Esteemed Member
This year I would like to try my luck at hybridizing just for fun and for my own edification. However, I don't have a clear clue as to how to do it. I know what the male and female inflorescences look, but how do I know when each is ready to reproduce, and how do I ensure no bees get in there and get to the female before I choose which male should get to which first? Once it's pollinated, how do I take care of it? I don't even know what to ask. Do I get pollen on a paintbrush or do I have to cut off the male inflorescence and rub it along the female pistils/flowers?

Also, I usually cut off all inflorescences I see developing, because my plants are small and I want them to have all the energy to grow. However, now I've let a couple of plants grow a few inflorescences. How do I go about choosing which plants would be good parents, and which hybrids should go together to produce beautiful new plants. Jerry, are you out there? I've missed seeing you on the forum. Other hybridizers please check in too. Chris, Keith, Marie, anyone else? I need a lot of help to get started and my inflorescences are developing fast each day now. Thanks!:D
Anna, I have a copy of a Croton Society newsletter with an article about this subject. See attachment


  • 9.05 newsletter.pdf
    4 MB · Views: 130
Anna..It's pretty straight forward. When the female flowers are open and have their 3 stigmas spread they are receptive. They might be receptive for a week. Then there is, what for me, can be a problem. You have to have pollen and many times when a male flower is open it doesn't seem to produce any pollen. I always run a finger across the flower to see if I get any pollen grains. Many times there won't be, time of year, temperature, I don't know but when I do see the pollen I usually pick some flowers and use them like a paint brush and rub them across the open female flowers. You'll usually be able to see pollen grains on the female flowers after your pollinated them. I've tried many times to save pollen but have never had success with that. As far as I'm concerned you need fresh pollen. So you pretty much need male and female flowers open at the same time. And Bees don't polinate crotons. It's the ants! So get rid of the ants. Ha Ha. Wish you luck...Chris
Oh, and Anna, sometimes you have to settle with what parents you use, You can use any crotons' pollen on any other croton. Sometimes you won't get seeds but try it again and you might. If there are several different cultivars of male flowers I sometimes will use all different kinds on one female infloresence. Have some fun!
Perry! Thanks so much. I really enjoyed reading the newsletter and it makes me sad they are no longer. The photos are beautiful and the article on Robert Halgrim was great. The hybridizing article was great too, and just what I was looking for. Thank-you!

Chris, thanks also for your comments. Very helpful to hear practical experience and what can happen. I don't think I will ever be able to get rid of the ants. I will have to see what I can do to block them from the female flowers. There seem to be a type of very tiny, slow-moving, black ant that likes my crotons. I don't think I've seen them on anything else. Are they after sap? I don't see any sap or anything they would want, but they are there for some reason.

Is it of any interest to pollinate a female's flowers with it's own plant's male flowers? Can this create a stronger, more vigorous species of the same kind or maybe ones in the plant's background? What happens?