Most people grow Crotons outside in the landscape south of Tampa to Orlando, and east to Melbourne. Our Nursery is located just south of Central Florida on the Treasure Coast in Vero Beach. Most winters can get quite cool (occasional lows of 34 degrees) with a sporadic bout of frost/ freezing temperatures. This will not usually bother old, well-established crotons which have survived since the 1950’s and 1960’s.
Since Crotons are Tropical Plants (not sub-tropical) they cannot tolerate hard freezes, or extended ones—when the temperature drops down to 32 or lower—so we must add protection, and in particular for young plants. In fact, when customers who know it gets chilly where the crotons are going to live in the wintertime buy plants from us at Fall Plant Sales, many times we’ll advise keeping the plants in pots in a protected place until the Spring growing season of the following year, and to wait until then to plant them outside in the ground.
A Frost Advisory is issued when the predicted temperature is expected to fall to 36 degrees or lower in the next 3 to 30 hours. Temperatures in the 35 to 40 degree range would also dictate a frost advisory.
A Freeze Warning is issued when there is an 80% or greater chance that the temperatures are expected to fall to 32 degrees (F) or lower in the next 3 to 30 hours.
If the temperature is expected to fall below 28 degrees (F) it is considered a Hard Freeze.
Thousands of crotons are shipped to all 50 states for Florists and Garden Centers. Several cultivars were originally bred in Europe specifically for the interiorscape market, and will perform very well in a house or office all winter long. Ironically, these same crotons do not do well in air-conditioned environments for extended periods and are therefore not recommended in Florida as year-round house plants.