Croton mammy is a plant native to Indonesia, Australia, and Malaysia. Characteristics of the plant are bright red, green, yellow, and purple rounded foliage that twists and has a sheen. The plant is one of the smallest cultivators in the Codiaeum genus, and it only grows to a maximum of 3′ tall.
It is from the Euphorbiaceae family, and its scientific name is Codiaeum variegatum. Other common names for the plant include mamey croton, croton mamey, and mammy croton.
Croton Mammy Care
Codiaeum variegatum ‘Mammy’care does not have to be complicated. Arming yourself with information about the plant’s needs will help you ensure that it thrives.
It is important to note that mammy crotons can handle drought and some salt once they mature. Although, those conditions are not ideal.
Soil for the plant should be free-draining, nutrient-rich, and moist, with a pH of 4.5 to 6.5. A proper soil mixture for this plants consist of peat moss, pine bark, and sand at a ratio of 6:3:1. Another soil mixture option consists of peat moss and sand at a 3:1 ratio.
It is best to water this plant when the top 2″ of soil has dried. Although, some plant owners may find that their mammy plant may need daily waterings. It is also critical to note that over or undersaturation can cause the plant to wilt and droop. During the winter months, you can decrease watering.
Partial shade to bright but indirect light is best for the mamey croton. Brighter lighting encourages more range in foliage coloring, while increased shade makes the plant produce typical green leaves. Although, bright light with no shade can create the same effects as too much shade. Ensure that your plant is receiving at least 30 to 47% shade.
Humidity & Temperature
Croton mammy plants are tropical plants, which means warmer temperatures between 60°F and 70°F or 15.56°C and 21.1°C are best, as well as maintaining a higher humidity. To ensure proper humidity levels, mist its foliage frequently. Another thing to note is colder temperatures can be harmful; any temp below 50°F or 10°C is damaging.
If you wish to use fertilizer, a palm fertilizer will work best. But beware of over-fertilization. When a mammy plant is over-fertilized, it can affect the size of the root system and the plant’s coloring.
Using stem cuttings is the most popular method to propagate the croton mamey. The stems should have three to five leaves attached and be 6″ to 8″ long. Once cut, dip the ends in a rooting hormone. Follow that by placing the cutting in soil. The soil you choose to propagate the plant in should be between 70° and 80°F or 21°C and 27°C. It is best to propagate this plant in a mixture of perlite and Sphagnum peat moss.
Diseases & Pests
Mammy plants are susceptible to Agrobacterium tumefaciens or crown gall, a bacteria that causes the roots and leaf veins to swell. The bacteria often occurs from previous cutting locations on the plant. The plant is also at risk for pests such as Thrips, scale, spider mites, and broad mites. Thrips remove content from the cells of the plant, and scale bugs remove the sap.
The leaves, roots, and seeds of mammy croton plants are poisonous. It is best to keep this plant out of the reach of children and pets. Dogs and cats may experience drooling, GI irritation, mouth irritation, vomiting, and loose stool if they ingest the plant. The sap of the plant also stains and can cause mild skin irritation for animals.
Croton Mammy Pruning
Mammy plants need pruning when you want to encourage healthy and non-leggy growth. Removing lifeless branches and leaves is best. If you wish to prune your plant, it is best to do so before the active growing season. Early spring is ideal.
Codiaeum Variegatum Mammy Lifespan
Two to four years is the average lifespan of a healthy Codiaeum variegatum, commonly known as mamey croton. If you want to extend the plant’s life, consider propagating it through stem cuttings.
Croton Mammy vs Petra
Mammy and petra are both croton plants from the Codiaeum genus. One of their most significant differences is their size. Petra plants grow to be 8′ tall and 6′ wide, whereas mammy plants grow to be a maximum of 3′ tall and 2′ wide. Croton mammy plants also have narrow oval leaves that twist, and petras have broad tapered leaves.
Stamps, R. H., & Osborne, L. S. (n.d.). Croton Production and Use. askifas. Retrieved October 5, 2022, from https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdf/EP/EP10600.pdf