Updated: October 12, 2022


Croton mammy, also known as Codiaeum variegatum ‘Mammy,’ is a tropical plant that belongs to the genus Codiaeum and is native to Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Pacific Islands. This colorful and vibrant plant has become popular among gardeners and indoor plant enthusiasts due to its unique foliage.

Historical Background

The Croton mammy plant was first discovered in the early 19th century by a German botanist, Carl Ludwig Blume, who was exploring the flora of Indonesia. The plant was initially classified under the genus Croton, which is a large genus consisting of over 1,200 species of plants that are native to tropical regions around the world.

In 1864, a French botanist named Henri Ernest Baillon reclassified the Croton mammy plant under the genus Codiaeum. The name Codiaeum is derived from the Greek word “kodia,” which means “head,” and “aeum,” which means “belonging to.” This name was given because of the plant’s distinctive head-like inflorescence.


The Croton mammy plant is a small shrub that typically grows up to 3-6 feet in height. It has large oval-shaped leaves that are shiny and waxy in texture. The leaves are mostly green with vibrant pink, red, orange, or yellow veins that form intricate patterns on the leaf surface.

The Croton mammy plant prefers warm temperatures between 60-85°F and requires bright indirect sunlight to thrive. It can be grown indoors or outdoors in warm climates with well-draining soil.


The Croton mammy plant is relatively easy to grow and requires minimal care. Here are some tips for cultivating this plant:

  • Watering: The Croton mammy plant requires regular watering, but it is essential not to overwater as the plant can be susceptible to root rot. Water the plant when the top inch of soil is dry.
  • Soil: The Croton mammy plant prefers well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter.
  • Fertilizer: Fertilize the plant with a balanced liquid fertilizer every 2-3 weeks during the growing season (spring and summer).
  • Pruning: Prune the plant regularly to maintain its shape and to encourage bushier growth. You can also remove any yellow or brown leaves to improve the plant’s appearance.


The Croton mammy plant offers several benefits, including:

  • Air purification: Like most plants, the Croton mammy plant helps purify the air by removing pollutants and toxins from the surrounding environment.
  • Aesthetic appeal: The vibrant colors and unique patterns on the leaves of the Croton mammy plant make it a popular choice for home decor and landscaping.
  • Low maintenance: The Croton mammy plant requires minimal care and is relatively easy to grow.


Is the Croton mammy plant toxic?

Yes, the Croton mammy plant is toxic to pets and humans if ingested. It contains a sap that can cause skin irritation and eye irritation.

Can I grow a Croton mammy plant indoors?

Yes, you can grow a Croton mammy plant indoors as long as it receives bright indirect sunlight and consistent watering.

How often should I fertilize my Croton mammy plant?

Fertilize your Croton mammy plant every 2-3 weeks during the growing season (spring and summer) with a balanced liquid fertilizer.

Can I propagate my Croton mammy plant?

Yes, you can propagate your Croton mammy plant through stem cuttings. Simply take a stem cutting with a few leaves and place it in water or well-draining soil until roots form.