Smaller than most in its genus, the Codiaeum variegatum ‘Banana’ is no less beautiful. It has been nicknamed the Banana Croton, due to its uniquely colored and oddly shaped foliage.
Native to parts of Northern Australia, the Pacific Islands, and Malaysia, the Banana Croton is classified as a tropical shrub.
This plant features green leaves with veins colored yellow. Unlike other Croton varieties, the Banana Croton foliage is oddly shaped.
Leaves at the plant’s base are generally varied in shape and size. Whereas the leaves fulling the top portion of the plant are tall and narrow.
Banana Croton Care
Banana Crotons need bright yet indirect light. They prefer moist, well-draining soil and high humidity. Temperatures between 70℉ and 80℉ (21℃ and 26.7℃) are ideal. Check your plant’s soil before watering it and only feed it once per month. Reduce feeding to once every two months in autumn and winter.
Banana Croton plants need moist but well-draining soil. A rich soil is advisable.
Incorporating gravel into your soil mix will increase the overall drainage. Ideal pH levels are between 5.6 and 7.5. A houseplant potting soil that’s intended for general purposes can be used.
These shrubs like moist soil but not soggy or waterlogged. Ideally, their soil should be rich and well-draining.
Incorporating materials such as gravel into the soil will help to increase its drainage properties.
Ideally, your Banana Croton should be grown in soil with a pH between 5.6 to 7.5. A general-purpose potting soil for houseplants will work well for the Banana Croton.
These soil mixes typically cover all the necessary bases and cater to the needs of your houseplant.
These shrubs need bright but indirect sunlight. A maximum of 8 and a minimum of 6 hours of sun exposure is preferable.
The more sun the Banana Croton receives, the better their foliage variegation will appear. Plain green leaves mean your plant is not receiving enough sun.
Light is important when it comes to finding a spot for your Banana Croton plant. They can adapt to various light levels ranging from partial shade to full sun.
However, they need a lot of light exposure in order to thrive.
Because of the variegation in their leaves, the more light this shrub receives, the better it will look.
Banana Croton plants should ideally be grown in bright but indirect sun. They need at least six hours of sun per day but would be overjoyed with eight hours.
Although they can grow under full sun, it is not advisable for this shrub. Direct exposure to the sun’s harsh rays’ for too long will damage your plant.
This level of sun exposure is likely to scorch your Banana Croton’s foliage and leave it with an undesirable appearance.
If your Banana Croton’s foliage is looking dull or is lacking color variegation you need to find a new spot for your shrub.
Plants with plain green leaves are in desperate need of a change of location.
This lack of color is a silent protest from your plant. Your Banana Croton is either not receiving bright enough sunlight or it is not getting a long enough exposure time.
Banana crotons need regular watering. It is best to make use of the ‘deep and thorough’ watering method.
Their soil should be kept moist. Check its soil often and water your plant once the top inch has dried. Drooping leaves is a sign your Banana Croton is in need of more water.
As these tropical shrubs require a significant amount of sun, they need to be watered rather frequently.
Banana Crotons like their soil to be kept consistently moist. When receiving their desired amount of sun exposure, their soil is likely to dry up fairly quickly.
The best way to go about watering your Banana Croton plant is to make use of the ‘deep and thorough’ method. This involves applying water at the base of your plant until it begins to run out the drainage hole at the bottom of the pot.
Allow the soil a few minutes to drain the excess water. Then, empty the pot’s saucer of the drained water.
Never leave your Banana Croton to sit in water as this is a sure way to encourage the development of rot.
Depending on the sunlight amount and the location where you’re in, water frequency will vary.
Typically, you can expect to water your plant once every three to four days. It’s always best to check your plant’s soil moisture before watering it.
To check the plant’s soil moisture, put your finger about 1 inch deep. If the soil’s dried out, it’s time to water your Banana Croton again.
If you still feel slight moisture in the soil, wait one more day and check again.
A sure sign your Banana Croton is in need of more water is if its leaves begin to droop. This is another form of silent protest this plant has to tell you it needs a little more attention.
Give your shrub a decent drink and in a few days its leaves will have perked up again.
Banana Crotons need warm temperatures but do not do well in extremely hot conditions. Ideally, you should keep your Banana Croton in temperatures between 70℉ and 80℉ (21℃ and 26.7℃).
Temperatures below 60℉ (15.6℃) can cause harm to your shrub and should be avoided.
Being a tropical plant, the Banana Croton prefers to be kept in warmer temperatures. These plants are thought to grow better in temperatures that are around 70℉ (21℃) or higher.
Temperatures that are below 60℉ (15.6℃) can be harmful to this shrub.
Although Banana Crotons enjoy higher temperatures, they do not do well in extreme heat. Anything much higher than 80℉ (26.7℃) is undesirable and the shrub will not thrive. Very cold temperatures will result in your plant losing leaves and in severe cases, dying.
This shrub desires high humidity levels. Mist your Banana Croton daily or keep it in a location with high humidity such as the bathroom or kitchen.
If these options aren’t possible, it’s best to keep your plant on top of a pebble tray. This will increase the surrounding humidity.
Banana Crotons love a lot of humidity. More important to them than temperature, high humidity levels are a necessity for this plant.
Their love for higher humidity makes these plants ideal for bathrooms or kitchens.
