much or too little water, with a limited margin for error?

In West Palm Beach, a large and reasonably attractive landscape shrub (7' high and wide) still is dropping a daily harvest of leaves. A messy plant.


On Jun 1, 2014, Alex4294 from Plymouth,
United Kingdom (Zone 9b) wrote:

I bought this plant as a small 4" cutting with a few leaves for 99p at a local garden centre. For a few years it threw leaves out in short bursts over the year in a north facing window, before being moved to a window that receives a few hours of afternoon sun. Over the course of 4 years it has reached 2ft high with a couple of small branches on the side. New leaves are green with golden veins, which eventually flush red as they age. Despite reading about how fussy this plant is in textbooks, it copes well with standard house conditions with no special care. While not amazingly fast growing for me, it seems really happy and looks great!


On Jan 24, 2014, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

I actually saw living,doing well Croton's outdoors in Hayward in the SF bay area. They had to have grown at least one full summer outdoors,and they had managed to take a 30f with what looked like minimal leaf drop this winter. Bigger stems then those right out of the stores,and the leaves had the outdoor grown look,being not quite as big as the greenhouse plants. But,they were paddle shaped and a colorful splash of red and orange. The classic Croton.
I was amazed to see this. I never thought THEY could take our cool winters. Yes,they were in large pots not in ground. But outdoors 24/7.


On Dec 24, 2009, DJ27 from Strawberry Plains, TN wrote:

hi I'm new to the site and I'm not sure if this is the right place to ask questions. I joined because I am a new home owner and inheritant of house plants. I am having trouble with my croton. it seemed fine, a little leggy, but fine. I love the plant and it came from a funeral so, it is special to my husband and I. over night one of its two branches lost the rest of its leaves and the other which was very perky just drooped! I did just repot it due to learning its pot was way to big. it lives in a brigt draft free room with moist soil. what might I be doing wrong?


On Jun 6, 2009, atm1 from Detroit, MI wrote:

Nice root system, so keep soil moist and don't forget to mist!


On Apr 6, 2009, hmbgerl from Folsom, CA wrote:

We grow ours indoors because of extremes in summer/winter. A year ago, the new leaves grew long, thin, and very twisted (corkscrew-like). This year the newer set of leaves are oval and kind of flat. Leaves deepen in red color as the leaves age. Thinking about growing it outdoors...anyone in CA Zone 9 been able to do this with success?


On Nov 13, 2008, goatens from Austin, TX wrote:

I have this as an indoor plant in Rochester, NY. I keep it in the light of the window, and water fairly frequently. It has been doing wonderfully! I love its colors!


On Nov 14, 2007, twilightblue from Waterbury, CT (Zone 5b) wrote:

I have this plant indoors, and just bought it, does it need to stay indoors for my zone? (6b), most seem to have theirs outdoors.


On Oct 1, 2006, nalin1 from New Delhi,
India (Zone 10a) wrote:

Varieties of differing growth habit crotons grouped together under a tree helps them flourish in New Delhi (zone 10a). It seems that the micro-climate of a tree (in my garden a neem tree—uploading image), and wind protecting each other the crotons add a lot of colour throughout the year.

Previously, where these were in open/exposed conditions or even against a south wall, during winters they tended to die down or become leggy.


On Jun 11, 2006, vcb1 from Melbourne Beach, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

These grow all over the place here in 9b. There are a huge variety of types that vary in leaf shape and color. Varigated colors range from deep burgundy up through pinks and yellows through almost white. They add nice foliage color to a tropical setting. They're susceptible to scale. Easy to propogate by simply putting a cut branch into potting soil and keeping it moist. I propogate them all the time.


On Jul 1, 2004, foodiesleuth from Honomu, HI (Zone 11) wrote:

My son loves crotons and is accumulating a collection of different varieties. When a plant gets too large, we cut limbs off, use in flower arragements in the house (lots of lovely colors!) let them root in the water and replant somewhere else where fillers or color is needed......


On Sep 6, 2003, kamia from Athens, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

These are true no to extremely low maintenance plants for me. I know once I put one in my yard I never have to worry about it kicking the bucket. I've got 2 in my yard that I help my grandparents plant about 17 years ago and they look still look excellent all the time. They've held up through frost, drought, heavily excessive amounts of rain, weeks of standing water. Nice for tropical effect and some nice for brilliant color.


On Aug 30, 2003, broozersnooze from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Thanks to all of you who shared your pix of these plants. I have several lovely crotons but none as grand as some of these pix.
All the gardens in my yard are container gardens, due to back problems, & for the same reason most of my potted plants must weather the winter outside. Surprisingly enough the crotons have survived some pretty harsh winters (for area 9b) so I guess I've been fortunate. They die back but have come back beautifully.
The oaks here must provide not only acid soil from the falling leaves but a little protection from the cold.
My crotons are mixed in with various ferns, bromeliads, impatiens, palms, ivy, coleus & a myriad of other plants with like needs. I do very little for them except mist them a.m. & p.m. They get about 50/50 sun/shade.
... read more


On Aug 8, 2001, tiredwabbit from Point Pleasant Beach, NJ (Zone 7a) wrote:

Likes to be misted. Can get spider mites very easily. Spider mites don't care for a moist enviornment, so when ever you have the chance squirt it!!!!!!!!!!