Experts tackle readers’ garden questions.
Q: Can the beautiful multicolored crotons grow outside here in Sacramento?
Chere Schoning, Sacramento
Bee garden writer Debbie Arrington: Yes – with an asterisk. According to tropical plant experts, croton (Codiaeum variegatum) can tolerate conditions in USDA plant hardiness zone 9b, which includes Sacramento (but not the nearby foothills). Zone 9b plants can take a tiny bit of freezing weather, with nights dipping down to 25 to 30 degrees F at the coldest. Most citrus trees are zone 9b plants.
Likewise, croton can take a little bit of that chilly weather, but not much. It prefers to stay reliably above 50 degrees. When exposed to prolonged cold, it tends to lose those pretty leaves.
If there’s a frost warning, they’ll need protection such as a…
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