Q. Should I rotate my croton plant periodically toward the light for even growth?
Plants usually react to light (phototropism) by attempting to maximize the light reaching the plant's leaf surfaces. On the plant stem, cells that receive light shrink, while the cells in "shadow" on the opposite side of the stem elongate. This shrinking and elongating tilts the plant toward its light source.
To grow a symmetrical plant, you should rotate it fairly often. If you water your houseplants about once a week and rotate them each time you water, your plants are likely to grow straight up.
In theory, your plant should even out. If a plant is leaning very strongly in one direction, don't rotate it every time you water. Turn the plant away from the light and wait until it straightens up before starting your weekly rotation.
In the case of woody stems (such as croton), new growth will respond to rotating, but older, woody growth will not react as strongly. It will take more time for the woody growth to realign. Just keep an eye on your plant--if the leaning does not correct itself, you many have to physically adjust the plant to get it upright. After that you can go back to rotating.
Here is more information on croton (Codiaeum variegatum).
For tips on a variety of gardening topics, see our Plant Information Guides.
- Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service