These plants should be misted daily in order to keep the humidity around them at a desirable level.
If this is not possible, however, placing your Banana Croton’s pot on top of a pebble tray will do the trick.
When feeding your Banana Croton, use a fertilizer with high nitrogen and potassium levels.
Avoid over-fertilizing your plant as too much fertilizer can cause harm to it.
Feed your plant once every three to four weeks during the growing season or once every other month in the autumn and winter.
This plant is known to grow rather quickly on its own and therefore does not require very regular fertilizing. To speed up the growth of your Banana Croton, however, you can fertilize it once every three to four weeks.
An ideal fertilizer to feed these plants with is one that is high in potassium as well as in nitrogen.
Reduce the frequency at which your feed this plant during the winter as it does not grow as rapidly during the colder months. At most, fertilize your Banana Croton once every second month.
Fertilizing this shrub too often or with too much fertilizer can cause harm to it.
Possible symptoms of your plant being fed too much include dull or drooping leaves. It is also likely to burn the plant’s roots underneath the soil.
Banana Crotons can vary quite drastically in size. They are capable of growing anywhere from 11.8 inches to 8 feet tall (30 centimeters to 2.4 meters).
This plant grows best in zones 9 to 11 but you can grow them anywhere. They are low maintenance and easy to please plants.
Banana Croton plants are one of the smaller varieties in the Codiaeum variegatum genus. Although, their growth may vary quite drastically.
These shrubs can reach heights of anywhere between 11.8 inches (30 centimeters) to 8 feet (2.4 meters) tall.
Their color variegation is most predominant when they are receiving a maximum amount of light.
Dull or plain-looking foliage means that your Banana Croton needs more exposure to the sun. But this does not mean they do well in harsh, direct sun. In fact, their ideal hardiness zones are between 9 and 11.
Other than a few minor necessities and preferences, this tropical shrub is an easy-to-keep plant. They have a fast rate of growth, and they’re quite low maintenance.
Only repot your Banana Croton once every two years and in the spring. They are sensitive plants that don’t want anything disturbing their roots.
Repotting your plant is necessary to provide it with fresh and nutritional soil.
Although these plants grow well in pots, they do not like to be disturbed. They are sensitive to being transplanted.
Therefore, you should only repot your Banana Croton when it is absolutely necessary. The ideal time to repot your plant is in the spring.
This is when the plant enters its season of growth and is less likely to go into shock from the change.
In most cases, repotting your shrub is needed once every two years. This is necessary as your plant’s soil will be due for a change. If you need to change your plant’s pot, it is best to do it at the same time.
Banana Crotons don’t need frequent pruning. Use a clean, sharp, kitchen knife or gardening shears to remove damaged or discolored leaves.
Prune the plant’s foliage as needed to maintain its size and shape.
Banana Crotons do not require frequent pruning. It is totally fine to just prune your shrub as needed to keep it at a size or shape that is desirable for you.
When necessary, prune off any damaged, discolored, or dead leaves. Ensure that the tools you use to prune your Banana Croton are sharp and most importantly, clean.
Codiaeum variegatum ‘Banana’ Propagation
Propagation is best done through cuttings either from the plant’s stem or leaf. Make sure you use a healthy and undamaged leaf or stem for the process.
Warmth and humidity are important factors. Without an adequate environment, the cuttings will not grow roots.
These shrubs are easily propagated through a leaf or stem cuttings. When taking a cutting from your plant, ensure you use a healthy and undamaged leaf.
Unlike most plants, this shrub requires a bit more attention in order for the propagation process to be successful.
The cuttings taken from this plant need to be in an environment that’s humid and very warm. Without these needs being met, the cutting will not be able to grow new roots and develop into a plant of its own.
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Common problems with Codiaeum variegatum ‘Banana’
The most pressing problem these plants experience is root rot. However, this is easily avoidable by ensuring your plant is being grown in an adequate soil type.
It’s also important that you do not overwater your Banana Croton. Only give your shrub more water when you’re sure the plant needs it.
However, they are easily dealt with as well as avoided.
By ensuring your Banana Croton’s leaves are kept clean, you’re less likely to have any problems with pests.
In the event that you do have an issue, simply wipe your plant’s leaves down with rubbing alcohol or neem oil. This will rid your plant of those pesky little insects!
Frequently asked questions about Codiaeum variegatum ‘Banana’
Is the Banana Croton plant toxic?
The Banana Croton is considered toxic for both humans and animals. It is best to keep Banana Crotons out of the reach of curious pets and children. Although the ingestion of parts of this plant may not be fatal, it can result in indigestion issues.
Why are my Banana Croton’s leaves droopy?
If your Banana Croton is dropping its leaves, it is likely that it is not getting enough water. A thirsty Banana Croton shrub will often drop its leaves in protest. It is not an everlasting effect, but it’s a sign you should water your Banana Croton.
Why does my Banana Croton not have any yellow features?
A Banana Croton with foliage that is plain green or has very little variegation is in need of some more sun. These tropical shrubs thrive in bright but indirect sunlight. The more exposure time these plants get in their preferred level of light, the better their exotic colors will show through.
Banana Croton shrubs make for excellent houseplants. Aside from their higher humidity preference, these distinctive plants are easy to care for. They are low maintenance, and if their needs are not being met, they have their ways of letting you know!
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.