Gardening Magazine

Codiaeum Variegatum ‘Pictum’

By Davis Landscape Architecture @DavisLandArch

Codiaeum variegatum 'Pictum' (16/01/2016, Kew Gardens, London)

Codiaeum variegatum ‘Pictum’ (16/01/2016, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Bright light

Flowering period: All year round

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 1.2m

Eventual Spread: 90cm

Hardiness: 12, 13

Family: Euphorbiaceae

Codiaeum variegatum ‘Pictum’ is an evergreen tropical shrub with a bushy habit. Its glossy, leathery dark green/ yellow/ red variegated leaves are variable in shape, up to 30cm long and 8cm across. Its white flowers appear on long racemes which are up to 30cm long.

Codiaeum variegatum ‘Pictum’, commonly known as Garden Croton, Variegated Croton or Joseph’s Coat, is native to Indonesia, Australia and Malaysia and western Pacific Ocean islands. In its native habitat it grows in open forests and scrub. Codiaeum variegatum is synonymous with Croton variegatum.

The etymological root of the binomial name Codiaeum is derived from the Malayan vanacular ‘kodiho’. Variegatum is derived from the Latin meaning ‘variegated’.

The landscape architect may find Codiaeum variegatum ‘Pictum’ useful as a colourful large evergreen houseplant. It should be noted that the sap of this plant may cause skin irritation.

Codiaeum variegatum 'Pictum' Leaf (16/01/2016, Kew Gardens, London)

Codiaeum variegatum ‘Pictum’ Leaf (16/01/2016, Kew Gardens, London)

Ecologically, Codiaeum variegatum ‘Pictum’ is of little value to UK wildlife.

Codiaeum variegatum ‘Pictum’ prefers moist, humus rich, fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil.

When maintaining Codiaeum variegatum ‘Pictum’ as a houseplant its soil should be watered regularly. Watering should be reduced during the winter months. Its preferred active growing temperature rages from between 18ºc to 29ºc, it will tolerate a temperate as low as 15ºc. Feeding with weak fertiliser solution should be carried out every two weeks during the growing season. This plant requires high humidity to thrive and resents drafts. Mealy Bugs and Scale Insect may attack this plant. Necessary pruning should be carried out in spring.

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