Growing Croton Mammy: How To Care For Colorful Codiaeum Mammy

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Codiaeum Mammy (koh-dih-EE-um) is also known as Croton Mammy (KROH-tun). Other common names you may hear are:

  • Mammy Croton
  • Mammey Croton
  • Croton Mamey
  • Codiaeum variegatum (var-ee-GAY-tum)
  • Codiaeum croton mammy
  • croton mami codiaeum
Colorful foliage of Croton Mammey Pin
Colorful foliage of Croton Mammey, with its usual leaf shape, makes it a beautiful plant for visual interest.

This broadleaf evergreen is a member of the family Euphorbiaceae (yoo-for-bee-AY-see-ee).

Tropical croton plants are perennials, but in most USDA hardiness zones, they must be kept as annuals or indoors during winter.

Codiaeum is a reasonably small genus containing about seventeen species of small evergreen trees and shrubs hailing from Northwestern Oceana and Southeast South East Asia.

There are wide different croton varieties available for use in the landscape and as indoor plants, such as petra croton.

Croton Mammy Quick Care Tips

  • Botanical Tips: Botanical Name: Codiaeum variegatum ‘Mammy’
  • Common Name(s): Croton Mammy, Mammy Croton
  • Synonyms: None
  • Family & Origin: Euphorbiaceae family, native to Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands
  • Growability: Easy to grow
  • Grow Zone: USDA zones 10-11
  • Size: Grows up to 42′ inches tall and 2′ feet wide
  • Flowering: Rarely flowers indoors
  • Light: Bright, indirect light
  • Humidity: Prefers high humidity
  • Temperature: Thrives in temperatures between 60-85°F
  • Soil: Well-draining soil
  • Water: Water when the top inch of soil is dry, do not overwater
  • Fertilizer: Fertilize every 2-3 months with a balanced fertilizer
  • Pests & Diseases: Susceptible to spider mites, mealybugs, and scale insects. Can also be affected by root rot if overwatered.
  • Propagation: Propagated through stem cuttings
  • Plant Uses: Used as a decorative indoor plant, adds color and texture to any room.

They’re very popular because of their bright, magnificent, colorful foliage.

Some of the other common Croton varieties include:

The genus name ‘Codiaeum’ is derived from a Latinized version of the plant’s name in the Ternate vernacular, in which it is called kodiho and it’s important to know that mammy croton care for this plant.

Croton plant care will give you deeper insights about this.

Croton Mammy Plant Care Tips

Taking care of the mamey croton plant is relatively easy. This includes providing proper mammy croton plant care to ensure healthy growth.

Size and Growth

Mami Crotons stand about 42” inches tall, making one of the smallest cultivars in the Codiaeum genus.

Typically, the plant has a spread of about 2’ feet.

Croton Mammy plant, twisted leaves, unique foliagePin

Mammy has very distinctive shiny, leathery, large, thick leaves.

Individual leaves are about 8” inches long and an inch wide with an upright, twisting, curling, corkscrew growth habit.

The green leaves display a wide variety of bright colors, such as yellow, pink, and shades of red and orange.

Colors are most intense if you grow croton plants outdoors in full sun.

However, watch out for the sun scorch. If your Codiaeum variegatum mammy plant seems to be suffering from too much sun, move it to an area with afternoon shade.

Flowering and Fragrance

Mammey crotons, as with all variegated crotons, produce small, insignificant blooms during their growing season.

Light and Temperature

Croton red mammy does well in partial shade to full sun. For the best leaf color, some direct sun and bright light are essential.

Vibrant croton plants in pots.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @meu_jardim21

An excessive amount of shade causes the leaves to drop on the lower portions of the plant.

Also, too much direct sunlight may also scorch the leaves.

When kept as a houseplant, a southern or western window is preferred for the most abundant light.

Be sure to provide some protection from the direct rays of the sun magnified through the glass, as too much sun can cause leaf scorch.

Protect your Croton plant from temperature extremes. This plant is not frost-resistant.

Excessive heat and sun can cause leaf scorch, and a sudden cold snap will cause leaf loss or death.

Croton mammey can easily grow indoors or outdoors in a warm, tropical setting.

This plant is winter hardy in USDA hardiness zones 11 through 12.

Water Needs and Feeding

As tropical plants, Croton Mammy prefers a high humidity setting, so don’t allow the plant to dry out.

Colorful croton plant leaves against a blue sky.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @tropicalplantsofflorida

Growing as a houseplant, set the pot on a pebble tray filled with water to improve humidity levels immediately around the plant.

