Belter known as crotons, these tropical shrubs originate from Ceylon and are available in many riotous foliage colours - for sheer brilliance there arc few plants that can compete with them. The discerning plantsman can build up quite a collection of these by keeping an eye open for the different sorts that are available in the plant shop or nursery. Sad to say although most are hybrids of Codiaeum variegatum pictum they are seldom offered as named varieties, but by visiting any botanic garden it should not be difficult to put names to the plants acquired. Even so it will be found that there is some confusion in the naming of these superb plants, and this is one reason for the grower's reluctance to put specific names to all the plants he may sell.
Although plants may be grown from seed, it is very much better to produce new stock by means of cuttings. Cuttings may be taken at almost any time of the year, but spring or summer is beSt when there is better light and it is easier to provide the relatively high temperature that is needed in order to be reasonably sure of success. Cuttings with firm leaves will do very much better than those taken with soft, new top growth. The actual size of the cutting is not of particular importance, as it will be found that cuttings a foot (30 cm) or more in length will root as readily as those of more conventional size provided the conditions are suitable. In this respect a temperature of some 20°C (68°F) is desirable, and the conditions should be moist, close and shaded. The severed end of the cutting should be treated with a rooting powder to encourage more rapid root de
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