Hawaiian Mona Lisa?

Marie Nock

Well-Known Member
We noticed that orange is a prominent color in Hawaiian crotons - perhaps because of the volcanic soil? Even Mortii is green, yellow and orange. Could this beauty be a Hawaiian Mona Lisa?


  • Hawaii 2011 068.jpg
    Hawaii 2011 068.jpg
    162.4 KB · Views: 131
Hawaiian soils are probably at the other extreme than are Florida's. Ours are extremely acid, and as I understand it, Florida is just the opposite.

I would assume this could result in the differing colors. It sure makes a difference in Hydrangea flowers.
If soil acidity alone were the determining factor in color, one could easily run some controlled experiments: grow the same croton in an acid soil and then a basic soil, keep all other conditions equal (grow them next to each other). Use a sample of six crotons to give this a modest size sample. Grow a set in FL and another in HA. Keep decent records and report back in a year or so. Any volunteers?

If I recall correctly, one can easily change blue to pink hydrangeas and back fairly easily. But with hydrangeas we're looking at the flowers; with crotons it's the leaves.

Back to crotons: I think most of us in FL try and keep the croton planting beds on the acidic size. I've been using anywhere from 5-10 cu.yds of recycled mulch every year to save water and improve the 'soil' here which is mainly sand. Coffee grounds also go in the garden. I think the 'soils' further south in FL range from marl to the muck in the Everglades.

My guess is sunlight has a lot more to do with color. HA extends from 19N - 22N; FL in the Keys is 24N and St. Pete is at 28N. You get more consistent sun, have a more consistent climate, and do not get those *&^%$#@! winter cold fronts the way we do on the mainland.

That's one drop-dead sexy looking croton whatever the reasons.
Actually Phil, there are many different "climates" in Hawaii. Thye even have snow in some areas. The various islands have both rainy and drier sides. On the rainy sides where most of the croton culture is occuring, they get alot of clouds and not as heavy of sun as us. I have heard that the Glock's and some others in the Keys are growing some extremely wonderful colored plants that we don't seem to be able to duplicate on our main land. Plus, they "dope" their crotons.

I have heard that Dean and Angela grow crotons but they are on the slow side being at their elevation and cool evening temperatures.

Acidity is a plus in my opinion.

Ron. :)