Native to the tropics. Can reach 6 feet or more (and as wide) outdoors in Tropical South; indoors, usually seen as single-stemmed plant, 624 inches tall. Grown principally for its showy large, leathery, glossy leaves, which may be green, yellow, red, purple, bronze, pink, or almost any combination of these colors. Leaves may be oval, lance shaped, or very narrow; edges may be straight or lobed. Dozens of named forms combine these differing features. Not favored by deer.
Outdoor exposure depends on the selection. Needs bright light and regular misting indoors; does well in a warm, humid greenhouse, provided you control spider mites, mealybugs, and thrips. Can be brought outdoors at warm times of the year. Repeated contact with croton leaves can cause a skin rash in some people.