The primary consideration in selecting a planter for your Croton Elaine should be the amount of space it needs for the roots of the plant to grow.
Many croton Elaine’s that are bought from nurseries are root bound which means not only does the plant have to adjust to a new home but also needs transplanting as soon as possible. These technicolor plants have been grown outdoors in Florida and southern California for many years. Greenhouse growers gave crotons a makeover and selected varieties that adapted to low light. However today’s crotons are one of the most widely sold foliage plants, and because they are easily propagated in greenhouses, they are quite affordable as well.
The leaf color of the Croton Elaine is most vivid when plants get plenty of light. Crotons also have a high transpiration rate, so they need frequent watering. Efficient drainage is the key to any green thumb. Water that collects in the bottom of a container can be the kiss of death for almost all plants.
Make sure your planters have at least one large hole in the bottom. The more capacity the planter the more holes will be needed. Our guideline is the more holes the better. Place a coffee filter or some fiberglass screening inside the planter to cover up the holes. This will help prevent creating crannies to harbor beetles, slugs or any other destructive bugs.
If you wish to add a layer of broken clay flower pots or rocks in the bottom of a planter to improve drainage it is up to you. I have even been known to sterilize some styrofoam and place that in the bottom of a very large planter to prevent the drain holes from being blocked.
Whenever a plant needs lots of water I recommend you water it from both the top and the bottom of the container. To do this I simply pour water into a tray or saucer, set the plant in it, an allow the plant to drink its fill for up to 30 minutes before emptying out any excess water. Never leave a pot sitting in standing water for more than 30 minutes. Although this might be a little more time-consuming, bottom watering plants is often the best way to be certain that the lowest half of the root receives adequate moisture.
Most plants flourish when they are watered both from the top and the bottom because it helps to avoid the formation of dry pockets in the planter. Depending on where you place your planters, you may want to put a saucer under each container to hold water that drains from the pots.
We prefer saucers made of thicker material that stand up better to sunlight and to the rigors of moving planters from one place to another. Saucers are attractive and durable. We recommend a plant saucer to keep water from leaching through onto the deck wood.
The croton Elaine has longevity of several years to indefinitely if propagated correctly. Once you have chosen the right combination of planter and saucer to fit your foliage you will be ready to fill them with soil and enjoy starting on your way toward a bountiful harvest.
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