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Green Thumb
Posts: 322
Joined: Thu Dec 09, 2010 12:14 am
Location: Largo, Florida

Croton Bonsai.

I've been looking around my area for potential bonsai and I think I have found one that is FREE!

It is a type of Croton, not sure what type.
It's been growing infront of my house for 6 years.
It has an atleast 2in trunk.
Has about 4in - 6in leafs.
It's about 2-3ft tall.
They are orange/red/yellow.
I was wondering if this is an unusual type of Bonsai.
Is it possible to 'bonsai it up'?
Is it possible to defoliate it? (Make leafs smaller)
If so, what type of soil should it be put in?
We've been growing it as a shrub, but it lost some of it's leafs but looks good.
Any other information is needed, just ask.
Will be posting pictures ASAP.
Thanks for any information to can give me :)
"It's not just a 'hobby', it's a type of lifestyle."

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Posts: 5122
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2006 4:17 am
Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A


I surmise from the lack of responses that none of our members have ever worked with this species, I know I haven't. I'm not certain it is a good candidate but I suppose you can experiment with it some and let us know how it goes.


Greener Thumb
Posts: 749
Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 12:28 pm
Location: Cedarville (SE of Utica) NY, USA

Don't know this shrub. Not a Florida guy I guess. While I do dabble a little with tropicals I stay away from anything like this - with 4 in. to 6 in. leaves. That's not bonsai material in my book.

BUT I don't knock Justin for asking. I remember my zest and enthusiasm when I started out. Explore all the possibilities. Learn what works, what doesn't, but concentrate most on what brings the best results.

Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2665
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2011 6:52 am
Location: SE-OH USA Zone 6-A

Justin, a quick google search turned up the following:

In the euphorbiaceae family; codiaem varigatium

Listed as a 'plant'. From here in OH this 'plant' status does not preclude it being trained as bonsai. If Fatalli can tray-train a chilli pepper, why not yours?

To make the it all even murkier there is supposed to be an 'oak-leaf' model that adopts tree like branching.

Inasmuch as this is in your own yard I think I'd at least run the idea of training it as bonsai past your parental units...

I've kept a rosemary (one of only a few tender plants I train) for years. Were I you and with consent of the old folks, I'd try it.
Think like a tree
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Green Thumb
Posts: 650
Joined: Wed Oct 28, 2009 1:19 pm
Location: Coventry, CT


I have a Croton up on the desk where I was wintering my Scheffleras. It's a beautiful plant and the trunk does get very woody, but the leaves are WAY too big to be considered a bonsai. Keep it as a beautiful plant and it adds great color to the mix. Enjoy it for what it is. Not everything can be a bonsai.


(Sorry for the crappy iPhone picture.)

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Greener Thumb
Posts: 1316
Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2010 9:48 pm
Location: Ecuador, USDA Zone 13, at 10,000' of altitude

Justin, I've tried Crotons of that type (IE Codaeium variegatum) for bonsai and always been quite disappointed - they don't hold up at all well to root pruning.

If you want to try a neat one, though, look for seeds of Croton eleuterium. That's another Euphorb family tree, but actually a tree. Lovely red new foliage, mottly white-grey bark, and bleeds red when you prune it.

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