  • The ideal humidity level is between 40% and 80%.
  • Regular watering is essential; do not overwater.
  • The soil should be kept moist and never soggy.
  • Water Mammy Croton regularly and never allow the soil to dry out completely.
  • If you notice the leaves browning along the edges, you’re using too much water. Cut back on watering.

Related: Watering Croton Plants

This tropical plant does not go into dormancy, but it does experience a natural resting period during the colder months.

  • During this time, reduce watering and avoid fertilizing.
  • Fertilize seasonally in the spring, summer, and in autumn. Do not fertilize in the winter.
  • Use a good quality granular fertilizer or a liquid fertilizer for the necessary nutrients.

Soil and Transplanting

A Croton mammy red does well in soil of any pH level but must have well-draining soil with plenty of humus to maintain the right amount of moisture around the roots.

Remember that it must have adequate drainage holes to allow excess water to drain away.

Related: More on the Best Soil for Croton Plants

Grooming and Maintenance

Prune Mammy to maintain an attractive shape and keep its size under control.

Cut the stems back at the base. But overall, it is low maintenance.

Colorful croton plants in a blue pot outside a housePin
Photo Credit: Instagram @sassyklaas

How To Propagate Codiaeum Variegatum

Propagation of Croton plants may be done from stem cuttings dipped in a plant rooting hormone.

  • Place the cuttings in a moist, well-draining mixture of potting soil and sand.
  • Cover with a plastic bag over the container and set it in a warm, humid location.
  • Check daily to make sure the soil is lightly moist. You should see new growth within a month.
  • Once the cutting has developed a root system, take off the plastic cover and put the plant in a warm, humid, shady location for another couple of months.

Following this, your new plant should be thriving and ready to be placed in its permanent location.

To propagate Croton in water:

  • Take a cutting about 6” inches to a foot long and remove all of the bottom leaves.
  • Place the leaf in a vase or jar of water and keep it in a shady location with a constant temperature of 68° – 77° degrees Fahrenheit (20° C – 25° C) until you begin to see roots forming.

Plant the cutting in its own pot and care for it as described above until you see it is fully rooted and ready to be placed in its permanent location.

No matter what method you choose to use, once roots develop, repot the cutting into an appropriate pot filled with light, airy potting mix.

Mamey Croton Pests or Diseases

Outdoors Mammy Croton experiences few disease and insect problems. 

The main pests include Mealybugs on Croton, Red Spider Mites, Scales, and Thrips.

Overwatering can cause rot, as with any indoor plant – outdoor plants suffer as well.

Other common problems with Mamey Croton include sunburn and being prone to stress.

Additionally, plants indoors may be subject to infestation by mealybugs (white bugs on plants), spider mites, and plant scale. Neem oil sprays are a good treatment solution.

Details on:

Is Mammy Plant Considered Toxic or Poisonous?

Mammy Croton plants are not recommended for homes or businesses where children and animals or pets are present.

Every part of this Croton plant is highly toxic, and the seeds are potentially fatal.

Ingestion of any other part of the plant can cause gastric distress, such as vomiting, diarrhea, and upset stomach.

Contact with the sap of Croton plants can cause allergic reactions and even eczema in some people.

Be sure to protect your hands with gloves and wear long sleeves and eye protection when pruning or handling this plant.

Related: Learn more about Croton Plant Toxic to Cats.

Is Mammy Considered Invasive?

This bright, compact, pretty plant is frequently used in the landscape in semitropical areas such as Florida and California, and it has naturalized in these states.

Croton plants are found growing naturally in the Pacific islands, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Australia.

Suggested Uses For Mammy Crotons

Crotons are pretty with colorful leaves, easy to grow, and no matter if they are used indoors as a house plant, outdoors as a container plant, or landscape plants, they make a brilliant statement.

Vibrant potted plant in a cozy room with bookshelves.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @branchbotanical

These bright, colorful plants with multicolored leaves make beautiful additions and focal points, adding a tropical touch to border gardens, container plants, or as a specimen foliage plant to bring a tropical accent to your garden.

They are quite pretty when used as a poolside potted plant, but remember, direct contact with the sap will cause skin irritation.

Take care to keep them off the beaten track.

In areas where Croton plants are not winter hardy, use it as an annual.

Alternately, bring Croton indoors for winter to use as a houseplant.

You may also wish to keep your croton mammy care as a houseplant all year round.

To get the best vibrant color and keep your plant at its healthiest, be sure to provide it a bright spot with plenty of light and the correct amount of moisture.

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