Codiaeum is one of the most colourful of all houseplants. The leaf shapes found in Codiaeums vary considerably. Some being oval, some are narrow, others like large oak leaves and strap-like. The new leaves may be mainly green, developing their colours as they mature.
Water 2-3 times a week in Summer, every 5 days in Winter, using tepid water. Never allow compost to dry out.
Feed every 14 days from Spring until late Autumn, with standard liquid fertilizer.
Re-pot annually in late Spring. It prefers to be in pot which is slightly too small, maximum size 8 inches. Therafter annual topdressing with fresh potting mixture will suffice.
Propagate by air layering or by cuttings preferably taken from side shoots in Spring and Summer. Dip 6 inch long cuttings in rooting powder. Like most members of Euphorbia family, Codiaeums are filled with a milky latex. Seal the cut ends by wetting them. Plant each cutting in a 3 inch pot of moistened cutting compost, enclose the pot in a plastic bag or heated propagator for 4-6 weeks.
Plenty of light is necessary for good coloration. If put in full sun it should be sprayed later during the day. The plant get rather tall with age but pinching out the growing tips will encourage side shoots to form. Tall plants can be reduced in size by air layering in Spring.
Pruning should not be necessary as long as the plant becomes too big for the available position, however cut it back as much as required in early Spring before new growth begins.
In the Winter months the plant should be moved away from the window to avoid exposure to cold.
Warmth, humidity and good light are the basic needs, but take care that the plant is not positioned in a draught or the leaves will fall. Starvation is another cause of failure. Red spider mites can be troublesome.
Codiaeum looks beautiful on its own or in mixed bowls where it benefits from humidity provided by the other plants. It is useful as office plant, for bright lit dining room or lounge.
Spray daily in Summer but not in direct sunlight. Spray weekly in Winter. Stand pot on saucer of pebbles almost covered with water. Don't allow pot base to touch water.
Peat based compost.
The first potatoes were cultivated in Peru about 7,000 years ago.